Welsh Borders Escape to the Country


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Welsh Borders

Property series. Jules Hudson is house hunting on the Welsh borders with a dynamic couple who want a country home with B&B business potential.


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Welcome to a misty start to today's Escape To The Country.

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Now, behind me

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is a small glimpse of what is widely regarded as one of the most

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important English landscape gardens, not just in the UK,

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but also renowned the world over. So, where have we come to?

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Well, join me in just a moment and I'll tell you.

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Today, we're helping a couple of newlyweds who hope to kick off

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their married life in a new home, with dreams of running a B&B.

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What about this for your guests, then?

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I don't know, I would quite like it for myself!

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LAUGHTER

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But one of our properties leaves them lost for words.

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-My goodness!

-I don't know what to say.

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Well, today we are on the Welsh Borders, and these are the

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beautiful surroundings of Hawkstone Park Follies in Shropshire.

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They are widely regarded as perhaps one of the best examples

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of the English landscape garden, dating back to the 18th century.

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They contain a fantastic mix of caves, cliffs, follies and woodland.

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What sets this place apart is that it bucked the trend of the day

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for more classical, symmetrical gardens and instead embraced

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an imitated nature.

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It was restored 20 years ago,

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and now visitors revel in its surroundings.

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From up here, you can

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see right across the border to the mountains of Wales.

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On a clear day.

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The land straddling the length of the border between England

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and Wales is traditionally known as the Welsh Marches, and includes

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parts of Powys on the Welsh side and Shropshire in England.

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This northern section of the Marches is a region of enduring beauty,

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characterised by classic unspoiled hilly countryside,

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and striking field patterns.

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The borderlands were fiercely contested for hundreds of years,

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and contain the highest concentration

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of motte-and-bailey castles in the country.

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Chirk Castle, a magnificent medieval fortress

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completed in the 14th century, is a particularly fine example.

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On the English side,

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the historic town of Ludlow in Shropshire is a renowned

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gastro hot spot, home to a whole host of eateries and cafes.

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So, with its mix of scenery and historic architecture,

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the Welsh Borders is an escapee's paradise,

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and somewhere it really is possible to get away from it all.

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As well as stunning countryside,

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property prices here are also very attractive.

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In Shropshire, the average cost of an detached property is currently

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£245,000 - that's £32,000 below the national figure.

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And it gets even better

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if you head further west over the border into Wales and Powys.

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There, the same sort of thing could cost you £80,000 less.

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So, time now to meet today's buyers, and find out

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which side of the border they want to be on.

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Steve and Allie, who live near the town of Devizes in Wiltshire,

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met each other through an online dating site just 18 months ago.

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A whirlwind romance led to a speedy proposal,

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and they have been married for just a month.

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So, now they want to kick start this next exciting chapter

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in a new country home.

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Steve proposed to me when we went to Sri Lanka last year.

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It was towards the end of the holiday.

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Walked out onto the beach with her in the evening,

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held her in my arms and said, "Would you marry me?"

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We both lost our partners some years ago.

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We are now looking to create a life together,

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rather than staying in the jobs that we've currently got.

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Steve works in IT and Allie in sales,

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but the highly pressured corporate world has

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taken its toll on Steve.

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I commute almost three hours, three-and-a-half hours a day, so our

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escape is more than just escaping into a more rural environment,

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it's escaping from that whole work environment.

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Steve and Allie both have two grown-up children

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from their previous relationships, but they've left home,

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and the couple currently live in a four bedroom property

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that Steve bought before meeting Allie.

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I chose this house when I was single,

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that the children can come home to.

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Since we met, it's obvious that the house doesn't meet our requirements.

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We'd like to choose somewhere which is ours.

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And they've chosen the Welsh Border country

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for their first shared home together.

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We have experience of Wales and the Welsh Borders, and...

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-It's a lovely area, isn't it?

-It's a beautiful area,

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and fortunately, it's still within the price bracket that we have.

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But Steve and Allie don't just want a new home,

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a joint business venture is in the pipeline.

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When we were courting,

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I said to you I'd like to own a bed and breakfast,

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-and you said, "That's what I'd like to do," didn't you?

-Exactly.

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We want to get to a point where we can retire

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and just look after the B&B and some letting units

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and have a life.

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And when they're not busy with the B&B,

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they should have more time for their passions,

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which include baking and cake-making for Allie,

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whereas Steve hopes his modelling will take off.

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I took up flying model aircraft about eight years ago,

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just as something to really de-stress with.

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It's become a bit of an obsession.

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I've got something like 25 aircraft.

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Gives me great pleasure picking one of those up, taking that up

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onto the hill and throwing it off and actually flying it.

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It's great fun.

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But their rural dream isn't just a flight of fancy.

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They are under no illusions that this is a big move, though it is

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a chance for the newlyweds to spend some quality time with each other.

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I'm well aware that running a B&B isn't going to be

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without its stresses and without its early mornings.

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-But it's doing something that we both enjoy.

-Absolutely.

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Steve and Allie want to find a property in the northern

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section of the English/Welsh border, but don't mind which country

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they live in, so we will be looking both in Shropshire

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and Wales for their new home.

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I'm meeting up with them in Shropshire

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to learn more about their planned move.

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-Well, good morning.

-Good morning.

-Morning.

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Steve and Allison, welcome to Escape To The Country.

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This is all quite exciting!

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Am I right in saying that you only got married six weeks ago?

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-We did.

-So, is this your honeymoon?

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Well, we had a honeymoon in New England,

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but this is pretty close, yes.

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Allison, what are you hoping to achieve with this move?

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We are hoping to open a bed and breakfast with some letting units.

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We want about three bedrooms and three letting units,

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both of us giving up our full-time jobs.

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-Have you ever done anything like it before?

-I have.

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-I've run pubs and restaurants, but you haven't.

-No, I haven't.

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I've been in the IT industry for 30-plus years,

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so it's going to be a major change for me,

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but I'm a practical person, so I'll be doing the hands-on stuff.

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Why have you settled on the northern end of the Welsh Borders?

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We like this area, the countryside, the hills.

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There's some lovely country houses.

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We feel that there is a lot to draw people to this area.

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What would your ideal home look like?

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Perhaps an old farmhouse,

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a rectory, five, six bedrooms... Um...

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Perhaps a barn that needs converting, or some outbuildings that we

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could turn into letting units.

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How much of a project would you take on?

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If we started off with three rooms that we could let, that would

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give us enough income to start with, and then if there were a barn

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conversion, stable conversion or something like that,

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we would do over time.

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-England or Wales, quite happy to border hop?

-Quite happy, yes.

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-Brilliant.

-And also, perhaps a little bit of land as well.

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Oh! What's going to happen on that?

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ALLIE LAUGHS

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-Well...

-Some animals.

-Yes, yes.

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I've always had a love of the countryside, and to have

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some land, I'd ideally like some pasture and also woodland.

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You really are painting a picture of the ideal country life.

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I mean, you know, this is all very good.

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-It is going to be hard work as well, though.

-It really is.

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B&Bs are not an easy wicket.

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How are you going to make your business that little bit different

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-to all of the others to get that trade?

-I think we're going to go

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-for luxury B&B.

-We are. We are aiming at the luxury end.

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So, Allison, how much are you planning to spend on all of this?

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750,000.

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-Three-quarters-of-a-million, Steve?

-That's right, yes.

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-That's a lot of money!

-Scary, isn't it?

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But this is an area where I think you can get very good

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value for money. We've got some really interesting properties

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to show you. I hope they will inspire you to create a vision

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of what this business could look like.

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-Shall we go?

-Absolutely. Let's do it.

-Drink up.

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With a budget of £750,000, Steve and Allie are after a traditional

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older property with character.

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In an ideal world,

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they'd like a five bedroom house that would allow them

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to let out three rooms as bed and breakfast units,

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but with the potential to develop up to three self-catering holiday

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lets around it. Steve would like some land to fulfil his smallholding

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ambitions, and a bonus would be some private woodland in their grounds.

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We've lined up a selection of classic Border Country

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contenders for our house-hunting newlyweds to consider,

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but the honeymoon might be over when I reveal

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the price at the end of the property tours. And of course, we've got

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a Mystery House that might well challenge Steve and Allie on age,

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but it does give them more than they bargained for elsewhere.

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Our first property is located outside the village of Gobowen

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in Shropshire - just four miles from the border with Wales.

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The village grew up around the railway

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when the mainline between Chester and Shrewsbury was diverted through

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Gobowen, after permission was refused to route the track

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through the nearby historic town of Oswestry.

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Today, the village has three churches,

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with both Anglican and Methodist places of worship,

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as well as a range of shops and services.

