Property series. Ginny Buckley helps a couple with £500,000 find a country home in rural Herefordshire.
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From a distance, this lovely little church could look like any other in the country.
But get up close and it tells a very different story.
I'll tell you why and where I am in just a moment.
Today's couple are longing to settle
and start a new life in the countryside.
We may have hit the ground running with our properties.
-That's a good size.
I can just hear the wows coming in behind me.
And their model country pad could be right in front of their eyes.
This is everything that I could have imagined with a house.
And the view from there is just breathtaking.
Today I'm in Herefordshire, and behind me
is the church of St Mary and St David in the village of Kilpeck.
Now, what makes it unique is it looks almost identical now to how
it did when it was built over 870 years ago.
And a closer inspection reveals that it contains one of the finest
collections of ancient Romanesque sculptures in all of England.
It's a remarkable building in a truly remarkable county.
Often described as England's most rural county,
landlocked Herefordshire sits on the border with Powys
in Wales to its west and Shropshire to the North.
Worcestershire to its east and Gloucestershire to the south.
Herefordshire really is an unspoiled county.
Rolling green countryside is an often used term,
however the saying could and should have been coined here.
It is and always has been an agricultural county,
famed for its apple orchards and Hereford cattle.
For centuries its rich natural environment has stood little changed,
with picturesque towns and villages,
black timbered houses dotting the landscape.
At its heart sits Hereford,
with its majestic cathedral dominating the skyline.
However, the peaceful countryside and quiet pace of life belie
the often turbulent history of the region.
Herefordshire is littered with locations reflecting
hundreds of years of conflict.
Through the county flows the River Wye -
it's one of the cleanest rivers in the UK - thought of as one of the
best for salmon fishing, and it's also a special area of conservation.
If you're thinking of escaping to the West Midlands then you should
seriously consider house-hunting here in Herefordshire.
Quite simply, there are some excellent homes that,
broadly speaking, offer really good value for money.
The average cost of a detached house here is £264,000,
which compares to £278,000 across the rest of England and Wales.
So, it's a wonderful county with some lovely homes.
I need a couple to show them to, so let's meet them.
Jo and Pete have been married for 31 years.
They met in a bar in Hereford in 1979
when Jo was training to be a nurse and Pete a new soldier.
I thought that he was something special then.
And I thought Jo was a wow, and still do.
Pete's the eternal optimist.
He's the one that comes up with the good ideas.
I would class Jo as my rock.
She keeps my feet very firmly on the ground.
She keeps my aspirations attainable and achievable.
After 37 years, army officer Pete has just retired
from international service, where he and Jo have moved house 19 times.
Having returned to the UK for good and with their children grown-up,
now is the right time for them to move to the countryside.
My military career has involved me in postings
in the UK, America, Germany, Saudi Arabia and lastly, Italy,
where we've been given a house that we haven't chosen,
we've been told that will be our house.
Now I've got the choice of where we live, I think I'd like to go
and live in the country. I just love the open air.
I'm an outdoor fanatic, I love walking, cycling, running,
being out in it.
With Pete now a home-based consultant,
they're currently renting in Wiltshire,
while they search for the house of their dreams in Herefordshire,
in which they spent the early part of their marriage and where their son was born.
We have existing family and friends there from our previous
service there and we've got some
very, very happy memories as a family from there of following the tractors
loaded with apples driving around the country lanes.
I particularly like Herefordshire for its greenness,
its variety in terrain - it's a very rural county - and the pace of life.
To go back to Herefordshire, for me, feels like going home.
Living for over three decades in a permanent state of transition,
Jo can't wait to unpack the many boxes they've been
hauling around the world with them.
Mostly, the boxes actually contain the memories of the children
as they've gone through the years.
I look forward to actually finding a property that we can actually empty those boxes into,
and decide that they're actually not going to go any further.
And longing to finally settle into rural living, they're also hoping
to cement new friendships that they can build upon into the future.
I'm very excited at the fact of actually putting some
roots down and actually finding a community that we can
actually then belong to, rather than feel that you're transiting through.
