West Sussex Escape to the Country


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West Sussex

Property series. Jules Hudson is on a property finding mission to uncover a tranquil lifestyle in the West Sussex countryside for a couple from London.


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Well, welcome to what for me

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is a very exciting start to Escape To The Country.

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This beautifully preserved de Havilland Sea Vixen first entered

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service with the Royal Navy back in 1960

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and it forms just part of a fascinating

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collection of aircraft that is now based on what was once

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one of the RAF's most illustrious airfields.

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A base which, in itself, was also home to a man who many

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regard as perhaps the RAF's most famous of pilots.

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But where are we?

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

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'Today's buyers are hoping to turn their backs on city life

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'and embrace the wonder of the countryside.'

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Jennifer, you wanted views.

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Oh-ho-ho! That's what I want.

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'And there are plenty of gems out there to get them excited.'

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-You're doing very well, Jules.

-Hurrah!

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Well, today we are in West Sussex

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and this is the rather splendid collection of aircraft

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at the former RAF Tangmere,

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an airfield that played such a crucial role during the summer

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of 1940, defending the skies above southern Britain

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during the Battle of Britain.

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But in 1941 it was also home to

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the RAF's legendary fighter pilot Douglas Bader.

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Now, the collection today houses aircraft that date not just

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from the Second World War but also from pretty much every period

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and every conflict that Britain has been involved in since,

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including the Falklands.

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But Tangmere as a whole has also evolved post-war.

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On the other side of the airfield an enormous and very modern hi-tech

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family business are busy producing something

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which I think most of us will be enjoying this summer,

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something which I hope I'm going to get a real taste for

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later on in the show.

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West Sussex is a peaceful part of the British Isles,

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located on the south coast of England.

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It was established as a county in its own right in 1974

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and today is home to approximately 780,000 people.

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At its heart are the magnificent South Downs,

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over 600 square miles of stunning national parkland.

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And, boasting one of the mildest climates in the UK, West Sussex

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is a rich agricultural region.

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At the last count there were over 125,000 sheep

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on the South Downs alone.

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The county also offers historic and cultural centres,

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such as the cathedral city of Chichester.

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The county's enviable position also means it's home

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to miles of impressive and award-winning coastline.

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One of its popular seaside towns is Bognor Regis, the first resort to be

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developed for bathing,

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and referred to fondly by Queen Victoria as "dear little Bognor".

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If shopping for antiques is your thing,

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head inland to the attractive market town of Petworth.

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A former winner of Antiques Town of the Year,

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there are rumoured to be upwards of 30 different dealers selling

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a variety of interesting collectables.

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This attractive and varied slice of Britain offers an appealing package

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for those seeking a not-so-remote rural escape.

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Well, with heaps of coastal charm, beautiful landscapes,

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a fabulous property market

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and excellent transport links into central London, West Sussex

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certainly makes an attractive county in which to set up home.

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But, of course, all of that is reflected

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in the property prices here.

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The average price of a detached home is currently £420,000.

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That's a whopping 136,000 above the national figure.

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So why have today's buyers decided that this county is for them?

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Well, let's meet them and find out.

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Retired tour operator Jennifer and her husband, travel journalist Peter,

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have been married for 11 years after first meeting at a business lunch.

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Jennifer tasted the wine at lunch

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and very bravely said she thought that it was corked.

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As I had already passed the wine, there was some consternation,

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but actually she was absolutely right.

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So my respect for her started at that moment.

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He's very conscientious in his work but he's also very

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affectionate and very thoughtful and a lovely person to be with.

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The couple have lived together in central London for the past 13 years.

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They own a Grade II listed home, built back in 1827,

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which is located close to the River Thames.

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When the Jubilee was on we had a big party in the house

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because obviously we could see the boats

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and we had lots of wine and eats

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and a jolly good day with friends and family.

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We certainly had a better day than poor Prince Philip,

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who got a urinary infection.

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They are extremely fond of their period property

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but the older they get, the more difficult the house is to manage,

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as is city living.

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So now that Peter has decided to wind down towards retirement,

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they've set their sights on a more peaceful lifestyle.

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It's going to be quite difficult because I've lived here

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for nearly 50 years.

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So certainly the cultural side of London I shall miss.

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What I won't miss is the traffic, the congestion, the expense,

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just the number of people.

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I will certainly miss all the amenities

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but I won't miss the pollution.

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I'm looking forward to some really lovely countryside air

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and being able to go out and enjoy the countryside.

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Peter's had a long and illustrious career but when he's not

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jet-setting around the world the couple share a common interest.

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We both enjoy cooking, Peter especially,

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it's one of his big hobbies.

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With a larger kitchen and more time on his hands,

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he could really enjoy himself in the kitchen.

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We have a little difficulty working together in the kitchen

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but perhaps in a larger kitchen that might disappear.

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Peter has three daughters from a previous marriage,

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two of whom have their own families.

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They both live in Surrey, the neighbouring county to West Sussex,

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which is just one of the reasons why Jennifer and Peter

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have chosen the area.

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I feel it will bring us together.

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I think it'll help us enjoy doing things together, going out

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together more, excursions, just being more involved with each other.

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So now that their house is on the market, Jennifer and Peter

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feel it's the perfect time to begin their search.

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I think that we need to do it now so that we can enjoy our next house.

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If we leave it much longer it'll be too late.

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Jennifer and Peter are used to having a vast range of theatres,

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cinemas and museums on their doorstep,

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so to quench their cultural thirst

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the couple would like to be located within

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a half-hour's drive of Chichester, which boasts one of the most

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respected theatres outside of London's West End.

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But, before we start our search, I'm meeting them down

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in West Sussex to learn more about what they want from their new home.

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Well, Peter and Jennifer, welcome to West Sussex

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and Escape To The Country and I hope a week of beautiful weather

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-and some beautiful properties for you.

-I can't wait.

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What's interesting for me, Peter, is that you are leaving

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a beautiful riverside home in London which many people would die for.

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Why the move now?

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Because it's in London.

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Fair enough.

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It is a lovely house but it is slightly impractical for us now

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and we both actually genuinely want to go back to the country

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because we both have roots, in our own ways, in the country.

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Give us a rough idea of what your new home should have in it to make

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-it work for you.

-Well, I would love wonderful views, countryside views.

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I like Georgian period homes, or perhaps Victorian,

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but it's that Georgian feel of high ceilings, big rooms.

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The garden, not too large, we're not gardeners,

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something I can just sit out and enjoy the sun.

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How many bedrooms do we need?

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Minimum three but I think preferably four

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but the important thing for me would be three bathrooms.

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-We need one each and one for the guests.

-One each?!

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Gosh, that's rather flash, isn't it? I like the idea of that.

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And in terms of space, living space, you know,

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paint a picture of what you're going to indulge yourselves with.

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Well, I think it's the old thing that everybody wants,

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a nice kitchen/breakfast room, I'd say,

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-because we'd like a separate dining room.

-Yeah.

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And also I'd like to be on maximum two floors.

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We currently live in a four-storey house,

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which, years coming along, is just too much.

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And a huge study for Peter.

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Well, I was just going to come on to the study, Peter,

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because that's very much your domain.

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Many people say, "We want a study, we want a bit of a home office,"

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-but actually for you this is a genuine place of work.

-It is.

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I write and intend to continue writing,

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if anybody will still buy the stuff.

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I'll buy it, I'll read it, don't you worry!

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Now, as you probably know,

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West Sussex is not the cheapest part of the country.

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So how big is the budget?

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Well, the budget is 900,000,

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which could be...extended slightly.

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-If you find us a fabulous place, we could go up to 950.

-Wow.

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That's a pretty good budget! I'm no longer worried!

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I'm no longer worried at all.

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That opens up the horizon here beautifully.

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We've got some gorgeous weather, we've got the property market

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here in West Sussex at our disposal, along with its countryside

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and your very generous £900,000-950,000.

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-Let's see what we can find.

-Thank you.

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Peter and Jennifer have a very healthy budget and they're

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looking for a property that's easy to manage with a maximum of two floors.

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Ideally, the home will have...

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In a perfect world, well, Jennifer would like to be within

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walking distance of local amenities.

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We've picked out a winning selection of properties that vary in style

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but which deliver the character and charm our buyers are looking for.

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We won't reveal the price of each home

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until they've had a good look around and we'll be building up to

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the mystery house, which could level the competition.

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And how do your friends

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and family feel about you moving out of salubrious central London?

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Well, my friends think we're bonkers,

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leaving all that sort of culture behind.