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Our first house is located a good two miles outside of the village

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and sits in Border countryside, with just livestock for neighbours.

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-Look at that for a view.

-Fantastic.

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And this, needless to say, is property number one.

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-Wow.

-I like!

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-Yeah?

-Yeah, I do.

-You did hint towards a barn conversion,

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and that's what we've got for you.

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It was converted about nine years ago from a pretty grotty

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cattle shed into what is now a really beautiful family home,

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and it also comes with that - a ready-to-go holiday let.

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Wow. That's great.

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-Let's have a look inside.

-OK.

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Renovated to a high standard, this characterful barn conversion

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has a rustic feel with a lovely, open-plan layout.

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-There you go, Allison.

-Oh, wow!

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I'm looking at the kitchen down there.

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Well, we're going to look at that

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in just a little while but, needless to say,

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-this is their kind of dining area at the moment.

-Yeah. Very nice.

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The oak is gorgeous. This was a really mucky barn.

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So it's got a nice mix of old timbers and the necessary new ones.

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Absolutely, yeah.

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There's another really gorgeous living room through there,

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complete with wood burner, which I think sort of sets the cosy scene.

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Well, you glimpsed at the kitchen earlier.

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-Do you want to take a closer look?

-We'd love to.

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I think you've got plenty of space in here...

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Ooh, it's nice, isn't it?

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-..for cooking and preparing.

-Yes, I think so.

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It's great. I mean, the island, needless to say, is terrific,

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and you can engage with your guests through the...

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-The hatch.

-Yeah.

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-..through the wall, as it were.

-Through the wall.

-Yeah.

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They've got some of the utility goods in here,

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but there is a utility room behind me through this door,

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which you could move all that into if you wanted to.

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Let's have a look upstairs and see what you think of the bedrooms then.

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OK.

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As well as the rooms we've seen, the downstairs also has a study,

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which houses the property's oil-fired boiler.

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Upstairs, there are four bedrooms.

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At one end of the barn are two bedrooms - a double

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and a large single, both with exposed beams, as well as the

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family bathroom, offering immediate bed and breakfast potential.

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At the opposite end is another single bedroom as well

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as what could be Steve and Allie's spacious master suite.

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There you go.

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Oh!

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-Huge room!

-Massive, isn't it?

-Yes.

-This is yours.

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You also get the en suite shower room in there too.

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Bags of room for a huge double bed in here,

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and I think a nice bit of, sort of, dressing area space

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-and what have you.

-Yeah.

-So that's the main house...

-OK.

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..with your four bedrooms up here.

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The only bit left, of course, is the holiday let.

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-Looking forward to seeing that.

-You see, that...

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-That's the thing, isn't it? That's the business end of it.

-It is, yeah.

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-And that's your future.

-It is.

-OK.

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Let's have a look at that, and you might want to start thinking about

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-what this one is worth.

-OK.

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As well as the potential bed and breakfast accommodation inside

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the main barn, across the gravelled courtyard, a separate cottage offers

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similar quality furnishings as an up-and-running one-bedroom holiday let.

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Look at this.

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Oh!

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Lovely.

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That's good, yes.

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-Lots more oak.

-Yeah.

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Really nice modern kitchen, and then this is the living room for the let.

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Oh, that's nice.

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-The bedroom above is basically this size.

-OK.

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Very generous shower and bathroom as well,

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so again they haven't skimped on the space here.

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This is really good. It's up to a high standard, so...

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The finishes are brilliant. I love the use of the oak. Oak windows.

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There's nothing to paint. It just weathers nicely.

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And if you were in the market for entertaining dogs with your guests,

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there is a huge market for that.

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I talk to holiday let guys all the time,

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and they reckon 60% of their business comes from just having

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"dogs welcome" on the door.

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-My goodness. That's good.

-It's really worth thinking about.

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I think we've given Steve

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and Allie lots of possibilities with the barn and separate cottage,

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but Steve also wanted some land for animals,

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and here he's got five acres to play with.

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This includes ample parking space for guests,

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a large paddock suitable for keeping livestock,

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or even land for a luxury camping business.

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And finally, a steel and timber stock shed for shelter or storage.

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All this land makes for doggie heaven too,

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as Meg will no doubt testify.

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This is Meg.

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Hello, Meg. Hello, Meg. She doesn't come with it.

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What a shame.

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And look, there's your five acres,

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and in the distance is the Shropshire Union Canal.

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So there we are. That's what's on offer.

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So let's think about your three-quarters-of-a-million pounds, then.

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750 grand

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that you might want to spend on this endeavour.

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What's this one worth, do you think, Allison?

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I think 630.

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630? OK. Interesting.

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I'm going to go a little higher than that. Er,

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-'round 650?

-650.

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I would have probably estimated this at 650,

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to be perfectly frank with you.

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However, it's not 650. I'm afraid this is on the market for

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570.

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Wow!

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-That's a pleasant surprise.

-That gives a different view.

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Doesn't it, just? That's £180,000 that you don't have to spend.

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And I think it gives you three really interesting options.

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One - you just have a home

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and what would be quite a profitable holiday let,

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given that you're only servicing £570,000 rather than

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three-quarters-of-a-million.

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Option two - you can do that

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and develop this into more of a glamping business,

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or three - you take the £180,000 that's left over

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and you buy a separate holiday cottage somewhere else.

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So if you finally decide that you've had enough of holiday lets,

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-you don't have to sell your home to change your life.

-Very true.

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Off you go.

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Go and have a closer look at that holiday let, particularly

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upstairs, and I will come and find you a little bit later on.

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-OK.

-OK. Thank you very much.

-Off you go.

-Thank you.

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Come here! Come here. Now, then.

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She's been listening in to all of this.

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I think that was a pretty good sell. It's a great property.

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I know you don't want to move,

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but they could be the right people to take it on.

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Freeing up a tiny £180,000 from

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their budget gives Steve

0:16:090:16:12

and Allie lots of options with this

0:16:120:16:13

handsome barn conversion,

0:16:130:16:15

and a chance to plough the extra

0:16:150:16:16

cash into the business.

0:16:160:16:18

As well as their own high-spec

0:16:180:16:19

living space, the barn has two

0:16:190:16:21

bedrooms for B&B guests,

0:16:210:16:23

and a separate one-bedroom

0:16:230:16:24

cottage for self-catering couples.

0:16:240:16:26

The five acres of land could be

0:16:260:16:28

glamped up with a luxury

0:16:280:16:30

campsite to boost their income.

0:16:300:16:31

Oh, this is lovely! What a neat little cottage.

0:16:330:16:36

-Easy to maintain.

-Yeah.

0:16:360:16:38

-Which is what we need.

-Yeah, not too much work for you to do.

0:16:380:16:40

For me!

0:16:400:16:42

I think this is a beautiful house.

0:16:420:16:45

It's been really well converted.

0:16:450:16:47

The holiday let is nice, the land is nice,

0:16:470:16:51

but unfortunately the house isn't large enough for what we want.

0:16:510:16:55

Allie is very much a home bird.

0:16:550:16:57

She wouldn't want people intruding in her space, as such.

0:16:570:17:01

I think the home shared with B&Bs directly may not suit her.

0:17:010:17:07

Well, you were expecting a fairly straightforward house tour,

0:17:100:17:13

but maybe we've redesigned

0:17:130:17:15

-your plan for the future with this one.

-I think so.

0:17:150:17:17

It's certainly added some options.

0:17:170:17:19

-I think some really interesting options.

-Beautiful house.

0:17:190:17:23

It really is, but it's not the only one we're going to show you.

0:17:230:17:26

Come on. Let's go.

0:17:260:17:27

Steve and Allie have asked that their new property includes

0:17:330:17:35

some private woodland.

0:17:350:17:37

They're keen on using wood from their land for fuel.

0:17:370:17:40

But more than half of the UK's small woodlands are in decline.

0:17:400:17:43

Over the last 20 years, one third have disappeared due to poor

0:17:430:17:47

management and countryside development.

0:17:470:17:49

Smallwoods is an organisation designed to maintain

0:17:500:17:53

and protect the 400,000 hectares of small woods in the UK.

0:17:530:17:58

To find out more about sustainable woodland management,

0:17:580:18:01

they're meeting chief executive Mike Bentley.

0:18:010:18:03

What size of woodland should we be looking at to have

0:18:050:18:08

something which is sustainable and would help us with the heating?

0:18:080:18:11

-For self-supply of wood fuel?

-Yes.

0:18:110:18:14

Erm, you don't actually need that large an area

0:18:140:18:17

quite surprisingly. About one hectare of mixed broadleaf woodland.