One of the nicest things is that I'll actually be able to
join clubs and societies and actually become a full member of those.
After so many years of living in army accommodation,
Jo and Pete are keen to begin their search to find
their quintessential English country abode.
The one thing that we're most looking forward to is finding
the property that we've aspired to live in for 31 years of married life.
We don't know what it looks like, but we are quite confident that
when we see it we'll know it's the one for us.
It would be so nice just to start afresh,
and that's what we're really looking forward to think, isn't it?
Both of us.
With Jo and Pete keen to rekindle their happy Herefordshire memories,
they're fairly open to living anywhere in the county,
as long as it's not too rural
and has good motorway connections for Pete's consultancy business.
I'm meeting up with them
to pinpoint exactly what they're after, in terms of what
they want from their new home and new life in the UK countryside.
-Hello, you two.
So how does it feel being back in Herefordshire?
-It feels like being at home again, doesn't it?
-It does, yes.
When did you last live here?
We last lived here in 2003,
but we actually met in Herefordshire when we were much younger.
We've still got some family. We've got lots of friends, which is nice.
We've been catching up with them again, like a coat -
just put it back on and your friendship's still there.
So you've got good memories of the place, which is always a great way
to start a search. Now, what about this house?
What do you imagine it's going to look like when you pull up outside your dream home?
It's going to have that feel-good factor about it, I think.
Something that we can make into a nice home for us for the future.
So what's on the wish list for it?
A study because I work from home.
Yeah, I'd like an open-plan kitchen.
-And what about the style of the property?
-A bit of character.
It could be new, it could be old.
A good sized garden, at least half an acre.
We're quite keen to have some sheep, chickens, things like that.
Are there any no-nos?
Is there anything that you really don't want me to show you?
I think the location is as important as the actual house
because you can change a house slightly,
so we're flexible.
What about doing work on the property, is that something you'd welcome?
That would have to be factored into the budget that we have,
so we wouldn't go above that budget for the renovation,
it'd have to be included into the price.
OK, let's talk about the budget. What are we working with?
However, should we find a property with holiday let type potential, then we could go above that.
Maybe a holiday let would be a nice thing to...get my teeth into.
Well, that's a healthy sum, particularly for this part of the country, and, of course,
you're in the great position of being cash buyers.
I've got some very interesting properties to show you.
-Shall we go and look?
-I can't wait.
-Excellent, can't wait.
Jo and Pete are willing to stretch their maximum budget of up
to £500,000 for the perfect property.
They're after a three-bedroom detached quirky character home.
Ideally, with a large open-plan kitchen and a study.
They're after a sizeable garden
with easy access to the heart of the community in a village setting.
And they're also hoping for a
property with holiday let potential.
We've got some stunning properties lined up, which hark
back to the history of Herefordshire that Jo and Pete love.
Along with the land and future project opportunities
they're hoping for from their new life back in the UK.
And it's not until the end of each house tour that I'll be
asking them to guess the price of each.
Our final stop is the Mystery House, providing an alternative option
which may make them reconsider elements of their wish list.
Jo, what's it been like being an army wife? I'm fascinated.
It's been a fantastic experience, actually.
I mean, I've done so many different things
that I would never have done before. It's taken us all over the world.
I mean, it has made me very, very adaptable
and I'll have a go at anything now.
And now it's quite strange to have stopped, really.
To now think, "Oh, suddenly we've got to start a different type of life now."
-It strikes me that you're quite looking forward to some new challenges?
We've lived in many, many, many houses and we've always had,
sort of, two years there,
so everything we've done there, it's been a case of making do.
We've not done improvements to houses.
Every house we've had, we've tried to make a home of,
but this time it's going to be
so nice to be able to choose the house, for a start,
choose the colour schemes and just put our own little mark on it, I think.
And I think that's probably what I'm looking forward to most.
I just want to have a nice garden, really, as well.
I want to, sort of, develop the outdoor side of things.