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-That's a very stereotypical London-centric view, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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They might be pleasantly surprised that actually,

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life in Hicksville is quite rich and with a vibrant cultural scene

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on your doorstep in the form of Chichester.

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Well, we'll obviously book theatre tickets before they arrive.

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You'll be laying it on thick, just to make the point that it's good.

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-Absolutely, yep.

-For a show that's about to transfer to London.

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Yes, exactly.

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We're beginning our house-hunt in South Mundham,

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which is less than a 15-minute drive from Chichester.

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Historically part of the parish of Pagham,

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South Mundham was annexed in 1897

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and joined up with North Mundham.

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It's a quiet agricultural hamlet where Peter and Jennifer

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could live out their country dream in style.

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And adjacent to lush farmland

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is the first property that I'm going to show them.

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Well, we thought we'd kick off our search with this one,

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which in fairness you can't see all of from here.

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It's quite a difficult one to describe, really,

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but it is hard to get a sense of the overall geography of it.

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But as you can see, it's built from very traditional local materials.

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-Uh, looks fairly cottagey.

-Yes.

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But it does look as though it's been looked after and is well maintained.

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I think it's probably a place that you can't judge from outside.

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-No.

-I would agree with you.

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I think this is one we need to kind of get into and explore.

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Good, let's get inside and see what you think.

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Parts of this four-bedroom farmhouse date back to the 16th century

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and it's been renovated and extended over the years.

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The building was originally thatched but after a fire in 2008,

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the current owners decided to add a loft conversion and a tiled roof.

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The first room we're heading for is the all-important kitchen.

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Wow. That's certainly a lot bigger than we've got at home now.

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Nice and light, which I like.

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Yeah, a nice contemporary feel, actually. Very crisp.

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-And with nice tops.

-I think it's a nice kitchen.

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Very nice kitchen.

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There is a separate utility room as well at the other

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end of the house for all the rest of it -

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-washing machine and so on.

-Right.

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Well, the dining room is through here.

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-It does flow quite nicely, actually, from the kitchen.

-Wow.

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-That's very nice and bright, isn't it?

-Very nice room.

-Lovely.

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You've got the wood burner in there, which is rather nice.

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-Yes, and I think the beams...

-Not too cottagey?

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-No, they don't, they actually belong.

-And a decent height.

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-Yeah, really attractive, out to the garden there.

-Yeah, I like that.

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Well, in many ways, this room is kind of mirrored next door

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because this is your main living room, as it were.

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Do you see what I mean?

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Proportionally, I think this is very similar to the dining room.

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But, of course, it's got the addition of that garden room extension

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-going through there.

-That's great, that makes a big difference.

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If it was just this room, I'd say forget it, but having that

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extension takes it right into the garden and makes it really nice.

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We were wondering if that might make an interesting study area for you,

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looking out over the garden.

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There is a separate study already but as a place to work...

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I think it would be a waste. You've got two living rooms.

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You've got one for the evening, which is this,

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which is quite dark and cosy, and then you've got that,

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which is a light and lovely sort of morning room.

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It's rather nice, the terms we're giving to these rooms.

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Rather elegant 18th-century, 19th-century slice of life

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with morning rooms and day rooms.

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-I think we just need a bell system for you to call staff in.

-I wish!

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Now, bedroom-wise, we've got four for you, and three bathrooms.

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-Whoa.

-You see? We've listened. We've listened to some of it, anyway.

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Come and have a look through here.

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When it comes to the bedrooms, three of them are on the ground floor.

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One is a good-sized double with direct access to a large

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elegant family bathroom equipped with Victorian-style roll-top bath.

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Opposite is another large, light and airy double,

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and there's also a double-aspect smaller bedroom that is

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currently being used as a study - perfect for Peter.

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There's also a refurbished shower room that completes

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the downstairs accommodation.

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So next I'm taking our couple up into the eaves for a closer

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look at the master bedroom with its own en-suite.

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Now, you'd better duck.

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This is the route to your rooftop eyrie.

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This could make a hunchback out of me, I think.

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Now, in there you've got a shower room and loo.

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And then this - ha-ha! - is what we are describing as the master bedroom.

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It's a bit like being underground and upstairs, isn't it?

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This is the kind of cottagey issue which I think you've

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-probably highlighted.

-It could make a nice study.

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Oh, I hadn't thought of that.

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What does the writer think?

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You try and put a bookshelf on a wall that shape.

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Very true. But, you know, how much fun would it be writing out there?

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-That would be quite nice, wouldn't it?

-Yes.

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No, that would be really pleasant.

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-Let's go out to the garden and talk about the price, shall we?

-OK.

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Because that might also help inform your decision.

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The gardens that surround the property

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have been tastefully landscaped and are mainly laid to lawn.

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There are well-established borders,

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a greenhouse for growing fruit and veg and even a hot tub.

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But this isn't included in the asking price

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and would need to be negotiated for separately.

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I know you didn't want a huge garden.

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You've got three pockets of garden here.

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This is the more formal, I suppose.

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The property itself forms this little courtyard -

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they've got a little hot tub in it at the moment -

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and then at the far end you've got what the owner calls

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the business end of things, which is greenhouse, garage and so on.

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I think this end of it is my favourite bit, to be honest.

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-Yeah, this would be my sun trap.

-So, that's it, property number one.

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The house tour is pretty much over

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and we've just got to talk about the price, of course.

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I think in the region of 800,000,

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perhaps 825,000.

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-Jennifer?

-Well, I must say I was thinking about 800,

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but I am concerned that that might be a bit low

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because of its proximity to Chichester.

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Your instincts are right. However, there is some good news.

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Despite proximity to Chichester,

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you could have this one for £750,000.

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That's a surprise, I have to say.

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That has saved you 200,000 from what you thought you might have to spend.

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I mean, I know you don't want to retire, Peter,

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but you are retired, Jennifer, and, you know, 200 grand goes a long way.

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-Holiday money.

-Three days' work.

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JULES LAUGHS Yeah, if only! If only.

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Go and have another look around.

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In particular, have a look at those downstairs bedrooms.

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I think one of those might make a better master bedroom, if I'm honest.

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-But it's a great property. Go and explore it.

-Let's go.

-OK.

-Off you go.

0:16:560:17:00

£200,000 would be an astonishing saving,

0:17:000:17:03

especially as this old farmhouse

0:17:030:17:05

meets many of Jennifer

0:17:050:17:07

and Peter's requirements.

0:17:070:17:08

The property is an interesting mix

0:17:080:17:10

of period features

0:17:100:17:12

with modern extensions.

0:17:120:17:13

It delivers the desired number

0:17:130:17:15

of bedrooms and bathrooms

0:17:150:17:16

as well as plenty of room

0:17:160:17:18

for Peter to set up a study.

0:17:180:17:20

Ah.

0:17:200:17:22

These raised beds are nice and I could use that one for my herbs.

0:17:220:17:25

That would be lovely.

0:17:250:17:26

It's very much a working garden here

0:17:260:17:28

and a leisure garden there, isn't it?

0:17:280:17:30

Yeah, two separate gardens.

0:17:300:17:31

I'm cut out for the leisure garden.

0:17:310:17:33

One's first impression,

0:17:340:17:36

it looks a bit like a village hall or an old school.

0:17:360:17:39

Inside, the house is quite different.

0:17:390:17:42

It's very airy, it has a very nice feel to it.

0:17:420:17:45

The dining room was one of my favourite rooms.

0:17:450:17:48

It was lovely and bright,

0:17:480:17:49

the sort of place I'd like to entertain in very much.

0:17:490:17:52

Oh, it's not a bad room. If I was a guest, I'd be very happy here.

0:17:540:17:57

You've got the bathroom there.

0:17:570:17:59

And it's a jolly good size, and decent wardrobe in it too.

0:17:590:18:02

-Almost too good for guests.

-Yes!

0:18:020:18:05

I'm personally not wild about the bedroom layout.

0:18:050:18:09

I'd prefer to go upstairs to the master bedroom and I think that the

0:18:090:18:13

best bedroom is the one downstairs, which is a very nice guest bedroom.

0:18:130:18:16

If I was a guest and ended up in that bedroom I would be very happy.

0:18:160:18:20

You know, I do love gardens that are fun and I love a bit of garden art.

0:18:200:18:25

Look at this lovely oak owl.

0:18:250:18:27

Do you think this knows something we don't?

0:18:270:18:30

I suspect it knows quite a lot.

0:18:300:18:33

-Good. Happy?

