Wiltshire Escape to the Country


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Wiltshire

Property series. Nicki Chapman goes property hunting with a couple who have £575,000 to spend on a rural family home in Wiltshire.


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This grand, Grade I listed manor house

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was home to the same family for more than five centuries,

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spawning a line that would go on to change

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the very re-fabric of English history.

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So where exactly am I?

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Find out, in just a moment.

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'Today's house-hunters are looking to return to

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'childhood roots to raise their family.

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'We surprise them with the scale of one of our properties.'

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-It's amazing. It's huge! Isn't it?

-Is it the whole thing?

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It looks massive, it looks like it's two, I think.

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'Either way, it seems to be having the desired effect.'

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-I'm starting to feel slightly excited.

-Yes, so are we.

-Yeah.

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Hey! All three of us, that's good.

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Welcome to Escape To The Country.

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Today, we are in Wiltshire and this is Lydiard Park,

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home to the St John family for more than 500 years,

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following the marriage of Oliver St John to one Margaret Beauchamp

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early in the 15th century.

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Now, Margaret inherited this magnificent house,

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but she was also to become the great-grandmother

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of King Henry VIII, the man who famously rejected

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the Roman Catholic faith, altering the course of English history forever.

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Today, this beautifully restored house and garden is open to the public

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and remains just one of the gems in this county's rich heritage.

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Lying in the south of England, Wiltshire is surrounded

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by six other counties, including Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire.

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Its rich and varied countryside showcases both classic rural landscapes

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and international heritage sites alike,

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including the Neolithic stone circles at Avebury,

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as well as Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Little is known about how this iconic prehistoric monument

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was created, but it's this fascinating mystique that

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makes it one of the most visited sites in the country.

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The county's rolling hills give way to downland at Salisbury Plain,

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which spreads across 300 square miles and whose grassland

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is home to unique flora and fauna.

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Built mainly on chalk, Wiltshire is home to

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three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,

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and set within this backdrop, is the cathedral city of Salisbury.

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Described as "the city in the country", its 13th century cathedral

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is a leading example of English Gothic architecture.

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While the village of Castle Combe,

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featuring a range of buildings made from honey-coloured Bath stone,

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has been voted the prettiest village in England.

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The county's impressive array of historical marvels explains

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Wiltshire's enduring appeal for visitors,

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as well as those seeking a more permanent rural escape.

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The average price of a detached property in Wiltshire is

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just over £318,000, around £36,000 above the national figure.

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Now, that may sound expensive,

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but there are still bargains to be had if you know where to look.

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Market towns like Devizes in the centre of the county

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or Warminster in the south-west,

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can offer better value for money than the popular villages

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in the commuter bubble, closer to the Hampshire border, towards the east.

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So what is it about Wiltshire that has so attracted today's buyers?

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Well, let's meet them and find out.

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Louisa and Chris met after an introduction from a mutual friend,

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and love quickly blossomed.

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We met in Fresher's Week at university, at Oxford Brookes.

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I think we were introduced while Chris was living

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with a friend of mine, so I went down to see him in halls, and...met you.

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Yeah, he turned out to be my best man,

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at my wedding, so he introduced us, and, yeah...

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It went on from there.

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'After leaving university,

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'they tied the knot and moved to the leafy suburbs of the capital.

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'But the appeal of suburban life is starting to fade for them

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'and so the time feels right for a change.'

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So we currently live in a cottage in East Molesey,

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two-bed,

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and it's been great as a starter home.

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We had our little girl here, who is now two.

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But...we've kind of outgrown it.

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It's been brilliant, but we need to move on to the next thing, now.

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'But with this next move,

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'they will still need to consider Chris's work in terms of location.'

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Well, currently I work in construction

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and have been for about seven years.

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I...

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My head office is based in Guildford

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so...we're looking to - at the moment -

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still maintain that set-up.

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I will commute to work and then the rest of the week

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I'll be travelling back to wherever our new

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humble abode will be.

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'Becoming parents has completely changed their lives

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'and now much of their attention and time is focused

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'on a certain little person.'

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Evie is our two-year-old daughter,

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who only turned two very recently,

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and is very much a troublemaker,

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a very excitable young lady.

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She's definitely the focus of our lives.

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A lot of energy.

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Yes, since she was born

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she's been the person that everything revolves around now.

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So, yes, life's geared up for her.

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-Keeps us very busy.

-That's why moving to the country,

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for her especially, it's going to be...

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it's going to be amazing.

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'And after leaving the city,

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'Louisa and Chris plan to return to their roots.'

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So...we're looking to move back to the West Country,

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which is where Louisa's parents are from.

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She grew up there for about 25 years

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and I went to school in Wiltshire,

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so that part of the world is somewhere that is quite close to our hearts.

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We're looking to move back to in and around the Bradford on Avon region

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and be not too far from Bath.

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'For Evie, country life will be just the ticket.'

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I know not all children are,

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but Evie is definitely an outdoorsy child.

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She's her most happiest

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when she's jumping in a puddle or just getting filthy,

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so I think, for her,

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it's just going to be completely perfect.

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'And perhaps Evie will also have a new brother or sister to play with

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'once they all relocate west.'

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When we are down in Bath or the surrounding area,

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we want to extend the family,

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because we haven't got enough room here.

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When we are in a new location and a bigger house,

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-that's definitely something we...

-Absolutely.

-..want to do.

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-With dogs!

-With dogs.

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-And babies.

-Oh, yes.

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And more babies, that's it.

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Since we've come from uni it's really been a case of, you know,

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just quite rapidly moving out of places and moving further out of London.

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So this is the BIG MOVE,

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the big move back to a long-term settlement plan, I think.

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'When our buyers move to Wiltshire,

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'they're hoping to settle within striking distance of Bath

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'to be close to friends and family

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'and also near good commuter routes for Chris.

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'So we're concentrating our search on the villages found to the west of the county

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'and we're all meeting up so I can get a better understanding

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'of exactly what they're after.'

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-Well, Louisa and Chris, welcome to wonderful Wiltshire.

-Thank you.

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We're just on the edge of the West Country here, but why Wiltshire?

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Why do you two want to move?

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Well, I think it's been a while coming

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since we've been in London for around six years now.

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We're looking to make the move back for our family

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and heading back to our roots, really.

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I think it's now cos Evie, she's two,

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she's going to be starting school in a few years.

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So we want to come back, be settled before she starts school.

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So you've obviously thought long and hard about this move.

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What does the perfect property look like in your minds?

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I think the key is going to be space.

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Moving out of London, we're looking to maximise what we can get for our money in terms of space.

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It's quite cramped at the moment with the little one.

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-So, yeah, looking for more bedrooms.

-How many bedrooms?

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-Probably four bedrooms.

-Ideally four, yes.

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And I think one of the key things for us is going to be a big kitchen.

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-Um...

-Heart of the home.

-Yes.

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That's going to be a big area where you can eat and cook and kids can play.

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That kind of thing, that's the idea.

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So four bedrooms, a good-sized kitchen, what else are you after?

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I think we want a good garden.

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We don't feel like we need anything enormous,

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cos gardening is not your - or my - favourite thing!

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So nothing enormous, but a good garden, again, for running around,

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and just...playing.

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-You'd quite like some kind of study...

-Yeah...

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-..for you to work at home.

-I'd need either an outbuilding

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where there's a little office space

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or a study for when I am working at home.

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That would be a useful attribute, definitely.

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What about location?

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Do you want to be within a community?

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Would you like to be more rural?

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I think, for us, we definitely want a few local shops nearby,

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just so you can pop out, get the milk and newspaper, that kind of thing.

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The big thing about location is schools.

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I'm a primary school teacher so, at some point,

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I'd like to go back to work

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and a local primary school

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for a little girl and, hopefully, maybe me would be perfect for us.

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Well, let's look at money, then.

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Just remind us what we've got to spend here in Wiltshire.

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We have got a maximum budget of 575,

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£575,000.

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Do you think that is a realistic budget for what you're after?

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I think it is, yes. I think it's pretty realistic.

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-Well, I will let you know it is a very popular county...

-Yep.

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..because of where it is, the countryside and, also,

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relatively close to London, as well.

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Having said that, we do have some splendid properties lined up to show you

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and, of course, one is going to be the mystery house.

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Shall we get started?

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-Yes.

-Let's do it.

-Come on, then.

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'With £575,000 to spend,

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'Louisa and Chris have a healthy budget for their country property.

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'Central to their search

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'is finding enough space for them to grow as a family,

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'so a generous kitchen is important,

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'as are enough bedrooms.

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'Besides a manageable garden,

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'they need access to good schools,

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'commuter links for Chris

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'and to be close to family in Bath.

