Derbyshire Escape to the Country


Derbyshire

Property series. Sonali Shah helps a couple with a £750,000 budget to make the break from the Home Counties and return to their roots in the Derbyshire countryside.


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Transcript


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If I told you this beautiful river inspired the writing of a fishing manual,

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it wouldn't come as much of a surprise.

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But this book was written 350 years ago.

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It's still in print and it's sold more copies than the Bible.

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If that's hooked you in, I'll tell you more about this infamous book,

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and where I am, in just a moment.

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On today's show, a couple who are hoping to escape urban life and

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return to their rural roots.

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From the outset, they have a clear vision of what they want.

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-I can't stop looking at the view.

-Yeah.

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If you buy this house, you won't have to.

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True.

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And then things begin to heat up even more.

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She's getting excited.

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Yes. I think you'd better watch out.

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Today, I'm in Derbyshire, and it's the River Dove, here,

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in the Peak District, that gains many a mention in one of the

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greatest books in sporting literature.

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The Compleat Angler.

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Author Izaak Walton used to fish here in the 1650s.

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Three and a half centuries later,

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his book is still hailed as a pioneering work,

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being more than just a how-to guide, by describing riverside habitats,

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promoting conservation and celebrating the countryside at large,

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all messages that clearly resonate in the present day.

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Derbyshire sits in the East Midlands region of England,

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and borders counties including Staffordshire and South Yorkshire.

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It has a long and distinguished history.

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The Romans made use of the natural geological resources here,

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such as the lead ore in the limestone hills

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and the thermal springs around Buxton.

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From the late 18th century,

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the town thrived as a fashionable spa destination,

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and its fine array of Georgian architecture includes an impressive,

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sweeping crescent modelled on that in Bath.

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Today, the town hosts an annual music and literary festival,

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centred on the opera house, built in 1903 and designed by Frank Matcham,

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the same architect behind the London Palladium.

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Around a third of Derbyshire is taken up by the Peak District National Park.

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Roughly the size of Greater London,

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its appealing landscape of dramatic rolling hills and escarpments

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attracts around ten million visitors each year.

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It's also an enticing destination for those looking to trade an urban

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existence for the countryside.

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The latest stats show the average price of a detached property here in

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Derbyshire is £210,000.

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That's 55,000 below the national figure.

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However, the picture changes dramatically as you move towards

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the central peaks region around Buxton.

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There, you could pay £150,000 more for an equivalent property,

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as restricted supply keeps prices at a premium.

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The good news is, though,

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that even a couple of miles outside the national park borders,

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around the market towns of Ashbourne and Matlock,

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you do get value for money.

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So, where are today's buyers looking,

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in this beautiful and diverse county?

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Let's meet them and find out.

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Paul and Sue have been married for 40 years and spent their early life

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in the Derbyshire countryside.

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They currently live in a modern detached property in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

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But having retired two years ago and with their three grown-up

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children no longer at home,

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they now have the chance to escape the hectic pace of working urban life.

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The house that we live in at the moment has been absolutely brilliant,

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for the last 20 years, and is very practical for a family with children.

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The downside is the fact that it is just so busy, and quite noisy, so,

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we decided years ago, that when I finished work,

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we'd think about moving back to where we were in Derbyshire,

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and that's what we're planning to do.

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Until they retired,

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Sue was a midwife and Paul worked for an airline at Heathrow Airport.

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For him, this flight north,

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along with their dog Cassie, is about rekindling childhood memories.

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I was born in Derbyshire,

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and spent the first ten years in the Peak District

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and spent all my time either walking, or in those days,

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playing in the brooks and things, and loved it.

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Their decision to move now was cemented by a recent,

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memorable visit to the region.

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About six months ago, we went back to stay with friends

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in a little village just outside Derby.

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You woke up in the morning, and the sun was streaming through,

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and you could see the hills, and it was just idyllic.

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And I said to Paul, "This is really quiet here.

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"How do you feel about moving back to the quiet?"

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And he said, "I love it," so I said, "Great.

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"Because I do too, so that's what we're going to do."

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Their new property will have to cater for their diverse hobbies,

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not least a decent-sized garden for Sue,

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who also rents an allotment close to her home.

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I started gardening when my son got to about 15,

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and it was a great relaxation from a busy day at work.

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And that has just continued and now I'd like to spend all my time

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in the garden, outside and on the allotment.

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But Paul will be in their garage,

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tinkering with his much-loved classic car.

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The MG we've had since 1980.

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It is in fact the deposit on our first house,

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because the bank took too long to get the mortgage sorted out.

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We spent the money on the car.

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And we've never had the heart to sell it.

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Although they've retired,

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Sue and Paul aren't putting their feet up just yet.

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Having completely remodelled their current home over the years,

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they're keen to take on another property project.

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I'm really excited about the fact that we,

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when we've bought houses in the past,

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then it's been actually planning and getting that house to the state

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that you like it.

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That's another reason to move on, the thought of doing it again,

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it's time to move and do something new.

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Paul and Sue would ideally like to live between Chesterfield and Derby,

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where their family and friends are based.

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I'm meeting up with them in the county's famous Peak District to see

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what's on their property wish list.

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Welcome to Derbyshire.

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What in particular attracts you both to this area?

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Well, we used to live in Derbyshire in our 20s,

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so it was always our plan to come back to Derbyshire.

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We have family here and we've also got lots of friends

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from when we were working in Derby.

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-So, it will be like coming back home.

-Yeah.

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What sort of property are you both looking for?

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Probably a nice, four-bedroomed detached, preferably stone.

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A nice, big lounge.

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We do quite a lot of entertaining, so we'd like a nice, big kitchen,

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maybe a kitchen/diner, or a decent-sized dining room.

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-The outside space is very important...

-Yep.

-..because I do a lot of gardening,

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so a nice garden, or space to make a nice garden.

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And also, we need a double garage,

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and space for a couple of cars to park, as well.

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What about location? Would you like to be in the community?