-Yes, very happy.

-Yes, very.

0:18:330:18:35

-Well, then, it's lunchtime. Come on.

-Great, thanks.

0:18:350:18:38

Found on the upper reaches of the River Arun is another

0:18:440:18:47

West Sussex gem.

0:18:470:18:49

Horsham is a historic trading post that we've sent our food-loving

0:18:490:18:52

couple to in search of a special tasting.

0:18:520:18:56

They're visiting the Horsham Museum

0:18:560:18:59

and meeting up with curator Jeremy Knight.

0:18:590:19:02

Jeremy has offered to shed some light on the town's history.

0:19:020:19:06

Horsham was actually created in 947 for trade

0:19:060:19:09

and the market trade was so popular that we had over four fairs a year,

0:19:090:19:13

and five days a year there were markets

0:19:130:19:16

at various times in the town.

0:19:160:19:18

Horsham had developed a number of specialties

0:19:180:19:20

and it became well known for gingerbread in the 19th century,

0:19:200:19:24

with over 17 gingerbread sellers in the town.

0:19:240:19:26

Wow.

0:19:260:19:28

Horsham gingerbread was clearly in demand

0:19:280:19:30

and when Jeremy was looking through some of the museum's archives

0:19:300:19:34

he discovered that the delicacy had a very famous fan.

0:19:340:19:38

The poet Shelley, who was one of the world's great poets,

0:19:380:19:41

his very first letter he ever wrote was about gingerbread.

0:19:410:19:45

We actually have a copy of the letter in a book that was

0:19:450:19:48

published and written by his cousin.

0:19:480:19:49

"Tell the bearer not to forget to bring me a fairing,

0:19:490:19:53

"which is some gingerbread, sweetmeats,

0:19:530:19:55

"hunting-nuts and a pocket-book."

0:19:550:19:58

So historically Horsham gingerbread went all over the country.

0:19:580:20:02

We know that Horsham gingerbread was sold in London,

0:20:020:20:04

we know it was sold in Brighton, in Lewes.

0:20:040:20:06

It was sold, as far as we can tell, far and wide.

0:20:060:20:09

In 2009, Jeremy acquired an old cookbook, which included

0:20:100:20:15

a recipe for Horsham gingerbread written by one of Shelley's aunts.

0:20:150:20:19

So the next step on their heritage gastro tour is to meet

0:20:190:20:22

Lesley Ward, a local food historian who's been working with

0:20:220:20:25

the museum, trying to reproduce the original recipe.

0:20:250:20:29

-Hi, Peter.

-Lesley, hello.

-Jennifer.

0:20:290:20:33

And after a year of trials, she perfected the mix of ginger powder,

0:20:330:20:37

black treacle, butter, wholemeal flour, mixed peel, oats and sugar.

0:20:370:20:41

Sugar used to be imported, obviously, in this form.

0:20:430:20:48

-Wow, that's heavy.

-It's quite weighty.

0:20:500:20:52

It's very weighty.

0:20:520:20:53

In Regency England,

0:20:530:20:54

you would have cracked off a lump of sugar probably with a hammer

0:20:540:20:58

and smashed a piece off, and then you would be using

0:20:580:21:01

these sugar nippers to break up the pieces into smaller pieces

0:21:010:21:05

before you pounded them down in a pestle and mortar.

0:21:050:21:08

OK, so let's start cooking.

0:21:080:21:10

I've got some black treacle here, Peter.

0:21:100:21:13

So if you can be in charge of that.

0:21:130:21:14

If you can put that on the cooker.

0:21:140:21:16

You need to add butter.

0:21:160:21:18

-That's a lot of butter.

-Well, you need the butter for the flavour.

0:21:180:21:22

Whilst Peter melts the treacle, butter and sugar,

0:21:230:21:26

Lesley gets Jennifer to mix up the rest of the ingredients.

0:21:260:21:30

It's thought Indian ginger was first exported to Europe

0:21:300:21:32

as early as the 1st century AD.

0:21:320:21:35

But as world trade boomed in the 19th century,

0:21:350:21:38

spices like ginger became more readily available.

0:21:380:21:41

Indian ginger powder is what the original Horsham bakers used

0:21:410:21:44

over 200 years ago because it's mild and aromatic.

0:21:440:21:49

Lesley, too, uses powdered rather that fresh ginger

0:21:490:21:52

but she's given the recipe a new addition to make it her own.

0:21:520:21:56

By adding the oats, I kind of stabilised it.

0:21:560:21:59

Every gingerbread maker added different things

0:21:590:22:01

and I felt happy that I'd added my own.

0:22:010:22:04

-So, how are we doing?

-Now, this is boiling.

0:22:050:22:08

What you need to do is pour it into the dry mix

0:22:080:22:11

and Jennifer can mix it all up.

0:22:110:22:13

Ooh, that looks gooey.

0:22:130:22:15

It's tough going when it gets mixed.

0:22:150:22:17

A large quantity is quite hard work, actually.

0:22:170:22:19

I think that's just about ready now.

0:22:190:22:21

The mix is poured into trays...

0:22:210:22:23

-It's getting quite solid, isn't it?

-Yes, it cools down.

0:22:230:22:26

..smoothed out and popped into a hot oven.

0:22:280:22:31

20 minutes later the gingerbread is ready.

0:22:310:22:34

They look fantastic.

0:22:340:22:36

-They smell good too, don't they?

-Look at that.

0:22:360:22:38

Lesley lets the gingerbread sit for ten minutes

0:22:380:22:41

and then uses traditional square cutters to divide up the portions.

0:22:410:22:45

It's time for the cooks to head into the garden

0:22:470:22:49

for that all-important tasting.

0:22:490:22:52

It's really quite fruity.

0:22:520:22:54

I can taste the lemon and the orange and,

0:22:540:22:59

gosh, it's much stronger than I anticipated.

0:22:590:23:01

It's the ginger.

0:23:010:23:03

It's quite subtle and then it comes through...gives it real heat.

0:23:030:23:06

It's the ginger from India that does it.

0:23:060:23:08

It doesn't hit you in the face like some of the hotter gingers.

0:23:080:23:10

-No.

-It's delicious. Thank you.

0:23:100:23:12

Yes, fantastic, Lesley, thank you so much.

0:23:120:23:15

Well, that taste of Horsham may have spiced things up a bit,

0:23:150:23:19

but now it's time to get back to our property search.

0:23:190:23:22

For our next stop, we're making our way to the desirable village

0:23:270:23:31

of Bosham on the banks of Chichester Harbour.

0:23:310:23:33

The area is particularly popular with sailing enthusiasts

0:23:340:23:38

and this quaint waterside residence has a rich history.

0:23:380:23:41

It was once inhabited by Romans and is featured on the Bayeux Tapestry.

0:23:410:23:46

Bosham itself is served by a good selection of quality pubs

0:23:460:23:49

and tearooms and the village has a strong sense of community.

0:23:490:23:53

The next home I'm showing them is less than a five-minute drive

0:23:530:23:57

inland towards Chichester.

0:23:570:23:59

It's one of two impressively converted detached barns

0:23:590:24:02

that were completed in 2011.

0:24:020:24:04

In you come.

0:24:070:24:09

Right, well, we've come up with this converted beauty.

0:24:090:24:12

Built originally about 1750, many of the original beams survive,

0:24:120:24:15

but it was all done up four years ago.

0:24:150:24:18

Looks big and it looks as though it might be quite bright,

0:24:180:24:22

there's a lot of glass there.

0:24:220:24:23

And it's got lots of bathrooms. And a huge kitchen. How about that?!

0:24:230:24:27

Come and have a look.

0:24:270:24:29

'The internal footprint of this barn covers over 3,000 square feet

0:24:290:24:33

'and the ground floor is open-plan,

0:24:330:24:35

'split into three modern living areas.'

0:24:350:24:38

Now then, Jennifer, come on in, because I think this is remarkable.

0:24:390:24:44

Wow!

0:24:440:24:46

Speechless!

0:24:460:24:47

Speechless. It's enormous and it's such a nice, clean space.

0:24:470:24:52

It's so beautifully done.

0:24:520:24:55

I mean, just the colour. I love the simplicity of the colour.

0:24:550:24:59

-The wood and the...

-They've done this really well.

0:24:590:25:01

Of course, it's only four years old,

0:25:010:25:03

so it's built to all modern building regulations and standards.

0:25:030:25:06

Very efficient to heat, very well insulated.

0:25:060:25:09

It really sells itself.

