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If I told you this beautiful river inspired the writing of a fishing manual,
it wouldn't come as much of a surprise.
But this book was written 350 years ago.
It's still in print and it's sold more copies than the Bible.
If that's hooked you in, I'll tell you more about this infamous book,
and where I am, in just a moment.
On today's show, a couple who are hoping to escape urban life and
return to their rural roots.
From the outset, they have a clear vision of what they want.
-I can't stop looking at the view.
If you buy this house, you won't have to.
And then things begin to heat up even more.
She's getting excited.
Yes. I think you'd better watch out.
Today, I'm in Derbyshire, and it's the River Dove, here,
in the Peak District, that gains many a mention in one of the
greatest books in sporting literature.
The Compleat Angler.
Author Izaak Walton used to fish here in the 1650s.
Three and a half centuries later,
his book is still hailed as a pioneering work,
being more than just a how-to guide, by describing riverside habitats,
promoting conservation and celebrating the countryside at large,
all messages that clearly resonate in the present day.
Derbyshire sits in the East Midlands region of England,
and borders counties including Staffordshire and South Yorkshire.
It has a long and distinguished history.
The Romans made use of the natural geological resources here,
such as the lead ore in the limestone hills
and the thermal springs around Buxton.
From the late 18th century,
the town thrived as a fashionable spa destination,
and its fine array of Georgian architecture includes an impressive,
sweeping crescent modelled on that in Bath.
Today, the town hosts an annual music and literary festival,
centred on the opera house, built in 1903 and designed by Frank Matcham,
the same architect behind the London Palladium.
Around a third of Derbyshire is taken up by the Peak District National Park.
Roughly the size of Greater London,
its appealing landscape of dramatic rolling hills and escarpments
attracts around ten million visitors each year.
It's also an enticing destination for those looking to trade an urban
existence for the countryside.
The latest stats show the average price of a detached property here in
Derbyshire is £210,000.
That's 55,000 below the national figure.
However, the picture changes dramatically as you move towards
the central peaks region around Buxton.
There, you could pay £150,000 more for an equivalent property,
as restricted supply keeps prices at a premium.
The good news is, though,
that even a couple of miles outside the national park borders,
around the market towns of Ashbourne and Matlock,
you do get value for money.
So, where are today's buyers looking,
in this beautiful and diverse county?
Let's meet them and find out.
Paul and Sue have been married for 40 years and spent their early life
in the Derbyshire countryside.
They currently live in a modern detached property in Maidenhead, Berkshire.
But having retired two years ago and with their three grown-up
children no longer at home,
they now have the chance to escape the hectic pace of working urban life.
The house that we live in at the moment has been absolutely brilliant,
for the last 20 years, and is very practical for a family with children.
The downside is the fact that it is just so busy, and quite noisy, so,
we decided years ago, that when I finished work,
we'd think about moving back to where we were in Derbyshire,
and that's what we're planning to do.
Until they retired,
Sue was a midwife and Paul worked for an airline at Heathrow Airport.
For him, this flight north,
along with their dog Cassie, is about rekindling childhood memories.
I was born in Derbyshire,
and spent the first ten years in the Peak District
and spent all my time either walking, or in those days,
playing in the brooks and things, and loved it.
Their decision to move now was cemented by a recent,
memorable visit to the region.
About six months ago, we went back to stay with friends
in a little village just outside Derby.
You woke up in the morning, and the sun was streaming through,
and you could see the hills, and it was just idyllic.
And I said to Paul, "This is really quiet here.
"How do you feel about moving back to the quiet?"
And he said, "I love it," so I said, "Great.
"Because I do too, so that's what we're going to do."
Their new property will have to cater for their diverse hobbies,
not least a decent-sized garden for Sue,
who also rents an allotment close to her home.
I started gardening when my son got to about 15,
and it was a great relaxation from a busy day at work.
And that has just continued and now I'd like to spend all my time
in the garden, outside and on the allotment.
But Paul will be in their garage,
tinkering with his much-loved classic car.
The MG we've had since 1980.