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'And we've got some great Wiltshire properties to tempt our couple

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'away from the city,

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'but I won't be revealing the prices until the end of each tour.

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'Then, to finish up, we will reveal our mystery house,

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'which should really challenge their preconceptions

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'of what that preferred country home should be.'

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Well, let's talk about hobbies.

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Anything that you can't do at the moment where you live,

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but you're hoping to do when you move?

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I think horse riding's a big thing.

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There's nowhere, really, around where we are that we could...

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That's for Evie Grace.

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Again, that's for Evie Grace.

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For us...

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There's nothing specifically new,

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-but it's probably being able to do things more easily.

-Easily.

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Walking's one of the main things, go on a nice family long walk,

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having that more on your doorstep

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than around London, where it's normally just simply the parks.

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And we'd love to get a dog, wouldn't we?

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-Yes.

-So, I think...

-Which we can't do where we are now.

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-No.

-It wouldn't be fair, I don't think.

-Yeah.

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'We're kicking off our Wiltshire property search

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'in the village of Winterslow,

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'20 minutes from the cathedral city of Salisbury.

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'Originally three separate settlements called West,

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'Middle and East Winterslow,

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'they now collectively form the parish of Winterslow.

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'Here modern properties mix with thatched country cottages

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'and local residents are well catered for with a village shop providing essentials

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'along with four churches, a village hall,

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'a primary school and two pubs.

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'And just to the north of the village,

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'located in a private courtyard,

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'is the house we've lined up.'

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So let me introduce you to our very first property.

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Wow! It's amazing.

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It's huge...isn't it?

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-Is it the whole thing?

-Well...

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-It looks like it's two, I think.

-I hate to disappoint you...

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I was going to say, it's enormous.

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-It's actually three properties.

-BOTH: OK.

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It's an old granary, it's about 100 years old.

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It's not listed and this part, this is our house.

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This is the one we're going to be looking at.

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First impressions? What do we think?

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I think it's beautiful.

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Yes, it's really sweet, very cute.

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-I love it.

-Welcoming?

-Yes.

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-It does look very welcoming.

-Definitely.

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Well, that's a strong start.

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Let's see what you make inside, come on.

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'Dating back to the 1800s,

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'this old granary was converted in 2002.

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'It's historic external aesthetic seems to have won our couple over,

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'so I'm hoping the inside will have the same effect.

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'We're starting our tour with the most important room in the house for Louisa and Chris...'

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So I thought we'd start the tour coming through the side door...

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and it brings us straight into the kitchen.

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Yes, I love it.

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When I first came in, the first thing I noticed was the range.

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Yeah, that's great. Great bit of kit.

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-Very country, very homely...

-It is.

-It's very nice.

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What about the actual kitchen itself?

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-Really like the style.

-It's really nice. It's a very country feel.

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It's been done very, very nicely.

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Potentially, for me, maybe a dash small

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in being what we are looking for in terms of an overall family kitchen.

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In terms of size...

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Is it the kitchen itself? Because, to me, this is a good-sized kitchen.

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Are you thinking, perhaps, a family room on top of it?

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Yes, possibly. For the kitchen itself, we wouldn't need more space.

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But having a room attached, it's then utilised by everyone,

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so everyone's in one big space. I think it's possibly lacking that.

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Well, this is only the first room.

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-Let's continue and see what you make of the others.

-Yes, brilliant.

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Down a small flight of stairs, we find the next room.

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So next stop is... Well, I was going to call it the sitting room,

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but I'm actually going to rename it the family room.

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-Definitely.

-It is really lovely.

-It's really beautiful.

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-It feels very homely.

-Good. I mean, that's important.

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It's the first house that you've seen,

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and as you walk through the door you want it to feel like a home.

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-I know that is a priority for you.

-Yes, definitely. And it does.

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It feels cosy, it feels warm

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and just lovely. Yes, really nicely done.

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Is this the type of thing that you are after?

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Yes, at the moment we are all in one room, dining room,

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you know, we feel cramped.

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-But this is a separate room.

-Yeah.

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I just wonder how child friendly it is...

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-The corners.

-We can make it child friendly, I guess.

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-So...so far, so good.

-Yes, definitely.

-Yes, absolutely.

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-Excellent, let's hope it continues upstairs.

-Great.

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'Also on the ground floor is a dining room with doors leading outside,

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'a compact study and a utility room.

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'Then, upstairs, we find four good-sized double bedrooms

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'and a tiled bathroom.

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'We're showing Louisa and Chris the largest of the rooms.'

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So you've got a good-sized landing.

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-OK.

-This would be the master.

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-Yes, it's nice.

-Good size.

-This is a lovely size.

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-I love the really high ceilings.

-That's the wonderful thing.

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-I mean, this is the master because it has

-an en-suite. OK, brilliant.

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-And you don't have one of those home, do you?

-No.

-Ooh!

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You're never going to go back!

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You're never, ever going to go back!

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So this is a house that...for four bedrooms that you've asked for,

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but, in actual fact, you could grow into it, as well, if you wanted to.

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Yes, absolutely, and that's what we are looking for.

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This is our house

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and we want to be here in our next house for a good time.

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So far our buyers seen more than happy with the house

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and I'm hoping those smiles will continue as we move outside into the garden...

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So you've got this patio paved area,

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which leads to a very long and secure garden...

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-And then just look at that view.

-I know, it's amazing. It is amazing.

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-It's very rural, it's lovely.

-Beautiful.

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-Nice, low-maintenance garden, as well.

-It's absolutely beautiful.

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-Yes, a low-maintenance garden and secure.

-Yes.

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I can't see too many places for little ones to escape.

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-Or dogs.

-Or dogs!

-And as you can see it's been sectioned,

0:16:090:16:12

because there's actually a double vegetable patch at the bottom.

0:16:120:16:15

You've got a greenhouse and a shed and a little swing seat here.

0:16:150:16:18

-That's slightly more maintenance. That will go!

-So you could just leave it, yeah!

0:16:180:16:22

Come on, let's try and put a figure on our very first property.

0:16:220:16:26

-I'm not going to...

-Ladies first.

0:16:260:16:28

-HESITANTLY: 525? 530?

-OK.

0:16:280:16:31

I'm going to say slightly over our budget, I'm going to say about 585.

0:16:310:16:35

The asking price is right on your budget,

0:16:350:16:38

£575,000.

0:16:380:16:40

Way below, I completely got that one wrong.

0:16:400:16:42

You thought slightly over.

0:16:420:16:44

In actual fact, Chris, it's been on since the autumn

0:16:440:16:47

so it has recently come down in price to 575.

0:16:470:16:49

-Well, why don't you take another look at our first property on your own.

-Absolutely.

0:16:490:16:53

This is certainly a house that you can grow into, that's for sure.

0:16:530:16:55

-There's a lot of possibility...

-A lot of potential on top of what's already there.

-Great.

0:16:550:16:59

-Be my guest.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:16:590:17:01

Bang on budget, this converted granary provides everything

0:17:040:17:07

Louisa and Chris asked for in their country property.

0:17:070:17:10

With four bedrooms and two reception rooms,

0:17:100:17:13

there's plenty of space to accommodate an expanding family.

0:17:130:17:16

What's more, it's ideally located

0:17:160:17:18

to some great commuter links for Chris.

0:17:180:17:21

It's a nice little dining room.

0:17:220:17:24

Yes, good size. Could be...could be a playroom, couldn't it? Possibly...

0:17:240:17:27

-Yes, that's what I was thinking.

-Yes, definitely.

0:17:270:17:29

Shut the door, all the toys.

0:17:290:17:31

-Yes, make a good-sized playroom.

-Yes, good.

0:17:310:17:34

I think my initial reaction when I saw the property was,

0:17:340:17:37

yes, bit of a surprise, it was really nice.

0:17:370:17:39

The courtyard area was lovely.

0:17:390:17:40

It was a really nice area, sort of enclosed the various houses around.

0:17:400:17:43

And I really like the timber cladding, as well.

0:17:430:17:45

I thought it was nice to see a converted barn,

0:17:450:17:48

which wasn't something I was expecting to see, so it was very nice.

0:17:480:17:52

There's many things I like about this property, because it just feels so homely and cosy.

0:17:520:17:55

Love the high ceilings and the beams.

0:17:550:17:59

The garden's beautiful, really nice size, safe,

0:17:590:18:02

very child friendly.

0:18:020:18:04

And just generally the feel of the place, I think. It's lovely.

0:18:040:18:07

Really nice.

0:18:070:18:08

-Are you happy? Have you seen enough?

-Yes, I think so. Very happy, yes.

0:18:100:18:13

-Yes, had a good browse around.