0:18:170:18:22

You would be able to produce a sustainable yield of say four

0:18:220:18:27

cubic metres or four tonnes of firewood per year, which would

0:18:270:18:30

normally be enough to heat a wood fuel stove in a medium-size cottage.

0:18:300:18:36

Assuming that we do get some woodland,

0:18:360:18:38

what type of trees should we be looking for?

0:18:380:18:42

I would probably advise you to go for a woodland with

0:18:420:18:46

-mixed species.

-Right.

0:18:460:18:48

There are a couple of nasty pests

0:18:480:18:50

and diseases going around at the moment,

0:18:500:18:52

particularly affecting ash. You've obviously heard of ash dieback.

0:18:520:18:56

Yes, we've seen it in the area.

0:18:560:18:58

And also there's a fungus that's affecting

0:18:580:19:01

larch trees. So a woodland that was

0:19:010:19:05

purely larch or purely ash may be one to avoid.

0:19:050:19:09

The most traditional method of woodland management is

0:19:100:19:13

coppicing, the ancient practise of cutting

0:19:130:19:15

a tree off at its stump to encourage rapid regrowth of buds and shoots.

0:19:150:19:20

By opening up the tree canopy to let in light,

0:19:200:19:22

you're also promoting greater biodiversity.

0:19:220:19:25

The extra light reaching the ground encourages wild flowers

0:19:250:19:28

and plants, attracting butterflies and other insects.

0:19:280:19:31

The whole eco-system benefits.

0:19:310:19:34

To learn a little more about maintenance of woodland

0:19:340:19:36

through coppicing, Steve

0:19:360:19:38

and Allie are meeting Richard Thomason in the woods.

0:19:380:19:40

-Hi.

-Hi.

0:19:400:19:41

-Nice to meet you.

-Steve. This is Allie.

-Hello, hello.

-Hello.

0:19:410:19:45

Mike sent us up and said you'd be able to tell us

0:19:450:19:47

a little bit about coppicing.

0:19:470:19:48

Well, coppicing is a traditional form of management, as Mike may have

0:19:480:19:52

already said, going back thousands of years and it's the first,

0:19:520:19:55

really, the first form of woodland management

0:19:550:19:57

we've done in this country.

0:19:570:19:59

Mainly because it's small diameter material that we're working

0:19:590:20:02

with, so if you've got a stone axe,

0:20:020:20:05

it's far easier to use a stone axe and cut a small branch down

0:20:050:20:08

and turn it into something - a house or some implement you need -

0:20:080:20:12

-than a great big sort of oak tree.

-Yes.

0:20:120:20:15

So we've been coppicing a long time in this country.

0:20:150:20:17

A lot of our coppice woodlands have become derelict.

0:20:170:20:21

That's a really shame because hazel, especially,

0:20:210:20:23

has got about a 70 to 80-year life expectancy

0:20:230:20:26

-if you stop coppicing. You know, it just grows up, matures and dies.

-OK.

0:20:260:20:30

If you keep coppicing, if you keep cutting it back,

0:20:300:20:32

it will last for centuries after centuries after centuries.

0:20:320:20:36

As well as benefiting the eco-system,

0:20:360:20:38

coppicing has an added advantage.

0:20:380:20:40

You're left with freshly-cut wood,

0:20:400:20:42

from which you can create useful everyday objects.

0:20:420:20:45

The practice known as green woodworking also employs

0:20:450:20:48

traditional, handmade tools.

0:20:480:20:51

Steve is going to try his hand at making a spatula,

0:20:510:20:53

and Allie, a rolling pin, using freshly-felled ash.

0:20:530:20:57

The first step is to split the log of ash into a workable piece.

0:20:580:21:02

Again through the middle there.

0:21:020:21:04

OK.

0:21:040:21:05

Now stick it in the grains.

0:21:070:21:09

-Wa-hey! Whoa-ho!

-It went.

-Well done.

0:21:090:21:12

Meanwhile, Allie is shaping her rolling pin using an age-old

0:21:130:21:17

shave horse and a draw knife to create a rounded,

0:21:170:21:20

cylindrical shape by continually turning the object.

0:21:200:21:24

It looks really dangerous, I know, but in fact it's not really.

0:21:240:21:27

I mean, it's really hard to actually bring the knife far enough

0:21:270:21:30

-back to cause you any damage, so just keep going.

-I will.

0:21:300:21:32

-Keep turning it, and I'll come back and see how you're getting on.

-OK.

0:21:320:21:35

Thank you.

0:21:350:21:37

Steve has now drawn the outline of a spatula onto his piece of wood

0:21:370:21:40

and begins shaping the utensil with a side axe.

0:21:400:21:43

-OK, you still got your fingers, then?

-Absolutely. All five.

0:21:430:21:46

Good, good, good. Hey, actually, that's looking good.

0:21:460:21:50

He then joins Allie on the shave horse to smooth off the edges.

0:21:500:21:53

-So what we're going to try and do is reduce it down even more now.

-OK.

0:21:530:21:57

OK, using the draw knife.

0:21:570:21:59

If you want to know what to do, just ask her. She's an expert now.

0:21:590:22:03

But here you go, have a go. So nice, strong...

0:22:030:22:08

There we go.

0:22:080:22:10

-It's quite satisfying, isn't it?

-Mm.

0:22:100:22:12

Allie's rolling pin is also gradually taking shape.

0:22:120:22:16

The final step for Steve is to round off the spatula with a knife.

0:22:160:22:20

Hey, first attempt, I think you should be proud of that. Very good.

0:22:200:22:23

How about you? How's the rolling pin coming along?

0:22:230:22:26

-I think a few more hours yet.

-A few more hours needed.

0:22:260:22:29

It's more round than when we started.

0:22:290:22:30

Well, guys, you've done really well. It's your first attempt.

0:22:300:22:33

-They look fantastic.

-Thank you.

0:22:330:22:35

-You should be really proud of it.

-It's been really enjoyable.

0:22:350:22:37

-Good, that's the main thing.

-Thank you very much.

0:22:370:22:40

Well, Steve and Allie now have some handy tips on managing woodland

0:22:400:22:43

and working with green wood, but we still need to find them a home.

0:22:430:22:47

So it's back to the house-hunt.

0:22:470:22:49

For our next offering, we're crossing over the border

0:22:490:22:53

into Wales, and heading to the popular market town of Llangollen.

0:22:530:22:56

An ancient Welsh settlement situated on the banks of the River Dee,

0:22:560:23:00

it takes its name from its founding seventh-century saint.

0:23:000:23:04

Today, it's a thriving tourist centre,

0:23:040:23:06

and probably best known for hosting the international musical

0:23:060:23:09

Eisteddfod every summer, which attracts over 100,000 people.

0:23:090:23:13

Located within walking distance of Llangollen, our next house is

0:23:130:23:17

set at a quiet, elevated position overlooking the town.

0:23:170:23:20

-Well, we've crossed the border into Wales. There we are, guys.

-Ooh, wow!

0:23:200:23:24

This is different.

0:23:240:23:25

I don't know what to say! It's lovely.

0:23:250:23:28

It's certainly going to be big enough,

0:23:280:23:30

or it looks like it is from here.

0:23:300:23:31

The garden looks nice.

0:23:310:23:33

That lot there

0:23:330:23:36

is a six-bedroom property,

0:23:360:23:39

-five of which are en suite.

-Fantastic.

0:23:390:23:41

The current owners have lived here 30-odd years

0:23:410:23:44

and they have run it as a B&B in the past, hence the en-suite bedrooms.

0:23:440:23:48

That might look like a double garage.

0:23:480:23:50

When the door is open, you can get six cars in there,

0:23:500:23:54

and it's also plumbed and wired.

0:23:540:23:56

You could potentially turn that into another letting opportunity.

0:23:560:24:00

And to the left, that building there is also with it,

0:24:000:24:04

and that is a two-bedroom cottage.

0:24:040:24:07

My goodness.

0:24:070:24:09

-That's incredible.

-Let's see what you think. There's plenty to see.

0:24:090:24:12

There's a lot to take in at this handsome,

0:24:130:24:16

Tudor-style Victorian residence,

0:24:160:24:18

with its separate two-bedroom holiday let set in a separate

0:24:180:24:21

coach house, which earns around £8,000 a year.

0:24:210:24:24

Unfortunately, the let has guests staying in it at the moment,

0:24:240:24:27

so I can't show it to Steve and Allie, but the main house,

0:24:270:24:30

which has its entrance around the corner, should keep us busy.

0:24:300:24:34

What do you think of this, then, Allison?

0:24:340:24:36

-Oh-ho, that's lovely!

