Property series. Ginny Buckley takes a couple from Harrogate on a property search in Gloucestershire with a budget of £650,000.
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This is one of the finest medieval buildings in the UK,
and it has strong ties to America.
Find out how they're connected,
and, of course, where we are in just a moment.
Today our house hunting duo are looking for a country pad
that will bring them closer to family and friends.
-What a view!
-Yeah, the view.
And there's a bit of excitement along the way.
I feel quite emotional.
Going to do a dance!
Today I'm in Gloucestershire,
and behind me is Gloucester Cathedral,
celebrated for its fan-vaulted roof and Gothic architecture.
It's also famed for a choirboy, John Stafford Smith.
He wrote a well-known drinking song for a London social club.
For some reason, it gained popularity
during the American Civil War,
when it was paired with the lyrics of a patriotic poem
before being renamed The Star Spangled Banner.
Adopted as the American national anthem in 1931,
it's just one of the many stars from this beautiful county.
Gloucestershire lies to the south-west of England
and shares its boundaries with seven other counties,
including Wiltshire and Oxfordshire,
as well as the Welsh county of Monmouthshire.
Home to acres of established woodland,
Gloucestershire was once the hunting ground for Norman kings,
in particular the leafy depths of the Forest of Dean.
With some 20 million trees,
today this forest is celebrated as England's largest oak woodland.
Countryside accounts for around 90% of the Gloucestershire landscape,
and over half of the county is designated as an area of
outstanding natural beauty,
into which sit perfectly preserved historic villages.
To the east lie the majority of the Cotswold Hills, a scenic limestone
spine whose mellow ochre stone defines the local architecture.
And aside from outstanding villages,
Tewkesbury in the north of Gloucestershire is a historic town
with over 200 listed buildings.
But the main attraction is the cathedral-sized abbey,
founded back in 1087.
It's one of the largest and grandest
parish churches in the country
that has been a sacred haven to many people
over countless centuries.
With so much on offer in this lovely county it will probably
come as no surprise when I tell you that those wishing to move here
are going to have to dig a little deeper into their pockets.
The average price of a detached house here in Gloucestershire is
30,000 above the national average.
And with house prices up 12% on last year, those looking to
relocate should probably do it sooner rather than later.
So let's go and meet today's couple and find out what draws them
to this lovely place.
It was as an uninvited guest that retired agronomist Rick
first set eyes on his wife-to-be, Sue.
We got together when you gate-crashed my party
when we were...
-Did you not invite me?
-Erm, it... Ooh, when we were 18.
17 or 18?
So, basically, after that, you used to carry my books home from school.
So we've been together now for, ooh, 40-odd years?
We've been married 44.
And for the past two decades, Sue and Rick have been based
in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate, along with their pet dog, Minnie.
Home is a modern four-bedroomed 1980s property that they
recently spent two years renovating.
We live in the Duchy area of Harrogate,
which is strongly residential, one of the older parts of Harrogate.
It's getting more and more congested,
so lots of cars, lots of parking problems.
Originally we moved up here for a job,
which, seeing as we're both retired, we're free agents now,
we can go where we like.
But the plan is to head south.
Our daughter has just settled and is running a business in Wales, so we're
fairly confident that she's going to sort of not be moving around.
It'll be so nice to be a lot closer.
Sadly, a family tragedy makes relocating to within close
proximity of their daughter one of the main drivers for the move.
We had two children.
Sadly we lost our son, erm, five years ago,
so our family now is
our daughter and her family, which is a lovely little new grandson,
well, 18 months, Maelo, who is half Welsh,
-and, erm, yeah, lives a long way away.
My mother lives on the south coast of Devon,
which again is about six hours' drive from here,
so between those two we're clocking way too many miles in the car.
Yeah, we're keeping the petrol industry afloat, aren't we?
-Certainly are, even though it's a diesel car.
As previous residents of Bristol,
they've chosen Gloucestershire as the right place
within easy reach of their family as well as old acquaintances.
But when it comes to the perfect house, they seem flexible.
We're very capable, if the potential is there...
..to add things to a building to bring it up to the
-spec that we need.
I hanker after a cottage but cottages can be dark,
so a nice, light, airy cottage would be lovely.
And I'd love a house that's in a garden rather than
looking down on a garden.
And they'd love a location that allows them
to make new friends and indulge in their hobbies -
as well as find new ones.
I hope to, erm, join new societies,
perhaps do a few classes, erm,
needlework classes perhaps,
learn how to do things properly at last.
It's never too late.
I'm pretty active.
I play racquetball two or three times a week.
I do a lot of walking, not just with the dog,
but distance walking as well.
I do DIY, erm...
Sail, ski, erm, and...
He's Action Man, really.
An energetic and positive couple,
they've already secured a buyer for their Harrogate home,
and are wholeheartedly welcoming a new chapter in Gloucestershire.
A lot of people don't like change,
but I embrace change, I love it.
Yeah, you're always much more positive about change than I am.
You're more set in your ways, aren't you?
I'm more set in my ways, but, erm,
it's inevitable that we move from here,
so the sooner we get on with it, the better it'll be.
This will probably be our last move, erm,
so we need to make sure that we've got it right.
Ideally, Rick and Sue are looking to be within an hour and a half of
their daughter and grandson in Swansea, south-west Wales,
so we're focusing the house hunt in Gloucestershire's rural villages,
in the southern portion of the county,
within easy reach of good road links.
