Yorkshire Escape to the Country


Yorkshire

Property show. Jonnie Irwin travels to Yorkshire to help find a rural home for 300,000 pounds, and discovers the secrets of one of the oldest iron forges in the world.


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Transcript


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I'm in a county that played an important role in the Industrial Revolution.

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Its manufacturing heritage stretches over the centuries.

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I hope to match that hard graft in finding a house for a couple who seem to be all work and no play.

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Where am I? Find out in a moment.

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'Today, I'm helping a couple find a property which will cut down their commute and enable them

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'to spend more quality time together. He would like a renovation project.'

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-You're not having this as your workshop.

-'And for her, there's a mystery house full of surprises.'

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Wow, this is not what I expected, Jonnie.

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I'm in Yorkshire, a county renowned for its industrial heritage.

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However, having an area of around 6,000 square miles,

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it still means there's plenty of unspoilt countryside like this

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and access to this countryside is at the heart of today's search.

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Nicknamed God's Own County, Yorkshire is so big that it's split into four separate counties -

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North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the East Ridings of Yorkshire.

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But historically, it was once a separate kingdom altogether.

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The Danish Vikings made York their capital in the 9th century and ruled the Danelaw,

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encompassing most of what we now recognise as northern and eastern England.

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The county proves its Nordic roots in some place names still in use.

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The famous dales come from the Viking word "dalr" meaning "valleys"

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and East Riding comes from old Danish "thriding" or "third".

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Yorkshire now covers a large part of northern England and a vast range of extraordinary landscapes

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from the bleak moors to the undulating hills that roll down to the coast.

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There's climbing, hiking and biking aplenty.

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Yorkshire folk have a reputation for being strong-minded straight-talkers.

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They're passionate about their county and some would say with good reason.

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As the biggest county in England, it's certainly got plenty to offer.

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Being such a vast county, property values can vary greatly, depending on where you are.

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Up in the north with its rolling dales and wild countryside,

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property prices can be anything up to 57% above those here in the west.

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Over the past 12 months, here, the market has actually gone down by 17%,

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although homes in villages can still command prices comfortably in excess of the national average.

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Here's a selection of fantastic properties that we found currently on the market.

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Just under £300,000 will get you this deceptively spacious,

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four-bedroomed, stone-built barn conversion in Upper Hoyland.

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It dates back to the 1800s and it has a galleried living room

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and French doors to the rear opening out on to a raised terrace with spectacular views.

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Set within the grounds of Middlewood Hall in Darfield,

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this four-bedroomed, 17th century conversion has been restored, retaining many original features

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and it's oozing with character.

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At a handsome £450,000, it includes a large farmhouse kitchen,

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a light living area with a feature fireplace

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and expansive rural views.

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If your pockets can stretch to it,

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the lordly sum of £650,000 will get you this heaven-sent, five-bedroomed converted church

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in Thurgoland in Sheffield.

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It has a substantial open-plan living space, including three reception rooms,

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original features and a sizeable lawn garden with a raised deck area.

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A great selection of properties there.

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Time to meet today's buyers who are ready to make their very own escape to the country.

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Paul, a retired financial adviser, and Linda, a senior management consultant,

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have been married for five years.

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They live in a large home in Stockport. Both have adult children from previous relationships

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who have flown the nest, so they want to buy their first home together.

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We've decided now is a good time to move because I started a new job two years ago,

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so I'm settled there, but it's a two-hour commute away.

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The travel time from Stockport to Wakefield has become a problem, not just for Linda,

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but for Paul too as it impacts on the time they spend together.

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I think it's always been at the back of my mind that the travelling that she's been making

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would become too excessive over time, but in the last 12 months,

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we've really started to think seriously that we ought to make the move.

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They're keen to downsize their property, but still want a home that gives them the feeling of space.

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What we want in the next house are three bedrooms minimum,

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so we can have an office and a guest room,

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a slightly larger kitchen for Linda's benefit.

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It's particularly important that Paul has somewhere to practise DIY,

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so he's keen to find a property which needs some renovation.

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Not a huge project. I'm not a big fa of a huge project. Paul would be.

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I wouldn't want anything like gutting out a house and starting from scratch. I'm too old for that.

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But definitely having jobs where I can alter them to make them our own, the way we want it.

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And there are some particular features they have in mind.

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We love the period older properties with the period features inside.

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We particularly like the Yorkshire stone.

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We would even look at a new build if it was made of Yorkshire stone.

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Keen on wildlife, location is very important,

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plus they'd like to find somewhere in West Yorkshire

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on the outskirts of a village within easy access of open country.

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We're big nature lovers and love being close to nature.

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Being in the middle of a city makes that quite difficult.

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As with everything, money talks and how much they've got to spend will dictate what they can achieve.

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Our maximum budget for the move would be around £300,000.

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That would have to include any renovation work that was needed on any property we found.