-Beautiful, isn't it?

0:24:360:24:38

Isn't it?

0:24:380:24:39

What a nicely-proportioned room.

0:24:390:24:41

Love the windows looking out on the garden.

0:24:410:24:44

We're thinking this should be quite a useful guest dining space,

0:24:440:24:49

and then the whole room itself could act as a guest

0:24:490:24:54

wing, if you like, because it opens up in to this.

0:24:540:24:57

Have a look at this end.

0:24:570:24:58

-Oh!

-So you've got, sort of, guest sitting room...

0:24:580:25:01

Come on over, come on over! This is the best view, I think, from here.

0:25:010:25:04

Oh, it's lovely.

0:25:040:25:05

Because you can see all of that and all of this.

0:25:050:25:08

-What a beautiful house.

-I love the archway.

-Yeah, absolutely.

0:25:080:25:11

I mean, bearing in mind it was built in 1900, it's not quite arts

0:25:110:25:14

and crafts but you can see what they were getting at,

0:25:140:25:17

an allusion to some of these kind of Victorian details

0:25:170:25:19

that you might expect.

0:25:190:25:21

What about this for your guests, then?

0:25:210:25:23

I don't know. I'd quite like it for myself.

0:25:230:25:26

Ha-ha, thought so!

0:25:260:25:28

Allie needn't worry.

0:25:280:25:30

Her and Steve's accommodation is pretty good as well.

0:25:300:25:33

A door from the guest dining room leads onto another

0:25:330:25:36

equally-impressive reception room.

0:25:360:25:38

-There. This is what we think would be your bit.

-Oh, wow!

0:25:380:25:41

-Open-mouthed and open-eyed, Allison.

-It's nice, yeah.

0:25:440:25:47

-That's plenty big enough for us as a living room.

-Yeah.

0:25:470:25:50

Right, come and have a look at the kitchen. You'll like this.

0:25:500:25:53

Dying to see the kitchen.

0:25:530:25:54

Oh, that's a nice kitchen! That's lovely.

0:25:580:26:01

-I think you could spoil your guests...

-I do.

0:26:010:26:04

-..in a kitchen like this.

-I do. I think I'd have every gadget, as well.

0:26:040:26:08

There's loads of cupboards and drawers.

0:26:080:26:10

-Yeah, it's not short on storage.

-No.

0:26:100:26:13

You've got the range over there within the fireplace, which is

0:26:130:26:15

quite nice. Through that door is a huge utility room-cum-laundry room,

0:26:150:26:19

I would suggest.

0:26:190:26:21

And another little storage area too.

0:26:210:26:23

And also you've got a cellar here as well.

0:26:230:26:26

-Seriously?

-Yeah.

0:26:260:26:27

If you're into your wine...

0:26:270:26:30

-..trust me.

-I am.

-You've got a wine cellar too.

0:26:300:26:32

There's currently a quarter-size snooker

0:26:320:26:35

table in there at the minute.

0:26:350:26:36

Like a pool table. So actually that's how big it is.

0:26:360:26:39

It's lovely. Absolutely lovely.

0:26:390:26:41

Now, I did say to you on the outside that we had six bedrooms to explore.

0:26:410:26:46

Yes.

0:26:460:26:48

Upstairs might take a little bit of time. Come and have a look.

0:26:480:26:52

Not surprisingly,

0:26:520:26:53

our buyers like the space they get with this substantial property

0:26:530:26:56

and the ground floor room arrangement gives them

0:26:560:26:59

privacy from their guests.

0:26:590:27:00

Of the six bedrooms in the property, five are on the first floor.

0:27:000:27:03

They're all generous,

0:27:030:27:05

and four of those have en suite bath or shower rooms.

0:27:050:27:09

There's also a family bathroom you could easily get lost in.

0:27:090:27:12

And up on the second floor, there's an attic games room,

0:27:120:27:15

but I'm showing Steve and Allie the largest bedroom on the first

0:27:150:27:18

floor, which I've earmarked as their master.

0:27:180:27:21

-Wow.

-This is yours.

0:27:210:27:22

Although, to be perfectly honest, any one of those en suite

0:27:220:27:25

bedrooms would pass as a very comfortable master bedroom.

0:27:250:27:29

I love the ceiling.

0:27:290:27:30

This is lovely. Absolutely amazing.

0:27:300:27:33

-Now you're going to like this.

-Huge proportions.

-His and hers storage.

0:27:330:27:37

-You're kidding.

-Nope.

0:27:370:27:40

No, it's his-hers and his.

0:27:400:27:42

-Or hers, probably.

-Well, you can take your pick.

0:27:420:27:44

Bags of built-in storage with this one, and a really

0:27:440:27:48

nicely proportioned... En suite.

0:27:480:27:49

..en suite through there, as you would expect.

0:27:490:27:52

Yeah.

0:27:520:27:53

I think it's... Yeah, it's still raining,

0:27:530:27:56

-shall we brave it?

-I think so.

-Let's have a quick look at the garden.

0:27:560:27:59

Come on.

0:27:590:28:00

The sixth bedroom is back downstairs as part of a small,

0:28:000:28:03

separate annexe arrangement.

0:28:030:28:05

It comes with an en-suite bathroom as well as lounge and kitchenette,

0:28:050:28:08

and provides excellent self-catering letting opportunities,

0:28:080:28:12

currently bringing in around £4,000 a year.

0:28:120:28:15

Outside, extensive landscape gardens fan out from the back of the

0:28:150:28:19

property, with a lovely backdrop of the Berwyn hills,

0:28:190:28:22

and Dinas Bran Castell, which today is shrouded in misty rain.

0:28:220:28:27

Ah. Well.

0:28:270:28:29

It's raining a bit more than I thought.

0:28:290:28:32

Can you admire the garden from here?

0:28:320:28:34

-I think so, yes.

-It is about two acres, all in.

0:28:340:28:37

The only thing you haven't seen is the two-bed cottage,

0:28:370:28:40

which has got residents in,

0:28:400:28:42

but I'm sure if you were keen enough to want to come

0:28:420:28:44

back for a second viewing,

0:28:440:28:46

you would get to have a good look around if that was of interest.

0:28:460:28:50

-Definitely.

-How much is it going to cost you,

0:28:500:28:52

because this could be the slightly tricky bit?

0:28:520:28:55

You go first.

0:28:550:28:57

Er, I think it's right at the top end of our budget of 750.

0:28:570:29:01

£750,000. Three-quarter-of-a-million, says your brand-new husband.

0:29:010:29:05

-I knew he was going to say that.

-You can agree!

0:29:050:29:07

-No.

-It works well.

0:29:070:29:10

That's a good omen for the future, isn't it?

0:29:100:29:13

I'm going to go £775,000.

0:29:130:29:17

This could be yours for

0:29:170:29:20

£650,000.

0:29:200:29:25

Seriously?

0:29:250:29:26

Really? Gosh.

0:29:260:29:28

A hundred thousand left over to make any little tweaks that you

0:29:280:29:31

would want to.

0:29:310:29:33

Gracious.

0:29:330:29:35

Can we buy it?

0:29:350:29:37

I'd love you to buy it.

0:29:370:29:38

It's such a lovely property.

0:29:380:29:40

Well, look, go and explore. Rediscover this property,

0:29:400:29:43

try and work out the grand plan, try and cement it into your minds,

0:29:430:29:46

because there's a lot to take on with this one,

0:29:460:29:49

and I will catch you later on, somewhere.

0:29:490:29:51

-Off you go.

-Thanks.

0:29:510:29:54

£100,000 below budget,

0:29:540:29:56

the price of our Tudor-style mansion

0:29:560:29:59

comes as a pleasant surprise, as it

0:29:590:30:01

leaves Steve and Allie some of their

0:30:010:30:03

budget to put their stamp on it.

0:30:030:30:05

Offering separate accommodation

0:30:050:30:06

from their guests, there are six

0:30:060:30:08

bedrooms in the main house.

0:30:080:30:09

One of those six is part of an

0:30:090:30:11

annexe joining the main property,

0:30:110:30:13

and there's also a separate

0:30:130:30:14

two-bedroom coach house across

0:30:140:30:16

the driveway, unlocking bags

0:30:160:30:17

of business potential.

0:30:170:30:19

-Oh, wow!

-What a bathroom.

0:30:200:30:24

So much space. I don't think I've seen one as large as this.

0:30:240:30:27

The land, seen from where we saw it, looks stunning,

0:30:290:30:33

so very, very impressed with this property.

0:30:330:30:36

I really, really like it.

