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Welcome to Escape To The Country.
Now, these rather fine looking red and white cattle behind me,
gently grazing underneath that tree,
are one of the UK's oldest beef breeds,
but you can also find them in South America and Japan.
But what's more, they take their name from this glorious landscape.
So, where are we?
Well, join me in just a moment and I'll tell you.
Today's buyers are looking forward to escaping the commuter rat race
and enjoying the rich pickings of rural living.
Our properties work hard to create the right
vision of our couple's perfect pad.
On paper, it certainly works for you.
-You can keep trying.
-Yeah, I'm going to, that's my job.
I have to keep trying.
But perhaps they'll need to rethink their future business plans.
So how much of this do you want to share with your B&B guests?
Well, today we are in Herefordshire,
and these are of course Hereford cattle.
Now, the breed has been around for some 350 years,
but since 1870, its pedigree has been maintained by the
Hereford Cattle Society, whose first patron
was none other than Queen Victoria.
These days, globally, the Hereford herd is thriving.
It's thought that there are some 5 million animals
now in 50 countries around the world.
This, to me, is a quintessential picture of the English countryside.
No surprise then, that for many people, Herefordshire
is one of the prettiest counties in Britain.
Covering an area of some 800 square miles,
Herefordshire is situated on England's border with Wales
and is sandwiched between the counties of
Worcestershire and Powys.
The county is home to two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty -
the rolling Malvern Hills to the east and the
tranquil Wye Valley to the south,
home to some of the most beautiful lowland scenery in Britain.
The region's fertile landscape provides the bedrock to the
county's strong agricultural heritage.
With 85% of land dedicated
to farming, the generous clay soils have proved particularly
suited to cultivating apples.
Producing cider since the 1600s, today the area boasts more
cider orchards than any other county in England.
Towards the west is the undulating Golden Valley
and the town of Hay-on-Wye.
With over 30 antique and second-hand bookshops,
it plays host to the annual Hay Festival, one of the most
highly regarded events in the international literary calendar.
So, steeped in culture, agricultural history and food heritage,
Herefordshire provides a rich and picturesque setting for those
seeking a generous slice of country life.
Now, when it comes to property prices, Herefordshire represents
pretty good value for money.
Here, the average price of a detached home is currently
just over £269,000, that's some 12 and a half grand
below the national figure.
Now, to be fair, the east of the county around Hereford
and Ledbury is a little bit more expensive, but that's because of
the great rail and road networks
that lead off of it to the rest of the UK.
So if you want your budget to go that little bit further,
my advice, as always,
is to head west, over towards the border with Wales.
There, you will get a little bit more bang for your buck.
So what about today's buyers?
Why Herefordshire and where in this glorious county do they want to be?
Well, let's meet them and find out.
Josie and Colin first laid eyes on
one another at work four decades ago, but
it wasn't particularly love at first sight for one half of this couple.
He was my immediate superior.
And I didn't like him at first
because he thought he knew my job better than his,
but of course he didn't.
I was attracted to her straightaway,
and our relationship developed fairly quickly from there.
For the last 22 years,
home has been Chorleywood, in the Hertfordshire commuter belt.
But over that time, the area has become busier and more populated.
So they've sold up the family property
and are temporarily renting nearby.
We love living there, however, it's attracted more and more people
and now it has got very busy.
I think for my last home and to
what we're looking for is a more quieter location.
Retirement for both kitchen designer Colin and training manager Josie
has prompted the idea to break ties with Chorleywood.
Because they're no longer tied to the area for work,
they can put down new roots anywhere.
In fact, they've spent a year researching their preferred
location and have successfully nailed it.
We're looking to move to Hereford.
We have been there before in terms of sort of like short holidays,
and we love the countryside, the fantastic views.
You have access to interesting places such as Worcester,
Gloucester, Hereford itself and very easily to the Wye Valley.
Although they're winding down their current careers,
Josie and Colin aren't looking to slow down any time soon
as they plan to open their new house to paying guests.
We both have a work ethic.