But to really get to grips
with what this couple are after in their new home,
I'm meeting up with them face-to-face
in their chosen county.
So what is it about Gloucestershire that appeals to the two of you?
Oh, it's just beautiful. It's just beautiful.
The scenery, the rolling hills, the...
Yeah, it's so pretty.
-And it's an area that we know quite well too.
Because, er, we came from Bristol
before we went up to, er, to Yorkshire.
Old stomping grounds, really.
Which is always good, isn't it, if you're starting somewhere else,
-to have those connections there already?
-Well, let's talk about the property.
When you envisage this property in your mind, what do you see?
A really welcoming family home, practical for children and dogs,
nice big kitchen I can spend days in.
Certainly a study would be essential for you, wouldn't it?
Yeah, although, I mean,
-we've never been terribly good with very small rooms, have we?
And do you have any strong ideas on garden?
Flat or not on a slope would be great.
-We don't want enormous, do we, but...
-Yes, we don't want a smallholding,
but, erm, a reasonable sized garden,
-some play areas for me?
That sounds intriguing, do you want to expand on that?
-Garage, man-shed, yes.
Is there anything on that list that you feel you could compromise on?
-I'm sure we could compromise.
We've never yet bought a house
that has fitted our specification, if you like.
We've always just walked into one and thought, "Oh, yes."
-"This is it."
-"This is it."
"We'll get that next time."
That's music to my ears!
That's absolutely perfect.
Can you remind me what the budget is for this move?
-The budget for this move is £650,000.
Is there any wiggle room on it?
If we find the great house, can we push it slightly?
(We can always squeeze a bit more.)
So have you looked at any properties in the area yet?
-We haven't looked at all.
-So this is quite exciting.
-This is amazingly exciting.
Well, shall we see if we can find you that perfect property?
-Yes, come on, then.
For a budget of £650,000,
Rick and Sue are after a spacious family home that should have
a large sociable kitchen-diner, a separate study,
and a flat, sunny garden with man space, like a garage or shed.
The location needs to be well connected for easy access
to their daughter and grandson.
And although open minded about the property's style,
they're hoping to find somewhere in a lively,
pretty village with a few amenities to hand.
We have a fine selection of Gloucestershire properties to
serve up, but I'll be keeping the price a hush-hush
until we've had a good look around first.
Then to finish up our tour, we're presenting the Mystery House,
which may not be on the straight and narrow
in terms of the wish-list,
but I'll do my level best to get our buyers on-side.
So how are you finding being grandparents for the first time?
-Is it wonderful?
-It's brilliant, it's such fun, such fun,
but, erm, being hands-on and being able to take a turn in the rota
rather than a visitor will be great.
We're starting our property search in the village of Avening,
down in the south of the county, which is just under a two-hour drive
from the Swansea-based side of the family.
This desirable Cotswold village is chock-full of characterful
properties in attractive, pale ochre tones,
and the community provides not one but two public houses.
Right in the heart of the village down a quiet country lane,
our first offering is found.
-This is the first property.
-It is, right in front of us.
-Looks very pretty.
-I think it's got...
-It looks very promising.
-I think it's got some wow factor.
-Yes, it's very attractive, charming.
Very handsome, I think.
It's Cotswold stone, built in around 1695.
It's a semidetached property, actually,
-although you wouldn't know that from looking at it.
The house itself has got parking, three cars out the front,
you've got a garage, and at the back of the garage is your man space.
-You have a workshop.
It's quite a low workshop but it is a workshop.
It's all right, I'm not very tall.
-It is Grade II listed.
-Let's hope we don't need to change anything.
-Does it draw you in?
Do you want to go and open that front door?
-Come on, let's go and open it then, let's see what's inside.
With roots in the 17th century,
this attractive double-fronted property
is laid out over three floors.
The interior has a cottage feel,
which is something Sue quite fancies,
but it's a real contrast to the modern design of their current home.
We're starting off in the sitting room.
First impressions, it's quite small.
I think the way to view this room is as a family room.
I mean, the window seat, I think, is beautiful. I love a window seat.
Yes, the window seat is a good feature.
It's a room for probably reading in, perhaps a room... A play room.
It's a second space, really, to use.
As a second sitting room, it's got possibilities.
-I'd do something with it.
-Work. Definitely work.
-Well, let's go and take a look at the other main living area.
-And just see how the two would work together.
So this is the second living room. You can see it's much larger.
It's a great space, so this is
-the room that the family who live here currently use all the time.
It's got that spectacular fireplace with the log burner.
-Yeah, that's nice.
-That's very nice.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-What are your thoughts?
-Sort of feels a little dark.
I don't know. I think it's the low...low ceilings.
We've still got a lot more to see.
OK, this is the kitchen. It's lovely and cosy
thanks to that range cooker over there in the corner.
Yeah, definitely the range cooker.
-She's smiling! She's in the kitchen, she's smiling!
But it's not the big inclusive family space
that I would be looking for.
-It's very much a country cottage style, isn't it?
So I mean, it fits in with the room nicely.
-It's too small.
Coming in here, it's made me realise that perhaps a cottage isn't for us.
Despite the cosy proportions, this is by no means a petite property.