-Good.

0:18:130:18:15

It's hard to believe it's a former granary, isn't it?

0:18:150:18:17

-I know, it's been done so beautifully. It's lovely.

-Massive transformation.

0:18:170:18:20

And that's only our first property, because we do have more to show you.

0:18:200:18:23

-I'm excited.

-Let's make a move.

-Brilliant.

0:18:230:18:26

It's fair to say that the landscapes of Wiltshire are steeped in history

0:18:320:18:36

and the county offers more byways than anywhere else in the UK.

0:18:360:18:40

So what better way to explore the countryside than by bike?

0:18:400:18:44

Chris and Louisa are meeting with Dave Evans of Heritage Cycle Tours,

0:18:440:18:48

who's guiding them on an expedition

0:18:480:18:50

to learn a little more about Wiltshire's most famous landmarks.

0:18:500:18:53

-Hello.

-Hi.

-Hi.

0:18:530:18:55

-Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Dave.

-Nice to meet you, I'm Louisa.

0:18:550:18:58

-Hello, Louisa.

-I'm Chris.

-Hi, Chris. Nice to meet you.

0:18:580:19:00

-Well, welcome to sunny Old Sarum.

-BOTH: Thank you.

0:19:000:19:02

Old Sarum's the original place for Salisbury,

0:19:020:19:05

Sarum being the Old English name for Salisbury.

0:19:050:19:07

William the Conqueror decided that he liked it so much

0:19:070:19:10

that he'd build a castle, a motte and bailey castle here,

0:19:100:19:13

which is what we can see the ruins of behind us...

0:19:130:19:15

and also a cathedral.

0:19:150:19:16

That was the original Salisbury Cathedral.

0:19:160:19:19

-It was up for 100 and something years.

-OK.

0:19:190:19:21

So why did Salisbury Cathedral move down into the valley?

0:19:210:19:24

There were two reasons.

0:19:240:19:25

I believe the bishop fell out with the crown

0:19:250:19:28

and it was also very crowded up here.

0:19:280:19:30

There were something like 3,000 or 4,000 people who lived up here in a village.

0:19:300:19:33

It was really cramped.

0:19:330:19:35

There's an old legend that says they fired an arrow from here

0:19:350:19:38

and where the arrow landed was where they were going to build the new cathedral.

0:19:380:19:42

But you can see it's quite some shot

0:19:420:19:44

and I think it probably had a following wind,

0:19:440:19:46

because that must be two miles away!

0:19:460:19:48

-But it's a lovely legend. I like the sound of that.

-Yes.

-OK, then, guys.

0:19:480:19:51

So you've seen Old Sarum, it's time to go and press on

0:19:510:19:54

and it's all downhill from here.

0:19:540:19:56

-Shall we go?

-Great.

-Brilliant.

-Yes, please.

0:19:560:19:59

This way to the right.

0:20:010:20:02

Winding north of Salisbury along the Avon Valley,

0:20:030:20:06

this cycle route passes through some of Wiltshire's

0:20:060:20:09

most fascinating scenery.

0:20:090:20:11

Scattered throughout the landscape are a number of ancient man-made mounds.

0:20:110:20:15

Right, are you OK?

0:20:150:20:17

-How is it going?

-Yes, good.

-Good.

0:20:170:20:19

-Are you enjoying this?

-Yes, it's lovely.

0:20:190:20:21

So we've just arrived in a place called Wilsford cum Lake,

0:20:210:20:23

which is, kind of, the greater area of Stonehenge

0:20:230:20:26

and we're going to see a lot of these mounds.

0:20:260:20:28

They're burial mounds and they're called barrows.

0:20:280:20:30

-So what group of people were actually buried in the barrows?

-It was English folk, we think,

0:20:300:20:34

but there is evidence that several of the people buried around here -

0:20:340:20:37

a lot of the people buried here - came from further afield.

0:20:370:20:40

They've found people from the Alps, people from Spain, from the Mediterranean.

0:20:400:20:44

So it was probably quite a well-known site for people around Europe.

0:20:440:20:47

And why are the mounds so big?

0:20:470:20:49

It's possible that the significance of the size of the barrows

0:20:490:20:53

was to actually show people that these very important people

0:20:530:20:56

are sitting here on the hillside.

0:20:560:20:58

When they would have been made, they wouldn't have had turf on them, they would have been white...

0:20:580:21:02

So they would have been quite visible to people in the area.

0:21:020:21:06

'Time to get back in the saddle and continue the tour.

0:21:060:21:09

'Wiltshire has the highest concentration of prehistoric sites in Europe,

0:21:090:21:13

'so there's plenty to see

0:21:130:21:15

'and the final stop of the excursion

0:21:150:21:17

'is at the county's most celebrated landmark.'

0:21:170:21:20

-Well, this is the last stop on the tour.

-OK.

0:21:200:21:22

This is Stonehenge and its surrounding landscape.

0:21:220:21:25

What you see now is actually the last version of Stonehenge.

0:21:250:21:28

They had three attempts at building it.

0:21:280:21:30

Do you know why the stones are aligned like that?

0:21:300:21:33

Older versions had an alignment with the sun

0:21:330:21:36

and there was always some connection with the rising sun

0:21:360:21:39

and Midsummer's Day.

0:21:390:21:41

Do you think they used manual labour to get the stones up?

0:21:410:21:44

There are two major theories.

0:21:440:21:45

One would be they dug holes to put the stones into the hole to get it upright

0:21:450:21:49

and then built an earth bank alongside it

0:21:490:21:52

to then put the lintel on.

0:21:520:21:53

The other one is that they used timber structures like A-frames,

0:21:530:21:56

tied together with ropes

0:21:560:21:59

and then pulled the stone on top.

0:21:590:22:01

Do you have any idea about how long it took for them to complete it?

0:22:010:22:04

If you don't know how they constructed it,

0:22:040:22:06

it's very difficult to determine how long it would take.

0:22:060:22:09

It certainly must have taken them years, I would have thought.

0:22:090:22:12

Well, have you enjoyed your tour? Has it been fun?

0:22:120:22:15

-Yeah, it's been great.

-Absolutely.

-I've learnt lots.

0:22:150:22:17

Well, I think you've earnt yourself a cup of tea, don't you?

0:22:170:22:20

-Oh, yes, please.

-Shall we go and get one?

-Let's go!

-Cheers.

0:22:200:22:23

'That's it for our couple's historic sightseeing tour.

0:22:230:22:26

'So it's high time we cracked on with their house search.

0:22:260:22:29

'For our second property we're heading north west

0:22:320:22:35

'to the village of Seend,

0:22:350:22:36

'which is a 40-minute drive to Louisa's home town of Bath.

0:22:360:22:40

'A rural location with far reaching country views,

0:22:400:22:43

'Seend also lies on the Kennet and Avon Canal

0:22:430:22:46

'and surrounded by rich agricultural farmland.

0:22:460:22:49

'Many buildings within the village date back to the 15th century,

0:22:490:22:52

'including the parish church.

0:22:520:22:55

'More modern amenities within the village include a community centre,

0:22:550:22:59

'a post office and local store,

0:22:590:23:02

'two pubs and a school.

0:23:020:23:04

'Our second house lies to the north of the village.'

0:23:040:23:07

So we like to show our buyers quite a broad range of properties

0:23:080:23:12

and this...

0:23:120:23:14

is the house we want to show you.

0:23:140:23:16

-Yeah, I love it.

-It's cute.

0:23:160:23:18

I love the look of it.

0:23:180:23:20

-Yeah?

-I really do, yeah.

0:23:200:23:22

This is...when I think of, you know,

0:23:220:23:24

when you drive past houses and you say, "Oh, I like the look..."

0:23:240:23:27

This is, kind of, always what I think I like.

0:23:270:23:29

-I like the cornerstones.

-Yep.

-Nice little feature.

0:23:290:23:31

Well, I've got an "I love it!" and "I like the cornerstone!"

0:23:310:23:34

So you might have to work a bit harder than that, Chris!

0:23:340:23:37

I'm just reserving judgment until I see the whole thing, I think.

0:23:370:23:40

-I'm looking at it holistically.

-Handsome property?

-Yes.

0:23:400:23:43

I think so, yes.

0:23:430:23:45

-Very interesting.

-Yeah?

0:23:450:23:46

-Bet you're keen, now, to get inside.

-Yeah, I want to get inside.

-Come on!

0:23:460:23:49

This attractive family home was built in 1988

0:23:510:23:55

and its modern exterior has attracted a positive response from Louisa,

0:23:550:23:58

but I'm not sure Chris is convinced.

0:23:580:24:01

Hopefully there's enough going on inside to persuade him.

