Property series. Nicki Chapman is in the Yorkshire Dales with a couple who have a £900,000 budget to spend on a property with business potential.
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Underneath the surface of this breathtaking scenery
lies the longest caving system in the UK -
a 63-mile subterranean network of tunnels,
some of which are so large you can fly a plane through them.
So whereabouts am I? Find out in just a moment.
Today, I'm helping an animal-loving couple in pursuit
of their country paradise.
-Well, we'd be very happy coming to stay here.
-So that is the sign, really, isn't it?
-So would I.
And their enthusiasm knows no bounds.
-Are we excited? Come on.
-We are excited!
Welcome to Escape To The Country. Today, we are in North Yorkshire.
And this is the beautiful landscape of Yorkshire Dales National Park,
an area that spans over 600 square miles
of river valleys, hills, moorlands and woodlands.
And underfoot is the Three Counties cave system,
an extensive network of tunnels that runs beneath the counties
of Cumbria and Lancashire, as well as North Yorkshire.
But, of course, the real draw here is all you can see above ground.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park,
located in the North of England,
sits just below the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
and is sandwiched between the Lake District to the west
and the North York Moors to the east.
The region's undulating valleys consist of rich pasture land
grazed by sheep and dissected by dry-stone walls
and meandering streams.
The rural Dales are home to the Three Peaks,
a trio of hills which provide
avid hikers with some great walking challenges and stunning scenery.
There's Whernside - Yorkshire's highest point,
Pen-y-ghent - whose scree-clad slopes rear up from ground level,
and Ingleborough - with its flat plateau with fantastic views
of the surrounding countryside,
Here, robust limestone buildings are the fabric of these farming villages
and are an intrinsic part of the Dales' landscape.
There is a timeless quality to these lovely crisscrossing valleys.
Nidderdale, which stretches to the southeast
reaches of the National Park, is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
and is a less known destination on the tourist map.
So with its stunning terrain of peaks and vales,
along with the serene life it offers,
the Dales is an appealing choice for those escaping the pace of the city.
If you want to make North Yorkshire your home,
you might find you have a little change left in your pocket
when you compare the national figures because currently, the average
price of a detached house in England and Wales is just over £280,000.
But here, you would expect to pay some £9,000 less than that amount.
However, in the highly desirable chocolate-box villages
on the southwest edges of the National Park, prices shoot up,
costing around £30,000 more than the rest of the county.
But what is it about this picturesque part of the country that
has lured today's buyers? Well, let's meet them and find out.
It was a love of fine cuisine that brought together
web entrepreneur Nadine and her civil engineer husband John.
We met through a social club in Nottingham.
And we actually first ran into each other at one of the monthly
That sweet encounter was 14 years ago
and three years later, they were married.
We live in West Bridgford, which is
just south of the river from Nottingham
and it is a very nice area, but it is suburban, very close to the city
and very busy.
It's just we're getting to the stage of our lives where we're looking to
live further away from a city - outside, obviously -
in the countryside.
They have got their sights set on the Yorkshire Dales
as their country retreat, somewhere close to Nadine's heart.
I grew up in East Yorkshire, so all our school trips were there,
as well as, of course, day trips out with the parents.
And I think it is just, therefore, what
I consider to be beautiful countryside.
It is kind of in-built.
Recently, Nadine and John even chose the area
to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary.
It's beautiful countryside.
And you always feel invigorated having visited.
It is very clean air, nice environment.
And you get a sense of...or a feel there is a good community
and it would be a good place to live.
It won't be just Nadine and John heading north.
They have got quite a menagerie coming with them.
Well, we are looking to move with Oscar the dog, Judy the cat
and the two chooks we've got.
We have got quite a few pets and we'd love to keep more animals.
We've had up to nine chickens in the garden,
but I'd like many times more than that.
When we move, I would like to have a bigger vegetable patch
and a bigger area for more hens so that we can have fresh produce.
We might take on other animals. I think John would quite like to
be a llama farmer, mostly cos it rhymes.
But the move is not only going to be about living the good life,
there are plans for new ventures, too.
I think we are open to trying all sorts of businesses.
I think we're capable of putting our hands to lots of different things.
-So we would just see what arose.
Most likely holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts,
but the world is our oyster, I think.
And with their house on the market
and a clear vision for their next move,
Nadine and John are looking to
a happy future, including a first in their relationship.
It will be the first time we have actually bought a house together
because this house was Nadine's when we got married, and I moved in.
I think this change is really important because
when we are in the countryside, I just feel more joyful, happier.
It just will energise me to be out there amongst the green fields,
the dry-stone walls and the sheep.
And so I think it is just something that I feel
I have to do at this point, to get away from the urban lifestyle.
Nadine and John are hoping for a future in the heart
of the Yorkshire Dales National Park itself, so that is where
we are concentrating our search.
But for the right property, we may stray across the border.
Before we head off on our house hunt, I'm meeting them
to get the lowdown on their property wish list.
Well, John and Nadine, welcome to the Yorkshire Dales!
Got a great day for house hunting, haven't we?
We have indeed.
Why is the time right for you two to make this move?
Well, I think we're at that sort of age where if we don't do it now,
we never will.
We've got our roots in Nottingham to a certain extent,
just having been there for 15 years or so.
-So it's almost now or never.
-This is it, is it?