As well as the two reception rooms we've already seen
and the kitchen/breakfast room,
all at the front of the house,
at the back there's also a garden room along with a large utility,
which is very handy for storage and white goods.
'The rest of the accommodation lies on two floors above.'
The first set of stairs leads to the three first-floor bedrooms,
the smallest being used as a study
and then there are two bright double rooms,
the largest of which has useful built-in storage.
The bedrooms on this floor
are all served by a good-sized four-piece family bathroom.
But we're heading to the second floor
to find the sleeping quarters we've saved for Sue and Rick.
-So I'm bringing you right up to the top of the house...
-..to the master bedroom.
-This one, I'm sure you'll agree, is very impressive.
-Oh, my word!
How do you feel about having your en-suite part of the bedroom?
No wall, no door?
It's a little exhibitionist!
Not really my style. How about you?
See? He's speechless!
It's got a lot of character. You really see the bones of this house
with these beautiful A-frame beams.
-Fabulous, fabulous roof.
I'm not sure the intriguing mix of period history and dimensions,
coupled with some contemporary design features,
present an appealing combination for our buyers.
But I'm confident that the garden
may be more what they're looking for.
Mainly lawn, there's a large, flat area
that gently slopes away towards the rear boundary,
enclosed by dry stonewalling. What's more, there are lovely views
over the neighbouring fields and countryside.
So here we are in the garden, and it becomes apparent, doesn't it,
where the house is semidetached. You can't tell from the front.
-No, not at all.
-It's a good-sized garden.
-The garden has potential.
I'm going to put you two on the spot now.
How much do you think this property is on the market for?
I'll have a guess around 500,000.
I would think somewhere around 475.
475, OK, well, it is under your budget of £650,000
but not by that much. It's on the market for £575,000.
-But it's a four-bedroomed house in a lovely part of the country.
So I know you're not feeling engaged with it particularly at the moment.
Why don't you go in, have a look around, just explore,
take your time to look at it again.
-OK, off you go, I'll catch up with you soon.
On the market for £75,000 under Sue and Rick's budget,
our first home is an historic semidetached property
that has two separate receptions,
a kitchen/breakfast room
and four bedrooms,
including a glamorous master suite,
and outside there's a lovely garden
and workshop, perfect for Rick.
I thought the house had amazing kerb appeal,
so pretty and in a lovely location. Beautiful village.
But for me, sadly, the kerb appeal didn't follow through into the rooms.
I think we need more space and more rooms that flow.
We wouldn't write off cottages
but we probably would write off this particular one.
-Had a good look around?
-Has it changed anything?
-Not a thing.
-Not for us.
-It's a lovely house but it's not really working for you.
-Well, just as well we've got plenty more to see.
Come on, let's go and look.
Creative Sue is keen to continue pursuing her interest in arts
and crafts when she moves, so we have arranged for her and Rick
to visit Stroud, a town once known for its cloth and wool production.
They're meeting Liz Lippiatt at her town centre studio.
She's been a silkscreen printer for 30 years and creates her own
designs, which she sells locally
as cushions, scarves and clothing.
-So, welcome to the studio.
Liz, what are your major influences for your work?
I live in the countryside,
so I'm inspired by the great beauty of the countryside around me.
My favourite design is the hare, the running hare,
it's full of energy and this design means a lot to me.
Liz's hare design is hand-printed on Scottish linen,
but she also creates designs within the very fibres of fabrics too.
This is my devore fabric.
Devore is a French word, "devour",
it's burning away part of the velvet,
so in order to make devore work,
you have to use a mixed-fibre cloth
and this cloth is made of rayon,
which is made from wood pulp, it's a cellulose fibre, and silk.
This art form originated in 17th-century France
and transforming fabric into devore is a long and skilled process.
It can take Liz as long as three days from start to end product
but today she is going to show Sue and Rick how to make a design
on silk velvet in just three hours.
The first step is to make a stencil cut from iron-on paper.
I thought we would take
the leaves I've gathered in the byways this morning,
so you can trace around the leaves.
Sue and Rick are using a permanent felt-tip pen
to trace around the autumn leaves on the iron-on paper, sticky side down.
That's pretty! Do you want to swap?
No, I want to see you cut that out!
They are both cutting out intricate leaf patterns,
which will be placed on the screen.
Oh, well, Sue, that looks lovely.
I think these are so pretty that actually
-they would look rather good as a floating design.
That means we're going to devore the whole of the background
-and this will be left as the velvet.
So the next thing is to iron the sticky paper onto the screen
so that we can print through and it will stay in place,
so all we're going to do is dab it on,
so we just lightly press,
to stick it in place.
A bit of couture protection and it's time for the fun bit.
The screen with Rick's design attached is placed
on top of a square of white velvet.
So now I'm going to put the devore paste into the well
at the edge of the screen.
The paste is a seaweed gum
carrying an acid which will eat the rayon fibres in the velvet
and with every stroke of the squeegee, the paste is pushed
through the mesh and onto the silk velvet fabric below.
That's it, stop short and...
..pull it back.
It's a clear paste but you can see where it's printed.
So the next stage is to bake the devore paste,
so now we're going to carbonise the fibres,
so you can see we're slowly toasting,
carbonising the devore paste...
..and revealing your pattern.
The fibres that have come into contact with the paste
will disintegrate, leaving the transparent silk mesh.
Now you can see all the fibres just crumbling away.