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All work and no play isn't much fun for Linda, so it's crucial that we cut her commute time,

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whilst Paul seems desperate for a dedicated workshop.

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With a budget of £300,000, finding a York stone-built property

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and one within a village seems to be at the top of their shopping list.

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Whether or not this property can be a renovation project is definitely up for discussion.

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One thing is for certain. They've chosen a fantastic part of the world to look for a new home.

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West Yorkshire has a plethora of country paths and footpaths to satisfy anybody in outdoor pursuits.

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But will our properties satisfy them? Time to find out.

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As Paul and Linda want to move closer to Linda's work,

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we'll be focusing our property search on the villages within striking distance of Wakefield.

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I'll show them great properties, but won't reveal the prices until they've guessed first.

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We'll see if the mystery house challenges what they think they want from their perfect home.

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Paul and Linda, welcome to a beautiful West Yorkshire morning.

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Linda, your commute is the main driver behind this whole move.

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How far do you travel each day?

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It takes me anywhere between an hour and 45 minutes and two hours each way.

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-Each way?

-Each way. It's a four-hour commute every day.

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What would your ideal commute be then?

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If I had a job that I was 15, 20 minutes away from, no more,

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that would be absolute perfection for me. I've never had that.

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I'll push you a bit further. How about just popping out the door and walking to work?

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That may be a little too close.

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-Oh, really?

-That might be a little too close.

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-Paul, you have a bit more time on your hands.

-Yes.

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-I understand you're fairly keen at DIY.

-Fairly keen, yes.

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How keen?

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Linda refers to me as the DIY freak.

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Charming! That's nice, isn't it?

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We have a cellar at home and he has his workshop in the cellar.

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And what he hasn't got in there isn't worth having.

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-Would you like to get stuck into a property or part of a property?

-Part of a property, yes.

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This is a lovely part of the world, but three bedrooms in a stone-built property in a village,

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they don't come cheap, so what's our budget?

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I think we said the maximum was 300,000, wasn't it?

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I'm here to show you a selection of properties.

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There seems to be a bit of discussion to be had between how much of a project I can show you,

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so I may show you elements of a project and elements of the finished product itself.

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Let's gauge your reaction to the first house and we'll go from there.

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-Sounds great.

-Thanks a lot.

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So for a maximum of £300,000, Linda and Paul want to downsize to a country house

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that will give them three bedrooms, including one that can be an office,

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a place for Paul to do his DIY, a large eat-in kitchen,

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a property which isn't overlooked, preferably on the outskirts of a village,

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and within easy access to open countryside.

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We kick off our property search in the hamlet of Hundhill, East Hardwick,

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around three miles from the historic town of Pontefract.

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East Hardwick is a pretty, rural community, surrounded by fields for horse and cattle grazing.

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It's got plenty of public footpaths for walkers,

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a typical English cricket club and, although it looks older,

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St Stephen's Church is just over 100 years old.

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It was consecrated by the Archbishop of York in 1874

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and there's a bell-ringing group who meet regularly.

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The hamlet of Hundhill comprises seven buildings, all of which were part of the manor house.

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The property we're looking at is the stables.

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-What do you think?

-Oh, wow! I love the stone.

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Now, any ideas where you are?

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-No.

-Cos I saw you looking around like meerkats.

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We're trying to get our bearings as to sort of...

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I know the A1(M) is over there, but that's about all.

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-You know Pontefract, don't you?

-Yes.

-That's a mile and a half away.

-Oh, wow!

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But yet listen...

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Birds and the odd dog.

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-It's gorgeous.

-It's not a huge property.

-Right.

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But when you get inside...

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I was pleasantly surprised with the room dimensions, but it's up to you.

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-Let's have a look.

-You're both smiling.

-Yes.

-Let's look inside.

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'So they like what they see outside, but what will they think of the interior?'

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OK, a small entrance hall.

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Let's start with a lot of people's most important room. What do you think of the kitchen?

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I like it. I like the feel of it.

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I like the wideness.

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-Good.

-That's what we don't have. It's quite small, our kitchen at home.

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This is a good start. I thought this might be different to what you're used to

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-because it's not your period property.

-No.

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-But the dimensions seem to be going down quite well.

-It's done out very nicely.

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Good. Those dimensions, hopefully you'll agree, continue next door in the living room. Follow me.

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-There's a real flow to this part of the house, isn't there?

-Yeah.

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-And this living room is, I would say, sizeable.

-Yes, it is. Lovely.

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I like the separate dining area.

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-You can divide the room, but you're still together.

-Yes.

-That feels nice

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Something I want to pick up on here.

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Looking around, apart from maybe if you wanted to put your own style on here, like redecorating,

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there's not a lot of Paul DIY to be done in here so far.

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-I'll find something.

-Really? Is that right?

-Oh, he will.

-Good.

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'Well, there won't be much work for him to do in the bedrooms either.

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'The guest bedroom is well finished with plenty of storage,

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'plus a further bedroom has been turned into a study, then there's the main bedroom.'