So, John, what is this move going to give the two of you?
I think we will... You know, we like the countryside, a bit more space.
We are not looking to retire, we are looking to run a business
as well as live here.
Now you mention business opportunities.
Let's talk about that in a little bit more detail.
What do you have in mind exactly?
Well, we've got an open mind, to be fair.
I think any business we set out will probably have
some accommodation part to it,
so maybe holiday cottages or B&B, potentially.
I think the message is we are quite flexible.
We will see what comes along. We would just like it to be
a dog-friendly business.
In your mind, what does this new property look like?
What does it incorporate?
Probably two or three bedrooms for ourselves, obviously,
maybe a reasonably-sized kitchen, some living space.
We will need some office, clearly, if we are
going to run a business, or more than one business.
And then on top of that, maybe a bigger house
or some outbuildings which we can perhaps use.
Anything else you're looking for with this property and the land?
I think just somewhere inspirational.
Somewhere that'll give us the energy to work hard on the business
and bring us joy.
So what about the actual location for this move?
I think we are thinking near a village
cos we'd like to get involved in the local community.
And we have been thinking inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park
just because that is the tourist destination,
although we are well aware that there are some beautiful
-areas just outside as well.
So we have got the business, we have got the property,
we've got a little bit of land,
remind us how much money we are talking.
I think if we found a property that needed quite extensive renovation,
we'd probably start somewhere about 700,000. That may rise
to near 900,000 if the property was pretty much as we wanted it.
Well, we do have some splendid properties lined up to show you.
Of course, one is our Mystery House,
but I am not going to give too much away.
-I think we should just get started, don't you?
If you would like to follow me.
Nadine and John's top budget of £900,000 is very good
for this area, but they are looking for more than just
a home, so they are hoping to spend less on the property
if they need to invest more in a business.
They'd prefer an older home, but they are flexible.
They would like a good-sized kitchen and living space,
plus an office and two to three bedrooms for themselves.
Then they'll need the extra rooms or outbuildings to create
an animal-friendly business.
They'd like to be near a village
in or near the Dales
to attract tourists
to their new home.
We found a great selection of different properties to
show our couple, but the crucial price tag will only be revealed
at the end of each tour.
The last stop will be the Mystery House,
which literally has mystery written all over it.
We are kicking off our property search close to the village
of Giggleswick. Situated on the southwestern fringes of the
Yorkshire Dales National Park, it's two miles from the market town
Centred on its 17th-century market square,
Settle's streets are home to an array of youthful and artisan shops.
Its amenities and attractive historic architecture make it
a popular destination for visitors.
The 19th century Settle-Carlisle railway starts here
and travels through some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain.
A five-minute drive takes us to the rural outskirts of Giggleswick,
perfect dog-walking territory and home to this striking property.
I can feel myself smiling before I've even revealed our first property.
And here it is.
Wow. That is beautiful.
It is made out of that Dales limestone.
-Very traditional look. Absolutely gorgeous.
The original part of this house dates back to the 1700s, but, obviously,
it has been extended, with the modern part done just 10, 20 years ago.
-Well, I am keen to show you around, so let's start.
This detached barn conversion began its days
in the 16th century as a cattle shed,
but its origins have been reconfigured for modern living.
Right, enter through the kitchen. Just mind your heads.
Good size. I like the kitchen. This is very similar to the kitchen
we've got at home, if not a bit bigger.
Yeah, it's super. Nicely done out.
Now, I can't forget that you two met at the pudding club.
LAUGHTER So we know that desserts feature
heavily in this relationship. I mean, you could have your own
-pudding club in here, couldn't you?
-You certainly good, yes.
What I haven't mentioned to you is that this property is
divided into two, in a way, although they are connected.
-Because this is your part of the house.
-And then you have got a holiday let on the other side.
But before we visit the neighbouring holiday let, we are
going next door to the sitting room of the main house, which is
-almost a mirror image of the kitchen.
-This is the oldest part of all the buildings.
-These are the original beams.
But they've incorporated them, tried to keep as many features as possible.
-You can see that, can you?
-Look at the windowsills.
-Those windowsills are lovely.
-Gorgeous, aren't they? Look at the depth.
-Does it feel homely so far?
-It does feel pretty homely to me, yes.
Upstairs, there is a more contemporary feel
than the ground floor,
where the sleeping quarters sit in the eaves,
and all benefit from skylights.
There is a bright master bedroom, a slightly smaller double
and a sunny single, all sharing a smart, monochrome family bathroom.
Back downstairs, as we make our way from the main house to the
adjoining holiday let, we pass a utility room,
and then a hallway leads us
into the main kitchen-living area in the next-door,
more youthful property.
And through this door,
is not only the new extension
-but the holiday let.
Well, we'd be very happy coming to stay here.
-So that is the sign, really, isn't it?
-So would I.
This is nice. I like this.
-You've got access outside. Downstairs, all tile...
-..so you can have guests with dogs.
There is a bedroom through there, double bedroom with an en-suite.
-There is a further bedroom upstairs with an en-suite.
-Nice one. Cool.
This fabulous holiday let is currently fully booked
from April to October and brings in around £12,000 a year.
And as we move outdoors, Nadine and John can really begin to
appreciate the full extent of what is on offer here.
I think, in a way, we have left the best till last
because additional business opportunities -
six stable blocks in total.