It is in fact the deposit on our first house,
because the bank took too long to get the mortgage sorted out.
We spent the money on the car.
And we've never had the heart to sell it.
Although they've retired,
Sue and Paul aren't putting their feet up just yet.
Having completely remodelled their current home over the years,
they're keen to take on another property project.
I'm really excited about the fact that we,
when we've bought houses in the past,
then it's been actually planning and getting that house to the state
that you like it.
That's another reason to move on, the thought of doing it again,
it's time to move and do something new.
Paul and Sue would ideally like to live between Chesterfield and Derby,
where their family and friends are based.
I'm meeting up with them in the county's famous Peak District to see
what's on their property wish list.
Welcome to Derbyshire.
What in particular attracts you both to this area?
Well, we used to live in Derbyshire in our 20s,
so it was always our plan to come back to Derbyshire.
We have family here and we've also got lots of friends
from when we were working in Derby.
-So, it will be like coming back home.
What sort of property are you both looking for?
Probably a nice, four-bedroomed detached, preferably stone.
A nice, big lounge.
We do quite a lot of entertaining, so we'd like a nice, big kitchen,
maybe a kitchen/diner, or a decent-sized dining room.
-The outside space is very important...
-..because I do a lot of gardening,
so a nice garden, or space to make a nice garden.
And also, we need a double garage,
and space for a couple of cars to park, as well.
What about location? Would you like to be in the community?
Near a village?
Near a village, probably, rather than right in the centre of the village.
A reasonable sized village, so there's plenty of amenities,
like a cricket club, and a tennis club would be great.
And remind me of your budget?
We can go max 750.
OK. Let's not waste any time.
Armed with a sizeable budget of £750,000,
our buyers would like a traditional, detached property,
ideally built from local stone.
As they like to entertain,
it should feature a big kitchen/living area for socialising,
and four bedrooms for when their grown-up children come to stay.
Outside space is important for Sue, who likes gardening,
and Paul needs somewhere for his classic car.
Location-wise, they'd like to be close to a thriving village.
We've lined up a delightful selection of Derbyshire properties to draw
them back to this beautiful county,
but I won't be revealing the price of each house until the end of the tour.
The Mystery House could challenge them on location and space,
but in other ways, more than makes up for it.
How much difference is there in what you each want?
I'd like a character property, with a bit of a cosy feel to it,
whereas Paul quite likes large rooms.
I'd like a big lounge.
You want more spacious-looking?
And somewhere to entertain, so a nice, well-appointed kitchen.
And either a kitchen/diner, or a nice dining room.
We are starting our property search in the hamlet of Uppertown,
in the north of the county, bordering the Peak District National Park.
The closest village for services is Ashover.
Situated in the beautiful Amber Valley
and surrounded by sloping woodland, it's one of Derbyshire's prettiest villages.
It has a long history as an industrial centre,
with gritstone quarrying, and lead mining
dating back to the Roman times.
Its 14th century church suffered structural damage during the skirmishes
of the English Civil War.
The village centre provides a range of amenities, including a post office,
convenience store and a couple of pubs.
House number one is just over two miles away, situated in a peaceful,
rural hamlet, and benefits from some far-reaching views across
the Derbyshire countryside.
Oh. Wow! Oh, wow!
"Wow, wow!" was exactly the reaction I was looking for.
-This is what sells house number one.
It's everything around it.
You are well and truly in the countryside.
I can't stop looking at the view.
-If you buy this house, you won't have to.
-It was built in the 1960s.
A stone house, which I know you like.
And it was extended ten years ago,
so it's quite a decent-sized family home.
-Yeah, it looks really nice.
And it's lovely and quiet, isn't it?
-Big smiles already.
-Shall we get in?
-Let's have a look.
Great reactions to the view.
Let's hope this detached, stone property lives up to expectations.
So, there is not really a hallway with this house.
It's just a beautiful sunroom instead.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
The sunny garden room leads on to a corridor, and off to one side,
there's a sizeable downstairs bathroom, and to the other,
something that's definitely on Paul and Sue's radar.