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-So the master bedroom...

-This is a good size.

-Definitely a good size.

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We have a very big bedroom at home at the moment which we love and this is probably about the same size

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-And obviously with its secret weapon which you asked for.

-Oh, wow!

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-En-suite!

-Secret weapon, wow!

-That's really nice. I like that.

-It is.

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You've also got the other bathroom at the other end of the property.

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-So you've got a guest bathroom and your own. I like that.

-Good.

-That's great.

-What do you think now?

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-Two bedrooms with the office?

-We'd have to make some adjustments.

-OK.

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But obviously, moving from a bigger house, so we have to get rid of a few things.

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-What's here is obviously quality furnishings.

-Yeah.

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That stands out, but it all feels very new.

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Is there enough DIY for you here?

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-I don't think there would be.

-No.

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'Not enough of a project for Paul, but hopefully the garden will provide a useful alternative.'

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Now, a south-facing garden, I paced it out myself.

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-It's over 100 foot, believe it or not.

-Wow!

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Size-wise, this is as big a garden as we've seen within your budget.

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-You're not going to be looking at land.

-No.

-If this is big enough, I'm relieved.

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-This is more than big enough.

-Big enough, yes.

-Yeah.

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For you, I know there's no DIY to be done inside the house. There is workshop space for you.

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You've got a garage next door. You also have a summer house there.

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I'm not sure what you'd do with it. It has four double power sockets, so it could be a great workshop.

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-It would almost be a shame to spoil it as a summer house.

-It is very pretty, isn't it?

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The fact that there is nothing to do to the house may well have an influence

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-on how much this house is on the market for. I'm going to ask you how much you think it is.

-OK.

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-I think it's at the top end of our budget.

-Put a figure on it?

-299?

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299...

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I'm thinking a little bit less, actually.

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Um...

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Yeah, I think probably about 280, 285.

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Well, it's just been reduced. It was put on the market a year ago at just under £400,000.

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-They then slashed it to 325.

-OK.

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And a month ago, they've reduced it again to 300.

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I've spoken to the owner and the lady is wanting to settle in and around the asking price of £300,000.

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-Right.

-OK.

-Why don't you go back inside the house, then maybe have a look at the summer house?

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-I'll catch you out the front in 15, 20 minutes?

-Sounds great.

-Fantastic.

-Thanks a lot.

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A muted response from Paul there.

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I do really think he wants something to get his hands dirty with.

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He's got some DIY skills and he wants to put them to use.

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As far as Linda's concerned, she seems pretty happy. Let's see how this afternoon goes as well.

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So for £300,000, this house is a great opportunity for Paul and Linda

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to figure out what they can achieve with their budget.

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But the compromise is there are no period features or DIY opportunities for Paul.

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I think the area is absolutely beautiful. I was really impressed when we drove up.

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I think the property lacks real character.

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We're used to major features that were there when the house was built.

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Oh, wow! This is like another room.

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-You could have a sauna in here.

-You could.

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You're not having this as your workshop. You'll have the garage.

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The fixtures and fittings being new wouldn't bother me, but I think it would bother Paul.

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He's only recently retired, so he's at home all the time

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and I would be a bit concerned about him having nothing to do.

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-All done?

-Yeah.

-Yes, thank you.

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-Time for the next one, I suppose. Follow me.

-Jolly good.

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Paul and Linda are looking for a home that will enable them

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to spend more time together enjoying their shared interests

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and the location they've chosen has a wealth of fantastic countryside for them to explore.

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The county boasts a variety of landscapes characterised by high peaks, wild hills,

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moorland and peaceful valleys, together with patchwork fields of farmland as far as the eye can see.

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The countryside is scattered with ancient villages built from the local stone,

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many of which can trace their history back to the Domesday Book of 1086.

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Although it's largely a working landscape, 17% of the region is designated green belt.

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South of Wakefield, Newmillerdam Country Park is a stunning mixture of water and woodland

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and a great place to do some wildlife spotting after the pressures of a long week at work.

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Having a local nature reserve close by is a big plus in Paul and Linda's hunt for their new home.

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So earlier in the week, we sent them to meet a park ranger to find out more.

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-So what's the history behind the reservoir?

-The park was originally part

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of the Chevet Estate owned by the Pilkington family.

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They used to come down to the lake for hunting and shooting parties.

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-How big is the park overall? It's quite sizeable.

-Yeah, it's quite a big park.

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Some people just tend to stick to the lakeside path, but there's a woodland up at the top end

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that is quite quiet. You can disappear up into the woods and be in the middle of nowhere.

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The park is home to a variety of bird life too.

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We get a lot of different ducks - mallards, coots, tufted ducks.

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In the summer, you can see terns flying over and in the winter, you can see goosanders.

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As well as finding peace and seclusion,

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Paul and Linda are keen to indulge a passion for local conservation,

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so we arranged for them to meet one of the area's conservation teams.