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Near a village?

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Near a village, probably, rather than right in the centre of the village.

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A reasonable sized village, so there's plenty of amenities,

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like a cricket club, and a tennis club would be great.

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And remind me of your budget?

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We can go max 750.

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OK. Let's not waste any time.

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Let's go.

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Armed with a sizeable budget of £750,000,

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our buyers would like a traditional, detached property,

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ideally built from local stone.

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As they like to entertain,

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it should feature a big kitchen/living area for socialising,

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and four bedrooms for when their grown-up children come to stay.

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Outside space is important for Sue, who likes gardening,

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and Paul needs somewhere for his classic car.

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Location-wise, they'd like to be close to a thriving village.

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We've lined up a delightful selection of Derbyshire properties to draw

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them back to this beautiful county,

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but I won't be revealing the price of each house until the end of the tour.

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The Mystery House could challenge them on location and space,

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but in other ways, more than makes up for it.

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How much difference is there in what you each want?

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I'd like a character property, with a bit of a cosy feel to it,

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whereas Paul quite likes large rooms.

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I'd like a big lounge.

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You want more spacious-looking?

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Spacious.

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And somewhere to entertain, so a nice, well-appointed kitchen.

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And either a kitchen/diner, or a nice dining room.

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We are starting our property search in the hamlet of Uppertown,

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in the north of the county, bordering the Peak District National Park.

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The closest village for services is Ashover.

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Situated in the beautiful Amber Valley

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and surrounded by sloping woodland, it's one of Derbyshire's prettiest villages.

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It has a long history as an industrial centre,

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with gritstone quarrying, and lead mining

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dating back to the Roman times.

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Its 14th century church suffered structural damage during the skirmishes

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of the English Civil War.

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The village centre provides a range of amenities, including a post office,

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convenience store and a couple of pubs.

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House number one is just over two miles away, situated in a peaceful,

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rural hamlet, and benefits from some far-reaching views across

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the Derbyshire countryside.

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Oh. Wow! Oh, wow!

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Yeah!

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"Wow, wow!" was exactly the reaction I was looking for.

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-Yes.

-This is what sells house number one.

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It's everything around it.

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Yeah, yeah.

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You are well and truly in the countryside.

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Yes. Lovely.

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I can't stop looking at the view.

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-That's right.

-If you buy this house, you won't have to.

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-True.

-It was built in the 1960s.

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A stone house, which I know you like.

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And it was extended ten years ago,

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so it's quite a decent-sized family home.

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-Right.

-Right.

-Yeah, it looks really nice.

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And it's lovely and quiet, isn't it?

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-Big smiles already.

-Yeah, lovely.

-OK.

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-Shall we get in?

-Yes, please.

-Let's have a look.

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Great reactions to the view.

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Let's hope this detached, stone property lives up to expectations.

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So, there is not really a hallway with this house.

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It's just a beautiful sunroom instead.

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-Wow!

-It's lovely, isn't it?

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The sunny garden room leads on to a corridor, and off to one side,

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there's a sizeable downstairs bathroom, and to the other,

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something that's definitely on Paul and Sue's radar.

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Check out this kitchen.

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Oh, that's wonderful.

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-Yeah, that's nicely done, isn't it?

-It's got a range.

-Yeah.

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-All-burning.

-Oh.

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Yeah, very nice.

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-Now, that's nice with space for a table, as well.

-Exactly.

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-So, you can eat in here if you need to.

-Yeah.

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What do you think about the size of it?

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Is it enough, cos you said you loved entertaining?

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This is just big enough, I would say.

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Great. And, rather conveniently, right next door to the kitchen...

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..it's the lounge.

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So, the main lounge is here.

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-Oh, yeah.

-That's a nice size, isn't it?

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And double aspect.

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Yeah, you'd definitely feel cosy.

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Well, that's what I was thinking, cos you wanted cosy,

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Paul wanted spacious, and in a way, this is both.

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Yes. Yes.

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And you've got the view to the side, as well.

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Oh, yeah. It's not just at the front.

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Off the other end of the garden room,

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there are two further reception rooms.

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There's a terracotta tiled dining room,

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and a cosy snug for relaxing in or it could make an extra bedroom.

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Upstairs, there are three bedrooms accessed via a well-lit landing

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with polished oak flooring.

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They are all good sized doubles,

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and make a feature of the heavy oak beam that runs across the length of the property.

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And there is plenty of space in the half-tiled family bathroom

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for his and hers washbasins, and a roll-top, cast iron bath,

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which just leaves the master.

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There are three bedrooms up here.

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-Oh, right.

-This is the master.

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-Oh, lovely.

-Yes, a nice size.

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And they've made the best of the beams.

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-And you got an en suite here, as well.

-Yeah. Yeah.

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So, now you've seen most of the inside,

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what do you think? Could you see yourselves living here?

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-Yeah.

-Yeah, we could live here, yeah.

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I mean, the views are tremendous, aren't they?

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We need to have a look at the outside space.

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That's really important to me.

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Let's go outside, and start thinking about the price.

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All right.

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Some reserved responses from Paul and Sue,

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but the house has delivered the rooms they wanted.

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The property sits in a well-maintained garden.

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Lying to the front of the property is a large lawn,

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bordered by well-stocked beds.

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To one side, the raised decking takes advantage of the southerly aspect

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and adjacent to the driveway, there's a trio of outbuildings,

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comprising a garage, for Paul's classic car, a carport,

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and workshop for all his tools.

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So, this is the garden.

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It wraps around the side of the house, so just below the decking.

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So, there's not a huge amount to maintain.

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-No.

-So, is this enough garden for you?

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It might be a bit small.

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-Well, you could also rent some of the land there...

-Yes, true, that's true!

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..which is an option with this house,

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if you really wanted a little bit more,

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if this wasn't enough.

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Not too far to walk the dog, either.

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-Yeah.

-It's time to guess the price.

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Who'd like to go first?

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I'll go first.

