Shropshire Escape to the Country


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Shropshire

Property series. Alistair Appleton and Nicki Chapman look back on the house hunts of two couples who were searching for dream rural homes in Shropshire.


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Welcome to a special Escape To The Country,

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where we'll be unearthing some property treasures

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in one region with two sets of buyers.

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And because we're focusing on one county, we're going to be

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scattering our tips and hints about moving to and buying in that area.

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Today, we'll be centring on the home

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of the world's first ever skyscraper.

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Find out where that is in just a moment.

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Today, we're looking back on two property searches.

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My house-hunting pair were in search of a new rural home

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and a new venture to keep them busy in retirement.

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You've gone off with the fairies, Martin.

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You dreaming about waking up here, or are you worried about woodworm?

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-No, no.

-Woodworm!

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While my house-hunter recruited her sister to help her find a new

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home in an area she chose rather impulsively.

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And there were plenty of surprises along the way.

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Oh, my goodness, I didn't even realise that was there.

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Oh, this is a fantastic room. What a wonderful space.

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Today, we're focusing on Shropshire,

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which is home to the Ditherington Flax Mill,

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the first multistorey iron-frame building in the world.

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It sounds so impressive, but what is it about Shropshire, Alistair,

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that you particularly love?

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Well, I do have a personal link there.

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I've got friends who live there and I've had some fantastic wintry

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weekends striding out along with the Long Mynd.

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And it's so rural that it's really easy to forget that it was

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the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

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It does feel untouched, doesn't it? Preserved.

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For me, my vivid image of Shropshire would be the River Severn,

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obviously. That goes without saying, doesn't it?

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Ironbridge Gorge, which is truly stunning.

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And those black and white timber-framed houses,

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which you see dotted all around the countryside. Stunning.

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So, Shropshire may be famous as the birthplace for industry,

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but for those seeking a rural life, it offers much more.

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Shropshire is located in the West Midlands area of England

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and is bordered by Wales to the west, plus the counties

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of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

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One of England's most rural and sparsely populated regions,

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it has Britain's longest river, the River Severn,

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running through its crop-filled landscape.

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The striking Shropshire hills to the south of the county have been

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designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,

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with their rocky hills forming gentle peaks and troughs of beige and green.

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The medieval market town of Ludlow in the south of the county,

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described by poet John Betjeman as England's finest town,

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has beautiful whitewashed buildings lining its narrow, winding streets.

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With its convenient central location, beautiful scenery

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and historic towns and villages,

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Shropshire is a region that really does have it all on a plate.

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I had such a lovely afternoon filming on the Ironbridge Gorge.

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We'd knocked on this lady's door to see if we could film from her garden,

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cos it had the perfect view. You've got the 18th century bridge

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that way and then if you spun the camera around,

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you see these enormous 1970s cooling towers.

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But they had painted them terracotta

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to match the sort of history of the area.

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Wow. Well, I was really lucky because I got to explore

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the whole county because my buyer didn't express a preference.

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-But that opens things up.

-It does.

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Mine wanted to be near Shrewsbury in the centre,

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but that actually is quite good, because in terms of property price,

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that steers us away from the hotspot, which is your favourite, Ludlow.

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Yes, I do love Ludlow.

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But as a rule, the county offers really good value for money,

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doesn't it?

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The average price is around £33,000 less than the national average.

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As is so often the case, it's a county of two halves.

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Because we often go down into the southern part with

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the beautiful Shropshire hills.

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But you actually get much more for your money

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if you had up north towards the Welsh border.

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But there is so much countryside, isn't there?

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It's one of the least densely populated counties in the whole

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of the UK, so if you are after peace and quiet, it's fantastic news.

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Which is exactly what my buyers were after.

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Retired planning manager Martin and his curtain-maker wife,

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Jacqueline, live in this four-bedroom detached house

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in Rufford, West Lancashire, and have been married for 26 years.

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But last year, 57-year-old Martin swapped the daily grind

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for a more relaxed pace of life.

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It's coming up to 16 months now I've been retired.

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I must admit, I have found it difficult adjusting to not working.

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I want to fill my time a bit more and I think a project would

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give me something to really get my teeth stuck into.

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We're looking at a new adventure together, really.

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Possibly looking at running a bed and breakfast.

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And they've got their eye on central England for their country escape.

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We're looking to move to Shropshire because we visited it several times,

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we love the location. It's very quiet compared to where we live now.

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And with their house on the market, the time has come to find

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a new home that can double up as an exciting new business.

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Jacqueline's hoping to offer sewing lessons to the guests and Martin

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is sure he has also got the skills to make the B&B a roaring success.

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I've always been told I can do a very good poached egg.

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Jacqueline and Martin don't want to be too far away from their son

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in Leeds, friends in Lancashire and family in South Wales,

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so have decided to move somewhere around the Shrewsbury area,

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but will consider moving further afield if the house is right.

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'And before we kick off our search for a dual-purpose property,

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'I'm meeting them in the county to make sure

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'I know exactly what it is they're looking for.'

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Welcome to Shropshire, you two. Thanks for bringing me here.

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It's a lovely county. Tell me exactly your dream home.

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Well, we're looking for a detached house and we're

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looking for a property with potential for a bed and breakfast.

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-Ah!

-So, about four to five rooms.

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And we're also looking for a room for me

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-to carry on my sewing business.

-Yeah.

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What about you, Martin? In terms of the outside, are you a gardener?

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I'm becoming more of a gardener now I have more time on my hands,

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Alistair. Nothing too large. I don't want it too daunting.

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Maybe up to three quarters of an acre.

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In terms of the bed and breakfast, are you looking for sort of a...

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one of these ones where it is all separate or are you wanting them

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to kind of eat with you and live with you?

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We are really open on that.

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Ideally, it would be nice if it's separate, but if it is

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integrated in some way, we're quite happy to work around that, yeah.

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Remind me of your budget. How much have we got to play with?

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Our budget is £500,000 and we don't mind doing some work, as well,

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-within that budget.

-Hopefully, we won't disappoint.

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Let's go and look, cos the houses are ready and waiting.

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-Follow me.

-Thank you.

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Jacqueline and Martin's budget may be pretty generous for this

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part of England, but they are looking for a two-in-one,

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which presents a bit more of a challenge.

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They want a detached property with four to five bedrooms

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so two or three can be part of a new bed and breakfast business.

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Jacqueline would also like a room to hold sewing classes

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and Martin would love to get stuck into a good-sized garden.

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And they'd like to be within

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arm's reach of local facilities.

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To get Jacqueline and Martin one step closer to realising

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their dream, we will be taking them to see three contrasting properties.

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And once they've toured each one, we'll let them know its cost.

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Their final tour will be around the mystery house,

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a property whose exterior hides what lies within and,

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after more than 25 years of marriage,

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could see our duo taking another trip down the aisle.

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Our first property is located near the village of Maesbrook,

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just outside the larger village of Knockin.

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It's 12 miles north-west of Shrewsbury

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and five miles from the Welsh border.

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Knockin is a pretty village, much of which was once

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owned by the Earl of Bradford, whose family name is still evident.

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There are many handsome and historic buildings,

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plus the essential amenities to hand,

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situated in a striking rural setting.

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Just under two miles away, back on the outskirts of Maesbrook,

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is our first property.

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Come to the lawn and you can see the full splendour of house number one.

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-Wow!

-Ta-da!

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-Fabulous. Looks lovely.

-Certainly characterful.

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-Isn't it just?

-Yes.

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-This goes back to 1485.

-Oh, my God!

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A lot of extensions in the 17th century

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and in the 20th century again, and then in 2008, completely modernised.

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-What do you think?

-Beautiful.

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-Really nice.

-Yes, it's got a hell of a history, hasn't it?

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We're heading to the back door, which would be the guest entrance

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if this property became a B&B.

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We're starting off in the large open-plan kitchen/diner.

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-Come on inside. Now you get an idea of the inside space.

-Wow, beautiful.

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Very light and airy.

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You've got the kitchen, open-plan kitchen. Light on both sides.

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And you've got a little breakfast niche here,

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and then round there, you've got the dining room.

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It is a great area for a bed and breakfast, I think, as well.

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I just love the open-plan,

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the fact that you've got the dining area in the same place.

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And also the sitting area, with the wood-burner. It feels homely.

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'Moving through a dining room in the middle of the house,

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'we find ourselves in a large sitting room.'

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-More beams.

-A really good size as well.

-It is, isn't it?

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And this would be also perhaps quite nice as a sort of guest room,

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-if you wanted to have a separate room for your B&B guests.

-That's right.

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Through here, there's a little study room

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which has another door out into the garden.

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We thought that could be a sewing room. You can explore that later on.

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But I want to show you upstairs

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cos that's where you'd be putting your guests and yourself.

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'On the first floor, there are three double bedrooms...