The land is about six acres in total.
-But don't get too scared because you have got an acre paddock there.
An acre paddock there
-and a three-acre paddock just the other side of the wall.
-The menage, or that could be for dog agility courses.
Stables, could be kennels. And if that wasn't enough...
To the other side of the house, there is the old stable block
which has been converted into a beautiful office.
You have got everything.
So there is an awful lot of elements to this property.
You have got to try and put a price on all of this.
-So, who wants to go first?
-I'm going to make John go first.
Um, I'd say...
-I'd go a bit more than that.
I think this might be pushing our budget, so...
But I'll be optimistic and say 850.
How surprised are you going to be then
when I say the asking price is...
-Yeah, pretty surprised.
-You can tell we're townies!
We've just based it on our house and what that would be worth and
-kind of multiplied up, so...
-Would you need a mortgage with that?
-Yeah, we can use the funds to
invest and develop the businesses, so get those off the ground faster.
I'd love you to have another look around because this is a wonderful
-property and it does seem to give you everything you have asked for.
On paper, at least. And please, be my guest, have a wander.
-I will come and find you when you are ready.
-Lovely. Thank you, Nicki.
This beautifully converted barn
has come in at an unbelievable
£250,000 under Nadine and John's
top budget, leaving them
with a substantial pot of money.
There are just the number
of bedrooms they want,
plus the property comes in
two halves - the main house
and the well-equipped holiday let -
along with a fabulous office
to work out of.
What's more, the land
and outbuildings mean
they could invest in
an animal-friendly business.
The five acres would be a great
playground for their dog,
Oscar, as well as the chickens.
And let's not forget John's
potential herd of llamas.
Finally, the edge of the
National Park location means it is
a real draw for holiday-makers.
Wow. This one is superb.
It has everything we wanted,
below our budget.
The holiday accommodation
is absolutely top spec,
I think Nicki's idea of having some, er,
-kennels for dogs in here might work quite well...
-..because they'd make lovely, better-than-average kennels...
-..if you gave a dog all that space.
I like the house on the outside. It is nice, traditional stone.
I could see there'd been an extension built
in the same type of fashion.
We walked in and good-sized kitchen, good-sized living room.
And the holiday accommodation attached
was just exactly what is required and, you know, I was pretty pleased.
It is pretty stunning to come somewhere like this
and see all the things that we have talked about and dreamt about
potentially just coming to fruition
and being absolutely able to do it within our budget,
so that is a game changer, it does make a huge difference.
Oh, lovely, smiling faces.
Have you been enthused by all these business opportunities?
Yeah, that holiday accommodation is done to a really high standard.
-First-class, isn't it?
-It is, certainly.
-And this is only our first property.
-So let's hit the road.
Across the patchwork valleys of the Dales,
sheep are a defining feature of the farming landscape, but there
are also some relative newcomers from South America grazing here.
Nadine and John hope to add their own to 4,000 llamas currently
living in the UK.
With that in mind, we have arranged for them to meet
llama keeper Suzanne Benson on her farm in Nidderdale to learn what
they need to do to bring their dream to life.
Suzanne started with just one of these animals 13 years ago,
but she now has 19 and a llama-trekking business.
We wanted to come and ask you all about them because
we were thinking about having some,
-but mainly because we want loads of chickens.
And we heard they were good at protecting
chickens against foxes and maybe dogs as well?
Yeah, llamas can be really effective guards, really effective.
If you pick the right llama.
-So not every llama will guard.
So what is the trick?
Well, it is knowing llama body language, to be honest.
A good, intelligent llama that is
very alert to its environment will be a very effective guard.
But you can get some really laid-back llamas...
-..who may welcome a dog into the paddock and sit by it.
It's when it comes to actually guarding,
it needs a specific instinct within its character.
-Temperaments really vary.
The key is to know your llama inside out, basically.
They're all very, very different. You'll never get
two llamas the same, and you can get some very, very chilled out animals.
You can also get some aggressive animals, so there is a bit
of a fine line in the way we bring them up and the way we handle them.
And obviously, you want them as a bit of a pet as well, which is fine.
But it is very important that you learn how to handle them
as a pet because you cannot treat them as another domestic animal.
We could have a go at herding some in if you want
and get up close and personal.
-Yeah, sounds like an idea.
-Let's give that a go.
Llamas need at least half an acre of land each, so with around
12 acres to share between them, Suzanne's herd are in their element.
And just look at the amazing panoramic view these lucky
creatures have at their disposal.
So, how easy is it going to be to herd these llamas, then, Suzanne?
Well, with this lot in here, it is a piece of cake, really.
They have got a learned behaviour, they know the routine,
they know the commands.
Like, "Up, up, up." And, "Come on, boys. Come on, boys."
They know that from my voice.
So what we're going to do is we are just going to spread out
equally, walk behind them. You two can shout those commands
and we will just see what reaction we get.
-If nothing works, I will help you out.
When you get a little bit closer, if you want to shout, "Up, up, up."
-And then, they know that, actually,
-they're going to have to go in the catch pen.
Up, up. Come on, boys, come on.
Come on. Up, up. Up, up.
Well done, John! They have listened.
This llama herding doesn't seem that hard after all,
although Suzanne's crew have had a lot of practice.
You can see they are going. That's good.
Go on, boys. In you go.