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I think 625.

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I think it's a little bit less than that.

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595?

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-You're both out.

-Yeah.

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It's on the market for £675,000, and actually,

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that's been recently reduced from 725.

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-Right.

-Yeah. I thought a little bit less,

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because it's quite rural and it's three-bedroom.

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But you wouldn't have to do anything...

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-No.

-..for a while.

-Now that you do know the price,

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do have another look around, and discuss it.

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-Yeah, sure.

-Keep an open mind.

-Yes.

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-Then I'll meet you at the front door.

-OK.

-Lovely. Thank you.

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Under budget by £75,000,

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our first house is a spacious family home built of local stone.

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Finished to a high standard, with oak flooring and beams,

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it features a large enough kitchen for entertaining and four bedrooms

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if you include the downstairs snug.

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The garden is well maintained and manageable,

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and there's parking for Paul's classic car.

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What's more, the house is set in a stunning rural location.

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I think it's a really lovely house,

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really nicely done inside and outside.

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The main thing for me, I think, is not having the fourth bedroom.

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The three bedrooms that are done are beautiful.

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Really nicely done, and the bathroom is lovely.

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I'm just a bit concerned if we had our three children, and families,

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it's not quite big enough for us.

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I think, really, this property is all about two halves

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and I'm loving the front half of the property, looking out over those views.

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Unfortunately, the back half of the property doesn't really match up to the front.

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So, is it still a contender, this house?

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I think it's on the back burner, really.

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Because it feels like a bit of a downsize for us.

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I think it's just how much were we willing to pay for a view?

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All right. Well, have a think.

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-In the meantime, let's hit the road.

-OK.

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Derbyshire's unspoiled rivers are a defining feature of its countryside,

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with some being notoriously fantastic places to fish.

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The 17th-century fishing guide

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The Compleat Angler described the Lathkill River here

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on the Haddon estate, near Bakewell, as "the clearest stream in England",

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with "the reddest trout you will ever see".

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Today, the river is awash with both wild brown trout and rainbow trout,

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but until recently, that wasn't the case.

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Since Paul and Sue are keen to get involved in outdoor pursuits,

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we've arranged for them to meet angler Richard Ward to find out more.

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So, the fish weren't always wild here?

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No, what happened was, in the Victorian times,

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the river had weirs put into it, to make the river wider.

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It was a fashion. It made the river look bigger than it actually was.

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The problem with that is, the fish couldn't move up down easily.

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The silt would fill up the pools between the weirs,

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and block the gravel so the fish could no longer spawn.

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So the Victorians said, "Well, that's all right.

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"We'll farm them, and we'll put farmed fish in."

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And that continued for 140 years.

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So, what were the effects of having farmed fish in the river?

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Well, it made it even harder for the wild fish.

0:17:250:17:28

All of a sudden, there's a fresh, young fish that's twice your size,

0:17:280:17:31

that's been plopped in the water next to you,

0:17:310:17:33

and comes and shoves you out the way.

0:17:330:17:36

Farmed fish stopped being introduced to the river in 2003,

0:17:360:17:40

and the wild trout recovered in amazing numbers.

0:17:400:17:43

In one short section of a tributary,

0:17:430:17:45

they grew from just a handful to 66 in just two years.

0:17:450:17:50

Was it a difficult transition, then,

0:17:500:17:52

for the wild fish to be in the river on their own?

0:17:520:17:55

Yes, it was.

0:17:550:17:56

It required a lot of very hard work from the river keepers.

0:17:560:18:01

We'll go down-river and I'll show you some of the work that's been done.

0:18:010:18:04

OK. Great.

0:18:040:18:06

To restore the natural ecosystem and encourage the wild trout to thrive,

0:18:060:18:10

river keepers removed all the larger weirs

0:18:100:18:12

to allow them to move more freely.

0:18:120:18:15

You see with this style of weir...

0:18:150:18:17

..the fish can pass on that easily.

0:18:180:18:20

Then they focused on habitat management,

0:18:220:18:24

by reviving the river banks and water plants.

0:18:240:18:27

That...

0:18:270:18:29

What this was for, originally,

0:18:290:18:31

the Victorians put them in so they could put boards in and make weirs

0:18:310:18:35

made of wooden boards, planks across the river.

0:18:350:18:38

So, the first thing to do was take out the boards.

0:18:380:18:41

This has been turned to an advantage,

0:18:410:18:43

because having that willow round there,

0:18:430:18:45

can you see all those little gaps?

0:18:450:18:47

-Yeah.

-Well, there's places for little fish to be able to dart into and hide

0:18:470:18:51

when they're being chased, either by a big fish, or by a bird,

0:18:510:18:56

like a goosander, or a cormorant.

0:18:560:18:58

Paul and Sue are keen to catch a glimpse of the often elusive wild trout.

0:18:580:19:02

So Richard finds a quiet location along the bank,

0:19:020:19:05

and it's not long before he hooks a rainbow trout.

0:19:050:19:08

There we are.

0:19:110:19:12

-Jeepers!

-Look at that.

0:19:130:19:15

-Look at that.

-Isn't that beautiful?

-Oh, wow!

0:19:150:19:19

What do you reckon to that, then? See how beautiful it is?

0:19:190:19:22

The Haddon Estate's policy of re-wilding its rivers,

0:19:220:19:24

which includes throwing all the caught fish back into the water,

0:19:240:19:28

is now being adopted by other states.

0:19:280:19:31

But we still need to reel in a property for Paul and Sue,

0:19:310:19:34

so it's time to get back to the house hunt.

0:19:340:19:36

For our second offering, we're just outside the national park border,

0:19:410:19:45

and travelling a short distance to the hamlet of Handley,

0:19:450:19:48

under a 15-minute drive from Ashover,

0:19:480:19:50

the town nearest to our first house.

0:19:500:19:53

Handley is a stone's throw from the Ogston Reservoir which provides many

0:19:530:19:57

leisure activities, including sailing and trout fishing,

0:19:570:20:00

as well as supplying water for the area.