0:24:010:24:04

Now, unusually for a house in the country, I've brought you through

0:24:070:24:10

the front door, because normally people use the side.

0:24:100:24:14

Really we have to start off with the most important room for...

0:24:140:24:17

-Well, I was going to say the two of you but it's the three of you, isn't it, with your daughter?

-Yeah.

0:24:170:24:21

-Crazy cat.

-What are we thinking?

-Yeah.

-Yeah, spacious. Yeah, it's big, isn't it?

0:24:210:24:26

This is what you wanted?

0:24:260:24:27

Yeah, this is what I envisaged when I thought of a big family kitchen.

0:24:270:24:31

I can see us having family meals, socialising.

0:24:310:24:34

So, yeah, this has hit the mark for me.

0:24:340:24:36

Not style exactly but on size, it's, you know, it's big.

0:24:360:24:40

You might want to change it but...

0:24:400:24:42

I think anything we did change would just be superficial though,

0:24:420:24:45

painting, maybe tiles.

0:24:450:24:47

Well, Louisa, you gave the house love outside,

0:24:470:24:49

you're loving the kitchen.

0:24:490:24:51

Chris, I think you might be warming up somewhat.

0:24:510:24:53

I'm getting a bit warmer, yes.

0:24:530:24:55

Yeah, I'm wondering if this house can win you over.

0:24:550:24:57

Let's see what Evie might like through here.

0:24:570:25:00

It's a definite thumbs up for the kitchen,

0:25:000:25:02

let's see how the rest fares.

0:25:020:25:06

So this property actually has two sitting rooms, we've just walked

0:25:060:25:09

through one, which we are thinking could be Evie's room.

0:25:090:25:13

-And then this room, for the two of you.

-Yeah, it's lovely.

0:25:130:25:16

-Yeah, it's a good size for a family living room.

-Definitely.

0:25:160:25:19

-It's a handsome house, isn't it?

-The core, the shell is there.

0:25:190:25:22

The classic style isn't really my thing, my cup of tea

0:25:220:25:24

but you can see through that, see through the decor and...

0:25:240:25:27

-And of course you've got your wood burner...

-Yeah, very nice.

0:25:270:25:30

-..with Bath stone surround.

-That is beautiful, yeah, it's lovely.

0:25:300:25:33

So, we're getting a positive reaction on the downstairs,

0:25:330:25:36

-let's see what you make of upstairs.

-Yes, please.

-Let's look.

0:25:360:25:39

The generous proportions of the ground floor,

0:25:390:25:41

which also includes the study,

0:25:410:25:43

seem to be hitting the right notes for Louisa and Chris

0:25:430:25:47

and with four large double bedrooms, all served by a good-sized

0:25:470:25:50

family bathroom, I'm confident upstairs will also impress.

0:25:500:25:54

So here is our master bedroom.

0:25:570:26:00

It's a really good size, isn't it?

0:26:000:26:02

-Yeah, it is, definitely. Yeah, a nice big room.

-Put your dream emperor bed in here.

0:26:020:26:06

Yeah, could definitely fit a big bed in here, which is nice.

0:26:060:26:09

You could fit an enormous bed in here, couldn't you?

0:26:090:26:11

And still have room to spare.

0:26:110:26:13

Chris has dreams of having us all, kids, everyone in bed together.

0:26:130:26:16

-Oh, Sunday morning...

-Christmas Day.

-Lovely. I can see that.

0:26:160:26:21

I think we'd probably do a few things to the decor but other than that...

0:26:210:26:24

So do you like the house? Is it working its magic on you?

0:26:240:26:27

Come on, Chris. You can be honest.

0:26:270:26:29

-It doesn't have the same kind of character as the other one did.

-No.

0:26:290:26:33

It doesn't jump out at me quite as much.

0:26:330:26:35

The other one, yes, character, but I feel this is more practical for us.

0:26:350:26:38

Fitted wardrobes in there.

0:26:380:26:40

-You've also got a really good sized en suite.

-Brilliant.

0:26:400:26:43

-Could you see yourself here in five years' time?

-Yeah, I could.

0:26:430:26:47

Right, that's interesting. Right, we're going wander outside and

0:26:470:26:50

-obviously you two have got to start thinking money.

-Yeah, absolutely.

0:26:500:26:54

Inside the house has delivered on Chris and Louisa's wish list,

0:26:540:26:58

so it's time we got out into the garden to see whether

0:26:580:27:00

the outside space will also match up to our buyers' vision.

0:27:000:27:04

So we've got a good-sized property

0:27:040:27:07

with a good-sized garden to match.

0:27:070:27:09

-Could see her running around like a madman.

-Can you?

-Yeah.

0:27:090:27:13

Absolutely, it's a lot of space. It's a good size.

0:27:130:27:15

-Now, are you gardeners?

-Definitely not.

-No, OK.

-Absolutely not.

0:27:150:27:19

All right, then. Well, ideas for this garden,

0:27:190:27:22

how could you make it work for you?

0:27:220:27:24

Nice lawn just across there, get rid of flowers.

0:27:240:27:27

A big expanse of grass would be much more practical than anything.

0:27:270:27:30

Yeah, I think you have to be honest, don't you?

0:27:300:27:32

You know, young family, time sensitive,

0:27:320:27:34

-make the garden work for you rather than you work for the garden.

-Absolutely.

0:27:340:27:38

-I mean, you have that wonderful expanse of countryside right at the bottom.

-That is beautiful.

0:27:380:27:42

So it's a large property, what price are we going to put on it?

0:27:420:27:45

I reckon about 560,000 is my estimate.

0:27:450:27:48

I reckon around 555,000, or a bit lower.

0:27:480:27:52

-OK.

-Slightly lower I'd say.

0:27:520:27:53

Well, your budget is £575,000.

0:27:530:27:56

This large property is under your budget.

0:27:560:28:00

-OK.

-The asking price is £550,000.

-OK.

0:28:000:28:04

I wasn't expecting it to be that low.

0:28:050:28:07

-Interesting.

-That is interesting, something to think about.

-Absolutely...

0:28:070:28:11

So, Chris, you were really close on that one.

0:28:110:28:14

Yep, another victory for me.

0:28:140:28:16

I like that. But the best news is, £25,000 under your budget.

0:28:160:28:20

Have a look with that price in your mind and what this house

0:28:200:28:23

could deliver for the two of you, well, for the three of you.

0:28:230:28:25

-Let's not forget...

-There may be more.

-..the little one.

0:28:250:28:28

-Off you go.

-Thank you.

0:28:280:28:31

This modern detached property is priced at a healthy

0:28:310:28:34

£25,000 below our couple's budget.

0:28:340:28:36

The house offers...

0:28:360:28:39

When we first saw the house, I loved it. It's my taste, my style.

0:28:480:28:53

-So I was excited about seeing inside.

-Yeah, I'd probably agree, to be fair.

0:28:530:28:56

I think the first impression was, you know, it looked quite smart.

0:28:560:29:00

It was something we'd be happy to live in

0:29:000:29:03

from first glances, definitely.

0:29:030:29:06

I think first impressions when we walked in the house were

0:29:060:29:08

obviously there is a certain decade theme going on.

0:29:080:29:12

So there's some cosmetic elements that would, obviously, from our particular taste,

0:29:120:29:16

would need to be altered and changed.

0:29:160:29:18

But the actual kitchen itself, that we went into, is a fantastic size.

0:29:180:29:21

The kitchen is really important to us because when I grew up it

0:29:210:29:24

was where we did everything, we socialised, we did homework,

0:29:240:29:27

we had family meals, it was the hub of the home, the heart of the house.

0:29:270:29:32

-Ah, right, how are we feeling?

-Good.

0:29:320:29:36

Have we given you plenty of food for thought today?

0:29:360:29:39

-Yes, absolutely, a lot to consider.

-Lots to think about.

-Good.

0:29:390:29:42

-In a positive way?

-Yes, definitely, just options.

0:29:420:29:45

Lovely, let's hit the road.

0:29:450:29:48

It's the second day of our property search in the Wiltshire countryside

0:29:570:30:00

and we're on the hunt for a family home for Louisa and Chris

0:30:000:30:03

from Greater London, who have a budget of £575,000.

0:30:030:30:10

But what will I be revealing to them as our Mystery House?

0:30:100:30:14

A little bit of a surprise as we walk around the corner.

0:30:140:30:17

-Yeah, I think so, definitely.

-It's like a giant ship.

0:30:170:30:22

And I'll also be discovering the classic British art work

0:30:220:30:25

that adorns towns and villages across the country.

0:30:250:30:28

For me, as I walk through the door,

0:30:280:30:30

in a way it's like coming to a mini art gallery.