0:25:090:25:10

I don't really need to say an awful lot here, I don't think.

0:25:100:25:13

There's a little mezzanine there.

0:25:130:25:15

Is that where it goes round the corner?

0:25:150:25:17

Ah, well, no, you have got two sets of stairs here,

0:25:170:25:19

one there and one there.

0:25:190:25:21

They both lead up to two bedrooms each, of the four that are on offer.

0:25:210:25:25

-It does appeal.

-I certainly wouldn't rule it out.

0:25:250:25:28

I think it's an exciting building.

0:25:280:25:30

Come and have a look at the kitchen, look at this. Again, not small.

0:25:300:25:33

-Funky, young, slick.

-Ohh!

0:25:330:25:35

That's amazing!

0:25:350:25:38

-It's got everything. Space...

-Yep.

0:25:380:25:41

-Island.

-..fantastic marble tops.

-Yep.

0:25:410:25:45

..and room to...

0:25:450:25:46

I'm not sure that I like that layout

0:25:460:25:48

but it could be made cosy and...

0:25:480:25:51

I think I'd go for something which was more of a kitchen/living room.

0:25:510:25:54

-A nice breakfast...living...

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:25:540:25:56

-That door goes through to the utility room.

-Right.

0:25:560:25:58

You've got built-in, integrated washer-dryers and all the rest of it.

0:25:580:26:02

Currently, I sometimes don't see Peter from morning till night

0:26:020:26:05

because he's downstairs in the basement working

0:26:050:26:08

and I've got three floors to play with, so...

0:26:080:26:10

Here you'd see nothing else BUT me.

0:26:100:26:12

You would trip over each other, that's the thing.

0:26:120:26:15

Well, if you think about it, it is only two rooms, really.

0:26:150:26:18

We'd have to find our own little corners.

0:26:180:26:20

So, where shall we go next? We've got two staircases to choose from.

0:26:200:26:24

Er... Let's go up this one.

0:26:240:26:27

Running from left to right along the back of the building

0:26:270:26:31

is a half landing that links the ground and first floors.

0:26:310:26:34

We're accessing the first floor via this landing,

0:26:340:26:37

from the staircase at the kitchen end.

0:26:370:26:39

Here we find two shower rooms

0:26:390:26:41

and stairs that serve the upstairs bedrooms.

0:26:410:26:44

These two bedrooms are lofty and well-proportioned doubles,

0:26:440:26:48

with exposed beams that add character.

0:26:480:26:50

Now, technically, this is used as a guest room.

0:26:500:26:54

-A guest room!

-It's not bad, is it?

0:26:540:26:57

This is one of the two en-suites that are here.

0:26:570:27:00

The en-suites have showers.

0:27:000:27:02

So this is mirrored, effectively, next door.

0:27:020:27:04

That staircase we've just come up from the kitchen would

0:27:040:27:07

offer you a, sort of, guest wing.

0:27:070:27:09

-I like that.

-As a room, I think it's lovely.

0:27:090:27:12

-It's the wardrobe space worries me.

-Really?

-Yeah.

0:27:120:27:15

So you couldn't imagine anything freestanding,

0:27:150:27:17

-adding to what's already here?

-Not enough.

-Wow!

0:27:170:27:20

How much are you bringing with you? SHE LAUGHS

0:27:200:27:23

Is this not time for a clear-out, I'm beginning to think?

0:27:230:27:25

Look, before we go outside and talk about the price, let's go

0:27:250:27:28

and look at the bedroom they've given over as a study.

0:27:280:27:31

Because you do need somewhere to work.

0:27:310:27:34

You're a very accomplished writer, Peter, and I don't want you to

0:27:340:27:36

be without, so let's go and find you somewhere of your very own.

0:27:360:27:40

'We're making our way back downstairs

0:27:420:27:44

'and heading for the northern end of the barn.

0:27:440:27:47

'Here the half-landing consists of a relaxing mezzanine

0:27:470:27:51

'and a high-spec family bathroom.

0:27:510:27:54

'Once again, there are two separate staircases

0:27:540:27:57

'leading up to the remaining bedrooms.

0:27:570:27:59

'The smaller bedroom is being used as a study,

0:27:590:28:02

'giving the master bedroom sole access to the family bathroom.'

0:28:020:28:06

Now, it's hard to judge but I suppose this is probably fractionally

0:28:080:28:12

the smallest of the bedrooms, but they've got it set up as a study.

0:28:120:28:16

It's an area where you can be quiet and concentrate.

0:28:160:28:19

No problem with anything colour-wise.

0:28:190:28:22

Right then, let's see if you love the price.

0:28:220:28:24

We'll talk about that now.

0:28:240:28:25

Jennifer was originally wowed by this converted barn

0:28:260:28:30

but I'm finding it hard to gauge just how they're feeling now.

0:28:300:28:33

They asked for a manageable garden and, although there are no views from

0:28:330:28:37

the main living area, it does afford some overlooking nearby fields.

0:28:370:28:42

By the main entrance, there's another lawn garden with well-stocked borders

0:28:420:28:46

and a nicely designed patio for outdoor dining.

0:28:460:28:49

All that remains is to find out just how much

0:28:490:28:52

they think this place is on the market for.

0:28:520:28:55

-So then...

-Ha-ha!

0:28:550:28:57

-What's coming next, Jennifer?

-Oh, gosh.

-Yes.

-How much?

0:28:570:29:00

-And I'm first.

-You're going to go first, yeah.

0:29:000:29:02

How much is it on the market for?

0:29:020:29:04

I think because of the quality and the position, 925.

0:29:040:29:09

925, yeah. Peter?

0:29:090:29:11

-850.

-850, no nonsense there.

0:29:110:29:14

Straight in with a very cheeky 850.

0:29:140:29:17

Well, you've sort of straddled it, actually!

0:29:170:29:20

This is on the market for 895.

0:29:200:29:24

Ah.

0:29:240:29:26

It was over nine, but they've reduced it. All right, so 895.

0:29:260:29:30

Have a look around.

0:29:300:29:31

Go and enjoy it and I'll catch up with you a little bit later on.

0:29:310:29:34

Great.

0:29:340:29:36

This impeccably finished converted barn could be

0:29:360:29:39

bought for £55,000 under the top end of Peter and Jennifer's budget.

0:29:390:29:44

It offers exactly the number of bedrooms

0:29:440:29:47

and bathrooms they wanted and is conveniently located

0:29:470:29:50

less than a 15-minute drive from the cultural hot spot that is Chichester.

0:29:500:29:54

Good room for parties but it's not intimate.

0:29:570:30:00

It looks so huge because of that glass panelling there, but it's...

0:30:000:30:03

I don't know, a bit too open, maybe.

0:30:030:30:06

When I got inside, it really exceeded expectations.

0:30:060:30:10

I love the way that they've used the old beams,

0:30:100:30:13

there's some lovely brackets and things like that.

0:30:130:30:16

So the inside was stunning.

0:30:160:30:19

-Gosh, wardrobe.

-A wardrobe.

0:30:190:30:22

-It's not a bad room.

-No.

0:30:230:30:25

It's a magnificent space but the property is all about the property,

0:30:250:30:30

whereas I really want to come to the country to enjoy

0:30:300:30:35

the country from my garden and I haven't got a view.

0:30:350:30:39

-Well...

-All done?

0:30:390:30:41

-Yes, thank you. Some place.

-Well, very interesting day.

0:30:410:30:44

If nothing else, I think we've learned that you do quite like

0:30:440:30:47

-a barn conversion.

-I must say, it had a lot going for it.

0:30:470:30:51

Well, let's see if we can find you another one tomorrow. Come on.

0:30:510:30:55

'It's day two of our property search in West Sussex

0:31:020:31:05

'and with a maximum budget of 950,000,

0:31:050:31:09

'married couple Peter and Jennifer

0:31:090:31:12

'have decided to sell their central-London pad

0:31:120:31:14

'and start a new life in the countryside.

0:31:140:31:16

'Coming up, we've got our mystery house to show them...'

0:31:160:31:19

This is your main living space.

0:31:190:31:22

This is a bit special.

0:31:220:31:23

'..and I visit one of Europe's largest nurseries here on home soil

0:31:230:31:28

'and risk being mauled for the sake of pest control.'

0:31:280:31:31

-Is this going to bite or anything?

-No, they don't.

-What's in it?

0:31:310:31:34

Oh, you're joking! They're like little fleas.