Check out this kitchen.
Oh, that's wonderful.
-Yeah, that's nicely done, isn't it?
-It's got a range.
Yeah, very nice.
-Now, that's nice with space for a table, as well.
-So, you can eat in here if you need to.
What do you think about the size of it?
Is it enough, cos you said you loved entertaining?
This is just big enough, I would say.
Great. And, rather conveniently, right next door to the kitchen...
..it's the lounge.
So, the main lounge is here.
-That's a nice size, isn't it?
And double aspect.
Yeah, you'd definitely feel cosy.
Well, that's what I was thinking, cos you wanted cosy,
Paul wanted spacious, and in a way, this is both.
And you've got the view to the side, as well.
Oh, yeah. It's not just at the front.
Off the other end of the garden room,
there are two further reception rooms.
There's a terracotta tiled dining room,
and a cosy snug for relaxing in or it could make an extra bedroom.
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms accessed via a well-lit landing
with polished oak flooring.
They are all good sized doubles,
and make a feature of the heavy oak beam that runs across the length of the property.
And there is plenty of space in the half-tiled family bathroom
for his and hers washbasins, and a roll-top, cast iron bath,
which just leaves the master.
There are three bedrooms up here.
-This is the master.
-Yes, a nice size.
And they've made the best of the beams.
-And you got an en suite here, as well.
So, now you've seen most of the inside,
what do you think? Could you see yourselves living here?
-Yeah, we could live here, yeah.
I mean, the views are tremendous, aren't they?
We need to have a look at the outside space.
That's really important to me.
Let's go outside, and start thinking about the price.
Some reserved responses from Paul and Sue,
but the house has delivered the rooms they wanted.
The property sits in a well-maintained garden.
Lying to the front of the property is a large lawn,
bordered by well-stocked beds.
To one side, the raised decking takes advantage of the southerly aspect
and adjacent to the driveway, there's a trio of outbuildings,
comprising a garage, for Paul's classic car, a carport,
and workshop for all his tools.
So, this is the garden.
It wraps around the side of the house, so just below the decking.
So, there's not a huge amount to maintain.
-So, is this enough garden for you?
It might be a bit small.
-Well, you could also rent some of the land there...
-Yes, true, that's true!
..which is an option with this house,
if you really wanted a little bit more,
if this wasn't enough.
Not too far to walk the dog, either.
-It's time to guess the price.
Who'd like to go first?
I'll go first.
I think 625.
I think it's a little bit less than that.
-You're both out.
It's on the market for £675,000, and actually,
that's been recently reduced from 725.
-Yeah. I thought a little bit less,
because it's quite rural and it's three-bedroom.
But you wouldn't have to do anything...
-..for a while.
-Now that you do know the price,
do have another look around, and discuss it.
-Keep an open mind.
-Then I'll meet you at the front door.
-Lovely. Thank you.
Under budget by £75,000,
our first house is a spacious family home built of local stone.
Finished to a high standard, with oak flooring and beams,
it features a large enough kitchen for entertaining and four bedrooms
if you include the downstairs snug.
The garden is well maintained and manageable,
and there's parking for Paul's classic car.
What's more, the house is set in a stunning rural location.
I think it's a really lovely house,
really nicely done inside and outside.
The main thing for me, I think, is not having the fourth bedroom.
The three bedrooms that are done are beautiful.
Really nicely done, and the bathroom is lovely.
I'm just a bit concerned if we had our three children, and families,
it's not quite big enough for us.
I think, really, this property is all about two halves
and I'm loving the front half of the property, looking out over those views.
Unfortunately, the back half of the property doesn't really match up to the front.
So, is it still a contender, this house?
I think it's on the back burner, really.
Because it feels like a bit of a downsize for us.
I think it's just how much were we willing to pay for a view?
All right. Well, have a think.
-In the meantime, let's hit the road.
Derbyshire's unspoiled rivers are a defining feature of its countryside,
with some being notoriously fantastic places to fish.