Although we've never sort of run a B&B before,
we do keep a nice home and Colin is very sociable.
Not that I'm not, of course. And it just seems a natural progression.
And with previous experience in catering, this foodie couple
are excited about putting their culinary skills to good
practice when they enter the world of hospitality.
I love to cook when I get the time.
I can manage quite a few types of food,
nothing like as extravagant or as ambitious as Josie,
but breakfast, I think, will be my domain.
Besides the B&B idea, they're accomplished gardeners
and after a sizeable plot where they can also create a smallholding
to realise their grand ambition of keeping animals.
Our dream property would be
somewhere with a decent
plot of land.
We would like to keep a few chickens,
possibly look into beekeeping.
With many of their possessions boxed up whilst they rent, Josie and Colin
can't wait to unpack and properly settle into
the next phase of their lives.
This move, in terms of changing our life, will give us a nice,
quieter, more peaceful, more enjoyable life.
It will provide the opportunities for us to achieve the style of
life that we are looking to follow for the rest of our lives now.
Josie and Colin are open-minded about where they set up home.
But ideally, they want to be well-connected to the
cultural hotspots of Hereford and Ross-on-Wye
to attract paying guests.
I'm catching up with them to get a better idea of what they're after
from their new country retreat.
-How are we?
-Fine, thank you.
Very nice to see you, Colin and Josie. Welcome to Herefordshire.
-Thank you very much.
You talk about enjoying your retirement, it sounds
like it's all going to be fairly hectic with animals, holiday lets...
Well, we only expect to have one or two bed and breakfast
or holiday let just to keep the interest going, meeting new people,
purpose of getting out of bed in the morning,
and the animals is just to recreate some of
what we've had and a bit more.
And in terms of the property, what are you imagining now?
A nice, detached house in about two or even up to three acres
of space around it
and I would love to see spectacular views from the kitchen or lounge.
I gather that you don't really want beams,
you'd quite like modern, you do want an open fire,
but you don't like dust.
I do like to have a nice, clean and tidy home.
I don't mind the odd feature beam,
but I couldn't deal with beams, you know, the whole of the room
because it brings the ceiling down, claustrophobic and dark.
And what about style, though? Open plan? More traditional?
A kitchen diner would be appreciated, or maybe it's
something that we could create, but other rooms, yes,
with some definition so you have your own space.
How much work are you prepared to put into a property?
Well, we're quite happy to put in a new kitchen or a new bathroom,
but what we don't want to do is start knocking down walls.
Now let's talk about how much you're going to spend on this
because you have just sold your property in Chorleywood.
Our budget for this move is for £650,000.
Well, we've got some really interesting properties lined up
-for you, so let's go and spend some money, shall we?
Right, come on.
With a sizeable budget of £650,000, our buyers are after
a modernised character property.
They'd like enough bedrooms or an annexe to run a B&B or holiday let
and a large kitchen/diner to cater for guests.
Two to three acres of land would be ideal to accommodate
a range of animals.
And they also want a peaceful, rural location,
but one which is well connected
to attract potential clients.
We've combed the Herefordshire countryside and found
a selection of top-notch properties which I hope will meet the mark.
However, I'll hold back on revealing the price tag
until the end of each tour.
And lastly, we've got an alternative package
to offer at the Mystery House which could
provide a rather different business opportunity
for our animal-loving couple.
Our property search begins in the hamlet of Bullinghope,
just two miles outside of Hereford.
Set on the banks of the River Wye, Hereford is the county's only
city located on this river
and so has been the focal point of agricultural trade for centuries.
The majestic cathedral towers over the high street where
black and white timbered architecture
houses a range of amenities as well as a wealth of pubs and restaurants.
Our first offering is a five-minute drive away,
located in a small, private close.
-It's an enormous property.
-How about this? Number one.
-Yes, a lot to take in.
It's also got that, which is a dedicated one-bed holiday let.
I think this is the sort of place that people visiting the city would
probably really go for because it's so close to all those amenities.
-It looks fairly modern. Looking forward to seeing it.
Come on, then. Let's see what you think.