So instead of scratching it, we're going to just wash it, wash it off.
Do you squeeze it out or not?
-Yeah, you can do.
-It's not too fragile?
So the last stage is the dyeing process,
so we've got the wet fibres
and we're going to put it into the dye bath, into the warm dye,
and keep the whole thing agitated,
because it's the movement that stops it dyeing it in a patchy way.
And after 20 minutes of stirring,
the blue and green dye has penetrated every fibre of the fabric
and it's ready to take out.
This is so exciting!
Think I've got the other one. Yeah.
A rinse and a squeeze before the fabric's iron-dry,
which will reveal its true colours.
-That's like magic, isn't it?
See what it's... Finished?
-Isn't it lovely?
-There you go!
That's lovely, that's so fascinating.
Thank you very much for showing us that.
-Yes, thank you very much indeed.
-It's a great pleasure,
-and well done, both of you.
For our next stop, we're travelling two miles south of Stroud,
to the village of Amberly,
about an hour and three quarters by car to Swansea.
Surrounded by 600 acres of National Trust land,
Amberly is a particularly peaceful place,
so much so that cattle roam freely through the village.
There's a good range of amenities to hand, including a post office,
convenience store, village church and two pubs,
one of which is right opposite our next house.
So, this is the property that I wanted to show you.
-And you'll see there's a lot going on with the roof lines.
The first part of it, which is here on the right,
was built in 1731, so it's got a lot of history,
extended in the '70s and then extended again about ten years ago.
Looks promising to me.
Yes, it's not got quite the chocolate box look that the last place had,
but it's nice and symmetrical
and lovely stone, so it looks promising.
I'm putting this theory that you've never actually bought
-the house you went looking for to the test with this one.
Let's go and have a look.
For this property, we've moved from the 17th to the 18th century,
so we're giving historic period charm another stab,
as inside there's an open plan feel that should appeal to our buyers.
So, here we are,
and we're straight into this very nice, big, open living space.
-Yes, you're smiling.
And you haven't even spotted
-that huge open fireplace around there yet.
Very nice. It's lovely.
What I think is quite interesting about the layout here
is that as it's been added on,
there's now a really nice split-level area here,
which goes up to a secondary area,
it's got another fireplace and it's used as a dining room at the moment
but you could use it as another sitting-room.
-It's sounding very good.
-There's also a study up there.
-Yes. So what are your thoughts in here?
-Could you imagine yourselves...
-..in something like this?
-Very happy, yeah.
-I think so.
It's spacious, it's open.
-You've got double doors opening out onto the garden.
-It feels nice.
Absolutely, there's a view into the garden, which is key.
-I'm liking it.
-That's a really good start.
-I'm very happy. Shall we go and look at the kitchen?
-It's not the big kitchen that you had talked about potentially.
But I think it has a nice feel to it, it's nice and light.
It's nice, it's attractive. Clean lines.
So this is the part that's from 1731, and actually, over
in the living room is the original deed of covenant of the house,
which is quite a nice touch, that they still have that.
So this is the oldest part but I do think there is potential here.
You've got a fantastic boot room, back doors,
you don't have to bring the dogs in, straight into the living room,
you've got plenty of room in there for all your coats, your wellies,
you'll need it living somewhere like this
-because you'll be out walking all the time.
-Now, beyond the kitchen is a fairly big pantry.
-And then beyond the pantry is a very big laundry room space.
The size of this is slightly disappointing
but if the house is as nice as the first room,
and there's potential, that sounds very promising.
It looks absolutely fine to me.
It's more with what Sue considers to be the kitchen,
I'm more interested in what comes out of it.
You can sit at the breakfast bar, eat the cakes
-and watch the cows wandering by the window.
-That's all right, isn't it?
-I could stand that.
-OK, well, let's take a look upstairs.
Sue and Rick are much more enthusiastic about this property
than the morning's offering,
so let's hope the momentum keeps going upstairs,
where there are four bedrooms
that lie alongside the family bathroom.
All the three bedrooms are doubles, one with a basin,
another with built-in wardrobes
and a third, which is beautifully bright.
Lastly, another bright room
overlooking the rear of the property.
Going to go down a couple of steps,
into one of the four bedrooms,
-and this is the master bedroom.
-Again, it's in the older part of the house.
And as you can see, you get...
Oh, wow, what a view!
So you can sit in bed with your cup of tea and papers and that's...
-What a view!
-You get the view.
It's lovely. Where do you keep your clothes?
The door behind you actually goes up to a sort of secondary smaller room,
which is kitted out as almost a walk-in wardrobe above this.
-And there's also an en-suite just over there.
So how would you describe this room?
Well, it's nice, it's light and airy, and gosh, it's got a view.
-You're really making me smile, you know.
You're making me smile because actually I can touch the ceiling,
-so this is quite...
-This is quite a little cottagey room.
-I had noticed.
But you're not as conscious of it, are you, this time around?
-Not at all.
-A lot more light coming in.
-So maybe we shouldn't rule out cottagey living just yet.
I'm delighted that it's all going to plan so far inside,
but there is more to explore outside. Let's see
if we can deliver there as well.
An attached single garage lies to one side of the property
and the garden wraps itself from the other side around to the back
and features gravelled areas,
patios with potted plants, as well as a compact lawn.
Rick, how does the size of the garden strike you?