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'a single...

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'a family bathroom...

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'a shower room...

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'and at the front of the house, above the kitchen,

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'is the largest of the five bedrooms.'

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-This is the master bedroom.

-Beautiful. Mm.

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-And it has got an en-suite.

-It's got

-an en-suite. Which is good.

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And it's nice having the double windows either side.

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Plenty of light coming in.

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What's interesting here is you can see this is the crook construction.

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-You see this big curved beam.

-Yeah.

-This is what makes the house

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historically interesting, because it is actually a fork crook. So, crooks

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are when you have the bent oaken sort of beams that meet in the middle.

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-So, quite unusual.

-Very good.

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You've gone off with the fairies, Martin.

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Are you dreaming about waking up here or are you worried about woodworm?

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-No, no!

-Woodworm!

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It's just so peaceful. I think that's what I'm finding.

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-It's just so quiet.

-You wanted something nice, light and airy.

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You can't beat anything more than this, can you?

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'This centuries-old house seems to have taken Jacqueline

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'and Martin's breath away and it has real B&B potential.

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'Martin is determined to keep busy during his early retirement

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'and, if running a guesthouse isn't enough, I think the extensive

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'gardens, with mature shrubs and two orchards, would do just that.'

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-Beautiful views all over the Shropshire hills.

-Fabulous.

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So the garden is a good size. They say three quarters of an acre.

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-Right.

-Got a big veggie patch over there, lovely kind of...

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Oh, look forward to seeing that.

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-Double garages here, which could be your sewing studio.

-OK.

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And then the other side here,

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-you've got a separate garden which you could have for your guests.

-Mm.

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What do you think this is on the market for? That's the key issue.

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-I'd say 495.

-Mm-hm. Martin?

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-I'd possibly go 475.

-475.

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In this instance, Martin, you should listen to your wife

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-cos she is EXACTLY on the money.

-Is she?

-Really?

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-It's on the market for 495.

-Oh, really? There you go.

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This detached house is full of character

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and is on the market just under Jacqueline and Martin's budget.

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It would give them £5,000 change.

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It's got exactly the number

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of bedrooms they're after

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for themselves and guests, plus

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a study and a garage with a workshop,

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either of which would be perfect

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as a sewing room for Jacqueline.

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The beautiful gardens would be

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a pleasure to look after

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and the property's location is rural

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but still close to amenities.

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I love the house. It is picture-postcard perfect.

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The negative points, really, for us, would be the upstairs,

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from the bed and breakfast point of view.

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The rooms are quite small, and I don't see an awful lot

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of scope to make them bigger or to put en suites in.

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-OK, guys. Are you all done?

-Yes.

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Well, even if you're not all done,

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you'll have to leave, cos that's our time over here

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-and we've got another house to visit.

-OK.

-Great.

-Follow me.

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'Jacqueline and Martin are attracted to Shropshire's gorgeous

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'countryside, but the county is also proud of its industrial

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'and cultural background.

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'There are historical sites all over the region

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'and, over a century ago, it was known for its production of ceramics,

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'due to its proximity to clay deposits.

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'In 1872, the Craven Dunnill Jackfield works

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'were founded in the Ironbridge Gorge, a World Heritage Site

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'and home to the world's first arched iron bridge.

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'The factory produced ceramic wall and floor tiles,

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'which are still made here today.

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'The site is the oldest surviving purpose-built tile factory

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'in the world and it is now also a museum.

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'I've come to meet curator Matt Thompson to find out a bit

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'more about its colourful history.'

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I don't think I've ever been to a tile museum before.

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There's not many of them around, to be fair.

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But what you've got here is a preserved example

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of a real model factory.

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The classic phrase they used was "from dust to dispatch".

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They made a lot of the tiles out of dust, they pressed them

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under hydraulic pressure, brought them in at one end of the factory,

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went through all the different processes

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and finally get to the saleroom just here at this side.

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-Would you like to have a look inside?

-Of course.

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'Currently there are 25 members of staff here

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'working in tile production,

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'and they produce around 1,000 tiles a day.

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'Jennifer Keller has been with the factory for 13 years,

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'and is going to show me how it's done.'

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This is the dust bit, is it?

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Absolutely, this has been dust pressed

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-on the original Victorian machines.

-Amazing.

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And you can see here the pattern that's been put on,

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which shows the back stamp where the tile was made.

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So the smooth side, when they've been fired,

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is brought into this area and we're going to decorate it.

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'After the tile is made, an image is transferred onto it using charcoal.'

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-It's like dot to dot.

-It is like a little dot to dot design,

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and then the idea is that

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we're going to follow those lines with the clay slip.

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'The slip is liquid clay, which provides an outer wall

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'for the design to stop colours running together.'

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The idea is that you don't touch the tile, keep it lifted up in the air,

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guide with one hand, squeeze with the other hand.

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'It's not the easiest thing I've ever witnessed,

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'but I'm a willing apprentice and I'm going to give it a go.'

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I've got to join up?

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Absolutely, try not to leave any gaps, and squeeze much harder.

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-Harder, my gosh.

-That's it, no, you're fine, you're fine.

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-That's not bad. That's great.

-You sound so surprised, Jennifer.

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-I'm going to let you finish it off.

-OK, that's fine.

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-You did really well.

-Thank you very much.

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The speed is incredible at which you do this.

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'Once the outline of the design has dried, the colours are applied.

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'They look very different to the finished product.

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'The liquid glaze is made from powdered glass mixed with

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'metal oxides which give the colour, which are suspended in water.

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'Copper oxide will turn green,

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'and red iron oxide, or yellow ochre oxide, yellow.

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'When the design is complete, the tile is fired in the kiln

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'for two days at a temperature of 1,040 degrees.

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'This melts the powdered glass and creates a chemical reaction with

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'the metals in the dyes,

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'and the dull hues transform into vibrant shades.'

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Oh, look how much prettier they look!

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These are some of the Art Nouveau designs,

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and as you can see this one here is very similar...

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-It's like magic.

-Absolutely, all the colours are exactly the same.

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And this one here, as you can see, is going to become that one there.

0:16:130:16:19

Wow. Comes out looking very professional.

0:16:190:16:21

Absolutely, the kiln does marvellous things.

0:16:210:16:23

Mm-hm, I'm not sure mine will look quite so beautiful.

0:16:230:16:26

Well, I'm sure you'll be pleased with it when you get it.

0:16:260:16:28

Thank you so much! It's amazing, it's a real pleasure,

0:16:280:16:30

and I'm sure I'll be spotting tiles everywhere I look

0:16:300:16:33

-for the next few days.

-Oh, I hope so.

0:16:330:16:35

Travelling just over 35 miles south takes us to our second property,

0:16:420:16:46

in the village of Clunton.

0:16:460:16:48

It's almost 28 miles south-west of Shrewsbury

0:16:480:16:50

and about a mile east of the town of Clun.

0:16:500:16:54

Situated in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,

0:16:540:16:57

it boasts stunning vistas,

0:16:570:16:59

especially from the ruins of the Norman Clun Castle.

0:16:590:17:02

And it has a pretty town centre with an attractive mix of houses

0:17:020:17:06

and there's a traditional pub.

0:17:060:17:09

A three-minute drive and we're in Clunton,

0:17:090:17:11

at our second property,

0:17:110:17:12

which stands in the Arvon Centre -

0:17:120:17:15

26 acres of woodland once home to the late playwright John Osborne

0:17:150:17:19

and now a retreat for writers.

0:17:190:17:22

Down a long, windy road, or rather up a long, windy road

0:17:220:17:25

-into the hills and the forest to this.

-Wow, OK!

0:17:250:17:29

-Very different offering.

-Mind-blowing!

0:17:310:17:33

-It is totally different.

-It is.

0:17:330:17:35

It was an old coach house.

0:17:350:17:36

You can see the arches where they would drive the coaches in

0:17:360:17:38

-and also the stable.

-Yeah.

0:17:380:17:39

So it's been converted by the present owners.

0:17:390:17:42

And unlike the one this morning, this is being run as a B&B.

0:17:420:17:45

-Is it?

-Oh, right. That's interesting.

0:17:450:17:47

So from the aspect,

0:17:470:17:48

-do you think it's somewhere you could imagine living?

-Yeah,

0:17:480:17:51

I can imagine it would make a great bed and breakfast.

0:17:510:17:55

'We're starting off our tour in the rather large sitting room,

0:17:550:17:58

'with its fantastic views across the valley.'

0:17:580:18:00

What is your vibe as you walk in?

0:18:000:18:03

Great size.

0:18:030:18:04

-Just the sort of thing we're looking for in a lounge.

-It's cosy.

0:18:040:18:07

And unlike the other property,

0:18:070:18:09

this has a separate sitting room for your guests.

0:18:090:18:11

-Right.

-So this would be your family space.

-OK, OK.