The 17th-century fishing guide
The Compleat Angler described the Lathkill River here
on the Haddon estate, near Bakewell, as "the clearest stream in England",
with "the reddest trout you will ever see".
Today, the river is awash with both wild brown trout and rainbow trout,
but until recently, that wasn't the case.
Since Paul and Sue are keen to get involved in outdoor pursuits,
we've arranged for them to meet angler Richard Ward to find out more.
So, the fish weren't always wild here?
No, what happened was, in the Victorian times,
the river had weirs put into it, to make the river wider.
It was a fashion. It made the river look bigger than it actually was.
The problem with that is, the fish couldn't move up down easily.
The silt would fill up the pools between the weirs,
and block the gravel so the fish could no longer spawn.
So the Victorians said, "Well, that's all right.
"We'll farm them, and we'll put farmed fish in."
And that continued for 140 years.
So, what were the effects of having farmed fish in the river?
Well, it made it even harder for the wild fish.
All of a sudden, there's a fresh, young fish that's twice your size,
that's been plopped in the water next to you,
and comes and shoves you out the way.
Farmed fish stopped being introduced to the river in 2003,
and the wild trout recovered in amazing numbers.
In one short section of a tributary,
they grew from just a handful to 66 in just two years.
Was it a difficult transition, then,
for the wild fish to be in the river on their own?
Yes, it was.
It required a lot of very hard work from the river keepers.
We'll go down-river and I'll show you some of the work that's been done.
To restore the natural ecosystem and encourage the wild trout to thrive,
river keepers removed all the larger weirs
to allow them to move more freely.
You see with this style of weir...
..the fish can pass on that easily.
Then they focused on habitat management,
by reviving the river banks and water plants.
What this was for, originally,
the Victorians put them in so they could put boards in and make weirs
made of wooden boards, planks across the river.
So, the first thing to do was take out the boards.
This has been turned to an advantage,
because having that willow round there,
can you see all those little gaps?
-Well, there's places for little fish to be able to dart into and hide
when they're being chased, either by a big fish, or by a bird,
like a goosander, or a cormorant.
Paul and Sue are keen to catch a glimpse of the often elusive wild trout.
So Richard finds a quiet location along the bank,
and it's not long before he hooks a rainbow trout.
There we are.
-Look at that.
-Look at that.
-Isn't that beautiful?
What do you reckon to that, then? See how beautiful it is?
The Haddon Estate's policy of re-wilding its rivers,
which includes throwing all the caught fish back into the water,
is now being adopted by other states.
But we still need to reel in a property for Paul and Sue,
so it's time to get back to the house hunt.
For our second offering, we're just outside the national park border,
and travelling a short distance to the hamlet of Handley,
under a 15-minute drive from Ashover,
the town nearest to our first house.
Handley is a stone's throw from the Ogston Reservoir which provides many
leisure activities, including sailing and trout fishing,
as well as supplying water for the area.
Local amenities can be found nearby
in the old coal-mining town of Clay Cross.
Back in the quiet hamlet of Handley,
house two is surrounded by open grazing land and far-reaching views.
House number two, as you can see, is a barn conversion.
-Yes, that's lovely, isn't it?
Yeah, it looks very nice.
The original stone barn was built in the 17th century,
and then the current owners bought the barn with planning permission
about 20 years ago, and then did it all themselves.
-It looks big.
-It is big, and what is also evident
is how much more land this property comes with.
-How far does it go?
-The big tree at the back.
-So you have a couple of stables...
-The garden and the field?
..and then all those fields beyond.
-Until the big trees.
-And there's also the double garage that you wanted.
-With a room on top that can be used as an extra bedroom.
Right. Like a studio?
-Anything you want it to be.
-A place for your mother.
I'll leave that between you two.
-There's a lot more inside.
Set in two and a quarter acres, the L-shaped, stone-built barn
has been sympathetically converted,
and since Paul and Sue enjoy entertaining family and friends,
I'm sure they'll be impressed with the spacious accommodation on offer inside.
And it's straight into this beautiful kitchen.