It certainly could be a little bit bigger,
but there was always going to be a compromise somewhere down the line.
-It could fit the bill.
What do you think this property is on the market for?
I'm going to go for...620,000.
Hmm. I think it's probably on budget at 650.
OK, it was on the market for £595,000 a few months ago...
-It's currently on the market for £575,000.
-How is that?
I have a feeling you're not going to need much encouragement to go back
-and have a good root around.
-All right, off you go.
I'll come and find you in a minute.
Isn't that strange? This morning it was, "Cottages, low ceilings, no!"
Suddenly, a different property, a different feel, different area,
and it's a whole different story.
A pleasant surprise, under budget by £75,000.
This charming property
is an extended detached four-bedroom
home featuring a master en-suite,
sizeable open-plan living area,
two further reception rooms
and a manageable garden,
but big enough for the dog,
and the whole lot lies at the heart of a beautiful Cotswold village.
-Good size for a study.
-With a nice view, again, into the garden.
I could easily see myself living here.
The outside space is probably not as big as I would have liked,
it's a single garage rather than a double garage,
so it would require a compromise to move here, but it's a possibility.
Takes a bit of thinking about.
It's a house that flows, which was just such a relief,
but slightly tempered by
a bit of a disappointment going into the kitchen,
which although it's very nice, it's not what I would have chosen.
There are lots of positives about the house that I like,
but I would want to explore what we could do...
and I'd be very keen for a second viewing
if there are a few things we can change.
I have a very funny feeling
that cottages might be back on the agenda.
So I think we may be ending the day on quite a positive note.
-I think we might.
-Yes. I think it has got possibilities.
I think we deserve a drink.
And guess what, there's a pub just over there.
-Shall we go and try it out?
-See what your potential local could be like.
It's the second day of our house hunting tour around Gloucestershire
in search of a country escape for Sue and Rick from Harrogate.
They've got a healthy budget of £650,000 to spend on
a spacious pad with a great garden.
are things going to go downhill when our mystery house is revealed?
I can see you looking up there.
-It's not flat!
And I'll be getting my adrenaline fix behind the wheel.
This is fantastic.
This is the most fun I've had in the morning in a very long time!
What would you like me to be taking you off to look at today?
a bit more going on outside.
Storage for all the accumulated...stuff.
That isn't accumulated stuff, that is essential...
-..essential tools and materials.
-Is this your man space, are we back to that?
OK, so we'd like a nice, cosy, welcoming family space
-and some man space.
-And some man space.
-That's on the list for today.
-Great, let's see what we can do.
With life and activities high on the agenda, for our next property stop
we're taking our buyers out of Gloucestershire,
away from the quiet of the Cotswolds landscape and to familiar territory
in the rural outskirts of Bristol.
Our destination is the conservation area of Siston Hamlet,
which has a journey time of an hour and a half to family in Swansea.
Just over a mile away from Siston, Pucklechurch is the nearest village,
which has a shop, tearoom, newsagent and a choice of three pubs.
Back in Siston, the next property we've lined up isn't a cottage
but it does have rather a noble pedigree.
-Oh! If we talk about a house having kerb appeal,
I think it's fair to say that this one has definitely got that.
It's part of the Grade I listed Tudor mansion, Siston Manor.
-Yes, Grade I. This has got a Grade II listing.
This was the gardener's cottage.
Lucky gardener! This is the garden here for the property,
it's all here at the front.
-So it's a good size, it's flat.
-Yeah. I could work with that.
You also have a separate outbuilding,
a kind of large, detached old barn.
It's big, it could be, you know, a garage, storage,
-so you've got that as well to go outside.
-Right, that's good to know.
That is interesting, yeah.
-OK, well, we've seen the outside of your castle.
Or your manor! Do you want to see inside?
-I haven't looked round a castle before!
Constructed with blue lias stone,
it's thought this handsome property was built in 1830,
but inside, the accommodation is very much up-to-date and on trend.
An impressive and original front door takes you into a grand hallway,
off which is a contemporary downstairs bathroom
and the smaller of two living rooms.
We've passed through the room the family that own this house
refer to as the snug, with its little log burner,
into this room, which is the main family room, the entertaining space.
-What are your first thoughts?
-This is lovely!
This is lovely!
-Fabulous windows into the garden.
-The window's original.
It's got the original shutters
but they work, they're in great working order.
Oh, wow. And lovely to have two spaces, you know,
nice to have somewhere away from the telly that you can be
and then the telly in the snug, perhaps, so it's not dominating.
Wonderful! I love it.
I have a feeling that you are going to like the kitchen.
A second larger hallway lies on the other side of the property,
with an office in the alcove under the stairs.
Watch the step down.
-And here we have...
Oh, this is more like it!
You said you wanted a big kitchen.
-Oh, yes! Yes, this is feeling wonderful.
-Ticking some boxes?
-What do you think?
-This is a good space.
Now, then, where can I put the table?
Yep, exactly there. Yeah, it's lovely.
It's a really good-sized family room,
it's a huge dining kitchen, you've got a lot of light coming in
-from those doors that open onto that sweet little courtyard area.
I bet you want to take a closer look at what's going on
-down at the cooking end, don't you?
-Shall we wander down?
It's got a lovely range.
What a lovely space. How well done is this?
I feel quite emotional.
Going to do a dance.
-Is it a happy dance?