0:18:110:18:15

'Just behind the sitting room, in the main body of the house,

0:18:160:18:19

'is the kitchen.'

0:18:190:18:21

So, a smaller offering than the last.

0:18:210:18:23

-Yes, it is a bit.

-It's very dark and small.

0:18:230:18:28

Small.

0:18:280:18:29

-It feels a bit more oppressive in here, doesn't it?

-It does.

0:18:290:18:32

That's the only feeling.

0:18:320:18:33

It's more, sort of, segregated

0:18:330:18:34

in the sense that this would be your kitchen, where you cook,

0:18:340:18:37

-and your guests would be at the other end of the house.

-OK,

0:18:370:18:39

-that's a positive thing.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:18:390:18:42

But part of the reason we want to bring you here is to show you

0:18:420:18:45

-the B&B set-up upstairs...

-Yes. OK.

0:18:450:18:47

-..which I think is more what you're looking for.

-All right.

0:18:470:18:50

'On one side of the kitchen there's a utility room

0:18:520:18:54

'and on the other, the guest dining room.

0:18:540:18:57

'I can see Jacqueline and Martin taking it all in.

0:18:570:19:00

'Maybe upstairs will help them see things more clearly.

0:19:000:19:04

'There's a family bathroom,

0:19:040:19:06

'a double bedroom which is used by the owner as the master,

0:19:060:19:09

'two smaller rooms,

0:19:090:19:12

'and the next room along is a guest sitting room,

0:19:120:19:15

'with a rather attractive arched window.'

0:19:150:19:17

-Fabulous, yeah. I like that!

-All right.

0:19:170:19:19

-This is a lovely, sunny aspect.

-Yes, I love it. Very nice.

0:19:190:19:24

This is currently what they use for the guests

0:19:240:19:26

and then through here is one of the guest rooms.

0:19:260:19:30

So there's a child's bedroom there

0:19:300:19:33

-and then this is

-the en-suite... OK.

-..top-dollar guest room.

-OK.

0:19:330:19:39

-Lovely view.

-Yeah, it is.

-Yeah, terrific views again.

0:19:390:19:42

You've got two windows.

0:19:420:19:43

It shows great self-sacrifice on the present owners' part

0:19:430:19:45

-to give this to the guests!

-Yes!

0:19:450:19:47

-Well, let's go and have a look at the outside space...

-OK.

-Yeah.

0:19:470:19:51

..find out the price

0:19:510:19:52

-and then you can balance it all up.

-All right.

0:19:520:19:54

'Well, there's no doubting the fact

0:19:560:19:58

'that this property is set up perfectly as a B&B.

0:19:580:20:00

'Let's see how the outside space fares.

0:20:000:20:03

'The double garage is currently being used as a games room

0:20:030:20:06

'but there's scope to develop it into more guest rooms

0:20:060:20:09

'or a sewing room.

0:20:090:20:11

'We're going to the patio garden at the rear of the house.'

0:20:110:20:15

-Oh, it's such a lovely spot!

-Yes.

-Very tranquil.

0:20:150:20:18

It's not a huge garden.

0:20:180:20:20

It's actually just up to this wall

0:20:200:20:21

so it's really a small terraced garden,

0:20:210:20:23

and the land out the front, there,

0:20:230:20:26

-slopes down to the view over the valley.

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:20:260:20:28

-So very manageable.

-Very easy to maintain.

0:20:280:20:31

It's like a wooded valley, isn't it?

0:20:310:20:33

It's like you're surrounded by...

0:20:330:20:36

forest, really.

0:20:360:20:37

Looking at the outside, I think it would be a possibility

0:20:370:20:40

that you could put an extension on

0:20:400:20:42

-which would totally transform it.

-Absolutely.

0:20:420:20:45

In that case, we need to talk about budget.

0:20:450:20:47

Would you have the money to do that?

0:20:470:20:49

How much do you think this property is on the market for?

0:20:490:20:51

I would say 460.

0:20:510:20:53

I'd say...435.

0:20:530:20:56

-Well, in this instance you're both wrong.

-OK!

0:20:560:20:58

-It is actually on at 470.

-Oh, OK. Oh, right.

-Really?

0:20:580:21:01

-So a little bit over what you thought.

-Yes.

-Mm.

0:21:010:21:03

This Grade II listed coach house

0:21:050:21:07

is on the market at £30,000 under Jacqueline and Martin's budget

0:21:070:21:11

and it's all set up and ready to go as a B&B.

0:21:110:21:14

There are three guest bedrooms, and the layout downstairs

0:21:140:21:17

means privacy for the owners when welcoming guests.

0:21:170:21:20

And although the garden isn't as big as they'd like,

0:21:200:21:23

the house is set in a stunning estate with fabulous views.

0:21:230:21:27

I think we...

0:21:270:21:28

If we took a property like this,

0:21:280:21:30

we'd want to adjust quite a few things on it.

0:21:300:21:32

I think it would work very well as a bed and breakfast

0:21:320:21:35

but I don't think that it's a good home for us.

0:21:350:21:39

Just taking in the tranquillity of the place.

0:21:390:21:41

-It's gorgeous.

-Beautiful.

-Very peaceful.

0:21:410:21:43

-Have you seen everything you need to see?

-Think we have, yeah.

0:21:430:21:45

-Yes.

-It's been a long day. Let's find a place to relax

0:21:450:21:48

-and mull over what you've seen.

-OK.

-Why not?

0:21:480:21:50

-So, the first house seemed to go down better, I'd say.

-It did.

0:21:570:22:00

I think they were really surprised

0:22:000:22:02

at how light and bright it was inside the property.

0:22:020:22:04

I think that's largely to do with the crooks, the full crook frame,

0:22:040:22:08

or crucks as they're sometimes called.

0:22:080:22:10

So a cruck frame goes from the very top of the property

0:22:100:22:12

down to the floor and it's multiple A-frames?

0:22:120:22:15

Cruck frames were used in big buildings in the medieval period,

0:22:150:22:18

so sort of substantial barns and things like that,

0:22:180:22:21

and they were a sign of prosperity.

0:22:210:22:22

Later on, they were replaced by simple box-frame structures

0:22:220:22:26

which were cheaper because they used less timber.

0:22:260:22:28

So it's quite a rarity to find a cruck-framed building

0:22:280:22:31

so if you come across one they are a big draw.

0:22:310:22:33

Well, unfortunately I didn't have a cruck frame up my sleeve but that's

0:22:330:22:36

not to say that my buyers weren't impressed with what I'd shown them.

0:22:360:22:40

Time to meet them again.

0:22:400:22:41

Music composer Pam has decided to leave the four-bedroom

0:22:430:22:46

detached chalet bungalow on the banks of the Wey Navigation Canal

0:22:460:22:50

in Addlestone, Surrey,

0:22:500:22:51

and has enlisted one of her four sisters, Jin,

0:22:510:22:54

to help her choose her next home.

0:22:540:22:56

Pam has a very busy life and makes the most of where she lives,

0:22:560:23:00

but in recent years she's seen a lot of changes.

0:23:000:23:03

The area is very frenetic, it's very busy.

0:23:040:23:07

The roads are very busy.

0:23:070:23:08

It's quite polluted as well, and I would like to be

0:23:080:23:11

somewhere where the air is a bit clearer and cleaner and just nicer.

0:23:110:23:15

But that's not the only reason for Pam's move.

0:23:150:23:18

Her two grown-up sons left home a long time ago, but the younger,

0:23:180:23:22

Sam, who lived just two miles away, has just emigrated

0:23:220:23:25

with his wife and two young children.

0:23:250:23:28

Because my son and his family have gone off to Australia,

0:23:280:23:31

that was one of the significant moments.

0:23:310:23:34

I've been thinking about moving for quite a few years, and I was just

0:23:340:23:37

waiting for the right moment, and I think the right moment's come.

0:23:370:23:41

And Pam decided on the location of her new home

0:23:410:23:44

in a rather unusual manner.

0:23:440:23:46

My daughter-in-law, she brought a magazine back from Shropshire,

0:23:480:23:51

cos her parents live in Shropshire,

0:23:510:23:53

and in the magazine were all these lovely houses you can buy

0:23:530:23:56

for something that I could afford to buy,

0:23:560:23:59

and I thought, "Wow, that looks pretty good,"

0:23:590:24:01

so I started to investigate.

0:24:010:24:03

And then I thought, "Well, let's have a go at moving to Shropshire."

0:24:030:24:06

It's an interesting and exciting time really, now, for us,

0:24:060:24:09

to see where she'll be next.

0:24:090:24:10

And she's looking forward to making the most of her new surroundings.

0:24:100:24:14

I want lovely scenery and beautiful rolling fields, so I can look

0:24:140:24:17

out the window and get inspiration, cos that's really important.