-Lovely size, and I love the beams.
Yeah. Very nice.
We spend a lot of time in the kitchen,
so it's nice to have something of a nice size.
-Too many "nices", Paul.
It's all right. Nice is a good word.
So, happy so far?
-Yes. Really good start.
-OK. Let me take you through to the lounge.
The kitchen leads down to a grand entrance dining hall,
with natural flagstone tiling.
I love the floor. It's lovely.
-Into the lounge.
Yeah. That's really nice.
That's really nice.
-Yeah. That's just what I imagine.
-We've got another inglenook after 40 years.
Yes. That was lovely.
We really missed having that.
-Would this fit both of your requirements?
The cosy, yet light and airy?
-It is cosy, isn't it?
But it's big enough for Paul.
This is really nice.
She's getting excited.
You'd better watch out.
As well as the rooms we've seen,
there are three further rooms on the ground floor in a separate wing of
the property which are accessed via the kitchen.
Plenty of scope for Paul and Sue's grown-up children when they come to stay.
A family room, with windows on two sides,
has a separate spiral staircase leading to one of the bedrooms upstairs.
There is an additional dining room and, finally,
a quarry-tiled utility room with Belfast sink.
Upstairs, there are four bedrooms.
One of those is the bedroom with its own staircase.
There is also a bathroom and a dressing area,
so this entire wing can be shut off from the rest of the house.
The remaining bedrooms includes another large double,
and a smaller double with exposed beams,
and they are serviced by an additional bathroom,
which just leaves the master.
This is the master bedroom to the house.
-No, there aren't.
And if I were you, I would use the guest bedroom,
which is just the other side of the bathroom there,
-and just have a separate area...
..and just keep this quite neat.
-That'll be a comedown for you,
as you use every bedroom at the minute.
Sorry, you can use every bedroom.
All four bedrooms, if you wanted.
But look at the view.
That's the best view, out of the master bedroom.
On this side, you see your front garden.
-And on this side, your back garden,
which I know you've been trying to peek at.
But let me just take you to the back,
rather than you trying to cheat!
Yeah. No, it's fine.
Let's go outside.
So the house gets the thumbs up and we already know that Sue is
impressed with the garden at the front and the enclosed paddock.
In addition to the double garage and stables,
there is a further outbuilding which could make an excellent study
or showroom for a classic car, perhaps?
And at the rear of the barn, there is more outside space -
a gravelled courtyard, with raised beds used for growing vegetables.
A ready-made allotment just for you. Right!
-That would save me building raised beds.
Yeah, yeah. We might have to move them to the other side.
But this would be a nice sitting area, with a nice table and some chairs here.
Even when I give her an allotment, she wants to move it.
But there is enough space the other side, isn't there?
There is, and, actually, this is where you get some of your views,
as well, so you are right.
-It would make a lovely... just a courtyard.
But how much is it going to cost you?
I'd like to think we'd got some spare cash at the end to do a few things.
-But I guess...
-Oh, everyone would like to think that!
-I know! Yes!
I think it's going to be 750.
-OK, and I would go a little bit less than that.
Well, the owner, thankfully for you, has decided to go in the middle.
It's now on the market for £725,000.
So, it's doable, isn't it?
Oh, for sure. It's good.
Yeah. I think it's probably worth all of that.
-Do you want to have another look around, now that you know the price?
-Yeah, sure do.
-I'll meet you on the other side.
I think we may have a winner.
Under budget by £25,000,
our second property is a characterful converted stone barn,
with lots of potential for entertaining.
It comes with a large farmhouse-style dining/kitchen
and a spacious sitting room as well as three further reception rooms.
The four bedrooms offer plenty of space for visiting family, and outside,
there is much to keep Sue busy, and Paul gets his garage.
This is an interesting room.
Well, this is almost self-contained, isn't it?
You could use this
when my mum comes.
I thought the property from the outside looked quite surprising,
because you can't see the front of it until you go round the corner,
And then realise it's a really big barn conversion, with lots of land,
which is just lovely.