-Have you got a tear in your eye?
-Really nice. Really nice space.
There's more to show you, let's go and check out the bedrooms.
You can't ask for a better reaction than one which touches the heart.
And this fabulous property seems to be doing just that.
I'm leading Sue and Rick back to the hallway
and upstairs to explore the first floor.
There are four bedrooms in total but one of them
has such high ceilings that the space comfortably fits a
mezzanine level that creates a fifth sleeping space or study area.
There's also another roomy, bright double
and the smallest bedroom features one of the stunning Gothic windows.
These bedrooms all make use of a smart family shower room
and that just leaves the room with Rick and Sue's name on it.
-So this is the room currently used as the master bedroom.
It has an en-suite.
Very nicely finished.
This is a really good sized walk-in wardrobe that is all railed
-out for the clothes.
-There's a lot of wow factor in this house downstairs.
What do you feel about the bedroom?
We don't have very much in the way of bedroom furniture.
Virtually none cos we're totally built-in
so we don't necessarily need big rooms up here.
There is still one extra room downstairs that I haven't
-shown you yet that I'm quite keen for you to have a look at.
And I also need you to start putting your mind to the price.
-To how much this house is on the market for.
-Yes, I'm worried.
My lips are sealed.
-Let's go and look downstairs again.
This property has already delivered way above expectation,
yet there's more to take in.
We're weaving our way back down to the ground floor through
the dining room and out into the last of the reception rooms.
So I've been saving this room which is a beautiful sunroom.
It's a fairly recent addition to the property
and you get the view of the gardens and the fields.
-It's bright and airy.
-It's got a log burner.
Ah! I'm speechless. I really am speechless.
There's a huge laundry room behind me with a second fridge,
-with washer, dryer, everything.
Everything's in there, it's a huge space.
Loads of room for it all.
This is so well thought through. Just perfect, it's lovely.
I'm quite intrigued to find out from you both what you think this
property is on the market for. Sue?
This has got to be top end of our budget or above.
-I'm going to go for an optimistic 650.
-OK and, Rick, what about you?
I'd go for 630.
OK. I'm afraid it's over budget.
It was on the market earlier this year for £825,000.
It has been reduced to £695,000.
You did say to me there was some wiggle room in your budget.
What do you think of that?
-Well, I'm not surprised. Yes.
We need to think about it, look at the rest
and I wouldn't rule it out yet.
Why don't you go and explore the rest of the house.
I know it sparked an interest in you.
Go and ponder on the wiggle room.
-See what you think. I'll catch up with you.
Jumping over budget by £45,000, this property is an exceptional
Grade II listed historic home.
Beautifully renovated it boasts...
When I walked through the door it was a surprising change from
a somewhat formidable exterior to a really homely feel inside the house.
In the garages there is certainly potential.
At the moment it's a fairly rough area but it's a big space.
A big, interesting space. And with some work and some imagination...
..I could certainly turn that into what I need.
If the location works and Rick's happy with his man space outside,
I would be very interested in exploring...
..exploring further and coming back again.
I can imagine us living here.
-So, did the inside live up to that very handsome exterior?
How are you both feeling now that you've had a good look around?
Optimistic. It's definitely a contender.
-It's good to see you with a smile on your face, both of you.
-It's nice to have one.
-Let's head off.
When we started this journey with Rick and Sue to help them
find their dream home they really gave me a blank canvas to work from.
However, after yesterday I think they've got a firmer
idea of what they're looking for than they're letting on.
But one thing that I do believe is they are open to compromise
and today's mystery house with its, shall we say
steep garden, will really put that theory to the test.
But I do believe if they're willing to be flexible,
this could prove to be the house that they're looking for.
For our final property we're heading back into Gloucestershire proper.
Just north of our houses yesterday to the village of Sheepscombe.
Sheepscombe is located at the bottom of a steep green valley
covered in woodland.
The village is well serviced with a pub, a village hall,
post office and a church.
And on the edge of the village is our mystery house.
So this is what I brought you to see.
This very charming Cotswold stone cottage dates back to 1880.
It's been beautifully renovated inside
and out by its current owners.
It's stunning to look at. If you notice behind you, it's an annexe.
It's a one-bedroom annexe with a separate bathroom.
-Is that interesting?
-Yes, it would probably be very useful for visitors.
We may well be in a position to need one for relatives at some stage.
-Definitely of interest.
-I can see you're looking up there.
-It's not flat.
This is the mystery house and it's the mystery house for a reason.
We have to throw a curveball in there somewhere.
It isn't flat, as you've noticed.
It has a stepped garden. Having said that, it's been
beautifully planned out and designed.
This all looks delightful. It's really nicely done.
-But levels worry me at this stage.
-See how we go.
One thing I should also tell you is it comes with an acre of land
so there is a plot of land just down below there that they
use for extra parking.
-They're got a thriving veggie garden already on that.
-Shall we take a look inside?
This 19th century stone cottage is semidetached
and it may not sit on level ground
but hopefully that won't be a concern once our buyers step inside.
And we're starting in the kitchen.
I always feel the kitchen should be the heart of the house
and it really does feel like this with this one.
Yes, it does. It's lovely.
-Very cottage-y, isn't it?
-It is but with space.
It's nice and open. I like it a lot.
-I could happily spend time here.
-It's got that cosy feel, hasn't it?