We've just spent 31 years of marriage trying to cultivate
the military's gardens.
We have returned, as we say, back to Hereford occasionally
and you see some of the houses we lived in
and you see the gardens growing and you think, "Well, Jo grew that
"but she hasn't been able to actually enjoy it as it reaches fruition."
So it will be nice to actually have a garden that develops over time.
I'm looking forward to being a homemaker again, I think.
Making a nice place for the family to visit, friends to visit and things.
We're starting our search north of the county, in the hamlet of Lucton.
Nearby is Yarpole, known for its thriving community who, since 2005,
have run the first full-time shop from a church in the UK.
Donating to many local projects, this is the first shop
of its kind to receive the Queen's award for voluntary service.
Also offering a pub, amateur dramatic society and book clubs,
this centre would be ideal for Jo and Pete,
and it's just a five-minute drive to the property we're going to view.
-That's a good reaction.
-Yes, that's fantastic.
-I love the angles.
That's a really good feature, isn't it?
Something quirky, something different.
It looks, actually, quite stunning, doesn't it?
Yes, it's got that different look about it that interests us, I think.
The circular tower is because this was a grain store
-so it's got all the character that you were after.
One of the unusual things that this offers is upside-down living,
so you've got your living space at the top and the bedrooms underneath.
I know you lived in lots of different houses, have you ever tried that before?
We haven't, but Jo's sister has a house in France that does that.
It's quite quirky.
It's nice cos you often get the views from upstairs
-that you don't get from down below.
-What about the location?
Because we're north of Hereford here.
I'm looking for access to motorways, but,
if the compromise I have to make is that I have an extra 10 or 15-minute drive,
so be it, cos it's the house that we're buying.
Having been, sort of, within the military community for so long
and been part of communities, we would like to get involved again.
We'd be really keen to get immersed into that aspect of life.
I love the aspect of the stairs to go up and all the pots on the stairs.
That looks fantastic.
Well, let's take a look.
Because it's an upside-down house,
we're going to have to go up the stairs to get into it.
-It is lovely, isn't it?
Dating back to the mid-17th century, this former barn
made from local stone with a Welsh slate roof was originally
a granary and grain store, before it was converted in the 1900s.
You said you were quite interested in seeing open-plan living,
this is open-plan living.
We do quite like that whole one large room where a lot of life takes place.
Yeah, it's all got little areas as well, hasn't it?
You could actually all be in and doing different things
but you're not on top of one another.
I think the stairs just, sort of, give you that bit of segregation.
-What do you feel about the space in the kitchen, Jo?
There's not a terrific amount of work space there.
You could actually adapt it
and have a big butcher's block or something like that.
The interesting thing about the range is it's an electric range,
and I don't know if you were beady eyed enough to notice the
-solar panels on the roof...
-Yes, we did.
We noticed that as we came through.
That actually helps to reduce their electricity bill by half.
-Wow, that's interesting.
-Wow. It's attractive to look at.
The different materials, the colours, the beams,
they work together quite well.
Now, I know that a home office is important to you.
There's a couple of options.
We've got the mezzanine up here just above us,
so you're really in the heart of the living space.
Now, I know you mentioned quirky,
-and there's quite a nice little quirky room that I'm going to show you.
Let's go through into here.
Ah, so you're actually in the...
In the actual grain store.
So you do have the option of the mezzanine office,
but I wonder how this would work for you as an office, Pete.
It could work, but I think this would be a particularly nice snug,
where you've got this lovely, quirky circular room.
It could be a very pleasant area that you could withdraw to for
a little bit of peace and quiet.
You'd enjoy that and it'd be a place to listen to music and things like that.
You get this lovely cosiness where the walls wrap around you, but yet,
with the grey roof and it's angular,
you actually get that sense of space as well.
I'm going to show you the master bedroom and, of course,
-because it's an upside-down house, we've got to go downstairs.
Jo and Pete asked for three bedrooms and there's one extra here,
which could prove to be useful for visiting friends and family.
On the ground floor there are two double bedrooms, one single,
a bathroom and a utility room.