Go on in. Go in, Bert. Freddy, in.
Just keep bringing it right the way round
the back of me, John. Off we go.
Good lads, good lads, good lads.
Then we just shut the gate behind. And you have caught your llamas.
Anybody can keep llamas in the UK and there is a society for llama owners
which can offer help and advice about the way they should be looked after.
The animals are haltered before they are led,
and Suzanne suggest buying animals that are already used to wearing
a halter as it can be tricky teaching them to wear the restraint.
Good boy. Oh, we didn't do the squashing act today. Good lad.
These fluffy animals may look cute and cuddly,
but they are as strong as an ox.
They can carry up to 25% of their body weight, which is
usually around 30 to 50kg, meaning they are perfect trekking
partners, happy to carry your bags.
Come on, Noodle.
Suzanne knows each of her llamas as if they were her own family.
Just while we are in here, I will point out a few characteristics
of their body language.
The ears tell us an awful lot on a llama.
So when their ears are up and forward, it means they are really
inquisitive and they are happy, really interested in things.
When the ears go back - right on cue there for Noodle -
it can mean they are little bit unsure or a bit cross with
another llama, or maybe a human.
If they go flat back and their head is raised up and their neck
goes up and back, it generally means they are getting very cross and
they are about to defend themselves or challenge another llama.
If their tail is just literally down,
that just means that they're not that interested in everything.
Tail raised outwards can mean interest is just raised at something
and they'll want to go and know more about it.
If the tail goes right up in the air,
it can be a challenging type of behaviour.
But if the tail comes right up over the back and flips over the back,
that means, "I'm not a threat." It's submission.
Who would've known there was so much to read in a llama?
And what about the annual costs of upkeep?
So a llama, for example,
when you are talking about a small bale of hay, maybe.
You could pick that up at maybe 2.50, £3 a bale.
So I would say you'd need maybe one small bale of hay
per llama every couple of weeks.
Of course, there are additional costs to consider,
mainly the price of the llama,
which can be upwards of £500 each.
Then there is the land you need and vets' bills, but I think Suzanne
might have just made llama keeping look rather desirable
to Nadine and John.
-Yeah, well, that has been terrifically useful.
-And a lovely experience. Thank you very much indeed.
I'm glad you enjoyed it and good luck with your llama search.
-Thank you very much.
-You're welcome back any time.
Full of inspiration for what their new lifestyle could deliver them,
it's time to return to our property hunt.
For our second house, we're heading to the hamlet of Mewith,
close to the Lancashire border.
It's just under five miles from the village of Ingleton,
right on the edge of the Dales.
The quiet hillside village of Ingleton is known
for its surrounding caves and waterfalls and has a selection
of shops and eateries catering for passing tourists.
In the late 1800s, it's said that a certain Arthur Conan Doyle was
a regular visitor here, as his mother lived nearby.
Some say, with a Reverend Sherlock as the Vicar of Ingleton and
a place nearby known as the Holmes, the famous author may have drawn
inspiration from this area for the name of his famous detective.
A ten-minute drive and we're in Mewith on the cusp of the Forest of Bowland,
an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
at this truly traditional farmhouse.
-Any idea how old it is?
-Is it drawing you in straightaway?
-It's drawing me in, yes.
-Yeah. Yeah, it looks wonderful.
I don't think you're going to be disappointed.
This impressive 18th-century farmhouse was
modernised 15 years ago to create a perfect blend of old meets new.
We're beginning our tour at the front of the house,
to the left of the front door.
Now, this is a large property, so there's lots to see.
-But I thought we'd start off with the sitting-room.
-Wow, that's not what I was expecting at all.
-It's very modern...
-..actually, for the age of the property.
-You might notice there's a door to the side.
-I had, yeah.
That leads to a little wine room and a utility room.
-Oh, very helpful.
-If you like to...
-Next to the sitting room, have a wine room.
-I hadn't thought of that!
-We're going to keep going.
On the other side of the hallway is a smart dining room with
a feature fireplace and, just behind that, is the kitchen diner,
which I've got a feeling this pair of keen cooks are going to like.
-Look at this.
You see, I normally walk into a room and tour and I thought,
"I want to see your faces!"
-Massive, everything you could need and more.
-A huge, huge range.
But look what is next door.
A most magnificent garden room.
-What a view!
-That is amazing.
-Are we spoiling you?
-It feels opulent, but it also feels very homely.
-Absolutely, very liveable.
That was what I was hoping you were going to say.
It is liveable, because it's important that you're happy.
-This is a big move.
-And would you ever tire of that view?
-Excellent! OK, well, I've got something else to show you,
which hopefully will have the same jaw-dropping expression.
Built around 13 years ago, this spectacular garden room is
the most recent addition and, as we leave it,
we're heading to a large office on the other side of the kitchen.
Now, in a way, this house is divided up into two,
-because you've got the second half here.
-It could be anything, couldn't it?
-It could be, couldn't it?
-You could actually incorporate this into the holiday site.
-With this house, it's nearly there.
-You could make a few adjustments.
-No, I think that's, er...
Yeah, we'd sit down and go over the plans,
-work out what would work where and, er...
..and, yeah, what we need to do.
Any visitors would love to sit in here and have
-a look out at those views, I'm sure.
With the right vision, there's ample scope for a holiday let here.