And it flows down nicely into the sitting room,
which is down here.
-It's compact but it doesn't feel too close.
-Claustrophobic. It's well lit.
It's a friendly room.
You can see yourself with your feet up and your book.
That will be a first.
But this isn't the only reception room.
Back through the kitchen is a beautiful addition to this
a garden room attached to the outside of the property.
Making the most of the original stone walls.
-It's a lovely room.
It's currently used as a dining room.
I think it's a room you could probably use all year round.
-Cosy in winter.
-Doors open in summer.
How are you feeling at this point?
I'm sensing an interest but I'm not sensing wow from you.
No, I think it's absolutely charming and the spaces are lovely.
I'm not 100% convinced there's enough living space for us.
-But what there is here is lovely. What do you think?
-I think there might be enough living space.
Our mystery house seems to be dividing opinions
between Sue and Rick. But there's still more to see.
On this floor there's a utility room and a cloakroom.
As we move upstairs there's a family bathroom with the added
bonus of a shower and three bedrooms laid out over two floors.
There's a bright double in the eaves of the second floor, another double
below it with a striking beamed ceiling and then, there's a master.
So that lovely, quirky,
-charming nature of the downstairs is carried on up here.
-High ceilings. Higher than downstairs.
-It is a nice, light room.
-It's a lovely room.
One of the beautiful things about this room is, of course, that view.
-You get the view because we're on a hill and the hill means
you've got that sloping garden which
-I know you were concerned about.
Shall we go and have a really good look at it?
-Let's take a look at how manageable it may or may not be.
I think we'd have to.
The gardens here may not be flat, but they are stunning.
Landscaped with paths, steps, terraces and vistas.
There's also a garage below the annexe which could serve
well as Rick's man space.
And here we are at the top of the sloping garden.
-Look, that's what you get. You get that spectacular view.
-You could while away a few hours up here.
Wouldn't get anything done. It's too good.
A tiered garden you can do in chunks
so from that point of view it will be a lot easier than a long
sloping field but I think it's too much up and down for me.
I think it's too much up and down for you.
I'm going to ask you to take a guess what the
property's on the market for.
beautiful Cotswold village, views to die for.
The cottage is on the small side but it has the annexe and the land.
So I'm going to go for 600,000.
-I'll go slightly above, 625.
-I'm afraid you're both off the mark.
You did mention the land and because it has that
-acre of land in this part of the country it's over budget.
-It's on the market at £675,000 and it's not been on that long.
-Does that surprise you?
-It does. Yes, it does.
Go off and have a look, explore and I'll come
-and meet you in a little while.
This gorgeous cottage is on the market £25,000 over Sue
and Rick's agreed budget.
But there is the option of selling the extra acre of land to
It's got the welcoming feel they were after
and a lovely, sociable kitchen.
The annexe brings the bedrooms to four,
meaning space to accommodate family and friends.
And although the garden may not be flat, there's plenty of it.
Mind your head.
-Oh! This is above the garage.
-So you got the bedroom and you've got the...
-It is. Lovely.
The mystery house has been quite a revelation
because the house is very charming.
I don't feel it's quite large enough for dimensions for us
to make it work.
The garden is just wonderful but on so many terraces,
so many steps I couldn't contemplate getting old here.
When I first saw the mystery house I thought, "Levels.
"Steep stairs. This is going to be very difficult for Sue."
I hoped not to like the house.
I love the house but I'm quite glad it's too small
because I would struggle.
-It's very cute in there.
-It's great for Hobbits.
-Great for Hobbits.
That was the last house I had to show you.
The mystery house ends the search.
I think it's time we went and had a drink, have a
chat and see what you're feeling about everything.
-BOTH: Sounds good.
Gloucestershire is bursting with beautiful scenery.
And in the southeast of the country is the Cotswold Water Park.
A peaceful, 40 square-mile area of countryside
with 150 lakes it's a wildlife haven.
But in one corner of it is a less tranquil 20 acres which is
home to an exciting adrenaline sport - rally driving.
Like in motor racing, rally drivers aim to go faster than their
opponents, but unlike motor racing which mainly takes place on a tarmac
circuit, rallying can happen on any surface, gravel, forests, even snow.
I've cove to meet Andy Gwynne who has owned this rally school
for 20 years.
-You all right?
-Nice to meet you.
I know I'm in the hands of a seasoned pro today
so tell me about your rallying experiences.
As a kid with the family going out and watched rallies, just really
admiring the drivers from all over the world and wanting to be like it.
I think everyone likes that sort of sport, really.
-So you were lured by the excitement of it all, were you?
-Very much so.
It strikes me that rallying is quite an accessible form of motorsport.
-It's not that hard to have a go.
-No, I mean, there's the likes of us.
A good few centres over the country that you can go
and buy an experience and come and drive a rally car
so it does tend to lead onto other people wanting to go a little
bit further with it, which is quite nice.
What are you going to teach me today, Andy?
Just the starting basics of driving a rally car.
The balance, how you position the car in the corner.
Just how you make the car slide around
-in your favour, basically.
Rally driving dates back to 1894 in France
when an event took place between two cities.
The vehicles were horseless carriages.
Today, rally cars are modified road vehicles with adapted engines and
gear boxes and tens of thousands of pounds could be spent doing them up.