0:24:170:24:21

So, with her house on the market, her son gone and a head full

0:24:210:24:25

of plans, there's nothing stopping Pam moving on to the next

0:24:250:24:28

chapter in her active life.

0:24:280:24:30

I think I'm most excited about the move because it's the unknown,

0:24:310:24:35

and I love unknown.

0:24:350:24:38

I think it will be really good, for just inspiration

0:24:380:24:41

and starting just new things.

0:24:410:24:43

I don't think she's finished yet with new ideas.

0:24:430:24:45

-Oh, I'm not. No.

-No!

0:24:450:24:47

PAM LAUGHS

0:24:470:24:48

Pam's open to considering anywhere in Shropshire,

0:24:540:24:56

so the county is our oyster.

0:24:560:24:59

And before we start the search for Pam's new pad, I'm meeting

0:24:590:25:02

her and Jin in Shropshire to recap on exactly what it is that's

0:25:020:25:06

on her property wish-list.

0:25:060:25:09

Tell us a little bit more about the property that you're after.

0:25:090:25:13

Well, I'm after somewhere where I can

0:25:130:25:15

create an artistic environment for the community, inasmuch I would like

0:25:150:25:18

-to make a mini concert hall somewhere.

-Delightful.

0:25:180:25:22

-How many in the audience?

-Between 30 and 50.

-I thought you said small.

0:25:220:25:27

I shall be selling tickets at the gate.

0:25:270:25:29

OK, so we need a building for that.

0:25:290:25:31

I'm presuming an outbuilding or likewise?

0:25:310:25:33

It can be anywhere on the property, it doesn't have to be attached,

0:25:330:25:36

it can be a separate building altogether, but something which will

0:25:360:25:39

-adapt itself to what I want.

-Right.

0:25:390:25:41

-And you're happy to do a little bit of work, are you?

-Yeah.

0:25:410:25:44

Now, what about the house itself?

0:25:440:25:46

Well, there are two rooms that are the most important rooms.

0:25:460:25:48

One would be the kitchen, because my family are very gregarious.

0:25:480:25:53

When we all get together, it's hilarity.

0:25:530:25:56

-And it's noisy.

-Yeah, it's noisy.

0:25:560:25:57

And we need space. And the second one is, I need a

0:25:570:26:00

dedicated room for my baby, which is my grand piano.

0:26:000:26:03

How many bedrooms?

0:26:030:26:05

Well, I'd like four, four or five,

0:26:050:26:07

one of which will be on the downstairs,

0:26:070:26:10

cos my mum, hopefully, will come and stay for periods of time.

0:26:100:26:13

-And how old is Mummy?

-She's 92.

-Ah!

-And she's amazing.

0:26:130:26:16

And I'd like to have a really nice garden,

0:26:160:26:19

cos I love gardening, and I'm going to get a new dog when I move,

0:26:190:26:22

so there has to be space for the dog to run around.

0:26:220:26:24

And remind me of the budget we're working to.

0:26:240:26:26

Well, I've got £450,000 to spend.

0:26:260:26:30

We've got three splendid properties lined up,

0:26:300:26:33

ready to show you, so I think we should just get started.

0:26:330:26:36

-Yeah, let's do that.

-Let's get on with it.

-Yep. Come on, then.

0:26:360:26:39

Pam has a pretty generous budget for the area,

0:26:410:26:44

but her desires are lengthy.

0:26:440:26:47

She'd like a quirky property, something like a barn conversion,

0:26:470:26:51

with four or five bedrooms, with one downstairs

0:26:510:26:53

for when her mum comes to stay, and there needs to be a space big

0:26:530:26:57

enough to give a new home to her pride and joy, her grand piano.

0:26:570:27:01

She'd love a large kitchen-diner to accommodate her extended

0:27:010:27:04

family at gatherings, and is hoping for a room, annexe or

0:27:040:27:08

outbuilding, which could be used as a concert hall, to share her

0:27:080:27:12

love of music with friends, family and the community.

0:27:120:27:15

And when Pam moves, she's planning to get a four-legged friend,

0:27:150:27:19

so she'd like a good sized garden they can both enjoy.

0:27:190:27:22

We're beginning our journey round Shropshire

0:27:280:27:30

in the south-east of the county, in the hamlet of Underton,

0:27:300:27:33

around three miles from the historic market town of Bridgenorth.

0:27:330:27:38

Split into the high town and the low town by the River Severn,

0:27:380:27:41

Bridgenorth's pretty streets are lined with a good selection

0:27:410:27:44

of local business and eateries.

0:27:440:27:46

An eight-minute drive and we're back in rural Underton

0:27:470:27:50

at our first house.

0:27:500:27:53

Well, it looks really interesting.

0:27:530:27:55

You can see there are a collection of properties here.

0:27:550:27:57

Although we're out in the countryside, you're not on your own.

0:27:570:28:00

Yeah, that's perfect for me, because I don't want to be

0:28:000:28:02

stuck in the middle of nowhere with nobody to talk to.

0:28:020:28:05

-Shall we step inside?

-Oh, let's.

-Let's do it.

-Fantastic.

0:28:050:28:09

This former barn is the only detached conversion in this

0:28:090:28:12

group of three homes,

0:28:120:28:13

something I'm sure the neighbours will be pleased of

0:28:130:28:16

if Pam moves here. She's planning to make quite a noise,

0:28:160:28:19

albeit a tuneful one.

0:28:190:28:21

So, as you come through the front door,

0:28:210:28:23

it's a bit drier in here, thank goodness.

0:28:230:28:26

-You've got this wonderful living space.

-I like it.

0:28:260:28:31

Very high ceilings, leading to this beautiful fitted kitchen.

0:28:310:28:35

Oh, this is a good kitchen

0:28:350:28:37

cos you can have a nice sitting area over there,

0:28:370:28:39

and you can talk to your friends as you're cooking. I mean...

0:28:390:28:42

-The whole of the house, really, for you?

-It is for me, yeah.

0:28:420:28:45

And everybody congregating in the kitchen, rather than anywhere else.

0:28:450:28:48

And there is somebody else in the family

0:28:480:28:50

we've got to think of and consider.

0:28:500:28:52

Next door...

0:28:520:28:54

Let's see if you think she might like this.

0:28:540:28:56

-I'm talking about Mummy.

-Ooh.

-Yeah.

0:28:560:28:58

'This beautiful home has the five bedrooms Pam's hoping for,

0:28:580:29:02

'and there's one with an en-suite on the ground floor.'

0:29:020:29:05

So the good news is this barn has downstairs...

0:29:050:29:08

Oh, it's perfect for Mum. It's a real Mum room, this.

0:29:080:29:11

But is there a toilet attached?

0:29:110:29:14

Can actually do a little bit better than that. We can give you

0:29:140:29:16

-your own en suite.

-Really?

-Cor, wasn't expecting that here.

0:29:160:29:20

'Well, that's Pam's mum sorted, but there's another very important

0:29:200:29:24

'family member to accommodate, too.'

0:29:240:29:26

So, as you can see, you've got a dining area here,

0:29:260:29:29

but it's upstairs I want to show you.

0:29:290:29:31

Ooh. Exciting.

0:29:310:29:32

'I'm taking Pam and Jin to the top of the house.

0:29:340:29:37

'Most of the second floor is currently used as a living

0:29:370:29:39

'area, and there's a bedroom-cum-study at the other end.'

0:29:390:29:43

Oh, this is a fantastic room!

0:29:430:29:46

-Ooh! Yeah. Gosh!

-Wow.

0:29:460:29:49

What a wonderful space.

0:29:490:29:50

It is! Amazing area.

0:29:500:29:52

I'm thinking piano's up here.

0:29:520:29:54

-Well, it's possible. I'm just a bit worried about the stairs.

-Yeah.

0:29:540:29:57

Well, luckily, if you just look to the side, there is

0:29:570:29:59

a stable door, so you could take the...

0:29:590:30:02

You could take, you could manage it, if you...

0:30:020:30:04

-You could get it here, could you?

-You could.

0:30:040:30:06

So I don't know if I could quite get the 50 people that you wanted

0:30:060:30:10

to up here. However, you could have a lovely soiree, couldn't you?

0:30:100:30:14

You could.

0:30:140:30:16

On the first floor is a family bathroom, two bedrooms, both

0:30:160:30:20

at the front of the house, and lastly there's the master,

0:30:200:30:23

which also has access to the bathroom.

0:30:230:30:26

Oh! NICKI LAUGHS

0:30:270:30:30

-I like showing you houses!

-It's nice. It's really nice.

0:30:300:30:34

-This is a cosy room.

-It is, yeah. Really lovely.

-I like it.

-Yeah.

0:30:340:30:37

I like the whole house, so far we've seen.

0:30:370:30:39

I know. I was hoping we might see something we didn't like, actually.

0:30:390:30:43

It just has such a nice... It does have a nice feel about it.