Leading up from the office, but still on the ground floor,
there's a ready-made kitchen and a neat ensuite bedroom.
Then, moving up to the first floor,
a stairway on this side of the property leads to a single bedroom
and what could be another bedroom currently set up as a living room.
This would leave Nadine and John
with three bedrooms for their own use.
Two doubles, both with en-suites, and a large comfortable master,
also with an en-suite.
Attached to the side of the house,
there's also a double garage with a workshop above it,
both of which could offer additional business opportunities.
And, if that wasn't enough to take in, outside,
there's around 1½ glorious acres, for Nadine and John to make use of,
including beautifully landscaped gardens that look out
over the famous Three Peaks.
Look at that. Is that going to be first on your list - doing the hike?
-I think we need to settle in first.
-Yes! Maybe not first.
Ingleborough probably is the most spectacular today,
-because the sun's shining.
-Couldn't ask for a better view than that.
Well, let's see how we get on the money side.
-I think, Nadine, it's your turn to go first, isn't it?
-I'm going to say 750.
-I think it's probably, er, probably worth 800.
-OK, all right.
-Well, you're both out by quite a lot...
-..in actual fact.
-You were the first time. This time it's in the other direction.
-I thought probably.
-The asking price is £875,000.
I'm not surprised, um, I think it's an absolutely wonderful house.
Well, why don't you take another look around, on your own this time?
-All right, thank you.
This fantastic farmhouse provides the perfect mix of contemporary
and country living and comes in
at a generous £25,000 under
Nadine and John's top budget.
It's bright and airy,
with the great cook's kitchen,
and has three bedrooms in the main house,
plus the potential for a two-bedroom
holiday let, with a bit of thought.
The beautiful gardens and land
extend to around 1½ acres,
offering opportunities for keeping animals and business ventures.
Finally, the views of the surrounding countryside
are simply spectacular.
-That's nice. That would be ideal for self catering.
I am really surprised.
Something changed, because we were going round the part that
would be our side of the property and every room was just stunning.
Um, the kitchen is just beautiful.
And then, at some point, um, I just...
I got confused about how it would work
and I think it's that side that would be the holiday let.
I just couldn't see how that could be configured, um,
to rent out to people.
Obviously, someone's spent a lot of time
and a lot of effort making a really nice house,
well appointed, well decorated and, certainly, the end
that we would live in, if we were living here, is very well done.
Er, we have a bit of a struggle with the, er, the potential end for
a holiday accommodation, to work out exactly how it would work for now.
And I think, also, the gardens, whilst very nicely landscaped,
is probably not quite what we want.
How are we? Have you explored everywhere?
-We have looked everywhere.
-We need to just think about it.
-You need an overnight, do you?
-A lot to take in?
OK, work it out in your minds. Good news is, that's it for today.
-So you've got plenty of time to do that.
And I've got even more properties to show you tomorrow.
It's the second day of property shopping in the Yorkshire Dales,
searching out a country pad and business
for Nadine and John from Nottingham.
They've got up to £900,000 to spend on their new venture,
and this will be the first home they've bought together.
Coming up, they're stunned by our Mystery House...
..and I'll be on tenterhooks as I learn about an ancient art.
This...is so much harder than it looks.
Well, we might be near the Three Peaks,
but have we peaked too soon with our first property?
I want to challenge our buyers with an alternative view
of what the Yorkshire Dales has to offer
with a Mystery House that may ruffle the few feathers,
as it will show them a business opportunity
they wouldn't have considered before.
Or on the other hand, it could let their imagination soar.
But, before that, we're on our way
to the village of Thornton Rust,
set right in the heart of
the Yorkshire Dales National Park
The village has pretty stone cottages scattered along its lanes,
surrounded by dry-stone walls.
There's also a village hall for local community events
with outstanding views from every vantage point.
Just two miles away is the village of Aysgarth,
with plenty to attract visiting tourists,
including the tremendous Aysgarth Falls,
where the River Ure tumbles down a series of limestone steps.
A five-minute drive, and we're back in Thornton Rust.
So, here we are here,
we've brought you to the heart of the Dales National Park
cos I know, ideally, that's where you'd like to live.
And here is your property.
And I'm hoping...
I can see just past the side of it - there's a view.
There is THE most magnificent 180-degree view.
-So you've got the original stone that you so love.
It was a barn, just that side, mid-17th century.
-Then, over time, it's been extended. It's now double-fronted.
-Fantastic. I can't wait to get inside and see it.
-Yeah, me either.
Right. Let's start.
This impressive stone house dates back to 1657
and has a rather colourful past,
which will be revealed to Nadine and John on our tour.
First up, we're in the old cattle shed and now a dining room,
with a raft of character features.
Always good to start off with the oldest part of the house.
So this was where the animals lived?
-This is where the animals would have lived.
-This is...just fantastic, isn't it?
-It is. It feels very old-fashioned.
-I notice you've got stone walls in the hall on the way in.
It's so charming.
-I'm liking this.
-Can you see yourself in here, Nadine?
-Well, let's keep going. We'll explore.
Just behind the dining room is a fabulous farmhouse kitchen
with original stone shelves from days gone by.
And across the hallway is a cosy living room.
A stone stairway leads to the first floor,
where there's a large family bathroom with incredible views of the Dales,
and three good-sized bedrooms.
There is a double with a feature chimney breast,
another sunny double that's dual aspect,
but we're heading to the master.