It's really spectacular.
I think they've done a really good job as a barn conversion
and made the best of the features that were there.
Outside, plenty of space for Sue to really make her mark on the garden.
I think it really works.
I actually can't think of anything missing from this property
off their request list.
Could this be the one?
Could be. Could be.
Yeah, we could do some projects here to make it our own, but, yeah,
-it's really good.
-Nice to see two very happy people.
Let's go and get a drink, eh?
It's the second day of our property search with married couple Paul and
Sue from Maidenhead in Berkshire.
With a generous budget of £750,000,
they are looking for a rural home to retire to, in Derbyshire.
Coming up, the selling point of the Mystery House becomes clear.
Wow! Another one with a view, then.
And I set foot in one of Derbyshire's thriving heritage industries.
Wow! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be in a boot factory.
Well, yesterday was a success, especially with house number two,
which they both love.
Sue was certainly enamoured.
But I know Paul wants to reserve judgment until he sees what we have
up our sleeves with the Mystery House.
Well, the mystery is all about geography
and I'm hoping it will pique their interest.
For our Mystery House,
we are heading away from Paul and Sue's ideal search area.
Our destination is the village of Hayfield,
on the fringes of the Peak District National Park.
Hayfield is a picture-perfect Peak District village,
sitting at the foot of Kinder Scout, the region's highest peak,
and the scene of a mass protest in 1932,
which kick-started the right to roam movement.
Once a staging post along the Pennines packhorse route,
much of the village's distinctive architecture
dates to the Industrial Revolution,
when it was a prosperous centre for cotton production.
The River Sett runs through the village,
which is served by a number of eateries and pubs.
Our Mystery House, a mile outside Hayfield,
is the most remote offering yet,
and could challenge Paul and Sue when it comes to space,
but the stunning setting, just inside the Peak District National Park,
more than makes up for it.
Wow! Another one with a view, then.
Absolutely. Welcome to your Mystery House.
And the mystery is where we are.
-We are further north than you wanted to be, ideally, initially.
-Give it a thought.
You've got these amazing views,
but you are a 15-minute walk from your local village.
I think my initial thoughts are it's a lovely house.
It's a lovely view.
The big thing to think forward is how we get the location to work.
The house itself, inside, is stunning.
-So, let's go in.
-I could do stunning.
Our mystery property was a derelict barn until 17 years ago,
when the current owners completely renovated the interior.
It shares access with the neighbouring farmhouse at the end of the driveway
but opposite the barn there's a stone outbuilding and garage
which is part of the package.
The accommodation is spread across four levels,
and combines contemporary styling with rustic charm.
So, with this entrance, we come straight into the kitchen, but
you don't have to use this entrance.
You could use the lower door to the property...
..which would bring you down there.
-But here's the kitchen.
-Yes, it's lovely.
You couldn't use it as a kitchen/diner, really, could you?
No. It's big enough, though, to work in.
And what's nice about this kitchen,
it's got huge double doors which go straight into the main part of the house.
-Let's go into there.
Before we tackle the main living space on this level,
there are two other rooms on the lower ground floor
next to the alternative entrance.
A sitting room, or cosy snug, and a smaller dining room.
-You can see why I've brought you to this corner,
because this is where you can fully appreciate that it used to be a barn.
Would this be enough space for you as a lounge?
It's quite snug for the two of us but if we've got friends,
then there's not enough seating, really.
Let's talk about bedrooms.
The property has four bedrooms and the reason that I'm telling you that
-here is because you can see lot of them from here.
So, this would be a guest room for you,
and it's got an en-suite shower already in there.
-So it's sort of ready... And it's got this lovely balcony.
You could sing to Sue from there.
-Or she could wait for you up there.
That's been a long time.
The other two bedrooms are just there and there,
and there is a bathroom that they share.
Of these two bedrooms, one is a double,
making a feature of the exposed stone, and the other is a single
with oak beams.
The half-tiled family bathroom has two feature keyhole windows,
and more exposed stonework.