0:20:000:20:03

Local amenities can be found nearby

0:20:030:20:05

in the old coal-mining town of Clay Cross.

0:20:050:20:08

Back in the quiet hamlet of Handley,

0:20:080:20:10

house two is surrounded by open grazing land and far-reaching views.

0:20:100:20:14

House number two, as you can see, is a barn conversion.

0:20:180:20:20

-Oh, right.

-Yes, that's lovely, isn't it?

0:20:200:20:22

Yeah, it looks very nice.

0:20:220:20:24

The original stone barn was built in the 17th century,

0:20:240:20:27

and then the current owners bought the barn with planning permission

0:20:270:20:31

about 20 years ago, and then did it all themselves.

0:20:310:20:34

-It looks big.

-It is big, and what is also evident

0:20:340:20:39

is how much more land this property comes with.

0:20:390:20:42

-How far does it go?

-The big tree at the back.

0:20:420:20:44

-Oh, right!

-So you have a couple of stables...

-The garden and the field?

0:20:440:20:48

..and then all those fields beyond.

0:20:480:20:49

-Right.

-Until the big trees.

0:20:490:20:51

-Yes.

-And there's also the double garage that you wanted.

0:20:510:20:55

-Yes.

-With a room on top that can be used as an extra bedroom.

0:20:550:20:59

Right. Like a studio?

0:20:590:21:01

-Exactly.

-Yeah.

-Anything you want it to be.

0:21:010:21:03

-Yes.

-A place for your mother.

0:21:030:21:05

I'll leave that between you two.

0:21:060:21:09

-Or yours.

-There's a lot more inside.

-Yes.

-OK.

0:21:090:21:13

Let's go.

0:21:130:21:15

Set in two and a quarter acres, the L-shaped, stone-built barn

0:21:150:21:19

has been sympathetically converted,

0:21:190:21:21

and since Paul and Sue enjoy entertaining family and friends,

0:21:210:21:24

I'm sure they'll be impressed with the spacious accommodation on offer inside.

0:21:240:21:28

And it's straight into this beautiful kitchen.

0:21:280:21:31

-Lovely.

-Lovely size, and I love the beams.

0:21:310:21:34

Yeah. Very nice.

0:21:340:21:36

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen,

0:21:360:21:38

so it's nice to have something of a nice size.

0:21:380:21:40

-Too many "nices", Paul.

-THEY LAUGH

0:21:400:21:43

It's all right. Nice is a good word.

0:21:430:21:45

So, happy so far?

0:21:450:21:46

-Yes.

-Yes. Really good start.

0:21:460:21:49

-OK. Let me take you through to the lounge.

-Great.

0:21:490:21:51

The kitchen leads down to a grand entrance dining hall,

0:21:530:21:56

with natural flagstone tiling.

0:21:560:21:59

I love the floor. It's lovely.

0:21:590:22:01

-Into the lounge.

-Wow.

0:22:030:22:05

Yeah. That's really nice.

0:22:050:22:06

That's really nice.

0:22:060:22:07

-Yeah. That's just what I imagine.

-We've got another inglenook after 40 years.

0:22:070:22:12

Yes. That was lovely.

0:22:120:22:14

We really missed having that.

0:22:140:22:16

-Wow.

-Would this fit both of your requirements?

0:22:160:22:18

The cosy, yet light and airy?

0:22:180:22:20

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-It is cosy, isn't it?

0:22:200:22:23

But it's big enough for Paul.

0:22:230:22:25

This is really nice.

0:22:250:22:26

She's getting excited.

0:22:270:22:30

You'd better watch out.

0:22:300:22:31

As well as the rooms we've seen,

0:22:330:22:35

there are three further rooms on the ground floor in a separate wing of

0:22:350:22:39

the property which are accessed via the kitchen.

0:22:390:22:41

Plenty of scope for Paul and Sue's grown-up children when they come to stay.

0:22:410:22:45

A family room, with windows on two sides,

0:22:450:22:48

has a separate spiral staircase leading to one of the bedrooms upstairs.

0:22:480:22:53

There is an additional dining room and, finally,

0:22:530:22:55

a quarry-tiled utility room with Belfast sink.

0:22:550:22:59

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms.

0:22:590:23:00

One of those is the bedroom with its own staircase.

0:23:000:23:03

There is also a bathroom and a dressing area,

0:23:030:23:05

so this entire wing can be shut off from the rest of the house.

0:23:050:23:09

The remaining bedrooms includes another large double,

0:23:100:23:13

and a smaller double with exposed beams,

0:23:130:23:16

and they are serviced by an additional bathroom,

0:23:160:23:18

which just leaves the master.

0:23:180:23:20

This is the master bedroom to the house.

0:23:230:23:25

-Oh, right.

-Lovely.

0:23:250:23:27

Really nice.

0:23:270:23:28

-No wardrobes.

-No, there aren't.

0:23:300:23:32

And if I were you, I would use the guest bedroom,

0:23:320:23:34

which is just the other side of the bathroom there,

0:23:340:23:36

-and just have a separate area...

-Yes.

0:23:360:23:38

..and just keep this quite neat.

0:23:380:23:40

-Yes.

-That'll be a comedown for you,

0:23:400:23:43

as you use every bedroom at the minute.

0:23:430:23:45

Sorry, you can use every bedroom.

0:23:450:23:47

All four bedrooms, if you wanted.

0:23:470:23:50

But look at the view.

0:23:500:23:51

That's the best view, out of the master bedroom.

0:23:510:23:55

On this side, you see your front garden.

0:23:550:23:57

-Yes.

-And on this side, your back garden,

0:23:570:23:59

which I know you've been trying to peek at.

0:23:590:24:01

But let me just take you to the back,

0:24:010:24:04

rather than you trying to cheat!

0:24:040:24:06

Yeah. No, it's fine.

0:24:060:24:07

Let's go outside.