0:31:340:31:36

Well, it's our final day of house-hunting here in West Sussex

0:31:380:31:41

with two very discerning buyers in the form of Jennifer and Peter.

0:31:410:31:44

Coming up, we have two more properties,

0:31:440:31:46

last but not least, of course, our mystery house,

0:31:460:31:49

something which I don't really think they'd have looked at on paper

0:31:490:31:52

but, looking ahead to their future, I think it could really work.

0:31:520:31:56

Is my hunch right? Well, we'll have to wait and see.

0:31:560:31:58

But before we get to that we have our penultimate property to show them.

0:31:580:32:03

Now, Jennifer has been very clear,

0:32:030:32:04

she wants something that's peaceful, that's quiet,

0:32:040:32:06

with far-reaching countryside views, but which also gives them

0:32:060:32:10

access on foot to local amenities.

0:32:100:32:13

That, in my experience, is a very difficult combination to find.

0:32:130:32:16

But on this occasion, well, we might just have done it.

0:32:160:32:19

Our next home is located in the South Downs National Park,

0:32:200:32:24

a 25-minute drive north-east of Chichester in sought-after Amberley.

0:32:240:32:29

This scenic parish is a real jewel in West Sussex's crown.

0:32:290:32:33

Recorded in the Domesday Book as having just 17 villagers

0:32:330:32:37

living here, Amberley also has a castle that proudly stands

0:32:370:32:40

in the northern part of the village

0:32:400:32:42

and dates back to the early 1100s.

0:32:420:32:45

The River Arun runs through the parish,

0:32:450:32:47

which has a good variety of amenities

0:32:470:32:49

and a direct train to central London taking an hour and 20 minutes.

0:32:490:32:53

Less than a ten-minute walk from Amberley Castle is our next

0:32:530:32:56

property, which has an attractive timber and render frontage.

0:32:560:33:00

But the real selling point is its location.

0:33:000:33:03

At the back of it are the kind of views that I think

0:33:030:33:05

Peter and Jennifer are after.

0:33:050:33:07

-Now, Jennifer, you wanted views.

-Oh-ho-ho!

0:33:070:33:11

-You've done it!

-Yeah?

0:33:110:33:13

Yeah, that's what I want.

0:33:130:33:16

-Peaceful, quiet...

-That's gorgeous.

0:33:160:33:18

..uninterrupted views right across that flood plain known

0:33:180:33:22

locally as the Amberley Wild Brooks.

0:33:220:33:24

So you've got this lovely elevated position

0:33:240:33:27

here in the heart of Amberley.

0:33:270:33:28

-I think this is a really good spot, location-wise.

-Yeah.

0:33:280:33:32

That's the property. What do you think?

0:33:320:33:35

Oh, it looks sensational.

0:33:360:33:38

It started out life in about 1860 as a pub.

0:33:380:33:41

It was then converted into a home about 1960, so 100 years later.

0:33:410:33:46

It has four bedrooms, one of which is in a one-bedroom annexe over there.

0:33:460:33:50

-Great.

-Great.

0:33:500:33:52

I'm thinking that the annexe might make a great writing studio for you.

0:33:520:33:56

Right, yes.

0:33:560:33:57

The garden is quite extensive.

0:33:570:33:59

You've got this flat area here and then it's terraced down the hill.

0:33:590:34:02

-That is ours, is it?

-Yeah, towards the meadow.

0:34:020:34:04

-Oh, I was afraid that was our neighbour's.

-No, that's all yours.

0:34:040:34:07

Wow, sensational. Let's get in!

0:34:070:34:09

Yeah, come on then. This way, let's start with the kitchen.

0:34:090:34:12

'Well, I was confident the wonderful outlook would hit the mark

0:34:120:34:16

'and I'm delighted at Jennifer's enthusiasm

0:34:160:34:18

'to view the rest of this period property.

0:34:180:34:20

'I'm just hoping the stylish kitchen has the same impact.'

0:34:200:34:24

There we are, what do you reckon?

0:34:240:34:25

That's terrific. Look at the views as well.

0:34:250:34:29

That works.

0:34:290:34:30

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-Well, look at the view through there.

0:34:300:34:33

That used to be the pub kitchen but they've opened it all up.

0:34:330:34:36

Round the corner you can see that leaded window -

0:34:360:34:38

that was the old serving hatch back in 1860.

0:34:380:34:41

Wonderful.

0:34:410:34:42

It's really nice. I think you've got a nice mixture

0:34:420:34:44

of the modern country kitchen, as it were,

0:34:440:34:47

but a nice bit of more elegant dining through there.

0:34:470:34:51

-You're doing very well, Jules.

-Hurrah!

0:34:510:34:54

We're finally getting there, edging our way forward to a solution.

0:34:540:34:57

Now, through that door there you've got access to the annexe,

0:34:570:35:00

which I'm going to let you two explore on your own

0:35:000:35:02

a little later on.

0:35:020:35:03

-But in the meantime let's continue this way.

-OK.

0:35:030:35:06

'We're making our way into the spacious hallway

0:35:060:35:09

'past a good-sized study with

0:35:090:35:10

'fitted wardrobes, shelves and desk space.

0:35:100:35:14

'But our next stop is a beautiful room,

0:35:140:35:16

'where I imagine our couple will do most of their unwinding.'

0:35:160:35:21

Now, this is the main living room.

0:35:210:35:23

-Hmm.

-Right, hmm.

0:35:230:35:25

It's nice having the dual-aspect windows.

0:35:250:35:27

It's possibly a little smaller than I might have liked.

0:35:270:35:30

Next door they've got a study set up but you could, in theory,

0:35:300:35:35

-open that up.

-Yes.

-Right...

0:35:350:35:37

Which would give you perhaps a bit more living space,

0:35:370:35:40

if you didn't want to have that as a separate study

0:35:400:35:42

-because you've got so many options outside for that.

-Yeah.

0:35:420:35:44

-It's ticking a lot of boxes.

-Good. I'm working hard on this one.

0:35:440:35:47

I love it, I think this village works for you,

0:35:470:35:49

I think this property can work for you.

0:35:490:35:51

I think the village is a huge attraction and I like...

0:35:510:35:54

I think the house is...

0:35:540:35:56

It's a good old traditional family English house.

0:35:560:36:01

-Exactly right, sir.

-Yeah.

0:36:010:36:03

OK, now, let's have a look upstairs and see what you make of that.

0:36:030:36:06

'It's good to hear they're keeping an open mind but, of course,

0:36:060:36:10

'any structural alterations may be subject to planning permission.

0:36:100:36:14

'We're making our way upstairs to the first floor,

0:36:140:36:17

'where there are three bedrooms.

0:36:170:36:19

'Two are good-sized doubles with more fitted wardrobes,

0:36:190:36:22

'one of which has a sloping ceiling and exposed beams.

0:36:220:36:26

'These rooms all share a well-appointed family bathroom

0:36:260:36:29

'but I want to show Jennifer and Peter the master.'

0:36:290:36:32

-This is yours, with built-in storage, Jennifer.

-Oh, wow.

0:36:330:36:37

THEY LAUGH You see?

0:36:370:36:40

Yes.

0:36:400:36:42

They've got a chest of drawers, which we've got.

0:36:420:36:44

Plenty of room for that there.

0:36:440:36:46

And it's also got en-suite with shower and bath,

0:36:460:36:49

all quite nicely done.

0:36:490:36:51

-That's good.

-Yeah.

-I think this looks very promising.

0:36:510:36:54

It's just about manageable, I think.

0:36:540:36:57

Funnily enough, I think I'd put the bed here. But anyway, that's...

0:36:570:37:00

Ah, well, it's all good, you see?

0:37:000:37:03

You've slipped into that moment when you're planning your layout.

0:37:030:37:06

-This is all revealing stuff.

-Yeah.

0:37:060:37:09

Right, then. Well, let's go out to the garden

0:37:090:37:10

-and take in those views again, shall we?

-Oh, yeah.

-Great.

0:37:100:37:13

Our buyers have responded really well to this intriguing house.

0:37:150:37:18

I know they like the terraced garden with its summer house,

0:37:180:37:21

fruit and veg patch, as well as the wonderful views,

0:37:210:37:24

but I'm now keen to see what they really think of the price.

0:37:240:37:27

Just gorgeous out there.

0:37:290:37:31

-It's wonderful, it's just what I asked for.

-It is what you asked for,

0:37:310:37:34

but it's the property we really want you to focus on now, and its value.

0:37:340:37:38

-I would say 925-935.

-925-935, yeah.