0:30:430:30:45

Have we surprised you with our first property so far?

0:30:450:30:48

Yeah, you have. Yeah.

0:30:480:30:50

It's just house one of three, and we've already got two happy

0:30:500:30:53

customers. Let's see what they make of the garden, somewhere Pam's

0:30:530:30:57

planning on spending plenty of time.

0:30:570:30:59

It's a lovely little space, isn't it?

0:30:590:31:01

I mean, you've got lots of lovely beds.

0:31:010:31:03

-You've even got a pond behind us as well.

-A pond?

-Pond!

-Got a pond, yes.

0:31:030:31:07

So, manageable size garden.

0:31:070:31:09

Yeah, this is perfect, really. Enough for the dog to run around in.

0:31:090:31:11

There must be something not quite right with this house.

0:31:110:31:14

It's almost too good to be true.

0:31:140:31:16

-Well, is it going to be the price?

-Oh, wow.

0:31:160:31:19

Well, this is the big question.

0:31:190:31:21

What do you think this barn is on the market for?

0:31:210:31:24

I would say it's over my budget. I would say...

0:31:240:31:27

-465.

-Just over your budget.

-Yeah.

0:31:270:31:31

Well, I think it's over budget too, but I was thinking more in the area

0:31:310:31:34

-of maybe 460.

-It's actually

0:31:340:31:37

-under that.

-Oh!

-Never!

0:31:370:31:39

-445,000.

-Oh, my goodness!

-Wow.

0:31:390:31:43

This fabulous detached barn is on the market just £5,000

0:31:430:31:46

under Pam's top budget,

0:31:460:31:49

and has the number of bedrooms she'd like, including

0:31:490:31:52

one downstairs with an en-suite,

0:31:520:31:54

ideal for when her mother visits.

0:31:540:31:57

It's also got a spacious kitchen-diner, big enough to

0:31:570:32:00

accommodate Pam's large family,

0:32:000:32:02

and most importantly, there are

0:32:020:32:03

options to give a home

0:32:030:32:05

to her beloved grand piano.

0:32:050:32:07

The great space on the second floor

0:32:070:32:09

would be perfect for a recital

0:32:090:32:11

or two, and the pretty garden has

0:32:110:32:13

enough scope for Pam to plant

0:32:130:32:15

to her heart's content.

0:32:150:32:17

Close to Shrewsbury and sitting in 4,000 acres of parkland

0:32:250:32:29

is Attingham Park,

0:32:290:32:30

a splendid Neo-Palladian mansion,

0:32:300:32:33

built almost 230 years ago

0:32:330:32:35

and owned by just one family for more than 160 years,

0:32:350:32:40

before being bequeathed to the National Trust in 1947.

0:32:400:32:44

Currently eight years into a conservation project,

0:32:440:32:47

the estate is managed by Mark Agnew.

0:32:470:32:50

Now this is one imposing building, isn't it?

0:32:500:32:53

What's the history of this house?

0:32:530:32:55

There used to be a house here called Tern Hall,

0:32:550:32:58

and the first Lord Berwick decided that wasn't good enough for him,

0:32:580:33:02

now that he was very successful and had been ennobled,

0:33:020:33:05

and he built Attingham wrapped around the original Tern Hall.

0:33:050:33:10

'This fine house greets around 370,000 visitors a year,

0:33:100:33:15

'which helps fund the ongoing conservation project on site.'

0:33:150:33:18

What are you concentrating on now?

0:33:180:33:21

Our big focus at the moment is repairing the roof,

0:33:210:33:24

replacing and putting a new roof in on the picture gallery.

0:33:240:33:28

Can I take a look today?

0:33:280:33:29

-Of course. Come inside and have a look.

-Thank you.

0:33:290:33:31

This stunning property has over 80 rooms, and it's a lengthy,

0:33:310:33:35

and costly, process to keep them in their splendour.

0:33:350:33:39

The price tag is a cool £1.2 million a year,

0:33:390:33:42

just for the house and estate to be able to open its doors.

0:33:420:33:47

And one of the most resplendent rooms here is the imposing

0:33:470:33:50

picture gallery, with its glazed roof.

0:33:500:33:52

-Welcome to the picture gallery ceiling.

-My goodness!

0:33:520:33:55

'But it's hard to see its beauty right now.'

0:33:550:33:59

Now, this is remarkable.

0:33:590:34:02

So all of this is glass?

0:34:030:34:05

Yep, it's individual panes of glass.

0:34:050:34:09

When it was first built over 200 years ago,

0:34:090:34:11

this roof may have looked spectacular, but it had

0:34:110:34:14

design flaws, due to its curved structure, meaning plenty of leaks.

0:34:140:34:19

Mark's hoping that the problems will be ironed out once and for all

0:34:190:34:22

with a new glass roof covering the existing one.

0:34:220:34:26

The joined panes of glass will be supported by steel beams,

0:34:260:34:29

floating above the existing roof and acting as a canopy to protect it.

0:34:290:34:34

The new roof will keep the water out, the old roof will

0:34:340:34:38

carry on being the wow factor when you walk into our picture gallery.

0:34:380:34:41

-Great. OK. One more floor, up we come.

-Up we go, yeah.

0:34:410:34:45

Above us there are up to 20 skilled workers at any one time,

0:34:450:34:48

painstakingly restoring this roof, not only to its former glory,

0:34:480:34:53

but with a shiny new addition,

0:34:530:34:56

weighing in at a hefty 20 tonnes.

0:34:560:34:59

How long, Mark, do you think this new roof will last for?

0:34:590:35:02

Well, we expect it will last about 100 to 200 years, but with

0:35:020:35:06

regular maintenance we expect we can make it last a lot longer than that.

0:35:060:35:10

It's finally going to be waterproof.

0:35:100:35:13

That's what we're hoping.

0:35:130:35:14

-Exciting times. Thank you so much.

-Thank you very much.

0:35:140:35:17

For our second property, we're travelling just under 29 miles

0:35:250:35:28

north-west, past Shrewsbury, to the small village of Kinton,

0:35:280:35:32

which is less than two miles from the larger village of Nesscliffe.

0:35:320:35:36

Nesscliffe is dotted with houses built from smart red brick

0:35:360:35:40

and sandstone, and there's a post office here, plus a family-run pub,

0:35:400:35:44

serving locally-sourced food, where Pam could get to know the locals.

0:35:440:35:48

A three-minute drive takes us away from Nesscliffe to Kinton.

0:35:480:35:51

Our second property is this handsome detached barn conversion.

0:35:510:35:56

-In front of us you've got the barn, which is about 250 years old.

-Wow.

0:35:560:36:00

To our right, you can see the extended buildings,

0:36:000:36:03

-still part of the barn. They've been converted.

-Right.

0:36:030:36:06

If that wasn't enough, just behind us,

0:36:060:36:09

over our shoulder there, is another barn.

0:36:090:36:12

-Yep.

-And then, cos I like to give you just that little bit more, we have,

0:36:120:36:16

well, I would say it was a barn, but it seems to have lost

0:36:160:36:19

its roof over the years, but ripe for a little bit of love and care.

0:36:190:36:22

Yeah, it's a good space, isn't it? That's a good space...

0:36:220:36:25

-And some outbuildings.

-Wow. You've done well.

0:36:250:36:28

So let's step inside and I'll explain more as we go round.

0:36:280:36:31

Okey doke.

0:36:310:36:32

We're starting our tour in a large, open-plan area.

0:36:340:36:37

There's the kitchen, which was a sheep-shearing storage area

0:36:370:36:40

in its day, and a dining room leading to a living room,

0:36:400:36:43

which has no clue to the bull who once lived here.

0:36:430:36:47

Is it a bit small?

0:36:470:36:48

Well.

0:36:500:36:52

It's only the lay out that makes it look small.

0:36:520:36:54

It's a bit like a railway station.

0:36:540:36:55

-There's a platform, and another platform.

-Yeah. Yeah.

0:36:550:36:57

Are we on the train? I'm not sure we are, are we?

0:36:570:37:00

-We haven't boarded, have we?

-No.

-We'll see where the journey ends.

0:37:000:37:03

-I'm not mad keen on the layout.

-No, but let's not be daunted with it.

0:37:030:37:07

No, let's just get the full view first.

0:37:070:37:09

-Full view. Overview.

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:37:090:37:11

So we haven't got off to a great start on our trip round this

0:37:110:37:14

barn, with its colourful history, but I'm not feeling defeated just

0:37:140:37:18

yet, as I've got a rather special room to show Pam and Jin.

0:37:180:37:22

A spectacular, semi-circular sitting room, with a fabulous vaulted

0:37:220:37:26

ceiling, which was once home to a mill and working horses.

0:37:260:37:30

-Gosh, this is a huge room.

-Isn't it just?

0:37:300:37:32

-What a nice shape.