Built in 1992, this extensive redbrick property offers
the spacious modern proportions that Josie and Colin are after.
And although it may be a somewhat subdued start outside,
I'm hoping that our couple will warm to it
when they're presented with the potential inside.
First stop is the kitchen.
There we go.
It's a usable space cos it being square,
-we would probably modernise it in terms of...
-Yeah, not my cup of tea.
-But then you are married to a kitchen designer.
So, get your pencil out, mate. THEY LAUGH
But you're absolutely right.
They've got a very small, modest table in here.
You could have something much bigger.
You could have an island, of course.
But you've also got a separate dining room in there.
-That's good, plenty of room.
-Am I pushing uphill?
-I'll hold judgment until we've seen the whole of the house.
Living room, come on, let's have a look at that.
Also on the ground floor, just beyond the kitchen,
lies a large utility room and a compact gym.
Then off the grand entrance hall, there's a good-sized study.
-And it also comes with a spacious living room.
-Again, good size.
-Looking through into the conservatory, very nice.
And it projects right out into the garden, so you can enjoy that.
-On paper, it certainly works for you.
-You can keep trying.
Yeah, I'm going to, that's my job. I have to keep trying.
-Right, let's go upstairs.
Josie seems to be playing her cards close to her chest,
but there's still plenty to see.
Up on the first floor, there are a total of four bedrooms.
One comfortable double has fitted wardrobes and its own en suite.
There's a further two generous double rooms which have
Both share the use of a family bathroom, but I'm taking them
to explore the spacious master bedroom.
Well, we have saved the biggest until last. This would be your bit.
This sort of little dressing area is quite nice.
You've got lovely views out these two windows as well.
But it also affords you this suite of extra space -
-huge dressing area with loads of storage...
-I like this.
-..dedicated en-suite bathroom.
And tours out to your own little balcony which overlooks Hereford.
-You can see the cathedral from there.
-That's very unusual.
-I think I could live with that.
-It's nice, isn't it?
I think, in the meantime, we should finish off,
go downstairs to the garden and have a think about the price...
-..cos it may all make sense then.
At last, this house has captured their interest.
Attached to the main property and located above the double garage
and workshop is the annexe,
which could generate upwards of £40 a night.
Here, there is a compact but fully fitted kitchen
and a cosy living and dining area.
There's also a small double bedroom and a bathroom.
Outside, the private grounds that sweep around this house
amount to just over half an acre, mostly lawn.
The gently sloping plot is framed by established borders
with mature trees.
Here we are. So, another aspect to it altogether.
In some ways, I think this is prettier than the front.
It hasn't got acres, OK, but nonetheless, I think this
garden would still afford you plenty of room for chickens and so on.
Ideally, we would have perhaps liked a little bit bigger
but with the views and potential here, yes. It's workable.
Shall we talk about the price, then?
Who's got an idea as to what property one is on the market for?
Well, I would hope it would be
-somewhere in the region of 575.
I'd properly go a little bit less.
Let's say 560, 565.
This is on the market for five hundred...
-..and forty-five thousand pounds.
-That's good news.
Now, there is one more bit you need to see, of course.
That is the annexe. Let's see what you might do with it
and I will catch up with you a little bit later.
-Off you go.
At a massive £105,000 under
their top budget, this spacious
modern property with four bedrooms
seems to offer our couple
their preferred layout throughout.
It has the added bonus of an
attached holiday let option
and is set in a semirural
location with views towards Hereford.
-Wow, this is a...
-Decent sized room.
-..good size, yes.
-Bigger than I thought it would be, actually.
-Yeah, me too.
-Good kitchen, nice bedroom through there. This could work.
The interior, on the whole, has potential.
A little bit of reconfiguring, but nothing major.
We'd need to put our own stamp on it.
What I liked about this property was the spaciousness of all
the rooms and to have
defined areas in the house, which is what we like.
The location and the setting of this property is very good,
but we would like a slightly larger garden plot.
Ah, so, what did you think of that, then?
-Well, I thought the annexe was very good.
-It's really good.