0:37:380:37:42

Jennifer?

0:37:420:37:44

Well, I'd have to go, I think, with an optimistic something like 895.

0:37:440:37:49

An optimistic 895.

0:37:490:37:52

You're a bit more realistic, sir.

0:37:520:37:55

It's on the market currently for 950.

0:37:550:37:59

-Hmm.

-However, I think it is probably open to some sensible offers,

0:37:590:38:04

and in my experience, sensible offers tend to get sensible answers,

0:38:040:38:09

which might reflect those things that need a little bit of tweaking.

0:38:090:38:13

No, there's a huge amount going for it. It's a serious prospect.

0:38:130:38:17

-A serious contender.

-Yeah.

-Good.

0:38:170:38:19

Well, have another look around. In particular,

0:38:190:38:21

-go and explore the annexe - you haven't really seen that yet.

-No.

0:38:210:38:25

And I will find you somewhere a little bit later on.

0:38:250:38:28

-Thank you very much.

-Thanks.

-Good, off you go.

0:38:280:38:30

There you are.

0:38:300:38:31

Well, we have managed to spend pretty much all of Peter

0:38:320:38:36

and Jennifer's budget but what a property and what a location.

0:38:360:38:40

I really do think this could work,

0:38:400:38:42

but of course, at the end of the day, it's got to work for them.

0:38:420:38:46

This house is at the top of their budget

0:38:480:38:51

but I think it's their favourite property yet.

0:38:510:38:54

It offers them character,

0:38:540:38:55

the living space they wanted,

0:38:550:38:57

good local amenities and magnificent views,

0:38:570:39:00

as well as the added bonus of a separate annexe

0:39:000:39:02

for Peter to write in.

0:39:020:39:04

This is a surprise.

0:39:080:39:10

Well, a bedroom up there, presumably.

0:39:100:39:14

I think it's a really attractive guest room.

0:39:140:39:16

I mean, terrific independence someone would have here

0:39:160:39:19

and they'd love it.

0:39:190:39:20

Yeah, and they'd have great views out onto the terrace

0:39:200:39:23

-and total independence.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:39:230:39:26

The position of the property is what I particularly liked about it.

0:39:260:39:30

It's in a quiet road in a lovely village with that sensational view.

0:39:300:39:35

When we walked up the drive and into the garden, then I was

0:39:350:39:40

totally taken aback and I thought all my dreams had come true at once.

0:39:400:39:45

The view was so sensational, I just fell in love with it.

0:39:450:39:48

This is the wall that could come down to extend the sitting room

0:39:520:39:56

-into here...

-That would be nice.

-And then you get the window as well.

0:39:560:40:00

Yeah, but then you're stuck for study space.

0:40:000:40:02

-Well, we'll have to think about that.

-Yeah.

0:40:020:40:04

Thinking about this house compared to the other houses we've seen,

0:40:070:40:10

I would say this probably comes top of the list.

0:40:100:40:13

But there are concerns about the money we'd have to spend on it.

0:40:130:40:17

Ah, just wondering where you had got to. We've got to go.

0:40:170:40:20

-A lot to think about.

-It's a really interesting proposition.

0:40:200:40:24

I hope it is a serious contender.

0:40:240:40:26

It is, without a doubt.

0:40:260:40:28

I mean, food for thought - this is a FEAST for thought, I think.

0:40:280:40:32

Well, can we top up your appetite with our mystery house, I wonder?

0:40:320:40:35

Come on.

0:40:350:40:36

So, one more property to come - our mystery house.

0:40:430:40:46

Any ideas as to what it might be?

0:40:460:40:49

Well, I think have shown us such a range of houses the only thing

0:40:490:40:53

I can think left is a caravan, which we could tow from view to view.

0:40:530:40:58

For your budget, it would be a pretty extensive caravan,

0:40:580:41:01

wouldn't it, really?

0:41:010:41:02

You don't know what we'd tow it with.

0:41:020:41:04

Oh, there we are, yeah.

0:41:040:41:06

Well, I think it's a really interesting property, but I suspect

0:41:060:41:11

that on paper it's probably something you wouldn't have looked at.

0:41:110:41:15

Ah.

0:41:150:41:16

That's intriguing.

0:41:160:41:17

Our mystery house is located 20 miles further west in another sleepy

0:41:190:41:23

South Downs village, Stoughton.

0:41:230:41:26

The surrounding golden rape-seed fields frame this peaceful place.

0:41:270:41:31

Stoughton may have a remote feel and only one public house but it's

0:41:320:41:36

barely a 20-minute drive from the cultural activity in Chichester.

0:41:360:41:41

Tucked away among the fields

0:41:410:41:43

and accessed via a country lane is our mystery house.

0:41:430:41:46

Peter and Jennifer are used to four-storey living

0:41:460:41:50

so we're taking it down a level or two

0:41:500:41:52

and there's nothing more rural then an agricultural conversion.

0:41:520:41:56

Well, at long last I can reveal the mystery house.

0:41:560:42:01

There it is. What do you think?

0:42:010:42:03

Well, it's certainly a mystery. It's very difficult to tell quite...

0:42:030:42:06

well, what it WAS, let alone what it is now.

0:42:060:42:09

-Is it all of it?

-It's all of it.

0:42:090:42:11

Everything you can see is yours.

0:42:110:42:14

The word bungalow comes to mind.

0:42:140:42:16

I knew... I knew that was going to surface.

0:42:160:42:18

I'm going to call it a single-storey cowshed conversion.

0:42:180:42:23

-I always wanted to live in a cowshed.

-You see!

0:42:230:42:26

Well, I use the word cowshed specifically

0:42:260:42:28

because that is what it was.

0:42:280:42:29

It's not your classic two-storey great big Sussex barn.

0:42:290:42:33

Let's call it a barn conversion, you know, for want of argument.

0:42:330:42:36

Let's be realistic and practical about this.

0:42:360:42:38

I want this home, your future home, to work for you for, you know,

0:42:380:42:42

a long time to come, and I think this is a property that you'd never

0:42:420:42:46

-have to leave, to be honest with you.

-Mm.

0:42:460:42:48

-So let's not use the bungalow word any more.

-OK, agreed.

0:42:480:42:51

'The original building was constructed in the 1800s

0:42:510:42:54

'from brick and flint and it's awash with timber beams.

0:42:540:42:57

'It was converted into a home in the 1970s

0:42:570:43:01

'and further alterations have been made ever since.'

0:43:010:43:04

So...

0:43:040:43:06

Dining room there, we'll talk about that a little more in a moment.

0:43:080:43:11

This is your main living space.

0:43:110:43:14

-This is a bit special.

-Do you like it?

0:43:140:43:17

I'm not sure yet but I find it very attractive.

0:43:170:43:20

Something catches your eye everywhere you look.

0:43:200:43:22

-Oh, it's moving you, I think.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:43:220:43:25

Is it moving Peter?

0:43:250:43:27

Yeah, I like the beams and all those trusses

0:43:270:43:29

and I like that big brick chimneybreast, that's great.

0:43:290:43:34

I love the windows. I like the fact that you could open that up

0:43:340:43:37

-and bring the outside inside.

-Absolutely, yeah, imagine it.

0:43:370:43:40

I think you could have a nice dining area here, say,

0:43:400:43:43

making the best use of the views out that way.

0:43:430:43:46

-Maybe the dining room as it stands could become your study.

-Yes.

-Yes.

0:43:460:43:51

Come and have a look through here. This is the kitchen.

0:43:510:43:54

There we are. Not enormous, to be fair,

0:43:570:44:01

but beautifully formed, one might say.

0:44:010:44:05

Nice worktops but, yes, just a little on the small side.

0:44:050:44:09

That's the little dining space they've got at the moment.

0:44:090:44:11

That's fine for breakfast.

0:44:110:44:12

And there's a utility room through that door over there.

0:44:120:44:15

I think this would operate very much as a functional kitchen.

0:44:150:44:18

I don't think this would be a focal point of life in the house.

0:44:180:44:21

If you think this is a little disappointing, do not worry,

0:44:210:44:24

because I am going to more than make up for it with the master bedroom.

0:44:240:44:28

Oh, yes, come and look at this.

0:44:280:44:30

Including the master, our mystery barn has five bedrooms.

0:44:320:44:36

One is dual-aspect with enough space for a double bed,

0:44:360:44:39

another is being used as a cosy guest room,

0:44:390:44:42

and the smallest space is currently set up as a study

0:44:420:44:45

with doors leading out onto the garden.