0:30:300:30:33

So, it's the second day of our house-hunt here in Wiltshire

0:30:360:30:39

with Louisa and Chris.

0:30:390:30:41

Two more properties to show them, let's see how we get on.

0:30:410:30:44

The first one is in a family-friendly village

0:30:440:30:47

but the last house that

0:30:470:30:49

I have up my sleeve, it is of course our mystery property.

0:30:490:30:53

Now, they are very aware of the family, they want to be near a community

0:30:530:30:57

and with this house, I'm hoping it's got everything that they want.

0:30:570:31:01

It might need just a little bit of work along the way.

0:31:010:31:05

Let's see how we get on.

0:31:050:31:07

The next house on our Wiltshire property search lies just

0:31:090:31:12

under an hour from Bath in the village of Hilmarton.

0:31:120:31:16

Hilmarton is a classic English village featuring honey-coloured

0:31:160:31:20

limestone properties alongside picture postcard thatched cottages.

0:31:200:31:24

Its grade I listed church dates back to the 12th century

0:31:240:31:27

and apparently owns one of only 200 original King James Bibles

0:31:270:31:32

that still exist today.

0:31:320:31:34

Our next offering brings us to the present day

0:31:340:31:37

and for this one, I've got high hopes.

0:31:370:31:39

So we're going to show you a little bit more of a modern property

0:31:420:31:46

-for our next house.

-OK.

0:31:460:31:48

-I like it.

-Yeah?

-I do, yeah.

0:31:480:31:52

What works for you, Chris?

0:31:520:31:54

I like the big wooden porch, it's a nice feature.

0:31:540:31:57

It's maybe for me not as pretty as perhaps I'd like.

0:31:570:32:00

It's a bit dark, the front is a bit dark for me.

0:32:000:32:03

-But we obviously have different tastes.

-Yeah. Well, it's quite brown.

0:32:030:32:07

Also, there isn't any shrubbery, there isn't any greenery here,

0:32:070:32:11

-it's a practical home, isn't it?

-It's low-maintenance, isn't it?

0:32:110:32:15

-What we like.

-That's why I like it possibly.

0:32:150:32:18

-So shall we step inside?

-Yes, please.

-Yes, absolutely.

-Come on.

0:32:180:32:23

Externally, this property may not have made a great impression

0:32:230:32:26

on Louisa, however, Chris seems more than happy with its kerb appeal.

0:32:260:32:30

Although the camp is divided, I'm confident the sheer space

0:32:300:32:34

this house offers internally will impress them both.

0:32:340:32:37

So, off the hallway we have our sitting room.

0:32:390:32:43

-It's really spacious.

-Massive.

0:32:430:32:46

-Yeah.

-Yeah, it's nice.

0:32:460:32:48

And again, big, nice windows.

0:32:480:32:50

This is kind of our taste, isn't it? Quite clean and bright and fresh.

0:32:500:32:55

Yeah, absolutely, yeah. It's a massive room, isn't it? It's huge.

0:32:550:32:58

-Really nice.

-Now originally it would have been divided up into two, you can see from the beams.

0:32:580:33:03

-If you wanted to, you could always put doors in there if you wanted to divide it.

-Yeah.

0:33:030:33:07

-So a strong start, do we think, to the tour?

-Yeah.

0:33:070:33:10

-I think so, yeah.

-Yeah.

0:33:100:33:11

I think this is the first house that we're actually in agreement on.

0:33:110:33:14

-Yeah, I think so.

-Ah!

0:33:140:33:16

Well, just off the hallway there's a downstairs cloakroom

0:33:160:33:19

but an awful lot more to show you, in actual fact.

0:33:190:33:22

Louisa seems happier with the house, which is great.

0:33:220:33:25

Let's hope the property keeps up the good work with

0:33:250:33:28

what's on offer in the kitchen.

0:33:280:33:30

-You see, I think this house is deceiving.

-Yeah, it is.

0:33:310:33:36

-It kind of feels a lot... Well, yeah, it's confusing.

-Yeah.

0:33:360:33:41

-There's a lot more space than I thought there'd be.

-Yeah, it's nice.

0:33:410:33:44

In your mind, you think, "This is the kitchen and that'll be it."

0:33:440:33:48

It's a good-sized kitchen, fully integrated, plenty of space

0:33:480:33:52

and then, you're right, you realise, in actual fact,

0:33:520:33:55

because it's been extended relatively recently,

0:33:550:33:58

to the left you've got a laundry and utility room and then you've got

0:33:580:34:01

-that massive dining room at the back.

-Yeah, that's lovely.

0:34:010:34:04

-That's brilliant.

-Yeah.

-Huge doors, opens out onto the garden.

0:34:040:34:07

-It's really nice.

-Very good, isn't it?

0:34:070:34:09

It's lovely, I love it and again bright, airy, clean,

0:34:090:34:13

just to our taste. To our taste?

0:34:130:34:16

Yeah, I like it. I do, I do like it.

0:34:160:34:19

But I didn't want to give too much away in the sitting room

0:34:190:34:22

but in actual fact now you see

0:34:220:34:24

you've also got all of this as well.

0:34:240:34:26

This is lovely.

0:34:260:34:28

Yeah, because each time we've looked at something, there's been elements that you've loved,

0:34:280:34:32

there's been elements that you've loved but we haven't quite got it right for both of you.

0:34:320:34:36

-No.

-If you can get over the outside of this property,

0:34:360:34:40

as you walked through the door, both of you were united.

0:34:400:34:43

-Definitely.

-Yeah.

0:34:430:34:45

-It's lovely.

-I'm starting to feel slightly excited.

0:34:450:34:48

-Yeah, so are we.

-Yeah.

-Yeah, all three of us, that's good.

0:34:480:34:51

-Well, let's hope it continues upstairs.

-Yes.

0:34:510:34:54

'The scale of this house has won our couple over and so far

0:34:550:34:59

'each and every room has delivered.

0:34:590:35:02

'As we move upstairs, I'm hoping the magic continues

0:35:020:35:05

'in the largest of the bedrooms.'

0:35:050:35:08

So upstairs, the staircase splits into two.

0:35:080:35:12

So you've got bedrooms on one side,

0:35:120:35:13

if you like, and these bedrooms on the other.

0:35:130:35:16

This is the master.

0:35:160:35:18

-It's a really nice size, isn't it?

-Yeah, good size, it's big.

0:35:180:35:20

Yeah, and again lots of windows, big windows, lots of natural light, beautiful views.

0:35:200:35:26

-Yeah.

-Yeah, really nice.

-Yes, no, it's nice.

0:35:260:35:29

-A really good-sized bedroom, definitely.

-Yeah.

0:35:290:35:31

So how many bedrooms has this house got?

0:35:310:35:35

-Three double bedrooms, which are all en suite.

-Oh, wow.

0:35:350:35:39

The nursery, plus an additional double bedroom.

0:35:390:35:42

-So you've got five in total.

-My goodness.

0:35:420:35:45

Are you sure this is within our budget? I'm starting to doubt it.

0:35:450:35:50

-It's impressive, isn't it?

-Yeah, definitely.

0:35:500:35:52

I think everything, well, personally, has been impressive so far.

0:35:520:35:57

There's a little touch to this room that you can explore

0:35:570:35:59

on your own a bit later on because there is also

0:35:590:36:02

-a dressing room of a generous size...

-Oh, really?

0:36:020:36:04

..and a wonderful en-suite bathroom.

0:36:040:36:07

-Really? Fantastic.

-Yep, with a master.

-It's been done beautifully, it really has.

0:36:070:36:11

I don't know, why did they want to move?

0:36:110:36:13

-So I've got one more thing up my sleeve to show you.

-OK.

-OK.

0:36:130:36:16

A little bit different outside. Let's see what you think.

0:36:160:36:21

With five bedrooms, there's ample room here to

0:36:210:36:23

accommodate our couple's growing family.

0:36:230:36:26

But I've a feeling that the garden may, once again, split opinion.

0:36:260:36:30

So we have a spacious house

0:36:320:36:35

-but it has an additional pool in the garden.

-Yeah! Wasn't expecting that.

0:36:350:36:40

-No, definitely not.

-Bit of a surprise?

-Yeah, absolutely.

0:36:400:36:43

Not often I can offer people a pool.

0:36:430:36:45

You've got quite a large garden here, most of it you can see is paved

0:36:450:36:49

-but we also have an additional garden on the other side of the house.

-OK.

0:36:490:36:53

-It's divided up.

-Yeah, brilliant.

-Can you see yourself using the pool?

0:36:530:36:56

-Definitely.

-Yeah?

-I can.

0:36:560:36:59

I think, personally, I would have a think about filling it in maybe.