It's a huge size.
-And I think you could let that pretty easily, actually.
-So property number one is done.
-It has potential.
I think you're more on my side too, aren't you, really?
-But we've got two more to show you. Come on, let's go.
Today, over a billion apples help to make Herefordshire
one of the largest producers of cider in the country.
Insect pollination is the key to a fruitful yield,
and for this reason,
bees play a vital role in supporting the productivity of these orchards.
Colin and Josie are keen to find out about the smaller scale
benefits of domestic beekeeping when they move.
And near the market town of Leominster
is an impressive four-acre garden
that perfectly demonstrates the importance of bees in the ecosystem.
Stockton Bury Gardens has been owned by the same family since 1850,
and our buyers are meeting current custodian Tamsin Westhorpe.
Over the last 30 years, my uncle and his partner have created
a plantsman's garden, so there's lots of very unusual plants here.
It's part of, in the heart of, a Herefordshire working farm
as well, so we're surrounded by cider orchards.
And they do produce great crops of apples every year.
And obviously, having bees is beneficial to our cider crop.
So what sort of plants do the bees favour?
You need to offer them single flowers,
flowers that are easy for them to access the pollen and nectar,
so things like single dog-roses, hardy geraniums,
the lovely alliums with the big purple heads.
And for bees, you're looking at having plants in flower
from March to September to keep them in your plot.
Pollination is crucial in the life cycle of plants.
Insects, birds and even the wind can pollinate by transporting
pollen between the flowers of similar species
and enabling fertilisation and reproduction.
There are three hives at the garden here,
and it's Nick Shepherd who's responsible for looking after them.
And here we've got a super.
-It's called a super because it's superior, it sits on top.
The modern hive is based on a design that dates back to 1851.
It features an internal framework that mimics
a natural nest from which honeycomb can be simply extracted.
-And there...is honey.
And how long does it take the bees to sort of like fill all that up?
One bee only makes, in its lifetime,
about a third of a teaspoonful of honey.
When layers of the hive are removed, it's essential that the queen bee
isn't disturbed as she could swarm and leave the nest.
The queen excluder is a perforated barrier which prevents
her from laying eggs in the honey.
And now we've got to the brood chamber.
-That's a joyous sight, look at that. That is, that's brood.
Beautiful pattern, and everything's going well.
Absolutely fascinating, isn't it?
As extremely hard workers, bees are thought to travel to between 50
and 100 flowers in one journey to collect pollen.
At the height of summer,
there can be 60,000 to 80,000 bees in any one hive.
What would be an approximate cost of setting up a beehive?
Roughly, you can buy a pack, something like this,
-for round about 150 quid.
-And to get your first bees?
The first thing to do is join your local beekeeping association,
because once you've joined that, you'll probably find that
somebody can find you a swarm, so there's no cost to that.
And once set up, the hive only requires inspection once a week.
So how do you feel about beekeeping after that?
-Very interesting and just a little bit frightening.
No, nothing to be frightened about.
Always remember, bees don't want to sting you.
How long do you have to keep bees before you get honey?
12 months. It all depends on the weather
and what they've got to forage on.
-What can we do to encourage more bees?
-Don't be a tidy gardener.
In the autumn time, they need places to hibernate.
And always provide water - so a saucer, a plant pot saucer.
And they actually like dirty water as well,
so some soil or something in it.
So with our buyers eager to create a hive of activity
at their new home, it's time we got back to the property search.
Now our house hunt continues further south in the rural hamlet
of Pontshill, just over three miles from Ross-on-Wye.
Set high on a sandstone cliff,
the local landmark of St Mary's church looks down on the river.
The attractive town of Ross-on-Wye is hailed
as the birthplace of modern tourism.
And today, the busy high street is lined with all the essential
amenities as well as many independent stores.
A ten-minute drive away
and situated in an secluded spot is property number two.
This is what I would like you to
-feast your eyes on, cos this, I think, is a real treat.
It certainly allows you the opportunity, I think,
to do some really nice kind of high spec B&B too.