0:30:360:30:38

It's got everything that we wanted -

0:30:380:30:41

lovely large kitchen with a range, there's six bedrooms,

0:30:410:30:44

five with en suite, so we would be able to let them.

0:30:440:30:49

All of them if we wanted to.

0:30:490:30:50

-Hey! How are we doing?

-Very well.

-Yeah?

0:30:500:30:53

-Am I standing outside your new home?

-I hope so!

0:30:530:30:57

Well, you can certainly afford it, and wow,

0:30:570:30:59

what an exciting proposition.

0:30:590:31:01

-Yes.

-Absolutely stunning property.

0:31:010:31:03

Good.

0:31:030:31:04

Now let's not celebrate just yet,

0:31:040:31:06

but I do think a glass of wine might be in the offing.

0:31:060:31:09

-Come on.

-Sounds good.

-That's a good idea.

0:31:090:31:11

It's the second day of our B&B property search along the

0:31:170:31:20

English-Welsh border with newly-weds Steve and Allie from Wiltshire.

0:31:200:31:24

With their £750,000 budget, we're hoping to find them

0:31:240:31:28

a property that separates their home from their guests.

0:31:280:31:31

Coming up - our Mystery House pulls out all the stops for the business.

0:31:310:31:35

I think people would be stunned when they came in here.

0:31:350:31:38

And I meet the men of steel whose artwork could save

0:31:380:31:41

lives on our streets.

0:31:410:31:43

Well, short autumn days mean it's a pretty early start

0:31:450:31:49

here on Escape To The Country,

0:31:490:31:50

and we've got plenty to fit in on our final day of house-hunting.

0:31:500:31:54

Now, yesterday I thought went really well.

0:31:540:31:56

That house in Llangollen, I think, offered Steven

0:31:560:31:59

and Allison a brilliant opportunity,

0:31:590:32:01

and if we showed them nothing else, well,

0:32:010:32:03

maybe our work would be done, but of course,

0:32:030:32:05

we have got more to see,

0:32:050:32:06

but building on the theme of yesterday,

0:32:060:32:08

we're going to head back into Wales to try and find them

0:32:080:32:11

yet more value for money, and of course it's Mystery House day.

0:32:110:32:14

For our next offering,

0:32:160:32:17

we're venturing deeper into mid-Wales, to the hamlet of Penrhos.

0:32:170:32:22

This is classic border country.

0:32:220:32:24

Rolling fields criss-crossed by lines of hedgerows,

0:32:240:32:27

with hillside vistas stretching far into the distance.

0:32:270:32:30

The nearest neighbour to our next house is a pretty church,

0:32:300:32:33

and these spiritual connections are a clue to the property's

0:32:330:32:36

former life, but will it enlighten our buyers?

0:32:360:32:39

-Oh, you're joking! Look at this!

-Oh!

0:32:400:32:43

-Come this way, Allison.

-Chickens!

-Chickens!

0:32:430:32:47

-Nice bit of planting, lovely views of mid-Wales.

-Yes, oh!

-And there.

0:32:470:32:51

What is it?

0:32:510:32:53

-It's a rectory.

-It's a rectory, yeah, exactly.

0:32:530:32:56

It's the sort of thing that I think is the archetypal country home.

0:32:560:32:59

Set within its own plot, as this one is, lovely mature gardens,

0:32:590:33:03

-about a couple of acres here.

-Oh, that's gorgeous.

0:33:030:33:06

It's been renovated extensively over the last 11 years or

0:33:060:33:09

so by the current owners.

0:33:090:33:10

Young family, and they've given it a really fun, contemporary twist.

0:33:100:33:14

Inside, but as you would expect, it's pretty cavernous,

0:33:140:33:17

with an interesting range of outbuildings too,

0:33:170:33:19

which could be developed further into more holiday let potential.

0:33:190:33:22

That's what we're thinking.

0:33:220:33:24

-Lovely.

-Come on.

0:33:240:33:25

Built in the late 19th century,

0:33:260:33:28

the former vicarage has been remodelled by the current owners,

0:33:280:33:31

-who've given an old building a stylishly-modern twist.

-Oh, gosh.

0:33:310:33:35

Isn't this fun?

0:33:350:33:37

-Someone's had some great fun decorating this.

-Wow.

0:33:370:33:41

-You see what I mean? It's quite contemporary.

-It is, isn't it?

0:33:410:33:43

The red floor is pretty bold,

0:33:430:33:46

but you've got the traditional fireplace, which is lovely.

0:33:460:33:48

These gorgeous windows, they're original,

0:33:480:33:50

as are the shutters. Rather cleverly, they've removed

0:33:500:33:53

the walls either side of this fireplace to let the whole

0:33:530:33:56

thing flow around it.

0:33:560:33:59

So it's dining room or sitting room or whatever you want it to be.

0:33:590:34:03

But it all flows rather nicely. Have a look at this.

0:34:030:34:06

So removing this wall was a really good idea, I think,

0:34:060:34:09

-and again, it gets you into this.

-Oh, this is nice. It's lovely.

0:34:090:34:14

-It's a lovely room.

-Good size.

0:34:140:34:15

It's quite an original re-thinking of a very traditional building.

0:34:150:34:18

As a guest

0:34:180:34:21

suite of rooms, if you like, for dining and relaxing,

0:34:210:34:24

-works a treat.

-Plenty of room.

-Yeah.

0:34:240:34:26

And it gives you that division between the dining end

0:34:260:34:29

and something else.

0:34:290:34:31

-Come and have a look at the kitchen.

-Thank you.

0:34:310:34:33

The striking decor of the old rectory has

0:34:330:34:35

made its mark on Steve and Allie.

0:34:350:34:37

To the rear of the house, there's also a spacious office, somewhere

0:34:370:34:41

to run the business from, but next, we're appraising the kitchen.

0:34:410:34:45

There.

0:34:450:34:47

-Oh, wow!

-That's great, isn't it?

0:34:470:34:50

That's a lovely catering kitchen.

0:34:500:34:52

It certainly has that industrial, utilitarian feel to it,

0:34:520:34:56

-all the stainless steel...

-I think it's really good.

0:34:560:34:59

I actually like the stainless steel kitchen.

0:34:590:35:01

-Allison?

-I like the range.

0:35:010:35:03

I like the taps.

0:35:030:35:04

-I like the window looking out onto that beautiful view.

-Yeah.

0:35:040:35:08

There's plenty of room for food preparation in here,

0:35:080:35:10

and easy to keep clean as well, you know. It's ideal.

0:35:100:35:13

And it opens up round here to give you your own dining end,

0:35:130:35:16

I suppose, or kind of living room if you wanted it.

0:35:160:35:20

Oh, gosh, what a huge room!

0:35:200:35:22

-Well, quite a lot of walls have been removed to create this effect.

-Yes.

0:35:220:35:25

There's another door to the right, which leads back into the

0:35:250:35:28

hallway, and next to that a door to a very, very extensive cellar,

0:35:280:35:33

which is pretty much original.

0:35:330:35:35

-I could imagine having a sofa in that part of the room there.

-Yeah.

0:35:350:35:40

We could actually have that as ours, couldn't we?

0:35:400:35:43

-You could have this whole bit.

-Yes, exactly.

0:35:430:35:46

So now we've cleverly divided up the ground floor,

0:35:460:35:49

we need to turn our attention to the sleeping arrangements.

0:35:490:35:52

Upstairs, there are five bedrooms, including a venerable master

0:35:520:35:55

suite with high ceiling and a stylish en suite wet room.

0:35:550:35:59

There are three other bedrooms on the first floor, including

0:35:590:36:02

two big guest doubles, a smaller single, and a large family bathroom.

0:36:020:36:06

There's a further bedroom on the top floor of the roof space,

0:36:060:36:09

serviced by its own bathroom.

0:36:090:36:11

Ideal for B&B guests.

0:36:110:36:13

But I want to show Steve

0:36:130:36:14

and Allie my plan for their self-catering holiday visitors.

0:36:140:36:17

An outbuilding at the back,

0:36:170:36:19

which could be converted into at least one letting unit.

0:36:190:36:23

There.

0:36:230:36:24

Currently used as a studio,

0:36:240:36:27

-formerly a chicken shed.

-A large area, though.

0:36:270:36:30

It's really good.

0:36:300:36:31

Those double doors go out to a pretty elaborate

0:36:310:36:34

greenhouse-cum-garden room-cum- conservatory,

0:36:340:36:37

which would make a great addition to a holiday let if you were able

0:36:370:36:41

and minded to do something with this.

0:36:410:36:43

There's a little wood burner there.

0:36:430:36:45

There's also a loo through there, so the plumbing's all there.