0:36:590:37:05

-The kids would love the pool, though.

-It would be amazing.

0:37:050:37:08

-You would use it for three weeks of the year.

-Do you know what I would do, personally?

0:37:080:37:11

-I would keep it for a year and see...

-If you use it.

0:37:110:37:13

..because if Evie loves it then it would change your opinion.

0:37:130:37:16

Breaking the ice out just to make a point.

0:37:160:37:19

-Christmas Day.

-It's OK, it's nice.

-I want to go swimming.

0:37:190:37:23

-I think it would be fair to say that you both like this property.

-Yeah.

0:37:230:37:26

You're going to have to put a price on it now.

0:37:260:37:29

-Yeah. I would say 585,000, 590,000.

-OK.

0:37:290:37:34

-I'm going to go slightly lower at 560,000.

-OK, wow.

0:37:360:37:41

-Chris, you're very good at this.

-Really?

0:37:410:37:43

Because the asking price is £562,000.

0:37:430:37:46

That's amazing. Wow, OK.

0:37:460:37:49

-Have a think.

-Yeah, definitely.

0:37:490:37:51

Have another look around because I think this could be the

0:37:510:37:54

family home you're looking for.

0:37:540:37:56

-I'm saying that, fingers crossed.

-Yeah, thank you.

-Thank you.

0:37:560:37:59

Surprisingly, this expansive, five-bedroom detached house

0:38:020:38:07

falls £13,000 below Louisa and Chris's budget yet it

0:38:070:38:10

provides them with everything they wanted in a home and more.

0:38:100:38:15

With five bedrooms, the property delivers on space

0:38:150:38:18

but is also ideally located within a lively village

0:38:180:38:21

as well as close to good commuter links.

0:38:210:38:23

Wow, look at this.

0:38:250:38:28

-His and her sink.

-Yeah, brilliant.

-Lovely bath.

0:38:280:38:31

-Wet room.

-This is really nice.

-It's big, isn't it?

-Yeah, lovely.

0:38:310:38:35

Yeah, great.

0:38:350:38:37

I think when I first saw the house my reaction was definitely

0:38:370:38:41

positive, not negative in any way.

0:38:410:38:44

It gave me a good feeling in terms of wanting to look inside.

0:38:440:38:47

To be honest, from room to room I was just really, really impressed.

0:38:470:38:51

Probably the only thing I can think negative is,

0:38:510:38:55

for me perhaps the swimming pool would need a slight think about

0:38:550:38:59

just in terms of children's safety and whether we'd use it.

0:38:590:39:03

I think if we were to stay here I think we definitely would use the pool.

0:39:030:39:07

I think throughout various summers you get long periods of

0:39:070:39:10

hot weather and I think we'd definitely get a lot of use out of it from family and friends.

0:39:100:39:14

-How are we feeling?

-Excited.

-Yeah?

-Excited, yeah.

-Definitely.

0:39:140:39:20

-Yeah, no, it's a good property.

-It's given us lots to think about.

0:39:200:39:23

You seem to be in agreement with this one.

0:39:230:39:25

-I think the first one that we are in agreement with.

-Yeah, absolutely.

0:39:250:39:28

-Right, I think we're going to leave on a high note.

-Exciting.

-Come on, then.

0:39:280:39:31

-So we're on our way now to our Mystery House.

-Yeah.

-Absolutely.

0:39:370:39:43

Trepidation, excitement, what's going through your minds?

0:39:430:39:47

Excitement, but I have absolutely no idea what kind of curveball

0:39:470:39:50

you could throw in there.

0:39:500:39:52

We've seen quite a lot of variation thus far

0:39:520:39:54

so it would be interesting to see what else is thrown into the mix.

0:39:540:39:57

Yeah, I think we've really stretched you in actual fact with all the

0:39:570:40:00

different styles architecturally, areas we've shown you.

0:40:000:40:03

-Yeah, definitely.

-It's given us a lot to think about.

0:40:030:40:06

What could we really throw you with though if I showed you...

0:40:060:40:09

If we pulled up and you saw X,

0:40:090:40:11

what would make your heart sing or perhaps your heart sink?

0:40:110:40:16

I think if you showed us a plot of land, we'd be slightly overwhelmed, wouldn't we?

0:40:160:40:20

Yeah, or a shack, you know, which is a derelict barn or something.

0:40:200:40:25

I think we're not in a position to pick up a project like that.

0:40:250:40:30

We're travelling 30 miles south to our final stop on our property tour

0:40:300:40:33

and our destination is the village of Codford.

0:40:330:40:37

Codford has strong links with Australian and New Zealander Anzac soldiers,

0:40:370:40:42

as it was during the First World War that the village became

0:40:420:40:44

a staging camp for Allied troops, a legacy kept alive by the

0:40:440:40:47

Anzac badge which is carved into the chalky hillside above Codford.

0:40:470:40:52

The nearby Anzac War Cemetery is the second largest in the UK.

0:40:520:40:57

To the west of the village, up a private road,

0:40:570:40:59

we find our Mystery House.

0:40:590:41:01

-Wow.

-It's a converted stable.

0:41:050:41:09

A little bit of a surprise as we walk around the corner.

0:41:090:41:12

-Yeah, I think so, definitely.

-It's like a giant ship.

0:41:120:41:16

-No, it's pretty.

-It is pretty.

-It's aesthetically pleasing, for sure.

0:41:170:41:21

-Yeah, definitely.

-Any idea why it's our Mystery House?

0:41:210:41:25

-Em...

-Does it have stables?

0:41:250:41:28

THEY LAUGH

0:41:280:41:30

A horse, gave it away little bit.

0:41:300:41:32

The clue is in the four legs, isn't it?

0:41:320:41:34

-It does need a little bit of work doing inside.

-OK.

0:41:340:41:36

-So perhaps more of a project then we've looked at in the past...

-Yep.

0:41:360:41:41

..and it has land.

0:41:410:41:42

-We haven't really talked about Evie's passion for horses...

-No.

0:41:420:41:45

-..and horse riding.

-Yeah.

-Should you want to, when she's a little bit older,

0:41:450:41:50

you could have your own pony.

0:41:500:41:51

So on first impressions, what's going through your minds?

0:41:510:41:55

-Really pretty, lovely, lovely looking.

-Chris?

0:41:550:41:59

Yeah, it's very quaint, very cute.

0:41:590:42:01

I'm not sure if a bungalow is exactly my thing

0:42:010:42:04

but let's wait and see, have a look inside.

0:42:040:42:07

-Well, the good news is there's an upstairs.

-OK.

-Ah.

0:42:070:42:11

-So let's take a look and all will be revealed.

-OK.

0:42:110:42:13

'The property dates back almost 200 years

0:42:170:42:20

'and was originally a stable block for the local manor house.

0:42:200:42:25

'As we move inside, I'm hoping our couple will appreciate

0:42:250:42:28

'its unique character combined with its generous proportions.'

0:42:280:42:31

Let's start our Mystery House tour with our kitchen,

0:42:330:42:37

-or should I say, country kitchen.

-Yeah, it's lovely.

0:42:370:42:40

Yeah. It's a very nice country kitchen, isn't it?

0:42:400:42:43

-It does feel, screams country, with the range.

-That's huge.

0:42:430:42:47

-It is a nice kitchen.

-It's got a very homely feel to it, definitely.

0:42:470:42:52

Hasn't quite got the wow factor that we've had in previous properties, has it?

0:42:520:42:56

The way it's been done, I think, yes, but perhaps the size not so much.

0:42:560:42:59

I think it's probably one of the nicest ones we've seen

0:42:590:43:03

but just in terms of size it probably doesn't quite tick that box.

0:43:030:43:07

Yeah, I agree.

0:43:070:43:08

-Well, let's continue because you might like what's next-door.

-Great.

0:43:080:43:14

'Although the dimensions of the kitchen don't seem to be hitting the mark,

0:43:140:43:18

'I'm certain the sitting room will more than make up for it.'

0:43:180:43:21

-Now, what is this?

-A ginormous room.

0:43:240:43:27

I think this is the biggest room I've ever seen.

0:43:270:43:30

-The largest sitting room you will ever see.

-Crikey.

-That is...

0:43:300:43:35

You almost think, "It's kind of too big."

0:43:350:43:39

Really, the way the room has been laid out is that it maximises

0:43:390:43:42

that view over the paddock and the woodland as well.

0:43:420:43:46

Yeah, it's really pretty.

0:43:460:43:48

What sort of sense are you getting from this house, it is the mystery?

0:43:480:43:52

-Silence. Well, I think that says it all in a way.

-It's not...