The car we're driving today is Andy's Citroen C2 with
around £6,000-worth of additions.
One of these.
Safety is paramount and every rally car has safety modifications too,
like a roll cage and fire extinguisher system.
And unlike in motor racing, in rallying you always have a
co-driver who's there to navigate and keep track of time.
I'm not sure how much use I'll be but here we go.
And right on cue the heavens have opened, it's raining.
What's that going to do to this surface?
-Less grip, really.
-Just a little less grip.
So, come on, talk me through it.
OK. Turn into the corner. Off the gas, that makes the car turn in.
-Off the gas again. Back on the gas to straighten the car out.
Andy's showing me a move called the Scandinavian Flick, which
allows the car to turn at speed, slingshotting it around the corner.
This is what the flick's all about. One way, then the other.
Back on the gas, straightens up. Back off the gas, there it goes.
You can literally feel the car sliding through.
It is a balance thing.
'The handbrake is used extensively in rallying,
'which makes the car slide and change direction at speed.'
This kind of driving is strictly not for public roads
and should only happen under the supervision of an expert.
Using the handbrake.
Do you think having a go at a course like this can actually
make your on-road driving better?
It does teach you how easy it is to lose control of a car.
It's a great pendulum effect as you feel the back of the car
Just like walking the tightrope, you've got to balance the weight.
Feel the car going one way, you lean the other a little.
-Off the gas, into the corner.
-Off the gas.
-And as you hit the corner, back on the gas to power through.
It sounds perfect in theory. What can go wrong?
Well, I'm about to find out.
Andy's putting his trust in me and allowing me to take the wheel.
Oh, wow! Andy, that was fantastic.
I can't wait to have a go, I have to say.
-So what first, Andy?
-OK, into second. That's it.
-This is just a steady lap.
-Getting you to know where we're going.
Lean to the right. That's it. Hit the gas. That's the lift off.
I could feel the lift. Did you do that or did I do that?
To the right again.
Gas, that's it.
That's where you have to predict where to get on the gas.
Right, right, right. That's the one.
This car might be worth under £10,000 but some rally cars can be
worth up to half a million pounds,
-or even more.
-A bit more, bit more, bit more.
-Am I being too gentle?
Little bit of gas, little bit of gas.
-Gas, that's good.
-Really nice. That felt really good.
I could really feel the slide.
I bet I'm going really slowly, aren't I?
-No, you're doing really well.
-I feel like I'm going 15mph.
It might feel like 15 but I'm actually reaching a slightly
more impressive 50mph.
-You got it.
This is fantastic.
This is the most fun I've had in the morning in a very long time.
Back to the pits and sadly, the fun's over.
-Andy, thank you. That was so much fun.
I'm really sorry about the state of your car.
Who would have thought that in the middle of the peaceful
Cotswolds you could have so much high octane fun.
Rick and Sue have seen all the properties that
I had to show them and there's been some mixed emotions so I'm looking
forward to hearing their thoughts
and finding out what their next move is.
Well, you two, when we started off looking at properties you
were very flexible, very laid-back.
I'm wondering what you might have learned from the last
couple of days.
It's been fascinating looking at different styles of property,
I've noticed a real difference between the two of you
and your attitudes towards this move.
I have a real sense that Sue, you still want, actually,
the big family house with the big rooms and you can envisage
packing it with all your family on their special occasions.
Yet, Rick, I sense that you would be happy to downsize.
To perhaps go to a smaller cottage if it worked for you
and it was in the right location.
I think that's right.
-Yes, I think it probably is.
So is there a what next with any of the properties you've seen?
I think we'd be interested in going back to the castle.
-I think we would.
-Definitely like another look at that.
It's quite curious to me that your favourite house is the house that
isn't in the chocolate box village and it's by far the largest house.
The house really took our breath away, mine.
So, yes, it's a tricky one. It's got to be able to work, I think.
The mystery house was lovely and not taking into account
the size of the rooms, the garden was just not doable for us.
How are you both feeling at this point, going forward?
I'm very excited by the whole prospect.
It's been great to look at properties in the area
and it's concentrated the area for me.
I sort of also know the corridor we're looking in gets ever so hilly.
A lot more hilly than I realised in places.
So looking at the surrounding
countryside around here has been brilliant.
It has been really, so useful.
I'm really excited for the two of you.
I think it's fantastic that we've found one property that has
sparked such an interest in you.
It seems like you've learned quite a lot about the journey
that you're going on.
And we do wish you all the best.
We hope it goes really well and you find that dream home
-so you can be closer to Sarah and Maelo.
-It's been wonderful.
-Thanks very much.
It's been great. Thank you very much.
It's quite a hard search to sum up because while
Sue and Rick have found a property
and an area they want to explore more, I don't think they've found
the dream home that's going to allow them to move closer to their family.
But I do think the experience has made them focus more on exactly
what it is they want and what they're willing to compromise on.
Both of which can only be great things for their move.
I'll see you next time on Escape To The Country.
Sue and Rick decided the castle house wasn't situated close
enough to local amenities
but the great news is they had an offer accepted on a
five-bedroom property not far away and have already moved in.
If you would like to escape to
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Ginny Buckley takes a couple from Harrogate who are looking to put their family first on a property search in Gloucestershire with a budget of £650,000. Ginny shows them properties with unique character and charm before putting pedal to the metal in the Gloucestershire gravel.