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Volunteer groups help with special projects and ensure the park stays in good shape.

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Tasks include clearing dead wood from the forest and water, carrying out maintenance

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and creating new paths and access routes.

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What kind of skills would we need to join your group?

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No technical skills whatsoever. Just a lot of enthusiasm and a strong sense of humour.

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-I think we can meet that criteria.

-Just about.

-What are the guys doing today?

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They're clearing the scrub because beneath here are wild orchids that are relatively uncommon.

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-So can we help?

-You certainly can.

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Volunteers meet every Tuesday all year round with some additional evenings in the summer.

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With groups of between 10 and 15 people, it's a very social occasion

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and a great way of meeting local, like-minded people.

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-Are you quite enjoying it?

-Yes, it's quite therapeutic.

-Carry on then.

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There's an abundance of wildlife and conservation in the region to interest Linda and Paul,

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so the location they've chosen will definitely suit them.

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But am I going to get lucky helping them find the right house?

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For our second property, we're visiting the village of West Bretton.

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This area is one of the locations high on Paul and Linda's wish list

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in their search for the perfect home.

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"Bretton" means "farmstead of the Britons" and its name derives

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from the Old English "Brettas" and the Saxon word "ton" meaning "enclosure" or "town".

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Bretton Park includes the Yorkshire Sculpture Park,

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an outdoor gallery where statues and abstract works sit amongst 500 acres of rolling rural landscape

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which could provide a great environment for Linda and Paul to enjoy quality time together.

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The house I'm showing is a stone-built cottage,

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full of character and overlooking the local cricket field.

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Your new home... I'm hoping might be this one here.

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-That's beautiful stone.

-It is.

-I love the stone.

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Now, also, I'm hoping that this is almost replicating the house you have now,

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-but on a smaller scale.

-Right.

-OK.

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-You're looking to downsize.

-Yeah.

-You're used to semi-detached living.

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Semi-detached/end terrace, but it's got the stone

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-and some of the character that you like.

-OK.

-That's great.

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Normally, we go through the front door, but I can't get the front door open, so we'll go round the back.

0:21:190:21:25

-OK.

-Follow me.

0:21:250:21:27

'I'm hoping the fact that this property has more features than the first one we saw,

0:21:270:21:32

'including the Yorkshire stone Linda has her heart set on, will get a positive response,

0:21:320:21:37

'but it has something that will push Paul's buttons too. It needs some work. First, the dining room.'

0:21:370:21:43

-This house isn't lived in.

-Right.

-I like it.

-Taking it all in...

0:21:430:21:47

-What do you like about it? Very different dimensions.

-Very different to the first house,

0:21:470:21:53

but it's got a real warmth about it as soon as you walk in, even though it's not lived in.

0:21:530:22:00

We'd change, obviously, the units cos they're more modern, but the rest of it is...

0:22:000:22:06

Here's my idea for changing things - that wall!

0:22:060:22:09

-Yes.

-Well, yes!

0:22:090:22:12

I've been upstairs. There's nothing above, so it shouldn't be a problem.

0:22:120:22:17

Then your kitchen area is that way. All the drainage is that way.

0:22:170:22:21

But it's not big.

0:22:210:22:23

You're still smiling, Linda.

0:22:230:22:26

-Why?

-It just feels really nice.

0:22:260:22:29

'Well, that's the kind of positive reaction I was after. They clearly see the potential

0:22:290:22:35

'and there's plenty here for Paul to get stuck into. With only a kitchen, diner and lounge on the ground,

0:22:350:22:40

'this house is much smaller than Paul and Linda are used to,

0:22:400:22:44

'but I'm hoping the space could work for them.'

0:22:440:22:48

-Now the living room is very different to the first house I showed you this morning.

-Yeah.

0:22:480:22:54

This is when reality bites. Now you didn't ask me for big. You asked for character,

0:22:540:23:00

-stone-built, village location.

-It is really quite small.

0:23:000:23:05

-Yes.

-I'm not even sure we would get our furniture in here.

0:23:050:23:09

-No.

-No.

0:23:090:23:11

'Well, the ground floor seems a stretch for them, but maybe I'll have better luck upstairs.

0:23:110:23:17

'One thing this house does have is the requisite three bedrooms.

0:23:170:23:23

'They do need some cosmetic work, but they all have good natural light and views.'

0:23:230:23:29

-On the first floor, the bathroom, we need a new one.

-Yes.

0:23:290:23:33

-The tiles are in surprisingly good shape, though.

-Yeah.

-This room...

0:23:330:23:38

-Obviously, you'll want to keep it the same colour.

-Oh!

0:23:380:23:42

-Purple!

-My goodness.

-I do like purple, but not on my bedroom wall.

0:23:420:23:47

-Apart from the colour, is this space sufficient?

-Yeah, I think it is.

0:23:470:23:52

-Yes.