That just leaves Paul and Sue's master,
which is at the top of the stairs off an upper landing.
So, the master is on the second floor...
..which gives you that extra level of privacy.
-And, for you, Sue,
a walk-in wardrobe cos you are too tall, Paul.
-Your clothes will have to be somewhere else.
Yeah, because you've probably not got any loft space.
-We are in the loft, really.
-Yeah. That's right.
I'm a little surprised this room's not bigger
for the size of the barn from the outside.
It's all about the flow,
and the flow of the rooms and how do they work together,
and I think there's a few things in here where the flow doesn't quite work.
Well, let's go outside. I'll show you the options that you have.
Even though Paul and Sue seem smitten by the setting,
I think they're struggling with the mystery property's quirky layout.
The outside space could challenge them, too. Paul gets his garage,
which is housed in the outbuilding just across the driveway from the barn,
and which also includes a utility room.
But the garden is smaller than our previous properties,
and comprises an informal lawn space.
So, I've brought you up here,
because this is where you get a full appreciation of the house,
and the land that it sits in.
It's all of this, so it goes up to this first post here,
-and the dry stone wall.
So the whole path is yours, but it's a public footpath.
-Even this bit is yours.
-So, I was kind of thinking,
could you do a vegetable patch on the gravelled area here?
-Yeah, this side... with the little railing there.
-Or just there?
Right. Let's talk money.
Oh, gosh. Right.
OK, I'm going to...
..plump for 615.
Let's go for hope over expectation, I think 675?
I like your optimism.
-But that's not going to buy you this house.
-It's on the market for the top of your budget, £750,000.
You will always pay a hefty premium for being inside the national park.
Anyway, now that you know the price, have another look around.
Discuss it amongst yourselves and then I will meet you at the front.
OK, thank you very much.
Bang on budget, our mystery barn conversion challenges Paul and Sue
with an unconventional layout, but suits them on many levels.
Laid out over four floors,
it fuses contemporary design with original features.
The highlight is a full-height, vaulted living room,
off which are four distinctive bedrooms.
Outside, there is an outbuilding for Paul's car,
and although the garden might be a bit small for Sue,
she'd be rewarded with stunning panoramic views
of the Peak District.
I think the inside of the property
is a little bit smaller than I was expecting, room-wise.
The kitchen and the lounge, although they flow through together is nice,
but each of those are a little bit small.
And it's quite a walk up the stairs to the master bedroom.
The views are stunning,
but I don't think I'd be willing to pay the premium for being in the park.
I don't think Sue and I are on the same page with this property.
I could see myself living here for the views.
And we don't spend a lot of time in the house, anyway.
But I think Sue will feel hemmed in.
So, is it worth paying a premium to be inside a national park?
For me, yes.
If it's the right property.
-No. For me, I'd be just as happy outside the park.
Well, we've seen three lovely properties.
It's the end of our search.
I'd love to know your thoughts. Let's get a cup of tea.
Derbyshire's dramatic Peak District is made up of a limestone upland plateau
known as the High Peak, and the White Peak,
the lower valleys where the greyish rock is more exposed.
Since Roman times, limestone has been quarried here,
for building and to produce lime and lead,
but it really took off in the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution.
The local workforce needed sturdy footwear,
and a number of bootmakers sprung up in villages such as Middleton Stoney.
Today, just one company from that era remains.
William Lennon & Co was established in 1899, and is the sole surviving
heavy-duty bootmaker in the UK still using traditional methods.
It's very much a family business, and I've come to meet Libs Slattery,
the great-granddaughter of the company's founder.
Hello. Pleased to meet you.
Wow, I cannot tell you how excited I am to be in a boot factory.
And this is your life, isn't it?
This is my life and four generations before as a family, yes.
Bootmaking, has that been throughout the county of Derbyshire or is it
just in this area?
Predominantly up round here because we're a limestone area so in the days
of the quarrying, boot repairs were necessary
and little cottage industries set up and we continued from there on.
What makes your boots, though, so unique?
The uniqueness of our boots is to do with that machine in the corner.