So just mind this step as you come down.
Yeah, this is pretty good, I think.
I think the house is just ready for the next owner, isn't it?
-Yeah. Hopefully us.
-So you like this?
I do like this, yes.
-There is another feature I'd like to mention.
-You've got an en-suite.
It won't take you long.
-But it's there.
-Yeah, it's there.
-And, as an additional bathroom, that's very helpful.
-Are you liking the house?
-I am liking the house, yes.
Got a lot of things going around -
I'm thinking about things and, yeah, how it might all fit together.
Cos this is just one part of the equation.
We always like to keep something back, don't we?
We don't like to play the full hand straight away.
Let's go back downstairs. If you wouldn't mind leading the way.
Perpendicular to the main house are not one
but two existing holiday lets.
There's the detached one-bedroom former piggery.
But we're off to the two-bedroom, two-storey old goats' house,
a converted barn.
-It's another house! It's really big, isn't it?
-Are we impressing you?
-We are impressed with this, yeah.
Didn't expect it to be as big as this.
-I know - it's deceiving.
-It is, yeah.
They have been running the business, this one, for about 17 years now.
And in the height of the season, they get about £650 a week.
That's a good income, yeah.
-They can rent this out 45 weeks of the year.
-That's a really good occupancy.
Upstairs, there is a double bedroom with access to outside
and an en-suite, along with a smaller double or twin room.
So let's take a look at the view now.
-Cos, in a way, we have left the best till last.
Outside, there's just over an acre of land to enjoy
the truly magnificent outlook across Wensleydale.
What a view!
It just hits you coming round that building.
So you've got all this lawn.
And if you look around, there's seating areas scattered
to make the most of that scenery and view, which is rather wonderful.
And the last thing I've kept from you is the land.
-Because it goes all the way down, so enough for two llamas.
We've got to put a price on this property, here in the national park.
I think, based on what's here and what would need doing - 625.
I'd go higher, but I have been wrong before.
I'd love it to be 650.
It's got to be at least 675.
How much would you love it if it was £650,000?
-Very much indeed.
Because it is!
-Asking price is £650,000.
-And there's a little bit more to add to that.
The owners are happy to throw in their address book
-with all their contacts.
-Are we excited?
-We are excited!
I want a whoop.
And we're in the national park. I mean...
-everything's come together with this property, hasn't it?
-This is spot-on, I think.
OK, well, on that price,
you've got enough in your pocket to do whatever you want.
-I think you should go and have another look. BOTH:
Not only has this wonderful
period property met the brief,
but it's £250,000 below budget,
meaning plenty of cash left over
to allow them to make their mark
if they decide to take it on
as their new home.
It's got the spacious living areas
they're after for themselves
and just the number of bedrooms they'd like.
Importantly, the pair of existing holiday lets
means they inherit a ready-made business
and a little black book of potential holiday-makers
in the future.
Outside gives them the land for their animals,
and it's all wrapped up
in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park,
which means there are countryside views
in every direction.
The family bathroom.
Why do you think the bath's in the middle of the floor?
Er, there's a window there and, if I'm right,
I think that probably looks out over the view.
-Do you want to get in the bath and see?
-No, not at the moment.
But it definitely does look out over the view.
The whole property is... Well, I think it's what we wanted, really.
It's so charming.
I think it's the right-sized accommodation for us,
in the part that we'd be living in.
And it's just nice because it does need some improvements,
but it's things that we'll be able to do.
I like the fact that it's been retained,
the traditional feel has been retained.
It's got all the original beams and the stone walls.
And, obviously, the current owners have tried to retain
original features when they've done the house up.
The location - we're in a village, so there's more of a community feel.
And the view is... I mean, there's views everywhere
in the Yorkshire Dales, but that is a view, you know...
You need to have a view, I guess,
if you want people to come and stay with you, in the Yorkshire Dales.
Ah! Happy, contented faces.
I wonder, have we reached another peak here in the Yorkshire Dales?
-We have indeed.
-It's a good house. Very good.
Right, let's hit the road.
For our final stop to our Mystery House,
we're journeying just south of the Dales,
to the hamlet of Swinden,
which is just under two miles south
of the village of Hellifield.
Here, along with a scattering of shops,
there's a friendly village hall,
where locals can really get involved with their community,
and there's a handsome church.
A five-minute drive away in Swinden is our Mystery House,
and they don't come more surprising than this truly resplendent site.
This historic property makes a unique architectural statement.
Now, it's not often I have the pleasure
of showing someone a house like this.
Not often I've seen a house like that.
So any idea why it's the Mystery House?
I can't see it having a business at the moment, but then...
-And that is the appeal with this property.
Because it is so historic, with so much charm and character,
with this, you could run themed holidays,
-themed weekends, conferences.
Really building on the history of the property.
-Ever thought of doing anything like that?
-Not really, no.
-Just take a look at the mullion windows before we go in.
Apparently, there's a diamond pane of glass for every day of the year.
We'll try and count them as we go in, shall we?
Let's start the tour.
Our magnificent mystery property, built from limestone,
was completed in 1657,
extending an existing house to show off the owner's wealth.
It's Grade II listed with a star. This makes it pretty special.
Less than 6% of the 350,000 listed buildings in Britain
have this rating.
That's around 19,000 properties.