-Good.

-It's not a problem.

0:23:520:23:54

'Linda's remaining open-minded. There's one more room for me to show them.'

0:23:540:24:00

The master bedroom.

0:24:000:24:02

-Again, it's really quite small.

-Yes.

-It's very small.

0:24:020:24:07

-It wouldn't fit our bed in here.

-No.

0:24:070:24:10

'Well, that's a disappointing response, so the outside space is my last throw of the dice.

0:24:100:24:17

'There's a really good-size outhouse which could be a workshop

0:24:170:24:20

'and a fair-sized garden with mature trees and shrubs. But is the price right?'

0:24:200:24:25

-You've seen it's a character cottage and you've also seen there's some work to be done.

-Yes.

0:24:250:24:31

-How much do you think it's on the market for, Linda?

-Oh, that's hard.

0:24:310:24:36

-This is much harder than the last one.

-Yeah.

-Definitely.

0:24:360:24:40

With all the work that needs to be done, I would like to think

0:24:400:24:45

it was somewhere around the 270, maybe.

0:24:450:24:49

I think that it'll be more 290, 295. Something like that.

0:24:490:24:53

Well, it's split the camp.

0:24:530:24:56

It's on the market for offers of around £285,000.

0:24:560:25:01

That wouldn't give us a huge amount to do the renovations we'd need.

0:25:020:25:07

When you go back in to the property, I'm sure you're going to be knocking on walls

0:25:070:25:13

and pricing up what you can do. Have a good walk round, but really get a feel for the dimensions.

0:25:130:25:19

-That's going to help you make your mind up as to whether this place is for you or not.

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:25:190:25:25

-I'll catch you later on. Good luck.

-Thank you.

0:25:250:25:28

For £285,000, Paul and Linda could have a property in one of West Yorkshire's most popular locations.

0:25:300:25:38

It's made of Yorkshire stone, has three bedrooms and a shed for Paul to do his DIY.

0:25:380:25:44

But what about the renovation?

0:25:440:25:47

There's an awful lot of work to do, but if you knock that through, you could make this really big.

0:25:470:25:53

-It would have to be a kitchen diner.

-I don't think there's any plans on us winning the Lottery!

0:25:530:25:59

So that won't happen straight away.

0:25:590:26:01

It's something Linda and I have to seriously sit down and discuss

0:26:010:26:05

as to, within the finances available, not only to purchase, but also to alter to our liking,

0:26:050:26:13

put our rubber stamp on it,

0:26:130:26:16

as to whether or not buying a country cottage is going to do it for us.

0:26:160:26:22

I love the house. It's beautiful, it's the Yorkshire stone we wanted,

0:26:220:26:26

it has all the character features that we wanted, but I think it's just too small.

0:26:260:26:32

'As the day draws to a close across the fields,

0:26:400:26:43

'our buyers have certainly got a lot to think about.

0:26:430:26:47

'Let's hope sleeping on it will provide the inspiration they need.

0:26:470:26:52

'With a maximum of £300,000 to spend, Paul and Linda want to downsize from their family home

0:26:530:26:59

'and ditch Linda's long commute to West Yorkshire so they can have more time in the open countryside.

0:26:590:27:06

'So far they've had mixed reactions to the houses we've shown them.'

0:27:060:27:11

-I do like purple, but not on my bedroom wall.'

-But will our mystery house work for them?'

0:27:110:27:17

-Look at this!

-Oh, wow!

-Goodness!

0:27:170:27:20

'And I'm going to get an insight into one of the industries which put this county on the map.'

0:27:200:27:27

-Don't get too close.

-No.

-Or it'll have you!

0:27:270:27:30

All in all, a pretty good day yesterday. Certainly a good start at the first property,

0:27:330:27:39

but it wasn't until the afternoon that they both really came alive because they got two main things -

0:27:390:27:45

the village location, but also the stone-built property with all that character inside.

0:27:450:27:52

Today, hopefully after a good night's sleep, they'll be looking forward to the mystery property.

0:27:520:27:59

I think Linda for one will certainly have something to think about.

0:27:590:28:03

Our mystery house takes us to Heath, a conservation area built largely between the 15th and 19th centuries.

0:28:050:28:12

It's got some great open countryside, a common jammed with wildlife and plenty of walking

0:28:120:28:18

for a couple keen to get out and about.

0:28:180:28:22

The mystery house is always out to challenge what they want.

0:28:220:28:25

This is 500 yards from where Linda works. She said her perfect location would be 15-20 minutes away.

0:28:250:28:32

So will she consider a rethink?

0:28:320:28:35

-This is a beautiful village.

-It is.

-Yes.

-Absolutely stunning.

0:28:350:28:40

Let's just pull over here.

0:28:400:28:42

-Now then, surrounded by greens here.

-I'm a very lucky person to work in a place like this.

0:28:420:28:48

-You'd be a lucky person to live in a place like this. Have you seen properties for sale here?