0:36:450:36:48

When we first discussed your plans, we did talk about the idea of you

0:36:480:36:51

starting with a B&B

0:36:510:36:53

and then looking to develop up to a couple of holiday lets.

0:36:530:36:57

This gives you the possibility of doing that,

0:36:570:37:00

but of course it's all going to come down to price.

0:37:000:37:03

-It is.

-Because you are going to have to spend some money on this one.

0:37:030:37:06

-Yes.

-Yeah, agreed.

0:37:060:37:08

Right. Come on. Let's go out to the garden.

0:37:080:37:10

The house and outbuildings sit in two acres of private grounds,

0:37:100:37:14

with a mainly lawned, well-established garden.

0:37:140:37:17

-Lovely view, isn't it?

-Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

0:37:170:37:21

Looking south there,

0:37:210:37:23

over towards the rest of

0:37:230:37:24

mid-Wales,

0:37:240:37:25

as we get to the difficult bit,

0:37:250:37:27

which of course is the price.

0:37:270:37:29

What's it on the market for, madam?

0:37:290:37:31

640?

0:37:310:37:33

Oh! No hesitation there, 640. OK.

0:37:330:37:35

I'd go 620.

0:37:350:37:37

620.

0:37:370:37:38

A bit of optimism is creeping into your price guesses,

0:37:380:37:41

and I don't blame you for being optimistic,

0:37:410:37:43

this was on the market for £750,000.

0:37:430:37:48

-But the exciting thing is that it has been reduced to £650,000.

-No!

0:37:480:37:54

-So you weren't far off.

-It's got real potential at that price.

0:37:540:37:57

Well, look, guys, go and have a look around.

0:37:570:37:59

In particular, have a look upstairs,

0:37:590:38:01

think about those B&B bedrooms for now,

0:38:010:38:03

-and I will come and find you a little bit later on.

-Will do.

-OK.

0:38:030:38:06

-Thank you.

-Enjoy.

0:38:060:38:08

Under budget by £100,000,

0:38:090:38:10

this former rectory has been

0:38:100:38:12

beautifully converted to create

0:38:120:38:15

a contemporary family home.

0:38:150:38:16

The open-plan reception room

0:38:160:38:18

gives our buyers a space to

0:38:180:38:19

accommodate bed and breakfast guests,

0:38:190:38:21

and there are at least three letting

0:38:210:38:23

bedrooms in the main house.

0:38:230:38:25

There's also potential and money

0:38:250:38:27

left over to develop a letting unit

0:38:270:38:28

in a separate outbuilding.

0:38:280:38:30

Right, so this is the master bedroom.

0:38:300:38:32

Yeah. It's a great size, isn't it?

0:38:320:38:34

Lovely windows. There are a lot of high ceilings here.

0:38:340:38:38

Might be an en-suite in there.

0:38:380:38:41

-Oh, yeah.

-Ooh, it's a shower room.

-It's great, isn't it?

0:38:410:38:44

Yeah. Perfect, perfect.

0:38:440:38:46

I was really excited to see that it was an old rectory.

0:38:460:38:50

The five bedrooms...

0:38:500:38:52

I'm not sure whether we would be able to use it as a bed

0:38:520:38:55

and breakfast, but perhaps we would be able to use

0:38:550:38:58

some of the outbuildings for the letting purpose.

0:38:580:39:02

As far as the location of this house,

0:39:020:39:04

it's brilliant.

0:39:040:39:05

Great views, fantastic grounds, couldn't ask for more.

0:39:050:39:09

Looking at it from a business point of view,

0:39:090:39:13

it doesn't instantly match our requirements for bed

0:39:130:39:17

and breakfast and for the letting units without some development work.

0:39:170:39:22

Are you tempted?

0:39:220:39:23

I think I could be.

0:39:230:39:25

It's certainly an option, yes, yes.

0:39:250:39:26

I think you should be, but we have one more to come.

0:39:260:39:29

Mystery House is coming up soon. Come on.

0:39:290:39:32

For our final choice, we're heading deeper into Wales to the

0:39:350:39:38

small town of Llanfair Caereinion.

0:39:380:39:41

Perched on the banks of the river Banwy,

0:39:410:39:44

the charming town has a peaceful feel, with a distinctive

0:39:440:39:47

architectural style, hosting a range of shops and pubs.

0:39:470:39:51

Nestled into the south-facing hills around a mile from the town

0:39:510:39:54

is our Mystery House.

0:39:540:39:56

Now, Steve and Allie wanted some land.

0:39:560:39:58

Our Mystery House has it in spades,

0:39:580:40:00

but our buyers also wanted a traditional home, and although this

0:40:000:40:03

one has a classic Welsh pedigree, inside it's much more contemporary.

0:40:030:40:09

You may well chuckle, because this is our Mystery House.

0:40:090:40:13

Come over here and take it all in.

0:40:130:40:16

It's really unusual, isn't it?

0:40:160:40:18

Effectively, in the middle was a small, traditional cottage.

0:40:180:40:22

It's then been extended either side.

0:40:220:40:25

Initially, in the 1990s, over here,

0:40:250:40:28

to create something which is a bit more traditional.

0:40:280:40:31

Then in 2005, this entire wing was added,

0:40:310:40:34

which, as you can probably tell, has a much more contemporary feel.

0:40:340:40:38

It has 5/6 bedrooms on offer.

0:40:380:40:41

It has two staircases.

0:40:410:40:44

That's very good.

0:40:440:40:45

So, what we're thinking is owners' wing over here,

0:40:450:40:51

-and B&B wing over there.

-OK.

0:40:510:40:54

You also get that huge barn up there.

0:40:540:40:58

We thought that was another house!

0:40:580:41:00

No. That's all yours.

0:41:000:41:01

Belonging to somebody else.

0:41:010:41:03

The whole lot sits within, wait for it,

0:41:030:41:06

19 acres.

0:41:060:41:08

And those acres go behind the property up onto the hill.

0:41:110:41:14

Lovely amount of woodland, which I know is of interest to you.

0:41:140:41:17

Then it extends below us here.

0:41:170:41:20

Where do we start with this enormous property?

0:41:200:41:22

We have one front door, of course.

0:41:220:41:24

We can either go left and look at the owners' accommodation,

0:41:240:41:27

or we could go right and look at the B&B.

0:41:270:41:30

What do you want to do?

0:41:300:41:32

-The business side.

-The B&B, yeah.

0:41:320:41:33

Let's do the business end first

0:41:330:41:35

and then we will spoil you with your bit. Come on!

0:41:350:41:39

The original stone long house dates to the 18th century

0:41:390:41:42

but the addition of the two extensions has more than doubled

0:41:420:41:44

the property's size, giving Steve and Allie lots of options

0:41:440:41:48

for paying guests.

0:41:480:41:49

And the 19 acres of land gives them

0:41:490:41:52

bags of room for a luxury camping business.

0:41:520:41:55

Imagine a door there, separating you from this.

0:41:550:41:58

-This would be guest accommodation.

-A beautiful room.

0:41:580:42:02

-Original fireplace there.

-Loads and loads of character.

0:42:020:42:04

Loads but come in this way.

0:42:040:42:06

Very funky staircase.

0:42:090:42:11

Oh, that's lovely.

0:42:110:42:13

Now this, anywhere else, would be a fabulous family living room,

0:42:130:42:17

but this, because of the two wings, could be your guest sitting room.

0:42:170:42:21

And a luxury one at that. Absolutely.

0:42:210:42:24

I don't know what to say, it's just so nice.

0:42:240:42:27

Come and have a look next-door because this is really,

0:42:270:42:30

really interesting.

0:42:300:42:32

-Now they've got this set up as a hobby/craft room.,

-I love the red.

0:42:330:42:37

Have in your minds that this could be given over to a guest kitchen,

0:42:370:42:42

which would mean the main kitchen would be just for you.

0:42:420:42:45

Right, which is what we wanted really.

0:42:450:42:47

We just need to put in a slightly larger kitchen.

0:42:470:42:50

-Let's have a look at a guest master, if you like.

-OK.

0:42:500:42:54

Our mystery package is drawing our buyers in,

0:42:560:42:58

and they've yet to see their own wing of this place.

0:42:580:43:01

Upstairs in the contemporary guest quarters, there are two decent

0:43:010:43:05

sized bedrooms which are both served by a sizeable shower room.

0:43:050:43:09

Now, I'm thinking you could market this

0:43:090:43:12

as a premium suite for your guests.

0:43:120:43:15

-What a beautiful room?

-Huge, isn't it?

-Fantastic views.

0:43:160:43:20

I think people would be stunned when they came here.