0:44:450:44:48

They all share a family bathroom with walk-in shower

0:44:480:44:51

but the master bedroom is en-suite

0:44:510:44:53

and has access to a studio that is being used as a further study.

0:44:530:44:57

So, finally, at the end of the corridor, this is what's on offer

0:44:590:45:02

and I'm hoping it will not disappoint you.

0:45:020:45:06

Isn't that astonishing? Can't help looking up all the time.

0:45:060:45:09

It's lovely, isn't it?

0:45:090:45:11

Now, there's a glorious room.

0:45:110:45:12

-And, look, it's got loads of storage.

-Wardrobes.

-Hurrah!

0:45:120:45:15

Lots of built-in storage.

0:45:150:45:17

Now, if you look ahead, you've got two doors there.

0:45:170:45:20

On the left, that's currently your en-suite bathroom with bath.

0:45:200:45:24

On the right, a bigger room that they're using as a study

0:45:240:45:28

but I'm thinking you probably wouldn't want to walk through

0:45:280:45:30

the bedroom to go to work, Peter.

0:45:300:45:33

In which case, you could, because you've got the plumbing next door,

0:45:330:45:36

make that another en-suite

0:45:360:45:38

but perhaps with a dressing area as well because it's bigger.

0:45:380:45:41

And then you could fight over which one you each have.

0:45:410:45:44

-That would work very well.

-Yeah. This is a beautiful room.

0:45:440:45:47

Actually, a really stunning room.

0:45:470:45:49

-Right then, shall we go outside and talk about the price?

-Hmm.

0:45:490:45:53

That, I'm sure, will have a bearing on things.

0:45:530:45:56

The garden is a peaceful space with a terrace to sit out on,

0:45:560:46:00

a lawn to stroll around in and a fishpond to encourage wildlife.

0:46:000:46:05

But it's the glorious countryside setting that I'm hoping

0:46:050:46:08

will really excite our buyers.

0:46:080:46:10

The garden, I think, is big enough for what you want to be worried about

0:46:120:46:15

and certainly manageable enough.

0:46:150:46:17

Now you know what's on offer, let's wrap it all up...

0:46:170:46:21

-with the difficult bit, the nitty-gritty, the money.

-The money.

0:46:210:46:25

I suspect this is going to be over our basic budget, so I'm going

0:46:250:46:29

to pitch on...920.

0:46:290:46:32

920. Peter?

0:46:320:46:34

Well, I'm astonished by that

0:46:340:46:37

because I'm going to go quite the other direction.

0:46:370:46:39

I'm going to say 825.

0:46:390:46:41

-825?

-Yeah.

-Wow.

0:46:410:46:43

The scales of optimism have shifted between you today!

0:46:430:46:48

Well, it's 875.

0:46:480:46:51

What do you think about that?

0:46:510:46:53

Well, it does give us a bit of room to spend

0:46:530:46:56

-on a few alterations that we might like to do.

-Absolutely.

0:46:560:46:59

Go and have another look around

0:46:590:47:01

-and I'll find you a little bit later on.

-OK.

0:47:010:47:03

Our mystery barn is another property we've found that's under budget.

0:47:060:47:10

Peter and Jennifer have loved the character it offers,

0:47:100:47:13

its manageable garden and countryside location,

0:47:130:47:16

plus that extra bedroom means there are options for Peter's study.

0:47:160:47:20

Hmm. This is a nice, bright room,

0:47:210:47:24

but it is a bit on the small side for guests, I think.

0:47:240:47:27

-A little, yes.

-Yep.

-Yep.

0:47:270:47:28

Jules brought us up this lane and

0:47:300:47:32

ahead of us was this wonderful scenery.

0:47:320:47:35

Then we turned into the gateway, into a very pretty little garden

0:47:350:47:39

which was surrounded by an eight-foot wall,

0:47:390:47:41

which was, again, a nice wall,

0:47:410:47:43

but it cut the view off.

0:47:430:47:45

I think Jules's idea, actually, is a good one -

0:47:480:47:50

to make this into a bathroom. It would be a very nice bathroom.

0:47:500:47:53

-Well, it would be a very nice dressing-bathroom for you.

-Yes.

0:47:530:47:57

My favourite room in the house is undoubtedly the master bedroom,

0:47:570:48:02

I think it's a stunning room.

0:48:020:48:04

But this house doesn't really offer

0:48:040:48:08

a natural room for a study, I think.

0:48:080:48:10

West Sussex in the sunshine, it's like being in the Bahamas here.

0:48:110:48:15

Hey, here we go! I hope you didn't rush for me,

0:48:150:48:18

-I'm enjoying it out here.

-Not at all, every nook and cranny.

0:48:180:48:22

Good. Well, I think we've given you lots to think about this week.

0:48:220:48:25

Wow, maybe you're a bit bamboozled but you are about to spend a fortune

0:48:250:48:28

so you do need to think about it.

0:48:280:48:30

-Fancy a beer?

-Now you're talking.

-Come on!

0:48:300:48:34

Towards the southern end of the county

0:48:390:48:42

is the former RAF base at Tangmere.

0:48:420:48:44

It was established after the First World War but closed in 1970.

0:48:440:48:49

However, 18 years later, new life was breathed into the site

0:48:490:48:52

when Dutchman Dirk Houweling bought the land

0:48:520:48:55

and established a family business producing peppers.

0:48:550:48:58

I'm meeting up with general manager Gerard Vonk to find out

0:48:580:49:01

more about Tangmere's 21st-century successes.

0:49:010:49:05

-Gerard.

-Jules.

0:49:050:49:06

-Welcome to Tangmere Food Nurseries.

-Thank you very much indeed.

0:49:060:49:10

Gerard, nobody serving on this airfield during the Second World War

0:49:100:49:13

could have ever imagined that it would find a new life

0:49:130:49:17

as the centre of the UK's pepper production 70-odd years later.

0:49:170:49:21

-It's an astonishing place, this.

-Thank you very much.

0:49:210:49:24

We've got over 75 acres of greenhouse

0:49:240:49:27

growing red, green, yellow, and orange peppers.

0:49:270:49:30

How many peppers do you get out of 75 acres of greenhouse?

0:49:300:49:34

-About 65 million.

-65 million!

0:49:340:49:37

In terms of our consumption as a country, how does that

0:49:370:49:40

-equate as a percentage?

-It's about 30%.

0:49:400:49:43

What persuaded you to bring your operation here

0:49:430:49:46

to West Sussex and Tangmere?

0:49:460:49:49

We are a family business and we came over from Holland

0:49:490:49:52

to be closer to the consumer, the market,

0:49:520:49:55

and this part of Sussex is very nice, warm and sunny -

0:49:550:49:59

exactly what a pepper plant needs.

0:49:590:50:02

You've got a couple of bikes here, I've noticed, Gerard.

0:50:020:50:04

Is that the best way to get around your 75-acre site?

0:50:040:50:07

That's right, and even a healthy one.

0:50:070:50:09

-Do you want to come along?

-Absolutely, yeah! Great.

0:50:090:50:11

-Have this bike.

-Thank you very much.

0:50:110:50:13

It's not just the cycling that's healthy here.

0:50:130:50:16

Gerard and his team concentrate on producing sweet, or bell, peppers.

0:50:160:50:21

They're all very low in cholesterol and saturated fat,

0:50:210:50:24

as well as rich in vitamins such as vitamin K, that helps with healing,

0:50:240:50:28

and B6, that reduces fatigue.

0:50:280:50:32

This is absolutely astonishing.

0:50:320:50:34

-How many acres is this greenhouse?

-26 acres.

0:50:340:50:36

-How many pepper plants have you got?

-About a quarter of a million.

0:50:360:50:39

-A quarter of a million?!

-Yep.

0:50:390:50:41

I notice they're all growing up these strings.

0:50:410:50:44

Are they all planted and strung by hand?

0:50:440:50:46

All individually.

0:50:460:50:48

Where are these plants in their life cycle?

0:50:480:50:50

At the moment they're halfway.

0:50:500:50:52

I mean, at the end of the year they will be roughly about four metres.

0:50:520:50:55

-So they will, kind of, double that, going right up to the top?

-Yeah.

0:50:550:50:59

Now, what are you planting them in? Cos this isn't soil, is it?

0:50:590:51:01

No, this is rock wool, which is

0:51:010:51:03

a growing media which can hold all of the roots and water.

0:51:030:51:07

I mean, most of us would associate that with roofing insulation.