-Yes.

0:28:480:28:54

-Have you looked at any in person?

-No.

-And you were put off from these properties for why?

0:28:540:29:00

-Because they're walking distance to work.

-Well, I found you a property that is walking distance to work

0:29:000:29:07

that I think, once you get inside, you both could quite possibly fall in love with it.

0:29:070:29:13

-I've seen how you react to character property.

-Right.

-And this place... it's amazing.

0:29:130:29:20

-OK.

-OK.

-Let's have a look.

-Open mind.

-Thank you, Paul!

0:29:200:29:24

Open mind. I'm holding you to that.

0:29:240:29:27

'So I've taken a risk. Fingers crossed.'

0:29:270:29:31

This is the mystery property. It's always a risk, a gamble.

0:29:310:29:35

-But I have to show you this because it looks amazing.

-OK.

0:29:350:29:39

-Do you want to look inside?

-Let's go.

-You're still smiling.

0:29:390:29:43

'This house is very close to where Linda works, but the interior has many of the features

0:29:430:29:49

'they're looking for. I hope the good-sized kitchen will tip the balance

0:29:490:29:55

'as a bigger kitchen was a key thing on Linda's wish list.'

0:29:550:29:59

OK. I promised not to mention work. We'll forget about work now.

0:29:590:30:04

Let's just enjoy this house and see what you think of it.

0:30:040:30:07

Straight into the kitchen through the back door. Quite common.

0:30:070:30:11

-What are we thinking?

-It's a gorgeous country kitchen.

-It is.

-Really pretty.

0:30:110:30:17

-The house itself dates back to 1670.

-Wow.

-And you do see that in some of the places, some of the windows.

0:30:170:30:25

-Yes.

-Size-wise, I think you just have this as it is, with a breakfast bar.

0:30:250:30:31

-You have a separate dining room.

-Good.

-Just off there.

0:30:310:30:35

This is big enough for us, bigger than what we already have.

0:30:350:30:40

-Looks good.

-All right. Well, it's all been done.

0:30:400:30:43

You've got this quite posh marble-type floor.

0:30:430:30:47

-You've got the double sink.

-I love the kitchen.

-Good.

0:30:470:30:51

'That's just what I was looking for. I'm hoping the spacious living room will match up.'

0:30:510:30:58

With such an old building, I thought...the dimensions in this room were fairly surprising.

0:31:000:31:07

This is beautiful. It is.

0:31:070:31:09

-This is just what we sort of expected from a country cottage.

-Right.

0:31:090:31:14

'The ground floor also has the benefit of a bright bathroom.

0:31:140:31:18

'Upstairs, another family bathroom services the three bedrooms,

0:31:180:31:22

'the smallest of which has great period features with a wall of exposed stone.

0:31:220:31:28

'There's a good-size second bedroom, but will the master impress them?'

0:31:280:31:33

-This room really surprised me. It's one of three bedrooms.

-Wow.

0:31:340:31:38

This is much bigger than I expected.

0:31:380:31:41

-These are almost Georgian proportions.

-Yeah! And lovely high ceilings, even upstairs.

0:31:410:31:47

-It's a real house of surprises, isn't it?

-It is.

0:31:470:31:51

-Lovely window seat.

-Yeah. And views over that lovely green or heath.

0:31:510:31:57

'There's one final surprise in store for Paul and Linda.' This requires a certain knack.

0:31:570:32:03

If I'm getting this right, pull this down...

0:32:050:32:09

-It should lock.

-Stand back.

0:32:100:32:13

It's a little bit like the till out of Open All Hours!

0:32:130:32:18

-Yeah. In that case, watch your fingers.

-Yeah, quite!

0:32:190:32:23

OK.

0:32:250:32:26

-Ready?

-Yes!

-OK.

-Follow me.

0:32:270:32:29

'I think this adds something really special to the mystery house.'

0:32:290:32:34

-Now then...

-Wow! This is not what I expected, Jonnie.

0:32:340:32:40

-This is definitely not what I expected!

-A house full of surprises.

0:32:400:32:44

This is a big room! It gets even bigger through here. Mind your head.

0:32:440:32:49

-Look at this.

-Oh, wow!

-My goodness!

0:32:490:32:53

-This is amazing.

-Like a rabbit's warren!

-Yeah.

-What would we use this for?

-Paul's den!

0:32:530:32:59

Well... As it is, it's a fantastic space.

0:32:590:33:03

But you've got to mangle around with that ladder. It has previously had planning consent

0:33:030:33:09

-to put a staircase in the third bedroom. You'd still get room for a bed.

-Yeah.

0:33:090:33:15

The staircase would come up and then you'd have this as a formal second floor.

0:33:150:33:21

-This could be a master suite.

-Yeah.

0:33:210:33:24

Now here's the idea. Whilst you may not be enjoying the idea of living so close to work,

0:33:260:33:33

the market here is very flat. We know that. But you could add value to this house over time

0:33:330:33:41

and do as much of the work yourself as you can, so you're not committing to a bigger budget.