First impressions, it looks lovely
and the garden that we can see looks great.
-Can't wait to get in and have a look.
Good, right. Come and have a look.
And there aren't many beams either, you'll be pleased to know.
Dating back to around 1850, this property spent its former years
as a mill complex when it produced paper, ground corn and bottled beer.
Production stopped 100 years ago and it was then
converted into a home in the year 2000.
Externally, it's attracting positive vibes so far,
and I'm hoping that enthusiasm will continue as we move inside.
Now, unusually, we're going to start in the dining room.
-What do you think?
-I like it very much.
-Yes. And I love the fire.
Yes, lovely, isn't it?
There are a few wood burners tucked away in this property.
It feels very homely, it feels very comfortable.
-It's the thick walls, the deep windowsills, very attractive.
Good. So you wanted your separate zones.
You've got the dining room here.
Behind us is a really sweet little snug,
actually, great sort of family room.
But let's have a look at the kitchen.
You're going to like this. This way.
There we are, Josie.
-That's pretty good.
-I'm amazed at the height.
-Sudden change of height of ceiling.
-I love the windows.
Lovely, isn't it? I mean, come on, you're the kitchen designer.
Yes, it's contemporary, it's got character and, yeah,
-it's very well finished.
-Very, very nice indeed.
Is that it?
It is a wow,
which I maybe should have said beforehand.
I'm not going to twist your arm, Josie.
-It's just taking it all in.
-The living room is this way.
Well, two rooms down with one to go on the ground floor.
So far, it all seems to be going rather well.
So let's see if we can build on that.
Big contrast, isn't it? And the floor, very unusual.
Yeah, good size.
So how much of this do you want to share with your B&B guests?
-You see? Good. You want it all for yourselves.
This is our space, yes.
I couldn't have asked for better reactions from our couple,
but I am beginning to wonder whether they would actually open
this beautiful house to paying B&B guests.
If they could, then there's a dedicated en suite ground floor
bedroom that would be ideal.
Next, we're heading upstairs where there are three more bedrooms
split between two separate wings.
In one wing, there's a good-sized double and a compact bathroom.
And then in the other, there's a more stylish bathroom featuring a
freestanding tub and a small single, currently used as a dressing room.
And lastly, we come to the largest of the lot.
Very impressive. Beautifully done, again.
-Now, this could be for guests.
-Don't think so.
-See, I knew that was coming.
I'm going to take the pressure off a bit and just relax
and enjoy this conversation because it is nice, isn't it?
It's very nice. It's a lovely-sized room, very bright, airy.
-It's very much our taste.
Right then, let's go out and talk about the price, shall we?
Don't look so worried. Or maybe you should.
If Josie and Colin can't really bear
to welcome guests into their home,
then attached to the property is a separate self-contained
annexe which they could convert into a holiday let instead.
It's used by the current owners for storage
but has potential to generate at least £50 a night.
Outside, the sprawling gardens here total four acres, which include
a large, paved area with a
well-maintained lawn and some woodland.
And with so much land, our couple could even
extend their business plans to include camping and/or glamping.
But of course, this all depends on the price.
So, Josie, what do you think
property number two is on the market for?
-I'm going to go maybe 665.
-I will be optimistic.
I think nearer 625.
This will consume all of your budget
because it's on the market for £650,000.
I'd be quite happy to walk in there and start living the dream.
Right, then. Get your cheque-book out, mate.
Right, off you go. Go and have a wander around,
soak it all up and I'll catch up with you a little bit later.
OK, thank you.
Bang on the maximum budget,
this lovingly renovated former mill with
four bedrooms offers Josie and Colin
a beautiful country home, as well as business potential
with its self-contained annexe and four acres of land.
Set in a tranquil location, this one
really does seem to have struck a chord.
-Oh, this is very sweet.
-And the decor is very nice too, nice kitchen.
-Yes, the kitchen's nice.
-All flows. Bathroom there.
-It works, that's good.
My first impression when we arrived with Jules was, "Wow."
I think this property is a lovely house,
not far off idyllic.
The thing I like about this house is the flow.