0:24:080:24:09

So the house gets the thumbs up and we already know that Sue is

0:24:130:24:16

impressed with the garden at the front and the enclosed paddock.

0:24:160:24:20

In addition to the double garage and stables,

0:24:200:24:22

there is a further outbuilding which could make an excellent study

0:24:220:24:26

or showroom for a classic car, perhaps?

0:24:260:24:28

And at the rear of the barn, there is more outside space -

0:24:280:24:31

a gravelled courtyard, with raised beds used for growing vegetables.

0:24:310:24:35

A ready-made allotment just for you. Right!

0:24:400:24:42

-Yes.

-That would save me building raised beds.

0:24:440:24:47

Yeah, yeah. We might have to move them to the other side.

0:24:470:24:50

But this would be a nice sitting area, with a nice table and some chairs here.

0:24:500:24:53

Even when I give her an allotment, she wants to move it.

0:24:530:24:56

But there is enough space the other side, isn't there?

0:24:560:24:59

There is, and, actually, this is where you get some of your views,

0:24:590:25:02

as well, so you are right.

0:25:020:25:04

-It would make a lovely... just a courtyard.

-Yeah, yeah.

-Yeah.

0:25:040:25:07

But how much is it going to cost you?

0:25:070:25:09

I'd like to think we'd got some spare cash at the end to do a few things.

0:25:090:25:13

-But I guess...

-Oh, everyone would like to think that!

-I know! Yes!

0:25:130:25:17

I think it's going to be 750.

0:25:170:25:19

-OK.

-OK, and I would go a little bit less than that.

0:25:190:25:24

710.

0:25:240:25:25

Well, the owner, thankfully for you, has decided to go in the middle.

0:25:250:25:30

It's now on the market for £725,000.

0:25:300:25:34

So, it's doable, isn't it?

0:25:340:25:35

Oh, for sure. It's good.

0:25:350:25:37

Yeah. I think it's probably worth all of that.

0:25:370:25:40

-Do you want to have another look around, now that you know the price?

-Yes.

-Yeah, sure do.

0:25:400:25:44

-I'll meet you on the other side.

-OK.

-Thank you.

0:25:440:25:47

I think we may have a winner.

0:25:500:25:51

Fingers crossed.

0:25:510:25:53

Under budget by £25,000,

0:25:550:25:57

our second property is a characterful converted stone barn,

0:25:570:26:01

with lots of potential for entertaining.

0:26:010:26:04

It comes with a large farmhouse-style dining/kitchen

0:26:040:26:07

and a spacious sitting room as well as three further reception rooms.

0:26:070:26:11

The four bedrooms offer plenty of space for visiting family, and outside,

0:26:110:26:15

there is much to keep Sue busy, and Paul gets his garage.

0:26:150:26:19

-Oh, right.

-Oh.

0:26:210:26:23

This is an interesting room.

0:26:240:26:26

Well, this is almost self-contained, isn't it?

0:26:260:26:28

You could use this

0:26:280:26:30

when my mum comes.

0:26:300:26:32

I thought the property from the outside looked quite surprising,

0:26:320:26:35

because you can't see the front of it until you go round the corner,

0:26:350:26:39

And then realise it's a really big barn conversion, with lots of land,

0:26:390:26:43

which is just lovely.

0:26:430:26:45

It's really spectacular.

0:26:450:26:47

I think they've done a really good job as a barn conversion

0:26:470:26:49

and made the best of the features that were there.

0:26:490:26:51

Outside, plenty of space for Sue to really make her mark on the garden.

0:26:510:26:58

I think it really works.

0:26:580:27:00

I actually can't think of anything missing from this property

0:27:000:27:03

off their request list.

0:27:030:27:05

Could this be the one?

0:27:060:27:07

Could be. Could be.

0:27:070:27:10

Yeah, we could do some projects here to make it our own, but, yeah,

0:27:100:27:13

-it's really good.

-Nice to see two very happy people.

0:27:130:27:16

Let's go and get a drink, eh?

0:27:160:27:18

It's the second day of our property search with married couple Paul and

0:27:280:27:31

Sue from Maidenhead in Berkshire.

0:27:310:27:34

With a generous budget of £750,000,

0:27:340:27:38

they are looking for a rural home to retire to, in Derbyshire.

0:27:380:27:41

Coming up, the selling point of the Mystery House becomes clear.

0:27:410:27:45

Wow! Another one with a view, then.

0:27:460:27:48

And I set foot in one of Derbyshire's thriving heritage industries.

0:27:500:27:55

Wow! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be in a boot factory.

0:27:550:27:59

Well, yesterday was a success, especially with house number two,

0:28:020:28:05

which they both love.

0:28:050:28:06

Sue was certainly enamoured.

0:28:060:28:08

But I know Paul wants to reserve judgment until he sees what we have

0:28:080:28:11

up our sleeves with the Mystery House.

0:28:110:28:13

Well, the mystery is all about geography

0:28:130:28:16

and I'm hoping it will pique their interest.

0:28:160:28:18

For our Mystery House,

0:28:200:28:21

we are heading away from Paul and Sue's ideal search area.

0:28:210:28:24

Our destination is the village of Hayfield,

0:28:240:28:27

on the fringes of the Peak District National Park.

0:28:270:28:30

Hayfield is a picture-perfect Peak District village,

0:28:310:28:34

sitting at the foot of Kinder Scout, the region's highest peak,

0:28:340:28:37

and the scene of a mass protest in 1932,

0:28:370:28:41

which kick-started the right to roam movement.

0:28:410:28:44

Once a staging post along the Pennines packhorse route,

0:28:440:28:47

much of the village's distinctive architecture

0:28:470:28:50

dates to the Industrial Revolution,

0:28:500:28:52

when it was a prosperous centre for cotton production.

0:28:520:28:55

The River Sett runs through the village,

0:28:550:28:57

which is served by a number of eateries and pubs.