0:33:410:33:47

And then at the end of it you've got potentially a four-bedroom house.

0:33:470:33:52

-Overlooking the heath.

-Yes.

0:33:520:33:54

'So this could provide a really interesting project for Paul, if the garden fits the bill, too.'

0:33:540:34:00

So...pretty garden.

0:34:000:34:03

-What do we think?

-My goodness.

0:34:040:34:06

-It's not the biggest of gardens.

-It's not massive, but you've got the heath and masses of countryside.

0:34:060:34:12

-That's the difference here. You can see the countryside outside, do your garden doesn't end.

-No.

0:34:120:34:19

You probably know this quite well, this village certainly.

0:34:190:34:25

I'll ask you to guess how much it is and then Linda.

0:34:250:34:28

-So, Paul?

-I'd say it's definitely at the top end of our budget.

0:34:280:34:34

I'd say probably about 310, 315, something like that.

0:34:340:34:38

-Do you know how much it is?

-I think I was told it was on the market for 320.

0:34:380:34:44

Well, near enough. It's on the market for 325.

0:34:440:34:48

-Right.

-It's been on the market for a long time. It initially came on the market for 415.

-Goodness.

0:34:480:34:54

-That doesn't surprise me.

-In a buoyant market, yes.

0:34:540:34:58

Coming in at £325,000, this surprising mystery cottage offers an eat-in kitchen,

0:34:590:35:05

two reception rooms, three fair-sized bedrooms and views over the heath.

0:35:050:35:11

It is £25,000 over budget,

0:35:110:35:13

but would give them more space than expected and a project for Paul to get stuck into.

0:35:130:35:20

I love the fireplace. It has so many lovely original features.

0:35:200:35:24

-And that view to wake up to.

-Yes.

-The heath is gorgeous.

0:35:240:35:29

As we arrived into the heath and drove immediately past where I work,

0:35:290:35:35

my first thoughts were, "This is just too close."

0:35:350:35:39

And when we came in the kitchen,

0:35:390:35:42

the first impression you get is it's such an amazing place.

0:35:420:35:47

It has everything we asked for.

0:35:470:35:49

If this place was five miles down the road or 10 miles down the road,

0:35:490:35:55

it would be like a dream.

0:35:550:35:57

Mind your step.

0:35:590:36:01

Now hopefully this mystery house has given you something to think about.

0:36:010:36:06

-It certainly has.

-Indeed.

-Don't sound so downbeat!

0:36:060:36:10

I think you need somewhere to go and have a chat and discuss things.

0:36:100:36:15

-I'm hoping this has put the cat among the pigeons. Has it?

-It's certainly done that.

-Indeed.

0:36:150:36:21

Good. Well done, mystery house.

0:36:210:36:24

'Yorkshire is synonymous with the Industrial Revolution

0:36:350:36:39

'and there are remnants all over. It began over 200 years ago

0:36:390:36:43

'and was a period of unprecedented technological, economic and social change that transformed Britain

0:36:430:36:49

'into the world's first modern industrial society. I'm at Wortley Forge,

0:36:490:36:54

'one of the oldest examples of a water-powered iron forge.

0:36:540:36:59

'Ken Hawley is the honorary custodian and has worked on restoring it for 40 years.'

0:36:590:37:05

How would this place have played its part in the Industrial Revolution?

0:37:050:37:10

-It pre-dates the Industrial Revolution.

-OK.

-By centuries, even.

0:37:100:37:15

-Really?

-The earliest documentation we have is 1621.

0:37:150:37:20

It was certainly here then by many years and we don't really know how many before then.

0:37:200:37:26

Places like this created the Industrial Revolution.

0:37:260:37:30

'Within two miles, there were up to seven other mills and forges,

0:37:300:37:35

'all harnessing the power of the River Don. Water was crucial.

0:37:350:37:39

'The fast-flowing river filled the dams which powered the wheels.'

0:37:390:37:44

So by the mid-18th century, this area would have been littered with mills and forges.

0:37:440:37:50

Using the same water, over and over. Renewable energy, don't tell me about it!

0:37:500:37:55

'The river had a weir which diverted water to fill up the mill dam

0:37:550:38:00

'and was drawn from a quarter of a mile upriver. This revolutionised the way things were made.

0:38:000:38:08

'Being a heavy iron forge, the most powerful wheel had a force of about 10 horse power.'

0:38:080:38:14

It's an immense piece of machinery to be so close to. It takes your breath away.

0:38:140:38:21

-Don't get too close.

-No.

-Otherwise, it'll have you!

-I'll bear that in mind!

0:38:210:38:27

-What could this possibly power?

-That's on the other end of this drive shaft here, which is the cam.

0:38:270:38:33

-OK, yeah.