-Dramatic is what it is.

0:37:320:37:35

You're not expecting this when you come out of the...

0:37:350:37:37

Not at all.

0:37:370:37:38

And you could fit your grand piano in, absolutely.

0:37:380:37:41

It could go anywhere, it could go in any place.

0:37:410:37:43

The acoustic is really good, yeah.

0:37:430:37:45

-Ooh, things are looking up.

-Really something.

-Yeah?

-Absolutely.

0:37:450:37:49

Also on the ground floor are two bedrooms, both with doors to

0:37:490:37:52

the outside.

0:37:520:37:54

There's no en suite for Pam's mother, but there is scope to

0:37:540:37:57

put one in.

0:37:570:37:59

Then moving upstairs, there's a family bathroom and three

0:37:590:38:03

further bedrooms,

0:38:030:38:05

including two doubles, both in the eaves,

0:38:050:38:08

and one with a skylight letting in plenty of light.

0:38:080:38:11

This part is the master en suite.

0:38:110:38:14

There's your en-suite shower room, bath.

0:38:140:38:17

-Beautifully done.

-Yep.

0:38:170:38:20

Here is the master bedroom. Down a couple of steps.

0:38:200:38:23

Oh, this is a nice room, isn't it? Yeah, lovely.

0:38:230:38:26

-So you've got your own wing, in a way.

-Yes.

0:38:260:38:29

It's quite nice.

0:38:290:38:30

-Well, it's looking promising.

-Yeah?

0:38:300:38:33

Yeah. More promising than when we were in the kitchen.

0:38:330:38:35

THEY LAUGH

0:38:350:38:37

Well, this lovely home seems to have won back favour with both Pam

0:38:370:38:40

and Jin, so although the weather has changed, I'm glad that spirits

0:38:400:38:45

are still high, and I've got plenty more to show them.

0:38:450:38:48

So, you've seen this splendid property,

0:38:480:38:51

but when we walked in, I pointed out a barn on our right.

0:38:510:38:55

That barn has had planning permission already granted.

0:38:550:38:58

Now it has expired, but it was given to make it

0:38:580:39:00

-a three-bedroom dwelling.

-Wow.

0:39:000:39:03

Crikey, that's quite an asset on the end of your house.

0:39:030:39:06

That puts something else into the mix.

0:39:060:39:08

-That's really confused me now.

-And then behind me,

0:39:080:39:10

you also have this building,

0:39:100:39:11

so there's electricity and power in there, there's light.

0:39:110:39:14

It could be a music studio even. There's all sorts of possibilities.

0:39:140:39:17

-There is, isn't there?

-Yeah.

-All sorts.

0:39:170:39:19

So how about the garden space?

0:39:190:39:22

Well, the garden space is not as big as I would have wanted,

0:39:220:39:26

but it's big enough for a dog to wander around in.

0:39:260:39:29

We've got to put a price on this barn.

0:39:290:39:31

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

0:39:310:39:33

Probably 4... 460.

0:39:330:39:35

I'm going to say 455. Still over budget, I think.

0:39:350:39:39

in actual fact, this barn is,

0:39:390:39:42

again, under budget.

0:39:420:39:44

Asking price is £439,000.

0:39:440:39:48

-Gosh, that does really surprise me.

-Really?

0:39:480:39:52

This historic barn conversion, with its assortment of outbuildings,

0:39:520:39:56

is on the market at £11,000 under Pam's budget.

0:39:560:39:59

The kitchen may not be the large entertaining space that's so

0:39:590:40:02

important to her, but the home does give her the number of bedrooms

0:40:020:40:06

she would like, including one on the ground floor for her mother.

0:40:060:40:10

There's a wonderful space to house Pam's precious grand piano

0:40:100:40:14

and hold concerts, plus the various additional rooms and buildings

0:40:140:40:17

mean that, with a little work, there are plenty of options to

0:40:170:40:21

transform this property into more than a home.

0:40:210:40:24

Well, this house is really something very different, and it's got

0:40:240:40:27

so many possibilities, I'm actually a bit blown away by it all.

0:40:270:40:31

I feel a mixture of emotions really.

0:40:310:40:33

I feel quite daunted with the whole thing.

0:40:330:40:36

I also feel very excited with the whole thing.

0:40:360:40:38

A successful day?

0:40:380:40:40

-Really successful. Very interesting.

-Yeah, very.

-Good.

0:40:400:40:42

-Very successful and interesting.

-And more to show you tomorrow.

0:40:420:40:45

Oh, well... SHE CHUCKLES

0:40:450:40:47

Well, that is all going rather well.

0:40:520:40:54

-Were you feeling rather smug by this point, Nicki?

-Smug, what a good word.

0:40:540:40:57

I was, actually, because that barn was beautiful, even though

0:40:570:41:02

the planning permission had expired.

0:41:020:41:04

Because, of course, if you do apply,

0:41:040:41:06

you have about three years to do the work from the time it is granted.

0:41:060:41:09

If you haven't started the work, you've got to reapply again.

0:41:090:41:12

So, in Pam's case, she'd have to reapply

0:41:120:41:14

-but it would be OK because she had precedent.

-I would have said so, yes.

0:41:140:41:17

Right, back to my house hunt with Martin and Jacqueline,

0:41:170:41:21

with their half-a-million-pound budget.

0:41:210:41:23

I have to say I was crossing my fingers here

0:41:230:41:25

because the mystery house was a bit of a leap of faith.

0:41:250:41:28

Our final visit takes us 44 miles north-east to the town of Newport,

0:41:310:41:36

a 40-minute drive from Shrewsbury

0:41:360:41:38

and close to the Staffordshire border.

0:41:380:41:40

'Newport is a Britain In Bloom finalist

0:41:410:41:44

'and its centre offers locals a good selection of shops and eateries.

0:41:440:41:48

'Just on the outskirts of town and down a tree-lined drive

0:41:480:41:52

'is our third and final house.

0:41:520:41:54

'The mystery is revealed at first sight.'

0:41:540:41:57

Well...

0:41:570:41:59

-The mystery house is a church.

-It is.

0:41:590:42:01

This, next door, is the old church,

0:42:010:42:03

-which was knocked down to build this one.

-Oh, right, looks very pretty.

0:42:030:42:06

Character, isn't it?

0:42:060:42:08

That's what screams at you when you first see it.

0:42:080:42:10

And I can see it on the front of your flyers for your B&B.

0:42:100:42:13

-It's certainly an unusual...

-It will certainly attract people.

0:42:130:42:16

-Let's look inside.

-OK.

0:42:160:42:18

'This striking Grade II listed church dates back to 1800

0:42:200:42:25

'and was converted from a derelict shell,

0:42:250:42:27

'making use of many reclaimed materials.

0:42:270:42:31

'The ground floor is laid out in a rectangle, with an octagonal

0:42:310:42:34

'room at the back and a tower at the front, which is where we are

0:42:340:42:37

'entering the building and heading straight for the kitchen-diner.'

0:42:370:42:40

-It looks a labour of love, doesn't it?

-I like it.

0:42:430:42:46

It is very nice, very unusual.

0:42:460:42:48

There's some scope to make more use of the space, I think.

0:42:480:42:52

And there is a utility room and larder and pantry through there.

0:42:520:42:56

So more storage, all your white goods.

0:42:560:42:58

-Let's head towards the altar.

-OK.

0:42:580:43:00

'Moving on from the kitchen of this beautiful church, there is

0:43:020:43:05

'a small bedroom-cum-study and a shower room on the opposite

0:43:050:43:08

'side of the house and we are entering the open-plan living area,

0:43:080:43:12

'which takes up the rest of the ground floor.'

0:43:120:43:14

-I love this room.

-Oh, wow.

-Oh!

0:43:140:43:16

This is the centrepiece of the house, you can guess.

0:43:170:43:20

-It is absolutely stunning.

-So this would have been the altar.

0:43:200:43:24

When you sit in a church, the windows are high,

0:43:240:43:27

so you can't see out of them, so the problem with that, of course,

0:43:270:43:31

if you're living here, you don't get any views. So they stepped it up.

0:43:310:43:34

You can look out of these beautiful vaulted windows.

0:43:340:43:37

Making the most of the view.

0:43:370:43:40

Wow, it's just really impressive.

0:43:400:43:42

-Absolutely stunning.

-It's just so different. But homely as well.

0:43:420:43:48

-So the decision you have to make is how to make it work as a B&B.

-Yes.

0:43:480:43:54

'This beautiful conversion gives Jacqueline

0:43:540:43:57

'and Martin the freedom to decide how they want to divide it as a B&B.

0:43:570:44:01

'The first floor is smaller than the ground, as it's square.

0:44:010:44:05

'There is a family bathroom with a feature window

0:44:050:44:08

'and a further three bedrooms - one single,

0:44:080:44:11

'and an en-suite double.