0:43:200:43:24

The only thing is, the bedrooms here don't really have an en suite

0:43:240:43:28

at this side of the property.

0:43:280:43:30

However, they do share that rather nice shower room across the hallway.

0:43:300:43:33

I think you could nobody get away with that actually.

0:43:330:43:36

-Because it's so nice?

-Because of the quality of the rest of it.

0:43:360:43:39

Let's have a look at your bit, let's start with the kitchen.

0:43:390:43:42

Come and look at this.

0:43:420:43:44

The main house can be accessed either from the upstairs landing

0:43:440:43:47

or through a small boot room on the ground floor

0:43:470:43:50

and gives our buyers the separation they wanted from the business.

0:43:500:43:54

Now this sort of boot room come service corridor connects

0:43:540:43:58

the guest wing and the guest kitchen, as it might be,

0:43:580:44:02

with your kitchen.

0:44:020:44:04

-Oh, wow! Look at the range!

-Look at the range, yes?

0:44:060:44:10

That is beautiful.

0:44:100:44:12

-It's absolutely amazing.

-You've also got this dining area too.

0:44:120:44:15

-Easily more than we need.

-We haven't quite finished. Have a look at this.

0:44:150:44:19

So it's a circular route this.

0:44:210:44:23

This is the hallway, there's the front door,

0:44:230:44:25

imagine a door there, separating you from the guests.

0:44:250:44:28

-This is your living room.

-This is nice.

-You also get this garden room.

0:44:280:44:33

Oh, that's nice.

0:44:330:44:35

You pointed us towards the better end but this is as good.

0:44:350:44:40

This has a very different feel.

0:44:400:44:41

That is contemporary, this is more traditional.

0:44:410:44:43

Although it is effectively a new build, let's face it.

0:44:430:44:46

There's the staircase that gets you up to your accommodation up there.

0:44:460:44:52

And that is comprised of three good-sized bedrooms

0:44:520:44:54

in this wing of the house alone,

0:44:540:44:56

including a spacious master with a washing area

0:44:560:44:59

and a single room in the eaves which leads on to a cosy twin room.

0:44:590:45:03

They all share a family bath and shower room.

0:45:030:45:06

Unlike our other properties,

0:45:060:45:08

there are no outbuildings as such for letting units.

0:45:080:45:10

You would be hard pushed to do much with a timber clad barn.

0:45:100:45:14

But they do have that 19 acres to play with

0:45:140:45:18

if they wanted to develop a luxury campsite

0:45:180:45:20

and that includes two large paddocks and some private woodland.

0:45:200:45:24

-Just wondering if we can afford it.

-Well, let's deal with that.

0:45:260:45:29

You went first last time, so let's have your guess.

0:45:290:45:34

-£750,000, you have.

-Yes.

0:45:340:45:37

-Is it going to be enough?

-I'm not sure that it is for this.

0:45:370:45:41

So I'd value it at something like £780,000.

0:45:410:45:47

-740.

-740?

-Yes.

0:45:470:45:49

Hopefully coming in just under budget.

0:45:490:45:53

I have to confess, I think it should be that sort figure,

0:45:530:45:56

but today is your lucky day.

0:45:560:45:59

This is on the market at 675.

0:45:590:46:05

Oh gosh! What do we do?

0:46:080:46:11

What do you do? That's a very good question.

0:46:110:46:14

I think the first thing you should do

0:46:140:46:16

is go and explore it at your leisure.

0:46:160:46:17

We whizzed around on the tour but go and spend a bit more time,

0:46:170:46:20

-soak it up, and I will find you later on.

-Fantastic.

-Thank you.

0:46:200:46:24

Go on, then.

0:46:240:46:26

Under budget by £75,000,

0:46:260:46:29

our Mystery House is an extended Welsh long house

0:46:290:46:32

with contemporary additions and finished to a very high standard.

0:46:320:46:36

It features a separate modern guest wing with two bedrooms

0:46:360:46:39

as well as three in the main house and the 19 acres of land

0:46:390:46:43

gives Steve and Allie the option of developing a glamping business.

0:46:430:46:47

Oh, wow! The master suite. This is lovely. What's behind here?

0:46:470:46:53

Cupboard space. Wow!

0:46:540:46:57

You could just about get all your clothes in there!

0:46:570:47:00

The Mystery House has taken us both by surprise.

0:47:000:47:02

We never expected to find a property of this quality

0:47:020:47:05

and of this size at this price.

0:47:050:47:08

I really like the Mystery House.

0:47:080:47:11

I like it particularly because we would be able to run the

0:47:110:47:15

business from here and also Steve and I would be able to have our own home.

0:47:150:47:20

There's quite a lot of land with it

0:47:200:47:22

and also some woodland which is what Steve was asking for.

0:47:220:47:26

Out you come! There we are, that's it, our house tours are over.

0:47:290:47:33

Now, I've just made a little bet with myself as to which one

0:47:330:47:37

of our fabulous properties might be your favourite. Go on, then.

0:47:370:47:41

You can tell me if I'm right a little bit later on.

0:47:410:47:44

Come on, let's go.

0:47:440:47:45

The borderland between Wales and England is an area

0:47:500:47:53

of unforgettable beauty, blessed with plentiful natural resources.

0:47:530:47:58

Thanks to the abundance of coal, towns like Ironbridge in Shropshire

0:47:580:48:02

became important centres of industry.

0:48:020:48:04

It was here in the 18th century that cast iron was first

0:48:040:48:07

produced on a large scale by using coal to smelt iron.

0:48:070:48:11

The world's first cast iron bridge is an enduring legacy.

0:48:110:48:14

Today, the region's iron working heritage is being kept alive

0:48:160:48:19

and well at the family run British Ironwork Centre

0:48:190:48:22

just outside Oswestry.

0:48:220:48:24

It showcases and champions metalwork as an art form.

0:48:240:48:27

I've come to meet one of its founders, Clive Knowles,

0:48:270:48:30

in the centre's sculpture garden.

0:48:300:48:32

It seems only fitting that the Iron Works Centre should be here.

0:48:330:48:36

How did it come about?

0:48:360:48:38

It came about approximately 12 years ago now.

0:48:380:48:42

We came across this wonderful 90 acre farm and the idea was that we would

0:48:420:48:46

eventually make it the Mecca of metalworking

0:48:460:48:49

here on the outskirts of Oswestry.

0:48:490:48:52

And that we would celebrate all the different metalworking talents,

0:48:520:48:56

coppersmithing, tinsmithing, blacksmithing, silversmithing,

0:48:560:49:00

and we've got all these artists here for the public to come and see.

0:49:000:49:04

We're surrounded by some wonderful examples of recent work.

0:49:040:49:07

I do feel as if I am standing in a farmyard actually!

0:49:070:49:09

We've got some classic examples of more functional ironwork

0:49:090:49:12

in the ploughs and what have you.

0:49:120:49:14

We want to genuinely put the glamour back into metalworking,

0:49:140:49:18

to make it fashionable again, to realise how creative it can be

0:49:180:49:22

and how enjoyable it can be.

0:49:220:49:24

The centre's eclectic collection of animal sculptures include

0:49:260:49:29

the familiar from the farmyard, as well as the more exotic.

0:49:290:49:32

Clive is taking me to see a recent commission,

0:49:320:49:34

a giant silverback gorilla made from thousands of spoons.

0:49:340:49:38

Wow!

0:49:390:49:41

It's bigger than I was expecting.

0:49:410:49:43

This is the Great British Spoon Gorilla.

0:49:430:49:46

It's made from 40,000 spoons from primary schools all over

0:49:460:49:50

the country and all over the world.

0:49:500:49:52

It took six months of welding and about a year or 18 months

0:49:520:49:56

of collecting spoons.

0:49:560:49:58

What was the idea behind it then?

0:49:580:49:59

Well, it originated with a challenge from Uri Geller to do something spectacular.

0:49:590:50:04

We decided upon a gorilla and then we were on the road to creating it.

0:50:040:50:08

Well, can we take a closer look at it?

0:50:080:50:11

The cage is quite a symbolic feature, isn't it, in a way?

0:50:110:50:14

Well, the cage was deliberate.

0:50:140:50:17

It was for transportation, more than anything.

0:50:170:50:20

It's going to be doing a tour of UK children's hospitals and hospices

0:50:200:50:25

and it will be residing in each of those

0:50:250:50:27

destinations for a number of months and it's there to inspire

0:50:270:50:31

poorly children, because it was created from children that were well.

0:50:310:50:36

The gorilla sculpture was crafted by one of the centres resident sculptors -

0:50:360:50:40

Alfie Bradley - whose current project

0:50:400:50:42

is in the early stages of development.