It feels a real treat to be stepping into such a historic home.
So I thought we'd start off
with just one of the many drawing rooms that this property has.
But this is where a lot of the cooking would have taken place
hundreds of years ago.
-Very impressive fireplace.
We've seen a few, but that's the grandest, I think.
-Beautiful, isn't it?
So let's keep going through to the oldest part of the property.
So your kitchen here. You've got a pantry through there.
This, though, I particularly like,
because this is the original old hall.
-Oh, right, yes!
-Yes. It's certainly got a very old hall feel.
-Great hall feel, a gallery.
-It's lovely they've left that open.
It's beautiful, isn't it? And of course, originally,
there wouldn't have been that mezzanine floor.
There would have been a fire
and it would've gone straight to the top.
-But can you imagine if you did decide to do murder mystery weekends...
-Having a banquet in here with the fire raging...
..be fabulous, wouldn't it?
-It would. You could use the gallery for a lot of things as well.
Also on the ground floor at the front of the house,
there are another two reception rooms, one with a stunning fireplace.
Moving upstairs to the first floor,
there are two bathrooms to service the four bedrooms,
where feature beams are a recurrent theme.
There are two spacious doubles, a pretty single,
but we're heading straight for the beautiful beamed master.
Do you think we are all going to squeeze into this bedroom?
I'm a little bit worried about space(!)
-Yeah, it is a bit tight, isn't it(?)
-Have I scared you both?
-I wouldn't say we're scared.
-I'm still trying to weigh up the possibilities at the moment.
And obviously, you know, there's plenty of space.
So, you know, I'd like to see more.
-Let's go back outside and talk about the finer details.
This Mystery House just keeps on giving.
Above us, on a third four, are a further four rooms.
One currently used as a twin,
a box room, a games room
and a large sitting room with a vaulted ceiling.
Moving outside, there are almost 3.5 acres zoned into different areas,
including a walled kitchen garden, a landscaped garden and a meadow.
John, this is going to be your domain, no?
It... Yeah, I can see veggies growing in here. Yeah.
-And a few flowers, I hope, for your good lady?
Well, I've spotted the rhubarb - that'll keep me happy.
So let's see if we can work out
how much this extraordinary Mystery House is on the market for.
I think it's got to be pushing the top end of our budget. Um...
I'll go for 850.
Er, and I'll go for...
Oh! Interesting. Well, Nadine, you are the closest. In fact...
-you're on the money. £850,000.
It is a remarkable house, it really is.
It's whether you want to take it to that next step.
I think this is the perfect time for you two to explore.
-So take your time and I'll see you later.
Our 17th-century Mystery House is a rare find indeed,
and would even leave Nadine and John £50,000 spare
if they decided to reside here.
Chock full of original period features,
there's plenty of space for them to live comfortably
and transform it into a B&B.
Or make the most of the
Mystery House's historic standing
to conjure up other business opportunities.
The gardens and land amounting
to nearly 3.5 acres means they
could have vegetable plots galore,
along with scope for plenty of pets,
and even llamas.
-Well, these aren't bad servants' quarters, are they?
-And the beams up there - that's a really unusual structure there.
Well, if we did end up living up here,
-we certainly wouldn't be slumming it, would we?
-No, we wouldn't.
I was intrigued, to be fair.
It looked like a sort of a castle-type building to me.
I can imagine hosting medieval events here
or murder mystery parties
or potentially weddings and things like that even.
It's obviously quite grand.
And... I mean, I do really like it.
And the walled garden...
Well, the different sorts of land that it's got with it,
I think it could be lovely.
I'm just not sure that we can afford it,
with the price and then what work...
What it would cost to put it into a state
to make any money from it as a business.
Ah, it's lord and lady of the manor. THEY LAUGH
Have you seen enough?
Cos that's that, we've shown all our properties.
-Yes, and they've all been so different.
-Have we got you thinking?
-Yes, you have.
Why don't I give you some time together?
Gather your thoughts, we'll reconvene and you can tell me
-what your next move's going to be.
Yorkshire isn't just a county of stunning scenery.
The town of Wetherby, to the southeast of the Dales,
is home to an age-old trade that goes as far back as the ancient Egyptians.
I've come to the workshop of Yorkshireman
and cooper Alistair Simms, who left his job working in a brewery
two years ago to keep this ancient art alive.
-Hi, Alistair. Good to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
You've provided some great Yorkshire sunshine today as well.
The sun always shines on God's Own County.
-It's the proudest county in the UK, isn't it?
Now, you're a cooper, but I've got to ask you, what exactly is a cooper?
A maker and repairer of wooden casks.
-And barrels as well?
-"Barrels" is a size.
A barrel, in beer, is 36 gallon.
In wine, it's 40 gallon, or 50 gallon in wine.
Spirits is 40 gallon. Oil's 40 gallon. So it's different sizes.
But a barrel's a standard measurement.
-Ah, so really they are all casks, not barrels.
I've learned something today.
And am I right in thinking you are technically the last
-master cooper in the UK?
-I am the last master cooper.
How did you get the title master cooper?
I've had apprentices, where the other coopers working haven't had
-I see. So there are other coopers out there,
but you are actually training up hopefully the next generation.
-Well, I have trained.
-And that is why you are a master cooper.
Nowadays, many casks are made from plastic or steel,
but coopers like Alistair make their casks from oak.