0:43:540:43:59

For me, perhaps, I think it's not as nice as some of the other things we've seen.

0:43:590:44:03

-I didn't walk in and go, "Wow."

-Yep.

0:44:030:44:06

I love the kitchen but I just think there's quite a lot of things

0:44:060:44:12

we'd have to do to make it our own.

0:44:120:44:14

It doesn't seem quite as practical for what we're looking for from a house.

0:44:140:44:18

Right. So I think we've got a question mark

0:44:180:44:21

-for the downstairs, haven't we?

-Yeah.

-A little bit.

0:44:210:44:23

-Let's see if we fare any better upstairs.

-OK.

0:44:230:44:26

'This converted barn also has a spacious utility room,

0:44:280:44:32

'as well as two double bedrooms down on the ground floor,

0:44:320:44:34

'both of which are served by a bathroom.

0:44:340:44:37

'There are two flights of stairs in the property,

0:44:370:44:39

'each leading to a first-floor bedroom.

0:44:390:44:41

'On one side is a double with exposed beams

0:44:410:44:44

'and on the other is the master.'

0:44:440:44:46

Now, the upstairs of the stable block is...

0:44:470:44:50

It's unusual, I'm not going to lie.

0:44:500:44:53

-The way it's set up, there are two staircases...

-Yep.

0:44:530:44:56

..you're on one side, there's a further bedroom on the other side.

0:44:560:45:00

-So Evie would be... You'd have to go down and then back up.

-Yep.

0:45:000:45:03

This is the master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe.

0:45:030:45:07

-You've got a huge en suite, which is always lovely to have.

-Absolutely.

0:45:070:45:11

What do you think, what's your gut feel as you come up here?

0:45:110:45:14

It's a good-sized room. I mean, again, it doesn't make me say, "Oh, wow."

0:45:140:45:20

It's nice and I like the skylights and things.

0:45:200:45:22

It doesn't seem particularly practical in terms of what

0:45:220:45:27

we want to use it for, in terms of a family home.

0:45:270:45:30

It doesn't seem that it would probably fit in with how

0:45:300:45:32

we, kind of, live, I think.

0:45:320:45:34

Well, let's see because I've still got one more thing to show you

0:45:340:45:36

-which is outside and then we can talk money as well, the price.

-Sure.

0:45:360:45:40

Thank you.

0:45:400:45:41

'Sadly, this unique home doesn't seem to be working for Chris and Louisa

0:45:420:45:47

'but maybe over an acre of land will swing it.'

0:45:470:45:50

I think when it comes to country living,

0:45:520:45:55

the Mystery House has to win.

0:45:550:45:58

Not only are you looking at wide-open fields

0:45:580:46:01

with woodland at the back, but you have your own paddock.

0:46:010:46:04

-Yeah, it's beautiful, isn't it?

-It is.

-It is rather fantastic.

0:46:040:46:07

I don't want to scare you too much

0:46:070:46:08

because you don't have to have a horse or a pony. Evie, when she's a bit older might...

0:46:080:46:12

-She might demand one.

-Yeah, she might twist your arm.

0:46:120:46:15

The land is amazing and just looking out onto it is just beautiful.

0:46:150:46:19

-I agree that this feels country.

-Yeah, definitely.

0:46:190:46:23

Listening to the birds singing, yeah.

0:46:230:46:25

The chickens and the horse definitely help.

0:46:250:46:26

So for the final time we've got to try

0:46:260:46:29

and put a price on the Mystery House with the land.

0:46:290:46:32

What are you thinking?

0:46:320:46:34

I'm going to go for definitely the top end of our budget

0:46:340:46:38

so 575,000, 580,000.

0:46:380:46:41

Which one?

0:46:410:46:42

-575,000.

-OK.

0:46:440:46:46

I think it's going to be a little lower than that,

0:46:460:46:48

so I'm going to say around the 560,000 mark again.

0:46:480:46:51

The asking price is

0:46:510:46:54

£575,000, so right on your budget

0:46:540:46:58

and Louisa, on the money.

0:46:580:46:59

One for me.

0:46:590:47:01

-Well, I guess for the final time I'm going to send you two off.

-All right.

0:47:010:47:04

Think of poor Evie, we know she loves her horses.

0:47:040:47:08

Yeah, she might not...

0:47:080:47:10

-I'll meet you out the front when you're ready.

-All right, great.

-Thank you.

0:47:100:47:14

Right on budget, our Mystery House

0:47:170:47:19

on paper offers everything

0:47:190:47:21

Louisa and Chris were looking for

0:47:210:47:23

in their country home...

0:47:230:47:24

But I'm just not sure

0:47:350:47:37

it's a winner for our couple.

0:47:370:47:39

The style on the outside of the building was quite unique,

0:47:390:47:42

it was really nice, very pretty and obviously old, a 200-year-old barn that had been converted.

0:47:420:47:46

Yeah, it was very beautiful and it had a lot of land as well to

0:47:460:47:49

go with it, so it was a very nice-looking property.

0:47:490:47:53

When I came into the house I was slightly taken aback, I thought

0:47:530:47:56

it was going to be slightly more modern perhaps.

0:47:560:47:58

So my first impression was slightly,

0:47:580:48:01

"Oh, hang on a second, you know, what have we got here?"

0:48:010:48:05

Intriguing but maybe not quite what I was expecting.

0:48:050:48:09

I think this property, in comparison to the others, it has a lot of

0:48:090:48:12

great features in terms of its age and existing beams and wood fires.

0:48:120:48:17

However, I don't think it has the layout

0:48:170:48:19

and the functionality that some of the other properties have had.

0:48:190:48:23

All right, so that's it, that's our final property.

0:48:250:48:27

The tour of the Mystery House over, let's go somewhere quiet

0:48:270:48:30

and have a proper chat, find out what your next move is going to be.

0:48:300:48:34

-OK.

-Let's do it.

0:48:340:48:36

There is nothing quite as British as the traditional country pub

0:48:440:48:48

and like most counties, the villages of Wiltshire are full of them.

0:48:480:48:51

It was the Romans who introduced the idea of a pub sign to Britain

0:48:510:48:55

and these colourful and descriptive works of art were often

0:48:550:48:58

used as an early form of marketing.

0:48:580:49:00

Today, the art of traditional sign making is a dwindling one.

0:49:000:49:04

I've come to a sign writing workshop at a brewery in Devizes

0:49:040:49:08

to meet pictorial artist Dave Young.

0:49:080:49:11

He's been painting pub and inn signs for over 20 years

0:49:110:49:14

and has agreed to take me through the history of the pub sign

0:49:140:49:17

and also give me an insight to his unique craft.

0:49:170:49:20

-Hi, Dave.

-Hi, Nicki.

-Good to meet you.

-Welcome to the sign shop.

0:49:200:49:24

Well, thank you. You're calling it a sign shop

0:49:240:49:26

but for me, as I walked through the door,

0:49:260:49:29

in a way it's like coming to a mini art gallery.

0:49:290:49:31

As you drive along country roads and in towns and villages throughout

0:49:310:49:34

the UK, we see these signs and in a way,

0:49:340:49:37

would it be fair to say we take them for granted?

0:49:370:49:39

But how did it all start?

0:49:390:49:41

It's a tradition that the British took on because obviously

0:49:410:49:44

a lot of the population were illiterate in those days,

0:49:440:49:46

couldn't read or write,

0:49:460:49:48

so the visual image basically,

0:49:480:49:51

"We sell beer, we give accommodation,"

0:49:510:49:53

was obviously very useful to the population of the time.

0:49:530:49:57

Was ever there a law passed that you had to have a sign on a public house?

0:49:570:50:01

I think it was 1393 and King Richard II brought in an act

0:50:010:50:05

whereby every inn had to display a sign outside.

0:50:050:50:09

I think it was mainly for tax purposes, really.

0:50:090:50:11

-It is quintessentially British, isn't it?

-That's right, yeah.

0:50:110:50:15

It is quite a unique thing to Britain.

0:50:150:50:17

Well, I've got a wonderful opportunity of getting

0:50:170:50:20

up close and personal with some of your artwork.

0:50:200:50:22

-Can I have a bit of a tour?

-Yeah, no problem.

0:50:220:50:25

Pubs have a vast range of names

0:50:270:50:29

and their origins are influenced by many different themes

0:50:290:50:32

including myths, legends, local trades, politics and religion,

0:50:320:50:37

which are also featured in the imagery of each sign.

0:50:370:50:40

So, Dave, so many different names and titles of pubs and inns,

0:50:410:50:46

quite a few I recognise but what's the most popular in the UK?

0:50:460:50:50

I think the Red Lion is the most popular, actually.