0:28:570:28:59

Our Mystery House, a mile outside Hayfield,

0:29:000:29:03

is the most remote offering yet,

0:29:030:29:05

and could challenge Paul and Sue when it comes to space,

0:29:050:29:08

but the stunning setting, just inside the Peak District National Park,

0:29:080:29:12

more than makes up for it.

0:29:120:29:14

Wow! Another one with a view, then.

0:29:160:29:19

Absolutely. Welcome to your Mystery House.

0:29:200:29:23

And the mystery is where we are.

0:29:230:29:26

-We are further north than you wanted to be, ideally, initially.

-Right.

0:29:260:29:30

-Give it a thought.

-Mm-hm.

0:29:310:29:33

You've got these amazing views,

0:29:330:29:35

but you are a 15-minute walk from your local village.

0:29:350:29:39

I think my initial thoughts are it's a lovely house.

0:29:390:29:43

It's a lovely view.

0:29:430:29:45

The big thing to think forward is how we get the location to work.

0:29:450:29:49

The house itself, inside, is stunning.

0:29:490:29:52

-Right.

-So, let's go in.

0:29:520:29:54

-OK.

-I could do stunning.

0:29:540:29:56

Our mystery property was a derelict barn until 17 years ago,

0:29:580:30:02

when the current owners completely renovated the interior.

0:30:020:30:05

It shares access with the neighbouring farmhouse at the end of the driveway

0:30:050:30:09

but opposite the barn there's a stone outbuilding and garage

0:30:090:30:13

which is part of the package.

0:30:130:30:15

The accommodation is spread across four levels,

0:30:150:30:17

and combines contemporary styling with rustic charm.

0:30:170:30:21

So, with this entrance, we come straight into the kitchen, but

0:30:210:30:24

you don't have to use this entrance.

0:30:240:30:27

You could use the lower door to the property...

0:30:270:30:29

-Right.

-Mm-hm.

0:30:290:30:31

..which would bring you down there.

0:30:310:30:33

-But here's the kitchen.

-Yes, it's lovely.

0:30:330:30:35

You couldn't use it as a kitchen/diner, really, could you?

0:30:350:30:37

No. It's big enough, though, to work in.

0:30:370:30:40

And what's nice about this kitchen,

0:30:400:30:42

it's got huge double doors which go straight into the main part of the house.

0:30:420:30:46

-OK.

-Let's go into there.

0:30:460:30:47

Before we tackle the main living space on this level,

0:30:490:30:52

there are two other rooms on the lower ground floor

0:30:520:30:55

next to the alternative entrance.

0:30:550:30:56

A sitting room, or cosy snug, and a smaller dining room.

0:30:560:31:00

-Oh, wow.

-You can see why I've brought you to this corner,

0:31:030:31:06

because this is where you can fully appreciate that it used to be a barn.

0:31:060:31:11

Would this be enough space for you as a lounge?

0:31:110:31:13

It's quite snug for the two of us but if we've got friends,

0:31:130:31:17

then there's not enough seating, really.

0:31:170:31:20

Let's talk about bedrooms.

0:31:200:31:21

The property has four bedrooms and the reason that I'm telling you that

0:31:210:31:25

-here is because you can see lot of them from here.

-Right.

0:31:250:31:28

So, this would be a guest room for you,

0:31:280:31:32

and it's got an en-suite shower already in there.

0:31:320:31:35

-Right.

-So it's sort of ready... And it's got this lovely balcony.

0:31:350:31:38

You could sing to Sue from there.

0:31:380:31:41

-Yes.

-Or she could wait for you up there.

0:31:410:31:44

That's been a long time.

0:31:440:31:45

The other two bedrooms are just there and there,

0:31:450:31:47

and there is a bathroom that they share.

0:31:470:31:49

Right.

0:31:490:31:51

Of these two bedrooms, one is a double,

0:31:510:31:53

making a feature of the exposed stone, and the other is a single

0:31:530:31:57

with oak beams.

0:31:570:31:58

The half-tiled family bathroom has two feature keyhole windows,

0:31:580:32:02

and more exposed stonework.

0:32:020:32:04

That just leaves Paul and Sue's master,

0:32:040:32:06

which is at the top of the stairs off an upper landing.

0:32:060:32:09

So, the master is on the second floor...

0:32:120:32:15

Right.

0:32:150:32:16

..which gives you that extra level of privacy.

0:32:160:32:19

-En suite.

-OK.

-And, for you, Sue,

0:32:190:32:22

a walk-in wardrobe cos you are too tall, Paul.

0:32:220:32:25

-Yes.

-Your clothes will have to be somewhere else.

0:32:250:32:28

Yeah, because you've probably not got any loft space.

0:32:280:32:30

-We are in the loft, really.

-Yeah. That's right.

0:32:300:32:33

I'm a little surprised this room's not bigger

0:32:330:32:36

for the size of the barn from the outside.

0:32:360:32:38

It's all about the flow,

0:32:380:32:39

and the flow of the rooms and how do they work together,

0:32:390:32:43

and I think there's a few things in here where the flow doesn't quite work.

0:32:430:32:47

Well, let's go outside. I'll show you the options that you have.

0:32:470:32:51

Lovely.

0:32:510:32:53

Even though Paul and Sue seem smitten by the setting,

0:32:550:32:58

I think they're struggling with the mystery property's quirky layout.

0:32:580:33:02

The outside space could challenge them, too. Paul gets his garage,

0:33:020:33:06

which is housed in the outbuilding just across the driveway from the barn,

0:33:060:33:10

and which also includes a utility room.

0:33:100:33:11

But the garden is smaller than our previous properties,

0:33:130:33:16

and comprises an informal lawn space.

0:33:160:33:19

So, I've brought you up here,

0:33:200:33:21

because this is where you get a full appreciation of the house,

0:33:210:33:25

and the land that it sits in.

0:33:250:33:28

It's all of this, so it goes up to this first post here,

0:33:280:33:31

-and the dry stone wall.

-Right.