My overall impression of this house is a thumbs up,
and we will be giving it further consideration, I think.
-How are you two?
Seen enough? How was the annexe?
-Very good, yes.
-Much bigger than we thought.
-Ah, you see.
Now then, our house tours today are over,
so I have one final question for you.
Have you tried a pint of the local brew yet?
-No, but if you're buying...
-Come on, then.
It's the second day of our property search with Josie and Colin
from Chorleywood, in Hertfordshire, who are ready
to turn their backs on suburban life
by relocating to rural Herefordshire.
Coming up, our mystery property provides a business
proposal that's off the scale.
-That's very nice.
And it looks like I might be misfiring as I try my hand
at an age-old craft.
-It's not supposed to look like that, is it? Not really.
Well, look at this -
blue skies and warm sunshine to herald the start of our
final day of house-hunting here in Herefordshire
with Colin and with Josie.
We've seen two, but let's be honest, we haven't quite cracked it yet.
Although clearly, our second property gave us
a clearer idea of the sort of style that our buyers are after.
But the key thing, I think, in this search is finding them
a home that can offer some sort of income potential for the future.
Now, we've looked very closely at the whole holiday let idea,
but maybe for our Mystery House, we'll try something different -
a very different kind of living in a very different kind of property.
Let's see if they like it.
For our final property stop,
we're heading north,
to the hamlet of Hatfield.
Close by is the market town of Tenbury Wells
in the beautiful Teme Valley.
Tenbury had the wells added to its name in the mid-19th century to help
promote the mineral water springs found in the town.
And by 1862, the popularity of the fine water
resulted in the construction
of the now restored Tenbury Spa or Pump Rooms.
Much of the attractive preserved architecture along the
high street reflects its historic trades and also offers a good
range of present-day amenities.
Located just over six miles away from the town,
against a backdrop of striking rural scenery, is our Mystery House.
With our ambitious couple keen to immerse
themselves in the world of hospitality,
we couldn't resist showing them
something with the potential for an alternative business plan,
and one which caters towards four-legged guests rather than two.
There we go. What do you think of that then?
-I like that, I like the stone.
-Lovely, really nice.
It's a lovely setting.
It started out life in 1875,
and then, I guess in the 1970s and the '90s,
it was extended.
But the key thing about this one, it's not really about B&B.
Think of it as your home, because the business end of it
-is all wrapped up in the 6.7 acres that it comes with.
And it's all about horses, this one.
But how do we feel about that change in tack, as it were?
I'd have to think about it. I hadn't thought about that before.
Right. Go on, let's get inside.
Formerly a one up, one down stone built farmhouse with an attached
barn, the extensions added over the last 40 years have been
sympathetic to the original build.
Happily, Josie and Colin do seem intrigued
by the possibilities here, so we're starting off
in the beautifully presented heart of this building.
-Oh, wow, that's really nice.
-Gorgeous, isn't it?
-It's got beams.
I know, do you know, I'm over the beams.
We'll paint them white for you.
Beams like this are good. It's when they're down here, it's difficult.
-Oh, I like this.
-Now you have got a choice of living rooms here too.
There are two - one is new and one is old.
-Let's go and look at the old one...
-..and its fireplace, here we go.
-Real character, isn't it?
-Very cosy room.
-I could see us sitting here in the winter with the fire going.
You see, this is the first time you have actually started to
paint a picture of what your life might look like.
I like this link through here, to the conservatory.
Yeah, with the doors open, you can watch the seasons come and go.
Also on the ground floor is a compact shower room
as well as a second, more modern sitting-room.
Making our way up to the first floor, we find the bedrooms,
which are all situated off a long landing.
And there are five of them in total - three good-sized,
neutrally decorated doubles and one single currently used for storage,
all making use of the four-piece family bathroom.
But let's see what our couple make of the bedroom
I've earmarked for them.
And this is the biggest of the lot.
-Yes, good size.
-Lovely good size, isn't it?
-Yeah, I could see our things here.
Storage space is good, light is good.