0:50:500:50:53

James I of England, who was James VI of Scotland,

0:50:530:50:56

when he acceded to the throne basically wanted

0:50:560:50:59

the population to know he was the boss

0:50:590:51:01

and so all the establishments, and mainly the pubs,

0:51:010:51:04

had to show a sign of allegiance to him and that was the Red Lion.

0:51:040:51:09

The one behind us, the Trouble House, I get that

0:51:090:51:12

but I'm not quite sure what else is going on. Perhaps you could explain.

0:51:120:51:17

Well, as you can see, Nicki,

0:51:170:51:18

this sign depicts quite a lot of history, really.

0:51:180:51:22

You had a skirmish in the Civil War

0:51:220:51:24

between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads,

0:51:240:51:27

one of the landlords drowned, another landlord hung himself and

0:51:270:51:31

a few years later there was a Luddite Rebellion outside the premises.

0:51:310:51:36

So a real snapshot of the history of the pub

0:51:360:51:38

-and what it's seen over the years.

-Well, that's right, yeah.

0:51:380:51:41

Any chance you've got a sign which is work in progress that I could have a go at?

0:51:410:51:44

-Certainly have. If you'd like to come this way.

-Thank you.

0:51:440:51:47

'The signs are made from external marine ply

0:51:470:51:50

'using durable exterior-grade oil paints.

0:51:500:51:53

'They have a shelf life of around ten to 12 years before they need

0:51:530:51:56

'to be replaced or restored.

0:51:560:51:58

'And, of course, the artwork has to be duplicated perfectly

0:51:580:52:01

'onto both sides.'

0:52:010:52:03

Now, this sign looks far more imposing, more regal, if you like.

0:52:030:52:07

This is beautiful

0:52:070:52:09

but this isn't the only thing you're working on at the moment, is it?

0:52:090:52:12

No, that's right, Nicki. At the moment I'm working on a sign

0:52:120:52:15

for the Chelsea Flower Show.

0:52:150:52:17

-Ah, now the famous RHS.

-This is basically a mock-up sign.

0:52:170:52:22

And what's the whole idea behind it?

0:52:220:52:24

I think it's mainly a play on words

0:52:240:52:26

but it's obviously the hop cycle, which is to do with

0:52:260:52:29

the brewing process and I think they're having a garden there

0:52:290:52:32

with various different hops that they're growing.

0:52:320:52:36

So what part can I have a go at?

0:52:360:52:38

-Well, you can help me have a little go at the eyes, perhaps.

-Yeah.

0:52:380:52:41

Excellent, right, well,

0:52:410:52:43

I'd better take my coat off while you mix the paints.

0:52:430:52:46

There are over 50,000 pubs in the UK

0:52:480:52:50

and the modern tradition is to replace the old classics with

0:52:500:52:53

more quirky and striking titles, such as the Goat And Tricycle

0:52:530:52:57

or The Hairy Lemon.

0:52:570:53:00

-So this is keeping your hands steady?

-That's right, yeah.

0:53:010:53:05

I must admit I'll be feeling the pressure

0:53:050:53:07

when I have to do my bit as well.

0:53:070:53:10

'So, after a quick tutorial from the expert, it's my turn.'

0:53:100:53:14

And how long would it take in total?

0:53:140:53:17

Around about two weeks really altogether.

0:53:170:53:19

And do you ever have a preferred side?

0:53:190:53:22

I do usually at the end of it, you know, one I'll prefer and one

0:53:220:53:26

I'll take photographs of but they are usually pretty identical, really.

0:53:260:53:31

'For a novice, I like to think I'm doing OK.'

0:53:310:53:34

Yeah, that looks fine, doesn't it?

0:53:340:53:36

That's not too bad. Now, yours is sort of...

0:53:360:53:38

Mine is round and yours is more oval.

0:53:380:53:41

I think the bunny looks like he's been sampling the brew, doesn't he?

0:53:410:53:45

If you need an apprentice, you know where I am.

0:53:470:53:50

You start Monday morning.

0:53:500:53:51

SHE LAUGHS

0:53:510:53:53

-Thanks very much.

-Cheers.

0:53:530:53:55

Well, we've travelled the length

0:53:580:54:00

and breadth of Wiltshire, trying to find Chris and Louisa that

0:54:000:54:03

perfect family home but have we been successful?

0:54:030:54:08

I'm not sure. Let's find out.

0:54:080:54:11

Well, you two, we have travelled, we've seen a lot of Wiltshire

0:54:160:54:19

-over the last few days, haven't we?

-We definitely have.

-Yeah.

0:54:190:54:22

But Chris, Louisa, have we found you your new home?

0:54:220:54:25

It's certainly made us think

0:54:250:54:27

and one thing it's illustrated

0:54:270:54:30

is the differences of what we want, between me and Chris.

0:54:300:54:35

-Has that surprised you?

-Yeah, it has.

-It has a bit, yeah.

0:54:350:54:38

Just realising that we look at different properties

0:54:380:54:40

in different ways and probably have different...

0:54:400:54:43

-Different styles and different tastes.

-Yeah.

0:54:430:54:45

So tell me is there one property out of everything that we've

0:54:450:54:47

shown you that has got close or perhaps even hit the mark?

0:54:470:54:51

-Yes.

-I think it's the house with the pool.

-Swimming pool house.

0:54:510:54:54

Not to put too much emphasis on the pool, I don't think that was

0:54:540:54:57

the primary factor in the house, I just think...

0:54:570:55:00

Inside it had five bedrooms which is brilliant,

0:55:000:55:02

-more than we ever thought.

-Loads of space.

0:55:020:55:04

Lots of living room space downstairs and then the core areas,

0:55:040:55:08

the big kitchen, dining room area,

0:55:080:55:10

that's a massive plus really because that's what we're looking for

0:55:100:55:13

in terms of a place to spend a lot of time as a family.

0:55:130:55:16

And did you like the location?

0:55:160:55:18

Because I know that was really important for you, this move to the country.

0:55:180:55:21

I think the location definitely hit the marker

0:55:210:55:23

probably more than some of the other properties.

0:55:230:55:26

I think it's... It hit the mark in terms that it's definitely rural

0:55:260:55:29

but we'd need to do...

0:55:290:55:32

I'd need to do anyway, definitely some more research in terms of how

0:55:320:55:35

far would it be to work, to getting towards Guildford?

0:55:350:55:38

And how close would it be towards various projects?

0:55:380:55:41

And other things that are going on in the local area, really.

0:55:410:55:44

So it definitely needs some consideration in terms

0:55:440:55:47

of its geography and location.

0:55:470:55:48

-But I think it's something that we're going to pursue.

-A second viewing?

0:55:480:55:52

-Yeah.

-I think so, yeah, I think that will be the case.

0:55:520:55:55

Yeah, just to reaffirm in our minds what it was.

0:55:550:55:58

And will Evie-Grace be with you when you have that second viewing?

0:55:580:56:03

-I'd want her to see it...

-On reins.

0:56:030:56:05

..even though I don't think she'll have much of an input but I think,

0:56:050:56:08

-you know, to see if she gets excited by it.

-She'd love it.

-I think so.

0:56:080:56:11

-I wonder which bedroom she's going to pick.

-The swimming pool.

0:56:110:56:16

-She's got a lot to choose from, hasn't she?

-Five bedrooms.

0:56:160:56:18

But whatever happens, keep in touch.

0:56:180:56:20

Thank you so much, we've really enjoyed showing you Wiltshire.

0:56:200:56:23

-Yeah, thank you very much.

-Thank you for helping us.

0:56:230:56:25

It's been a great experience.

0:56:250:56:27

Well, that's it, the end of our week here

0:56:300:56:34

in beautiful Wiltshire with Chris and Louisa.

0:56:340:56:36

And I must admit, there were times as we were going around

0:56:360:56:39

our properties, I did have my doubts.

0:56:390:56:42

But it seems at the end we got really, really close.

0:56:420:56:46

So I hope over the next few months everything works out

0:56:460:56:49

and they can make this wonderful county their new home.

0:56:490:56:53

I'll see you again soon on Escape To The Country.

0:56:530:56:56

Chris and Louisa returned to the house with the pool

0:56:560:56:59

and decided to put in an offer.

0:56:590:57:01

I'm happy to say it was accepted and we wish them

0:57:010:57:04

all the very best for their new life in Wiltshire.

0:57:040:57:08

If you would like to escape to the country in either

0:57:080:57:10

Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland

0:57:100:57:13

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

0:57:130:57:15

Nicki Chapman goes property hunting with a couple who have £575,000 to spend on a rural family home in Wiltshire. While there, Nicki tries her hand at painting traditional pub signs, a rare craft practised these days by only a few artisans.