0:33:310:33:33

So the whole path is yours, but it's a public footpath.

0:33:330:33:37

-Even this bit is yours.

-Yeah.

-So, I was kind of thinking,

0:33:370:33:40

could you do a vegetable patch on the gravelled area here?

0:33:400:33:43

-Yeah, this side... with the little railing there.

-Or just there?

-Yeah.

0:33:430:33:47

Right. Let's talk money.

0:33:470:33:48

Oh, gosh. Right.

0:33:480:33:50

OK, I'm going to...

0:33:500:33:51

..plump for 615.

0:33:530:33:56

Let's go for hope over expectation, I think 675?

0:33:560:34:00

I like your optimism.

0:34:000:34:01

-Yes.

-But that's not going to buy you this house.

0:34:010:34:04

-No. Right.

-It's on the market for the top of your budget, £750,000.

0:34:040:34:09

-Gosh!

-Yeah.

0:34:090:34:10

You will always pay a hefty premium for being inside the national park.

0:34:100:34:16

Anyway, now that you know the price, have another look around.

0:34:160:34:19

Discuss it amongst yourselves and then I will meet you at the front.

0:34:190:34:22

OK, thank you very much.

0:34:220:34:24

Bang on budget, our mystery barn conversion challenges Paul and Sue

0:34:270:34:32

with an unconventional layout, but suits them on many levels.

0:34:320:34:36

Laid out over four floors,

0:34:360:34:38

it fuses contemporary design with original features.

0:34:380:34:42

The highlight is a full-height, vaulted living room,

0:34:420:34:45

off which are four distinctive bedrooms.

0:34:450:34:47

Outside, there is an outbuilding for Paul's car,

0:34:470:34:50

and although the garden might be a bit small for Sue,

0:34:500:34:52

she'd be rewarded with stunning panoramic views

0:34:520:34:55

of the Peak District.

0:34:550:34:57

I think the inside of the property

0:34:570:34:59

is a little bit smaller than I was expecting, room-wise.

0:34:590:35:02

The kitchen and the lounge, although they flow through together is nice,

0:35:020:35:06

but each of those are a little bit small.

0:35:060:35:09

And it's quite a walk up the stairs to the master bedroom.

0:35:090:35:12

The views are stunning,

0:35:130:35:15

but I don't think I'd be willing to pay the premium for being in the park.

0:35:150:35:20

I don't think Sue and I are on the same page with this property.

0:35:200:35:23

I could see myself living here for the views.

0:35:230:35:26

And we don't spend a lot of time in the house, anyway.

0:35:260:35:29

But I think Sue will feel hemmed in.

0:35:290:35:31

So, is it worth paying a premium to be inside a national park?

0:35:320:35:37

For me, yes.

0:35:370:35:38

If it's the right property.

0:35:380:35:40

-Sue?

-No. For me, I'd be just as happy outside the park.

0:35:400:35:44

Well, we've seen three lovely properties.

0:35:440:35:46

It's the end of our search.

0:35:460:35:47

I'd love to know your thoughts. Let's get a cup of tea.

0:35:470:35:49

Derbyshire's dramatic Peak District is made up of a limestone upland plateau

0:35:560:36:01

known as the High Peak, and the White Peak,

0:36:010:36:03

the lower valleys where the greyish rock is more exposed.

0:36:030:36:07

Since Roman times, limestone has been quarried here,

0:36:070:36:09

for building and to produce lime and lead,

0:36:090:36:12

but it really took off in the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution.

0:36:120:36:17

The local workforce needed sturdy footwear,

0:36:170:36:20

and a number of bootmakers sprung up in villages such as Middleton Stoney.

0:36:200:36:24

Today, just one company from that era remains.

0:36:240:36:28

William Lennon & Co was established in 1899, and is the sole surviving

0:36:280:36:32

heavy-duty bootmaker in the UK still using traditional methods.

0:36:320:36:37

It's very much a family business, and I've come to meet Libs Slattery,

0:36:370:36:41

the great-granddaughter of the company's founder.

0:36:410:36:45

Hi, Libs.

0:36:450:36:46

Hello. Pleased to meet you.

0:36:460:36:48

Wow, I cannot tell you how excited I am to be in a boot factory.

0:36:480:36:52

And this is your life, isn't it?

0:36:520:36:54

This is my life and four generations before as a family, yes.

0:36:540:36:59

Bootmaking, has that been throughout the county of Derbyshire or is it

0:36:590:37:02

just in this area?

0:37:020:37:03

Predominantly up round here because we're a limestone area so in the days

0:37:030:37:08

of the quarrying, boot repairs were necessary

0:37:080:37:12

and little cottage industries set up and we continued from there on.

0:37:120:37:18

What makes your boots, though, so unique?

0:37:180:37:20

The uniqueness of our boots is to do with that machine in the corner.

0:37:200:37:25

There are only two in the world that we know are working.

0:37:250:37:28

The other one is in New Zealand.

0:37:280:37:30

And it attaches the soles of the boots to the uppers,

0:37:300:37:32

using brass screwing wire in a certain way that nobody else can.

0:37:320:37:36

So this is where they end up.

0:37:360:37:38

Yes, they're on the latter stages of their production in here.

0:37:380:37:41

-Would you like to see where they start?

-Of course.

-Come on.

0:37:410:37:44

From just three antique shoe-shaped lasts, or models,

0:37:460:37:49

the company's skilled employees can create up to 15 different styles of

0:37:490:37:54

leather shoe and boot.

0:37:540:37:55

Using machines over 100 years old, bootmaking is a labour-intensive,

0:37:550:38:00

traditional manufacturing process.

0:38:000:38:02

Without the aid of modern technology, everything is done by eye,

0:38:020:38:06

and the whole process can take four days, start to finish.

0:38:060:38:10

So this is where it all starts.

0:38:100:38:12

That's right. We're up on the top floor or, as we know it,

0:38:120:38:15

the closing room, where the rolls of leather come in and they leave here

0:38:150:38:19

looking a little bit like a boot.