0:50:420:50:45

An aim of the centre is to create artistic pieces that raise

0:50:450:50:49

awareness of issues affecting the country.

0:50:490:50:51

Alfie is building a statue of an angel made of knives,

0:50:510:50:54

many of them collected by the police, which he hopes will

0:50:540:50:58

highlight the tragedy of knife crime.

0:50:580:51:00

This is the knife angel.

0:51:010:51:03

It'll stand probably 24, 25 feet in the ear.

0:51:030:51:07

This is just the spine and the wings of the angel.

0:51:070:51:11

What, this huge chunk of steel here is the framework, is it, Alfie?

0:51:110:51:15

Well, what I'm going to do is I'm going to create a frame around

0:51:150:51:19

the spine that I'm going to weld all these knives sideways, like this.

0:51:190:51:24

-Wow, so they'll almost look like feathers.

-Exactly, yeah.

0:51:240:51:27

And all of these have come from where?

0:51:270:51:30

Well, these particular knives have all come from Lancashire police forces.

0:51:300:51:34

We've got 900 from a knife amnesty that they've recently undertaken.

0:51:340:51:38

This is a very different idea to the gorilla.

0:51:380:51:41

This is tackling a very challenging

0:51:410:51:43

and pernicious issue for us all, isn't it?

0:51:430:51:46

This is addressing street violence, the carrying of weapons.

0:51:460:51:51

Every knife taken off the streets of the UK is potentially a life saved

0:51:510:51:56

and we are inviting any of the youths that are involved in gang violence

0:51:560:52:00

or street violence or want to just come here

0:52:000:52:03

and donate their own knife, symbolically,

0:52:030:52:07

and weld it on themselves, they're being invited here to do that.

0:52:070:52:10

And since I'm here at the workshop, Clive and Alfie have given me

0:52:100:52:14

the honour of being the first member of the public to

0:52:140:52:17

contribute to the sculpture.

0:52:170:52:18

I know that you're a big fan of military history,

0:52:180:52:22

so I've managed to find this in all the pile.

0:52:220:52:25

You're joking. That...

0:52:250:52:27

-I think it's... It looks military, anyway.

-It absolutely is.

0:52:270:52:29

That is a Second World War bayonet.

0:52:290:52:32

I think it's a great choice. Thanks, mate, I appreciate it.

0:52:320:52:35

-If you put yours right in the middle.

-Like that?

-Yeah.

0:52:350:52:38

Then eventually this sheet presumably will be

0:52:380:52:40

-taken off of this frame and then bent around the body?

-Yeah.

0:52:400:52:43

-So all the knives will sort of flare out.

-Absolutely.

0:52:430:52:46

-Here's a pair of gloves that you will be needing.

-Thank you very much.

0:52:460:52:49

Now, it's a while since I've done any welding, you're going

0:52:490:52:52

to have to judge my work at the end of it.

0:52:520:52:54

We will and we'll be very critical.

0:52:540:52:56

-Everybody got their helmets ready to go?

-Brilliant.

-Here we go.

0:52:560:52:59

-What do you think, start at the top?

-Yeah.

0:52:590:53:02

With over 100,000 knives needed to complete the sculpture,

0:53:020:53:05

the centre is hoping to reenergise knife amnesties, and that more

0:53:050:53:09

weapons will be handed in to the police over the next few months.

0:53:090:53:13

-Well, lads, how did we do?

-Well done.

0:53:130:53:15

It's not going anywhere, is it?

0:53:150:53:17

No, it isn't. That's rock solid.

0:53:170:53:19

Well, I must confess, I am really, really flattered to have had,

0:53:190:53:23

as I say, a small part to play in creating what will be

0:53:230:53:26

a beautiful sculpture. And I think it's rather telling

0:53:260:53:29

that welding this weapon of war that is now being attached to

0:53:290:53:34

a symbol of peace, I think it's quite profound. It's a brilliant idea.

0:53:340:53:38

It is profound, yeah.

0:53:380:53:40

Alfie's aiming to complete the knife angel by the end of 2015,

0:53:400:53:44

when it will go on public show at the Ironwork Centre and,

0:53:440:53:47

hopefully, will tour the rest of the country,

0:53:470:53:49

helping to continue the metal working tradition which

0:53:490:53:52

originates from this historic region.

0:53:520:53:55

Well, with the budget we've had this week,

0:53:550:53:57

trying to decide which is the best property we've been able to

0:53:570:54:00

show our buyers has been a pretty difficult task.

0:54:000:54:03

I have my favourite and I'm fairly sure that by now

0:54:030:54:06

Stephen and Allison have theirs.

0:54:060:54:08

But are we all thinking the same thing?

0:54:080:54:10

Well, let's go and find out.

0:54:100:54:12

I said to you as we left our Mystery House that I thought

0:54:150:54:18

I had a favourite in mind.

0:54:180:54:19

But, is my favourite the same as you favourite, I wonder.

0:54:190:54:23

We've given you some brilliant options, I think.

0:54:230:54:25

All of them viable, all very different,

0:54:250:54:27

different prices to boot as well.

0:54:270:54:30

So which one is it?

0:54:300:54:31

Which one is your favourite?

0:54:310:54:33

Our favourite is the Mystery House.

0:54:330:54:35

-Is it?

-Yes.

-Why the Mystery House then?

0:54:350:54:38

The Mystery House allows us to take that wonderful property,

0:54:380:54:43

let it as a B&B for a number of years and then potentially

0:54:430:54:49

divide it in two and let half of it

0:54:490:54:53

as a high quality holiday let.

0:54:530:54:56

My money was on the house in Llangollen.

0:54:560:55:00

The six-bedder with the separate two-bedroom holiday let.

0:55:000:55:03

A beautiful house.

0:55:030:55:05

Not just because of the size it offered you, but because it was in

0:55:050:55:08

Llangollen, which markets itself, let's face it, as a tourist destination.

0:55:080:55:12

-And you were very keen on buying that.

-Yes, very much.

0:55:120:55:15

So what changed?

0:55:150:55:17

I think it's a beautiful house but, with the Mystery House,

0:55:170:55:21

Steve and I would be able to have our own separate home

0:55:210:55:25

which is very important to both of us.

0:55:250:55:28

And, of course, the Mystery House comes with 19 acres,

0:55:280:55:31

-which you've got all sorts of opportunities with.

-That's right.

0:55:310:55:34

What about the area?

0:55:340:55:36

Well, we'd still need to do some research on that

0:55:360:55:39

because it's not an area we know that well.

0:55:390:55:43

So, our intention is to do some research on that, go back

0:55:430:55:47

and have a second viewing and, if all goes well, then put in an offer.

0:55:470:55:53

-Wow. What a few weeks you've had.

-I know.

0:55:530:55:56

You've got married, you've gone on honeymoon,

0:55:560:55:58

you've come on Escape To The Country and now, maybe,

0:55:580:56:01

you're heading off to a whole new life in the rural Wales.

0:56:010:56:05

Fantastic.

0:56:050:56:06

You need to catch your breath at some point, I would suggest.

0:56:060:56:10

Good. Well, guys, it's been a lot of fun.

0:56:100:56:13

I'm delighted at what we've been able to show you.

0:56:130:56:15

I am even more pleased that one of them, at least, has captured

0:56:150:56:19

your hearts and your imagination and given you a vision for the future.

0:56:190:56:23

And thank you very much for your help.

0:56:230:56:25

It's been really great, thank you.

0:56:250:56:28

Well, let's be honest,

0:56:290:56:31

if you are a buyer that's lucky enough to have three quarters of a million pounds

0:56:310:56:35

in your back pocket, you are in a very enviable position.

0:56:350:56:38

When we started this house search with Stephen and Allison,

0:56:380:56:41

they did approach it with some pretty lofty ambitions, but I'm

0:56:410:56:44

pleased to say that the property market here has not let them down.

0:56:440:56:47

If anything, it's left them spoiled for choice

0:56:470:56:50

and, at long last, I think they do now have a vision as to what their

0:56:500:56:53

life here and their future may indeed look like.

0:56:530:56:55

And, as for me, well, I have loved seeing property, frankly,

0:56:550:56:59

that is amongst the best that the Borders has to offer.

0:56:590:57:03

I'll see you next time.

0:57:030:57:04

If you'd like to Escape To The Country in either

0:57:050:57:08

England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland

0:57:080:57:10

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

0:57:100:57:14

Jules Hudson is house hunting on the Welsh borders with a dynamic couple who want their £750,000 budget to provide them a country home with B&B business potential. Along the way, Jules finds out how the region's iron works heritage is being recast into unique supersized sculptures.