There are 27 varieties of the hardwood that are used,
each giving a slightly different taste to the liquor stored inside,
whether it's wine, whisky or beer.
The brewers have realised that they get different tastes
of beers out of wooden casks and it does something that...
And it gives them credibility. If they put the beer in wood,
it proves that they are actually serious about brewing good beer.
'Alistair produced around 1,000 casks last year,
'each one taking around four hours to make.'
Let's talk about how you actually create a cask.
-So, the first implement we use is a cooper's axe, which is offset.
And that will roughly shape the coffin shape onto it.
Sorry, but that is the best way to explain it.
We raise them up to look like a shuttlecock.
It is at that point that we actually get the size of the cask.
And then from there, we use traditional methods,
and we soak them and we fire bend them...
-The fire is used to actually mould, is it?
And then once it's been bent, we will put the finishing
hoops on it, which are all made-to-measure for each cask.
And then it goes off and it goes back over the fire to be toasted.
-So inside, it gets really hot?
Alistair, looking at some of these casks...
I mean, that one over there, the small one, that looks really old.
That is a 100- to 120-year-old whisky barrel.
And why is it worth working with the old casks?
Cos there is still 100 years of life left in that cask.
-Is there really?
So by the time you're finished,
you've had somewhere between 175 to 215 years out of your timber.
That's extraordinary, isn't it?
Six generations of cooper, what more do you want?
That's ultimate recycling.
'Alistair is trusting me to level the top of this barrel in progress.
'It's the seventh stage in the 12-stage process of cask-making.'
-Are you going to demonstrate first what I've got to do?
First thing we're going to use is an adze.
So you lay it into your hand, close your fingers,
put your thumb on the top, and make sure your wrist is nice and loose.
-Lean it against the block.
Pop the cask in its block like that.
-And just nice sweeping moves.
-All right, let me have a go then. See how I get on.
'My job is to make sure all the edges are the same height.'
Flex your wrist.
You said that and I missed!
This...is so much harder than it looks.
So how am I doing here?
You're doing all right. Not bad.
-Do you get female coopers?
'Here in Yorkshire, Alistair is training up 19-year-old Ricky
'to carry the cooper mantle.'
He's obviously been hard at work today.
What have you been up to, Ricky?
Firing and bending of the casks.
-And how long have you been an apprentice here?
-About two weeks.
-So new to the job then.
-And what is the appeal?
I met Alistair and he showed me what he does,
and I got kind of interested and I thought it's the job for me,
so that I can hopefully one day start my own business,
do exactly what Alistair has done.
'It's great to see how Alistair is keeping these heritage skills alive.
'Like any age-old trade,
'coopering has forged its own place into everyday English idioms,
'including one meaning to be in a helpless situation.'
-There's "over a barrel."
-Over a barrel.
There is also the saying "on tenterhooks."
Now, I thought it was tender hooks.
-And what is a tenterhook?
-It is a little nail, and we put it in the hoops.
And that holds the hoops on.
And that is why the saying is on tenterhooks,
cos it is held on by a wing and a prayer.
-Things that we take for granted every single day.
-Every single day.
Goes back in history. Well, Alistair, Ricky, thank you so much.
-And all the best with your new career.
-Thank you very much.
-And you better buck up, cos Nicki is in line now.
Well, we have had a delightful few days house hunting in
and around the Yorkshire Dales.
But most importantly, have we found John and Nadine
a business and a new home?
Let's go and find out.
It's been a great few days here, hasn't it?
Yes, the sun's been shining on us.
It always shines on this county, I've been told.
-Hasn't disappointed, I hope.
-No, not at all.
Right. Got to get down to business, cos I am desperate to find out,
have we got close with any of our properties?
I wouldn't be surprised.
I think the house in the national park,
after we'd visited that,
I thought that was it.
John, what was so special about that for you?
I think it gave us a bit of everything we were after.
It gave us some space for ourselves, separate holiday accommodation,
some land and the most gorgeous views of Wensleydale.
And it was located in a village,
which would give us a bit of a community feel.
So can I take it that you might be going back for a second viewing?
I mean, how serious are you about this property?
-Pretty serious, yeah.
-Come on. What's pretty serious?
-We will be going back for a second viewing.
I hope the second viewing goes well, obviously,
we've got a vested interest in it, we want you to be happy.
But all the best with whatever decision you make.
-Let us know how you get on, won't you?
-We will, of course.
It's been a delight.
-Thank you both very much indeed.
-No, thank you, Nicki.
So, John and Nadine started this house hunt
here in the Yorkshire Dales with a very healthy budget,
and I think even they've been surprised just how far
their money will go.
And the house that they both adore
has come in at £250,000 under budget.
And what a property it is, right in the centre of the national park,
in a prime village location and with a business ready to go.
That is going to be a difficult property to beat,
so I am delighted they are going for a second viewing and I really
hope it works out for them and they have the courage to make the move.
We wish them all the best.
So that's it from North Yorkshire for this week.
I'll see you again soon on Escape To The Country.
Nadine and John did revisit the house in Wensleydale
and will be putting an offer in as soon as their house is sold.
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Nicki Chapman is in the Yorkshire Dales with a couple who have a £900,000 budget to spend on a country property with business potential. While in the region, Nicki learns the art of barrel-making from Britain's only master cooper.