0:44:110:44:13

'And at the front of the house is the master bedroom.'

0:44:130:44:16

-It's lovely. Beautiful.

-Big and spacious.

-It is, yeah.

0:44:180:44:23

Window, fabulous.

0:44:230:44:25

-South-facing window and it has an en-suite which is in the tower.

-Oh.

0:44:250:44:29

-Lovely feel.

-It's wonderfully done.

0:44:290:44:32

'I think it would be hard not to be wowed by this property

0:44:320:44:35

'and I'm sure it would hold great appeal for guests.

0:44:350:44:38

'Outside, the landscaped gardens are a striking contrast to the

0:44:380:44:41

'imposing red sandstone of the church.'

0:44:410:44:44

-What do you think?

-Very nice layout, it's very tasteful.

0:44:450:44:49

-It's beautifully kept.

-Beautifully kept.

0:44:490:44:52

There's also this very big garage space here, which is huge

0:44:520:44:56

and it could easily be turned into a workroom for you, or even converted.

0:44:560:45:01

-OK.

-So, a good vibe?

-It's lovely.

-A very good vibe.

0:45:010:45:05

I'm just a bit lost for words. Staggered.

0:45:050:45:08

Can I drag a few more words about the price out of you?

0:45:080:45:11

-I'm going to go for 495, Alistair.

-A little bit below at 485.

0:45:110:45:17

Well, it is actually right at the top of your budget, 499,995.

0:45:170:45:22

-OK.

-So there's obviously space for a bit of negotiation.

0:45:220:45:25

I think that sounds reasonable.

0:45:250:45:27

-For a B&B, there's plenty to market, isn't there?

-It's so unique.

0:45:270:45:32

This listed converted church is only £5 under Jacqueline

0:45:320:45:36

and Martin's budget, but there's always room for negotiation and it

0:45:360:45:39

would make a great marketing tool to attract guests if it became a B&B.

0:45:390:45:43

It has just enough bedrooms for them and guests

0:45:440:45:46

and a garage that would be the perfect space

0:45:460:45:49

for Jacqueline's sewing room.

0:45:490:45:51

And the gardens may not be extensive,

0:45:510:45:53

but they are striking and easy to look after.

0:45:530:45:56

It is very different to everything we've seen so far.

0:45:560:45:59

I think it would make a great bed and breakfast, very unusual inside.

0:45:590:46:04

I just think it's such a unique opportunity to move outside

0:46:040:46:10

the box, it's just unbelievable.

0:46:100:46:12

OK, so that's the mystery house done.

0:46:120:46:13

-All three properties seen.

-OK.

0:46:130:46:16

So let's go and find a place to have a cup of tea

0:46:160:46:18

and then we can pick your brains about how it's been for you.

0:46:180:46:20

-Sounds great.

-Plenty of food for thought.

0:46:200:46:23

Let's cut to the chase.

0:46:280:46:29

I want to know which of the houses is a contender.

0:46:290:46:32

Well, every house was such a contrast.

0:46:330:46:36

I think the last one is the most impressionable. For me, anyway.

0:46:360:46:40

Yes, it was the mystery house. Definitely.

0:46:400:46:42

Ah. What was it that finally swayed you on that?

0:46:420:46:45

I was overwhelmed by, obviously, such the uniqueness of it,

0:46:450:46:49

and I just feel what a unique opportunity to live in such a...

0:46:490:46:53

stunning environment, really.

0:46:530:46:55

I think it'll be great for a bed and breakfast.

0:46:550:46:58

That's music to our ears.

0:46:580:46:59

Have you found the whole experience has sort of geed you up?

0:46:590:47:02

-Definitely.

-Very much so.

0:47:020:47:04

I mean, I'm fired up now to start planning

0:47:040:47:06

what I would do, potentially, if we did put a bid in for that property,

0:47:060:47:11

what rooms we could do and what we could utilise the space for.

0:47:110:47:15

So it's given me a feeling like I'm excited that way to start a project.

0:47:150:47:19

Well, I really hope that Shropshire provides pastures fresh for you.

0:47:190:47:24

-I hope so as well.

-And great if it was the mystery house,

0:47:240:47:26

but do keep us in the loop.

0:47:260:47:28

We will. We really enjoyed it. It's been a really good experience.

0:47:280:47:31

-Likewise.

-Yes.

-Good luck.

-OK, thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:47:310:47:35

So the mystery house made the biggest impression, then.

0:47:410:47:45

Church conversions, they are an interesting position

0:47:450:47:47

-and there are certainly lots of them about.

-There are,

0:47:470:47:49

thanks to the Victorians, who seemed to build

0:47:490:47:51

so many in the 19th century.

0:47:510:47:53

Although this is an interesting fact - legally you are not

0:47:530:47:56

-allowed to convert any church before 1969, when the law changed.

-Really?

0:47:560:48:00

-Now there are hundreds, thousands probably.

-There are.

0:48:000:48:03

But if you do see a disused church and you want to convert it

0:48:030:48:06

into a family home, you've obviously got to get

0:48:060:48:08

the local authority planning permission is sorted

0:48:080:48:11

but also you've got to look at the church organisation as well because

0:48:110:48:14

some of them have to give you permission before you can proceed.

0:48:140:48:18

We'll find out what Jacqueline and Martin thought

0:48:180:48:20

about the mystery house in just a moment.

0:48:200:48:22

But let's get back to my search with the wonderful Pam.

0:48:220:48:26

She was after the perfect rural retreat for £450,000.

0:48:260:48:32

For our third and final visit, we're journeying 34.5 miles

0:48:320:48:36

south-west, deep into the heart of

0:48:360:48:38

the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,

0:48:380:48:41

to the rural hamlet of Whitcott Keysett,

0:48:410:48:44

which is just under two and a half miles from the small town of Clun.

0:48:440:48:48

Clun, which gets its name from the river that runs through it,

0:48:480:48:51

was once described by the poet

0:48:510:48:53

AE Housman as the quietest place under the sun.

0:48:530:48:58

A six-minute drive takes us to the sleepy hamlet of Whitcott Keysett

0:48:580:49:02

and our mystery house, a recently converted 18th century cow shed.

0:49:020:49:07

Oh, what a lovely place.

0:49:070:49:09

NICKI LAUGHS

0:49:090:49:10

It's a little bit special, isn't it?

0:49:100:49:12

It is a bit special, it's a lot special.

0:49:120:49:13

And this is our mystery house.

0:49:130:49:16

-Mysterious.

-It is.

-Very.

0:49:160:49:19

Any idea why this is the mystery house?

0:49:190:49:22

Well, I'm thinking about this behind.

0:49:220:49:24

Could this have something to do with it?

0:49:240:49:27

Oh, my goodness, I didn't even realise that was there.

0:49:270:49:30

-A rather large barn behind us.

-Yeah.

0:49:300:49:33

Because with our mystery house, not only do you have a splendid

0:49:330:49:37

home, but there is also scope...

0:49:370:49:40

-Yeah.

-..to have that little something extra...

-Wow.

0:49:400:49:44

-..right on your doorstep.

-Absolutely right. Crikey.

0:49:440:49:48

This unusual home is built from stone

0:49:480:49:50

with wood cladding covering the majority of its exterior.

0:49:500:49:54

So, like the owners, come through the back door.

0:49:540:49:57

-Right, OK. Bright and cheerful.

-And it leads straight into

0:49:570:50:01

this, I think, rather large kitchen.

0:50:010:50:04

Mmm. Large-ish. OK.

0:50:040:50:06

-I might be wrong.

-THEY LAUGH

0:50:070:50:09

I might be wrong, but I'm not feeling quite love.

0:50:090:50:12

-Just needed to be a little bit bigger, maybe.

-Really?

0:50:120:50:15

I'm just thinking about where we would eat.

0:50:150:50:17

You could take that away,

0:50:170:50:19

-because I've got something else to show you next door.

-OK.

0:50:190:50:22

Oh, this is a lovely room, isn't it?

0:50:250:50:27

-I like this one.

-It's big, big space.

0:50:270:50:29

Pretty impressive, and what do big spaces need?

0:50:290:50:33

-Furniture.

-And?

0:50:330:50:35

-Pianos.

-Pianos.

-Yeah. Really nice.

-Could work.

-Yeah.

0:50:350:50:39

My slight concern would be where are your guests going to sit?

0:50:390:50:43

-Because this is the main sitting room.

-Oh.

0:50:430:50:45

Well, is there anything else they can sit in, further along?

0:50:470:50:50

-THEY LAUGH

-You want this as your music room.

0:50:500:50:53

Well, it would be a nice music room, but if there are other options,

0:50:530:50:56

we could have the music room somewhere else.

0:50:560:50:58

-Well, it would be an amazing...

-Like over there.

0:50:580:51:00

-That's what we're thinking.