0:38:190:38:21

So how do you start making a boot?

0:38:210:38:22

OK, three processes in here.

0:38:220:38:24

We've got Phil.

0:38:240:38:26

He uses all these knives, collects the right patterns

0:38:260:38:28

and cuts them out of leather with his clicking press.

0:38:280:38:32

-Like a cookie cutter, but...?

-A little bit like a glorified...

0:38:320:38:35

-A bit more serious.

-A bit more heavy.

0:38:350:38:37

There you go. Then the leather, because of the thickness of the leather,

0:38:370:38:42

it has to be prepared to be stitched, or closed, as it's called,

0:38:420:38:45

so Lou operates what's called the skiving machine to thin the leather

0:38:450:38:49

down, ready for sewing.

0:38:490:38:51

Finally, Pat uses various sewing machines to

0:38:520:38:56

close the upper or stitch it all together,

0:38:560:38:59

and by the time those presses have happened, the boot - or,

0:38:590:39:02

should I say,

0:39:020:39:04

upper - looks like that.

0:39:040:39:06

The upper is then taken downstairs where another machine is used to shape it

0:39:080:39:12

into the form of a boot before the brass screw wire machine fires

0:39:120:39:16

lengths of twisted wire metal into the sole, fusing the layers together.

0:39:160:39:21

So, your finished boot.

0:39:210:39:24

A good, old-fashioned working boot.

0:39:240:39:26

Yeah, absolutely.

0:39:260:39:27

It's like a work of art.

0:39:270:39:29

Over the years, the design of the work boot has changed little,

0:39:290:39:32

but a recent addition to the range is the vintage cycle shoe.

0:39:320:39:36

Becoming more and more popular is this vintage retro look,

0:39:360:39:41

and we have to have the shoes to match,

0:39:410:39:43

and they are all-leather cycle shoes,

0:39:430:39:45

but they're made on our wide-fitting last for English wide feet.

0:39:450:39:49

Do we have wider feet?

0:39:490:39:50

We do, in general, have wider feet.

0:39:500:39:53

Thank you so much for showing me around.

0:39:530:39:55

-It's been brilliant.

-You're more than welcome.

0:39:550:39:57

What a fantastic family business.

0:39:570:40:00

With the firm's boots featuring in popular TV dramas

0:40:000:40:03

and being worn by mountain explorers,

0:40:030:40:05

it's good to see that traditional bootmaking is alive and kicking.

0:40:050:40:09

I think it's clear from our property search with Sue and Paul that house

0:40:120:40:15

number two is the only one still in the running,

0:40:150:40:18

but just how serious are they about it?

0:40:180:40:20

Time to find out.

0:40:200:40:21

I don't think we need to talk about house one and the Mystery House.

0:40:270:40:31

House two, do you still feel as enthusiastic about it?

0:40:310:40:36

Yes, definitely, yes.

0:40:360:40:37

That house ticked nearly all the boxes of things that we wanted.

0:40:370:40:43

We just need to go and have a look round a bit more,

0:40:430:40:45

do a bit more research of the area

0:40:450:40:47

and see if the facilities that we want

0:40:470:40:51

are available.

0:40:510:40:52

-Paul?

-I think the other thing for me was,

0:40:520:40:55

it had the potential - there are things that we would like to do

0:40:550:40:59

and there's room to do that.

0:40:590:41:01

One of the things we will have to have a think about is that

0:41:010:41:04

there are more things there than we actually need.

0:41:040:41:07

The room over the garage is an extra and the outside office-cum-flatlet

0:41:070:41:14

we don't really need, but generally, more is better than less, so...

0:41:140:41:19

If you like the area, is it a house that you'd put an offer in on soon?

0:41:200:41:26

Yes, I think it is. We need to sell our house,

0:41:260:41:29

but we're hoping to get on with that quite quickly and then,

0:41:290:41:32

once that happens, then we'd be looking to make an offer.

0:41:320:41:35

How much, in your heads, have you moved in already?

0:41:350:41:38

Or are you quite cautious as a couple?

0:41:380:41:39

Well, we are quite cautious cos we've bought and sold before so it's never

0:41:390:41:43

a done deal, really, until you exchange contracts,

0:41:430:41:46

so I am naturally cautious about getting my hopes up to be dashed down,

0:41:460:41:51

so I keep cautious until we're at the contract stage.

0:41:510:41:54

Well, I'm so glad you found a property that you liked.

0:41:540:41:57

Fingers crossed you like the area,

0:41:570:41:59

and perhaps the next time we hear from you, you may have already moved in.

0:41:590:42:02

-Yes.

-Mmm.

-So please keep me updated on the progress.

0:42:020:42:05

-OK.

-OK.

-Good luck.

0:42:050:42:07

-Thank you.

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:42:070:42:09

This search is a big deal for Paul and Sue.

0:42:140:42:17

Moving to Derbyshire will be them coming back home.

0:42:170:42:20

They entered the search hoping just to hone down on what was important

0:42:200:42:24

to them when it came to finding a retirement property.

0:42:240:42:27

I'm so pleased we were able to help with that,

0:42:270:42:29

and find them somewhere that they both absolutely loved.

0:42:290:42:32

Let's hope they'll be calling this stunning county home very soon.

0:42:320:42:36

See you next time on Escape To The Country.

0:42:360:42:39

Paul and Sue's interest in our second house continues as they wait

0:42:400:42:44

for their Maidenhead home to sell.

0:42:440:42:46

If you'd like to escape to the country

0:42:460:42:48

in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and need our help,

0:42:480:42:52

then please apply online at...

0:42:520:42:54

Sonali Shah is house hunting with a couple who have a £750,000 budget to make the break from the Home Counties and return to their roots in the Derbyshire countryside. Sonali also puts her best foot forward and visits a longstanding family-run bootmaker in the Peak District, a reminder of the many local factories which once supplied the mining workforce during the Industrial Revolution.


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