I think the best is yet to come because the real selling point
-of this property is what's going on outside.
You wanted space, and we have got you space. Come and look at this.
Outside, the gardens wrap around the house.
To one side, there's a terraced area ideal for entertaining which
overlooks a small lawned area with a fish pond.
But to the rear, as we make our way across another neatly kept lawn,
the garden reveals itself in all its glory.
All south facing.
The amount of land on offer here totals just under seven acres,
which includes four paddocks,
a sizeable barn, as well as a range of outbuildings and stabling.
As keen animal lovers, this mystery property could present
our couple with a very exciting new business venture
for it could be marketed as a livery yard, charging around £100
a horse per week.
-There you go.
-Wow. That's very nice.
-Yeah, what a lovely view.
The land is brilliant, well-drained,
drains down nicely into a huge water feature.
Right then, well, let's get down to it.
What do you think it's on the market for, madam?
I'll say 625, hopefully.
Shall I be more realistic?
I would say 675.
This is on the market for 639,500.
That's a pleasant surprise.
Off you go, and I will find you somewhere in this rambling estate.
Under budget, this farmhouse has five bedrooms and offers
Josie and Colin a magnificent mystery package.
With the layout and space they've requested inside,
it also has the land
they've always longed for outside.
Also impressed by the business potential
and peaceful rural setting of the property,
it looks as if this option could be
the first past the post for our couple.
The mystery property is a revelation.
It's all that we were looking for in terms of the house,
the gardens, the land and the setting.
What we have here is a different type of income potential with
letting out equestrian property.
This has exceeded what I was looking for, so,
yes, very interesting.
Love the stone of the house.
It's got lots of rooms, got lots of space inside,
plenty of scope for us to put our own mark on it.
The rural location is what we were looking for. It's very peaceful.
Couldn't ask for anything better, really.
This could actually be a contender.
Have you seen enough?
-For now, yes, thank you.
-My guess is you might be coming back here.
-I think more than possibly.
There's an awful lot more to see and many questions to ask.
-You've got a lot to talk about, haven't you?
Right then, after you.
This could be your new home, how about that?
Just south of Hereford
and overlooking the River Wye lies the village of Holme Lacy,
which is home to part of the Herefordshire and Ludlow College.
This specialist agricultural campus features over 600 acres of
mixed organic farmland, attracting students from all over the country,
many of whom come here to learn and practise
specialised skills at the on-site rural craft centre.
I've come to meet tutor and expert craftsman Adrian Legge
to find out more.
-Nice to see you, mate.
-Good to see you, too.
Now, I'm ashamed to say that despite living in Herefordshire,
-I had no idea how much went on here.
-Best kept secret.
We do welding, fabrication, blacksmithing and farriery.
Now, I gather that you are a blacksmith, Adrian?
Well, I'm a blacksmith and a farrier.
Now, that's interesting because many people would think
a blacksmith is a farrier.
-Yeah, we get a lot of that.
Blacksmiths make things like railings, gates, lamps,
they can fix things, whereas farrier's shoe horses, that's it.
But very much a vocation, I would say.
Oh, yes, you've got to be daft to do it.
I can't wait to get my hands dirty, as you know.
-You're going to make a splat on a stick, mate.
-Splat on a stick?
I've heard about this. I've got no idea what it's going to involve.
Neither have I, quite, but we'll work it out between us, shall we?
Over the last 50 years, the college has been
recognised as a leading national centre for blacksmith training.
Uncertain of just what it is I'm about to make,
I do know it all revolves around the forge, which is fired up
to around 3,000 degrees before it's hot enough to work a steel rod.
So, if we hit it, puts a point on one side, turn it 90 degrees, point.
After a demonstration from the professional,
I'm ready to get hands on.
You see, you made it look so easy.
-I know, I'm good.
-That's it, perfect, that'll do.
-So that's it?
-Yeah, it's easy.
-Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
There's only four processes in blacksmithing - forging,
-that's longer, thinner, shorter, fatter, basically.
Forming, that's bending twisting and dishing.
Cutting, that's punching and splitting.