0:51:070:51:10

It's actually a similar material, although it's very uniform.

0:51:100:51:14

A very sustainable way of retaining water

0:51:140:51:17

and giving the plant exactly what it wants.

0:51:170:51:20

Peppers originated in South America,

0:51:210:51:24

with wild varieties dating back as far as 5000BC.

0:51:240:51:28

It only takes 30 days for a bud to grow into a fully-formed fruit.

0:51:280:51:32

However, at this stage it's green and still considered immature.

0:51:320:51:36

It takes a further three weeks for the pepper to reach full maturity

0:51:360:51:39

and change its colour.

0:51:390:51:41

-I'm dying to try one. What about that yellow one there?

-Yeah, no problem.

0:51:410:51:44

-Is that ready to go?

-Yeah.

0:51:440:51:46

Fabulous, look at that. Beautiful, beautiful pepper. Absolutely perfect.

0:51:460:51:51

Now, I must confess, Gerard, that when I buy peppers

0:51:510:51:54

I don't really ascribe a particular taste to any of the colours.

0:51:540:51:57

-I mean, is there really much of a difference?

-Definitely there is.

0:51:570:52:00

Green is an immature pepper. That's the most tangy -

0:52:000:52:03

bitter, some people might say.

0:52:030:52:05

So what's the sweetest pepper?

0:52:050:52:07

-Sweetest, I would like to think orange.

-Really?!

-Yes.

0:52:070:52:11

Red is also a very tasty one.

0:52:110:52:13

What about insects and bugs and things?

0:52:130:52:16

Things that might destroy the plants.

0:52:160:52:17

There are millions of it, but I can show you.

0:52:170:52:20

I've got something for you.

0:52:200:52:22

Gerard's taking me to the company's hi-tech research

0:52:220:52:25

and development area, where they test different techniques

0:52:250:52:27

for producing the perfect product, including pest control.

0:52:270:52:31

The four main problems we've got are aphids, red spider mite,

0:52:320:52:37

-caterpillar and thrips.

-What's a thrip?

0:52:370:52:40

A thrip is like a kind of thunderbug.

0:52:400:52:43

How damaging could these pests be? What will they do to the plant?

0:52:430:52:45

They can be very damaging. Look over here, there's been scuff marks

0:52:450:52:49

-and it actually deforms a leaf.

-Gosh, it does, actually, doesn't it?

0:52:490:52:52

Potentially, the thrips can actually give a virus to the plant.

0:52:520:52:57

What have you got in there?

0:52:570:52:59

We've got over here a predator called orius

0:52:590:53:02

and they actually eat the thrips.

0:53:020:53:04

-Is this going to bite or anything?

-No, they don't. Look.

0:53:040:53:08

-You're joking, like little fleas.

-That's right, that's right.

0:53:080:53:11

That's astonishing. They are like little fleas, they're jumping around.

0:53:110:53:15

-What are those?

-That's where they actually stay.

0:53:150:53:17

-What do we want to do, get them on the leaves?

-Pop on a leaf over here.

0:53:170:53:20

-Ah! I can feel them on my...

-Yep, yep.

-There we are.

-There you go.

0:53:200:53:24

Off you go, fellas.

0:53:240:53:25

Gerard, you say this is your research and development greenhouse.

0:53:250:53:28

-What are you particularly looking at for the future?

-For example, LEDs.

0:53:280:53:31

Maybe you can see them already in the distance in the crop.

0:53:310:53:34

-Those little, yeah, purple, red...

-Red and blue, yes.

-Yeah.

0:53:340:53:37

Yes, now, we try to get a little bit more light in the crop.

0:53:370:53:41

And it going to improve the size of peppers further down the plant?

0:53:410:53:44

That's right, maybe more peppers throughout the plant.

0:53:440:53:48

You know, I think we all tend to take the pepper for granted

0:53:480:53:50

when we pick it up off the supermarket shelf.

0:53:500:53:53

There's much more to a pepper than you think.

0:53:530:53:55

There is so much more to it than I could ever have thought.

0:53:550:53:58

-Gerard, thank you very much, mate.

-You're welcome.

0:53:580:54:00

So, from planes to peppers, this part of West Sussex still plays

0:54:000:54:04

a significant role in the county's heritage.

0:54:040:54:07

Well, it's been a week of high hopes and high numbers

0:54:100:54:13

but have our efforts for Peter and Jennifer been successful?

0:54:130:54:17

I wonder.

0:54:170:54:18

-Hello, how are you doing?

-Hello. Fine, thank you.

0:54:210:54:24

-The perfect spot.

-Got yours in.

0:54:240:54:26

Ah, thank you very much indeed.

0:54:260:54:28

Well, it's been quite a week, hasn't it?

0:54:280:54:30

We've had some lovely weather, gorgeous houses,

0:54:300:54:34

but have we managed to find you a home that you can move into?

0:54:340:54:37

-Peter?

-I think you've come very close.

0:54:370:54:41

The house in Amberley is very close to...

0:54:410:54:45

and that view is sensational.

0:54:450:54:48

The garden is lovely and the house could be good.

0:54:480:54:52

We'd just want to do a little bit to it.

0:54:520:54:54

And at the price that it's on at at the moment,

0:54:540:54:57

I just don't think it gives us quite enough room to do it.

0:54:570:55:00

Yes, it was offers in excess of £950,000.

0:55:000:55:04

It's been on the market for a couple of months -

0:55:040:55:06

it may be one to watch.

0:55:060:55:09

I suspect that's your favourite too.

0:55:090:55:10

Most definitely. I mean, I just fell in love with the view

0:55:100:55:14

and the garden there and the terrace.

0:55:140:55:16

I mean, it took the sun most of the day.

0:55:160:55:19

And I think the village itself offered you everything that you were

0:55:190:55:22

-looking for.

-Yeah, the fact that you could walk to a shop...

0:55:220:55:25

The pub and the tearoom and all those other lovely things

0:55:250:55:27

-that Amberley has.

-And the station.

0:55:270:55:29

And, of course, the station links back to London.

0:55:290:55:31

So I can take some heart in the fact that we found you the right

0:55:310:55:34

-property but just not for the right price.

-Yes.

-Most definitely.

0:55:340:55:38

OK, so the search goes on.

0:55:380:55:40

What have you really taken away from this experience?

0:55:400:55:43

Has it helped refine what you're after?

0:55:430:55:45

I think it's helped me realise that perhaps I'm expecting

0:55:450:55:48

a bit too much for our money, in this area anyway.

0:55:480:55:51

What about West Sussex itself, Peter, for you?

0:55:510:55:54

I think West Sussex is a lovely place to live and I would like to

0:55:540:55:58

persevere and give it a bit longer and look at some other places.

0:55:580:56:03

I really hope we can find one little patch of West Sussex that

0:56:030:56:07

gives us what we're looking for, for slightly less money.

0:56:070:56:11

Well, it's been an awful lot of fun.

0:56:110:56:13

I'm glad to hear you haven't been put off this gorgeous county.

0:56:130:56:16

Your search will continue. Let us know how you get on.

0:56:160:56:19

It's been a great deal of fun. Very best of luck.

0:56:190:56:21

-And, as ever, keep us informed as to how you get on. Cheers.

-Cheers.

0:56:210:56:25

You know, I love coming to West Sussex.

0:56:300:56:33

This gorgeous landscape filled with pretty villages and sumptuous houses

0:56:330:56:36

means that wherever you look there is something beautiful to see.

0:56:360:56:40

So you can imagine my surprise when I thought,

0:56:400:56:43

having come here with a lovely couple armed with £1 million,

0:56:430:56:46

we would have a pretty successful house-hunt.

0:56:460:56:49

Sadly, this week it just wasn't to be.

0:56:490:56:52

But I do think Peter and Jennifer are taking away two really

0:56:520:56:55

important things. Firstly, a much sharper focus

0:56:550:56:58

on what their new home needs to be, and, secondly,

0:56:580:57:01

an invigorated determination to finally make this county

0:57:010:57:04

their new home.

0:57:040:57:06

Hopefully sooner rather than later.

0:57:060:57:08

I'll see you next time.

0:57:080:57:10

If you'd like to escape to the country

0:57:110:57:13

in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

0:57:130:57:16

and would like our help, you can apply online at...

0:57:160:57:18

Jules Hudson is on a property-finding mission to uncover a new home and a tranquil lifestyle in the West Sussex countryside for a well-travelled couple from London. Whilst there, Jules hits the runway where planes have made way for peppers at one of Europe's largest nurseries.