-And we've got the cam wheel, a big heavy cast thing,

0:38:330:38:38

-which would lift up the helve, set to go at 25-30rpm.

-That fast?

-yeah.

0:38:380:38:45

-This huge helve...

-Like a hammer shaft.

-Yeah. You start to get a sense of the noise

0:38:450:38:52

-that would have been created.

-Yes.

0:38:520:38:54

'Forges like this specialised in making wrought iron from pig iron, a much more brittle material.

0:38:540:39:01

'The iron would go into a furnace where the carbon would be burnt out,

0:39:010:39:06

'before being put under the hammer and drawn out to shape. The result was wrought iron,

0:39:060:39:12

'which could be used to make the materials which characterised industrial Britain.'

0:39:120:39:18

And don't forget that no railway can run without axles, so it's very important

0:39:180:39:24

-to have places like this.

-Without this place...

-No railways.

0:39:240:39:29

-This is at the heart of everything we now know today, isn't it?

-Exactly.

0:39:290:39:34

I think it's fair to say that Paul and Linda have enjoyed their fair share of ups and downs

0:39:390:39:45

in their quest to find their very own escape to the country.

0:39:450:39:49

Each of the three properties were so different, but also gave them an element of compromise,

0:39:490:39:55

so it's hard to tell whether any of them will be their favourite. Time to find out.

0:39:550:40:01

-Now then, how are you both?

-We're fine.

-Fantastic, thank you.

0:40:010:40:06

Let's start at the beginning. Day One, the first property. Converted stables. Thoughts?

0:40:060:40:13

I actually was really impressed.

0:40:130:40:16

A really nice feel, it had the stone outside that we really wanted.

0:40:160:40:20

The dimensions inside lent themselves to not even downsizing a great deal.

0:40:200:40:26

-You were talking about moving all of your existing furniture into the house.

-Yes.

0:40:260:40:32

-Really quite easily.

-And downsides?

0:40:320:40:35

-There was nothing for me to do!

-No.

0:40:350:40:37

True.

0:40:370:40:39

You could think of a few things, but nothing major.

0:40:390:40:43

-Upkeep, not renovation.

-There was nothing to do.

-OK.

0:40:430:40:48

-The second property, in my opinion, you became a lot more animated there.

-It was beautiful.

0:40:480:40:55

I was really quite excited about what we would see.

0:40:550:40:59

-You could tell you were!

-It wasn't the size I had anticipated,

0:40:590:41:04

-but, you know, a project.

-Yeah.

-That was a project. That was the whole thing.

0:41:040:41:10

-I know you want a project.

-Yes.

-You want to be able to use your DIY skills.

0:41:100:41:17

The price was such that it wouldn't have left us with a huge amount of capital to do those things.

0:41:170:41:23

-We'd have had to do them over a long period of time.

-OK, the mystery property.

0:41:230:41:30

Now... It all went very quiet there!

0:41:300:41:33

One of the tasks you charged me with, if you like,

0:41:330:41:38

was that you wanted to cut your commute time, and the closer we got to work, I realised

0:41:380:41:45

-I've maybe cut it too much!

-Just a little!

-Yeah. To me,

0:41:450:41:50

that was almost the only compromise. It had everything else, once you could get through the door.

0:41:500:41:57

-In bucketfuls.

-Yes.

-Absolutely in bucketfuls.

-It was an outstanding property.

0:41:570:42:02

Do you have a favourite out of the three?

0:42:020:42:05

-We do.

-We do, yes.

-We do.

0:42:050:42:08

-Property number three.

-The mystery property! After all of that?

-After all of that.

0:42:080:42:14

Well, what do you want to do? What's the next step for you guys?

0:42:140:42:18

I've had a word with the owner and we're having a second viewing.

0:42:180:42:23

We'll see how it goes from there.

0:42:230:42:25

-Good luck with the second viewing.

-Thank you very much.

0:42:250:42:29

And keep in touch.

0:42:290:42:32

It's funny, isn't it? If you'd asked me which property I thought they would go for,

0:42:340:42:40

I don't think I'd have given you the answer of the mystery house.

0:42:400:42:44

But in being open-minded they fell in love with a potential new home

0:42:440:42:50

that gave them absolutely everything on their wish list - character, size, village location.

0:42:500:42:56

And if they're able to cope with living so close to Linda's work,

0:42:560:43:00

they're also able to cut the commute time to get two, three, four hours a day extra together

0:43:000:43:08

to enjoy this wonderful county. See you next time.

0:43:080:43:12

If you'd like to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England

0:43:120:43:18

and need our help, please apply online at:

0:43:180:43:23

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011

0:43:330:43:37

Email [email protected]

0:43:390:43:41

Jonnie Irwin travels to Yorkshire to help find a rural home for a budget of £300,000. But there is a surprise in store for today's buyers, when one house proves too close for comfort.

Away from the property search, Jonnie meets a local expert to discover the secrets of one of the oldest iron forges in the world.


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