Before every stage, the rod has to be reheated
so that it can be shaped. HE LAUGHS
It's not supposed to look like that, is it?
The anvil is used to support and shape the metal,
but I'm still not clear what I'm making.
-Right, there you are...
-..but don't hit the lump on the end
-cos you want to keep that bit.
Just work your way up and down it. That's it. Not too far.
Give it some. That's it.
Next, the aim is to round off the square corners of the rod.
It's just touching it, that's it.
So you're pushing it against the anvil.
-The anvil is doing half your work, you see.
Actually, that is pretty good, mate.
So now to create a lump at the end of it.
-Right, OK, so, here's my splat.
-Here's your splat.
By hitting it against the square or hardy hole of the anvil,
the lump is flattened.
That's it. That'll do. Perfect.
A further few strikes finally shapes the splat before large
metal pliers are used to break it off.
And the broken end is then
vigorously smoothed, flattened and shaped.
And bring it up a bit.
Yes, yes. Up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, that'll do you.
-Ah, that ain't bad.
-Still, I've no idea what it is.
Next, I'm advised it's time for the detail.
-Look at that. That's nice.
-Not too bad, is it?
Why am I sounding surprised?
Then it's back to the splat end,
which is carefully bent back on itself.
I seem to have created a loop which is then polished.
Go on, it's better than you thought it would be, isn't it?
Do you know what? You're right.
It's then cooled off and beeswax applied to prevent
the metal from rusting.
-That's a splat on a stick.
-Right, ready for this?
LAUGHS: No! Oh, you're joking.
That is perfect. It's a bottle opener. Well, here's to you, mate.
Well done. That is fantastic.
Oh, local cider too.
-You deserve some of that as well.
-Cheers, my friend.
What a great insight into the world of blacksmithing.
With a focus on the crafting of bespoke and decorative
artisan products, it's been a real treat
to have been taught by a master craftsman,
dedicated to passing on his time-honoured skills
to future generations.
Well, as you may well have gathered,
this has been a slightly tricky house search. But I do think
that along the way, we've managed to
sow a few tiny seeds in the minds of Josie and Colin
as to what their future here may eventually look like.
So, let's see if any of them have taken root.
-How have you found this week?
It's been exciting.
You were very clear on the notion of having lots of land around you,
which is why for our Mystery House we took you
to our equestrian option.
Well, that mystery was a definite wow. Something very different.
Loved the look of the house, loved the garden...
And then we had the three or four paddocks
and horses there to boot as well.
So what happens next?
We'll contact the agent,
and then we'd like to have a visit with the owners,
and that will help us make our mind up
if that's the right place for us.
But I don't think your research is going to stop there
because you are going to have to learn a fair bit about
the world of horses because your guests will have four legs, not two.
It is a challenge, but we do love animals, all animals,
so it's something that would be very interesting to find out.
How exciting! Well, you came here looking for a holiday let business,
and now, look, you're going to be horsemen and women.
-At your time of life! I mean, you know...
But, you know, you've got it all to play for. Isn't that exciting?
-It really does mark a whole new chapter.
It will be a different way of life, and that's what we were seeking.
I am delighted, guys. It's been a lot of fun.
Keep us in the loop, as they say.
We will, and thank you very much for a very enjoyable week
and some great advice.
Well, you know over many years working on Escape To The Country,
I've met dozens of buyers who've come out here
looking for a home with holiday lets attached.
But it is a notoriously difficult thing to get right, and that's
because of the pressures on the budget - trying to get
a viable home on the one hand and a successful business on the other.
It can be a very frustrating process.
But to get it right, you do need flexibility. And that, of course,
is exactly what Colin and Josie have brought
to their search this week. And, who knows?
If they do buy our Mystery House, well, their guests may
arrive in a very different form of transport and
take a very different form. But if any of them need new shoes,
I know just the place to go.
I'll see you next time.
Since our house hunt,
Josie and Colin have come to the conclusion that
although they love the business opportunity
offered at the Mystery House, the layout just wasn't right for them.
Their house hunt continues.
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