There are only two in the world that we know are working.
The other one is in New Zealand.
And it attaches the soles of the boots to the uppers,
using brass screwing wire in a certain way that nobody else can.
So this is where they end up.
Yes, they're on the latter stages of their production in here.
-Would you like to see where they start?
From just three antique shoe-shaped lasts, or models,
the company's skilled employees can create up to 15 different styles of
leather shoe and boot.
Using machines over 100 years old, bootmaking is a labour-intensive,
traditional manufacturing process.
Without the aid of modern technology, everything is done by eye,
and the whole process can take four days, start to finish.
So this is where it all starts.
That's right. We're up on the top floor or, as we know it,
the closing room, where the rolls of leather come in and they leave here
looking a little bit like a boot.
So how do you start making a boot?
OK, three processes in here.
We've got Phil.
He uses all these knives, collects the right patterns
and cuts them out of leather with his clicking press.
-Like a cookie cutter, but...?
-A little bit like a glorified...
-A bit more serious.
-A bit more heavy.
There you go. Then the leather, because of the thickness of the leather,
it has to be prepared to be stitched, or closed, as it's called,
so Lou operates what's called the skiving machine to thin the leather
down, ready for sewing.
Finally, Pat uses various sewing machines to
close the upper or stitch it all together,
and by the time those presses have happened, the boot - or,
should I say,
upper - looks like that.
The upper is then taken downstairs where another machine is used to shape it
into the form of a boot before the brass screw wire machine fires
lengths of twisted wire metal into the sole, fusing the layers together.
So, your finished boot.
A good, old-fashioned working boot.
It's like a work of art.
Over the years, the design of the work boot has changed little,
but a recent addition to the range is the vintage cycle shoe.
Becoming more and more popular is this vintage retro look,
and we have to have the shoes to match,
and they are all-leather cycle shoes,
but they're made on our wide-fitting last for English wide feet.
Do we have wider feet?
We do, in general, have wider feet.
Thank you so much for showing me around.
-It's been brilliant.
-You're more than welcome.
What a fantastic family business.
With the firm's boots featuring in popular TV dramas
and being worn by mountain explorers,
it's good to see that traditional bootmaking is alive and kicking.
I think it's clear from our property search with Sue and Paul that house
number two is the only one still in the running,
but just how serious are they about it?
Time to find out.
I don't think we need to talk about house one and the Mystery House.
House two, do you still feel as enthusiastic about it?
Yes, definitely, yes.
That house ticked nearly all the boxes of things that we wanted.
We just need to go and have a look round a bit more,
do a bit more research of the area
and see if the facilities that we want
-I think the other thing for me was,
it had the potential - there are things that we would like to do
and there's room to do that.
One of the things we will have to have a think about is that
there are more things there than we actually need.
The room over the garage is an extra and the outside office-cum-flatlet
we don't really need, but generally, more is better than less, so...
If you like the area, is it a house that you'd put an offer in on soon?
Yes, I think it is. We need to sell our house,
but we're hoping to get on with that quite quickly and then,
once that happens, then we'd be looking to make an offer.
How much, in your heads, have you moved in already?
Or are you quite cautious as a couple?
Well, we are quite cautious cos we've bought and sold before so it's never
a done deal, really, until you exchange contracts,
so I am naturally cautious about getting my hopes up to be dashed down,
so I keep cautious until we're at the contract stage.
Well, I'm so glad you found a property that you liked.
Fingers crossed you like the area,
and perhaps the next time we hear from you, you may have already moved in.
-So please keep me updated on the progress.
-Thank you very much.
This search is a big deal for Paul and Sue.
Moving to Derbyshire will be them coming back home.
They entered the search hoping just to hone down on what was important
to them when it came to finding a retirement property.
I'm so pleased we were able to help with that,
and find them somewhere that they both absolutely loved.
Let's hope they'll be calling this stunning county home very soon.
See you next time on Escape To The Country.
Paul and Sue's interest in our second house continues as they wait
for their Maidenhead home to sell.
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