-Maybe.

0:51:000:51:03

And also on the ground floor is a bedroom with an adjacent

0:51:030:51:06

shower room, suitable for Pam's mother.

0:51:060:51:09

So up a couple of stairs... you've one bedroom up here.

0:51:090:51:14

Lots of natural light, and then another bedroom just here.

0:51:140:51:17

They're not the widest of bedrooms. They call them cattle bays

0:51:170:51:21

because that's exactly what they were.

0:51:210:51:23

'And up a few more stairs...'

0:51:230:51:25

You've got a study/dressing room on that side.

0:51:250:51:29

Family bathroom on this side, which leads

0:51:290:51:31

-into the master bedroom.

-OK.

0:51:310:51:35

Oh, it's a nice, cosy room.

0:51:350:51:37

I think it would be fair to say with this property,

0:51:370:51:40

-the bedrooms are more functioning.

-Yeah.

0:51:400:51:42

You know, the space has actually gone into the kitchen

0:51:420:51:46

and also that wonderful huge sort of sitting room.

0:51:460:51:48

Yeah, that's true, it's true.

0:51:480:51:50

The kitchen and bedrooms in this house might not be the size

0:51:500:51:53

Pam was hoping for, but this is the mystery house and, unlike the

0:51:530:51:57

previous two homes, the house is not the star here.

0:51:570:52:01

It's the cavernous stone barn outside.

0:52:010:52:04

It may require rather more work than Pam was hoping for, but it's

0:52:040:52:08

a blank canvas just waiting for her to bring her visions to life.

0:52:080:52:12

-Mind your head!

-Oh, look at this!

0:52:120:52:15

Wow! It is quite something. Just look at the roof.

0:52:150:52:18

I mean, just look at these struts and all these beams.

0:52:180:52:21

You could do something with this.

0:52:210:52:23

-It would make a very nice, small theatre, wouldn't it?

-It would.

0:52:230:52:27

-It's exactly what I had in mind...

-It is.

-..to actually convert

0:52:270:52:31

into my mini concert hall.

0:52:310:52:34

The house and barn sit in a beautiful country garden,

0:52:340:52:38

with bursts of colour provided by flowers and a variety of

0:52:380:52:41

fruit and vegetables growing here, too,

0:52:410:52:43

all with a spectacular outlook.

0:52:430:52:46

-Beautiful, isn't it?

-Isn't it gorgeous?

-Yeah.

-Wow.

-Really is nice.

0:52:460:52:49

-Enough land for you?

-Yeah. About right, this is.

0:52:490:52:52

So what do we think it's currently on the market for?

0:52:520:52:56

I think it's probably on for about 399.

0:52:560:52:59

That's interesting. Jin?

0:52:590:53:01

I think it's more likely to be about 430.

0:53:010:53:04

I'm hoping you're going to be pleasantly surprised,

0:53:040:53:07

because the asking price is

0:53:070:53:09

£369,500.

0:53:090:53:12

-PAM CHUCKLES

-Just not very good at guessing.

0:53:120:53:14

This property may have begun its days as a lowly cow shed, but it's

0:53:150:53:19

grown into somewhere I hope that Pam

0:53:190:53:21

could well imagine calling home.

0:53:210:53:24

And although in our mystery house

0:53:240:53:25

the stone barn is the main focus,

0:53:250:53:27

and it might need a bit more work

0:53:270:53:29

than she was planning

0:53:290:53:30

to transform it into a concert hall,

0:53:300:53:32

at a staggering £80,500 under budget,

0:53:320:53:35

there's plenty of cash to play with.

0:53:350:53:38

The kitchen may not be huge, but the large room next door is perfect

0:53:380:53:42

for entertaining Pam's extended family.

0:53:420:53:45

There are four bedrooms, including

0:53:450:53:46

a ground floor room for her mum,

0:53:460:53:48

with a shower room next door.

0:53:480:53:50

And the garden, with its far-reaching views,

0:53:500:53:52

would allow Pam to make the most of

0:53:520:53:54

the stunning Shropshire countryside.

0:53:540:53:57

-Oh, this is a nice room.

-I like this.

0:53:570:54:00

You could get two grandchildren in here without too much of a do.

0:54:000:54:03

Oh, they'd love it. Kids would love this space.

0:54:030:54:05

Well, I'm a bit confused about this property.

0:54:050:54:07

The barn is definitely the one I think is going to be fantastic,

0:54:070:54:11

but I'm not so...100% on the house.

0:54:110:54:15

-How are we, ladies?

-Oh, excited.

0:54:150:54:18

Have we confused you?

0:54:180:54:19

Totally.

0:54:190:54:21

Never thought you'd find three properties with all

0:54:210:54:24

the things on my wish list. Extraordinary.

0:54:240:54:27

-So we've now got quite a lot to discuss, haven't we?

-Yes.

0:54:270:54:29

Made it harder now, cos you've really done the business.

0:54:290:54:32

-NICKI LAUGHS

-Let's go and have a chat. Come on.

0:54:320:54:35

It's been an interesting few days, hasn't it?

0:54:400:54:44

I'm not really sure which way you're going to go.

0:54:440:54:46

Well, property number one, that was an absolutely stunning property.

0:54:460:54:50

And that, to me, summed up all the things that I want in my home.

0:54:500:54:55

Property number two was a difficult property,

0:54:550:54:58

-in that there was so much of it.

-Yes.

-And property three -

0:54:580:55:01

the barn, fantastic. House, not so wonderful.

0:55:010:55:05

So out of everything we showed you, it sounds like our first property

0:55:050:55:09

suited you the best, but could you see yourself living there?

0:55:090:55:13

I could see myself living in that house. I just have to do a little bit

0:55:130:55:16

-more researching about the area. It's quite daunting, actually.

-Yes.

0:55:160:55:21

This move is a huge leap of faith,

0:55:210:55:23

-it is diving into the unknown.

-What was going through my mind was,

0:55:230:55:27

at the beginning Pam was so absolutely sure that this was the

0:55:270:55:30

right place, and she was full of enthusiasm and she was going to go

0:55:300:55:34

100% to it, and I was just thinking, "Whoa a minute."

0:55:340:55:37

-I think it is time for a bit of a reality check.

-Yeah.

0:55:370:55:40

It's cos I'm not really sure,

0:55:400:55:42

I'm not sure in my head, in my heart, whether that is...

0:55:420:55:46

-whether Shropshire is the right place for me.

-Right.

0:55:460:55:49

If I'm completely, brutally honest about the whole thing.

0:55:490:55:51

-And I think you have to be.

-Yeah.

-Well, whatever happens,

0:55:510:55:55

-you're going to be happy, I know you are.

-Oh, I will be.

-Wherever you

0:55:550:55:57

decide to go. Jin, thank you so much for all your support,

0:55:570:56:01

invaluable support. It's been a delight, ladies.

0:56:010:56:04

-Thank you so much.

-And we've loved being with you too.

0:56:040:56:06

-It's been a pleasure. A real pleasure.

-All the best for

0:56:060:56:09

-the future to both of you.

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:56:090:56:12

-Well, that was an unexpected conclusion.

-I know.

0:56:170:56:20

And that's what this whole process is all about, isn't it?

0:56:200:56:22

Sometimes it's finding people the perfect property,

0:56:220:56:25

sometimes it's showing them the search area they should be

0:56:250:56:28

looking at, or perhaps it's questioning why they want to move.

0:56:280:56:31

I think with Pam, she was really surprised by the outcome as well.

0:56:310:56:35

It didn't dawn on her until we'd finished the whole process.

0:56:350:56:38

She's decided to stay in Surrey for now

0:56:380:56:40

and she's put relocation on hold for the time being.

0:56:400:56:43

Well, good luck to her.

0:56:430:56:44

And actually Martin and Jacqueline didn't go back

0:56:440:56:47

and look at the mystery house.

0:56:470:56:48

They did continue looking in Shropshire, though,

0:56:480:56:50

and then, after all that, they decided they'd fallen in love

0:56:500:56:54

with a property just a quarter of a mile

0:56:540:56:56

-from where they already live.

-No!

0:56:560:56:57

They are now the proud owners of a B&B in Lancashire

0:56:570:57:00

and they're going to be opening their doors this year.

0:57:000:57:03

Exciting times for them.

0:57:030:57:05

Well, I hope you've enjoyed our focus in Shropshire,

0:57:050:57:07

and join us again for some more country escapes.

0:57:070:57:12

If you'd like to escape to the country,

0:57:120:57:14

in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland,

0:57:140:57:16

and would like our help, please apply online at...

0:57:160:57:19

Alistair Appleton and Nicki Chapman look back on the house hunts of two couples who were searching for dream rural homes in Shropshire. Alistair also visits the oldest surviving purpose-built factory in the world, and Nicki calls in at a stately home that is raising the roof.