-So here we have the master bedroom.
How do you feel about the size of the bedroom?
We're not desperate for a huge massive room at all.
-It works, doesn't it?
-I love the doors.
Yeah, there's a lot of original features in the house which
gives it that unusual quirky quality that I know you were looking for.
Something a bit more modern in there.
-You've got a little en suite, which is very handy.
-Oh, it's lovely, isn't it?
That's perfect, yeah.
Again, that mixture of modern and old looks very good.
There are already chickens in the garden.
I just don't know if you're going to be able to squeeze any sheep in.
-But I'll see what you both think.
So far, Jo and Pete have warmed to this property,
and can picture themselves potentially living here.
But I wonder what they'll make of the cottage-style garden.
-Yeah, they are.
-This is it, this is the garden. What you see is what you get.
It is smaller than what, perhaps, I was initially thinking about,
but it's got lots of other lovely features about it.
-There's that little nice snuggy area for having a glass of wine.
-Yes, we saw.
And the owners were telling me that just up there, on the top of the steps where you
go into the house, is their evening glass of wine spot because it gets
the sunsets and it gets the sun, so they sit there, they have a glass of wine, they unwind.
-Right, come on, let's guess the price. Ladies first.
Well, I think, because it hasn't actually got the land that we're
looking for, I think it's going to be below 400,000.
I think it's going to be about 385.
I'd go for 375.
It is on the market for less than budget.
Not quite as low as the two of you were saying though,
it's on the market for £395,000.
It would leave you, actually, with quite a healthy amount left over.
Does that change your thoughts on the house at all?
It's reassuring to know that if we wanted to do some work to it,
that you have the funding in our budget to do that.
It's sounding really positive to me,
but why don't you to go back inside, explore the rooms that you haven't seen,
take a look around and I'll catch up with you in a little while.
Oh, thank you.
A sizeable £105,000 under budget,
this former grain store barn offers up four bedrooms,
large sociable open-plan living area and a prime central village location
within the heart of the community, which Jo and Pete were longing for.
I just love this area.
Walking into the open-plan space, my immediate thought was,
yet again, "Wow."
It has that cosiness that we're looking for,
with the characterfulness of the beams.
It's got some lovely features about it too,
and I can already see how we would make it ours.
There was a definite wow factor
when you look at the property for the first time, I think.
It's lovely and I could see us personalising it
and making it a home.
It's got that real cosy feeling about it.
It's got lots of potential for us to put our mark on the property.
The house is just amazing, I like it.
I really feel we could make a home of it.
It would certainly be a challenge to make it a new home for us.
From my perspective, the garden isn't a nonstarter, however,
it's the distance that I will have to travel down to get to the
motorways is a compromise that I'd have to think about.
For me, personally, the garden is the stumbling block.
I'd like to see something with a bigger garden.
So we went in the upstairs and you're coming out in the downstairs door.
-I think there's a television programme in that, personally.
-You're probably right, yes.
-But there's more to see, so come on.
Mention the county of Herefordshire and most people
think of the illustrious Hereford breed of cattle.
And whilst the county continues to farm the breed to which it gave its
name, there is now another notable, if diminutive, animal in residence.
Just outside Leominster are 17 of the smallest sheep in the world.
Ouessant sheep are small in stature, but big in character.
Hoping to have enough land to keep a few sheep,
Pete and Jo are meeting Carolyn Southern,
who has been breeding these little gems for 13 years.
Hi, Pete, Jo, welcome to the smallholding.
So, Carolyn, how big do this breed actually grow?
Well, the breed standard is 48 centimetres for an adult ram
and 45 centimetres for an adult ewe.
So they stay quite small?
Yes, they're very tiny.
So if we were to have three sheep, Carolyn,
what sized plot would you recommend that we would have?
Ideally, I would say about half an acre.
About ten animals to the acre is the maximum.
And in winter, do you have to provide them
with shelter or do they stay outside?
They will stay outside, generally. They're really hardy.
But, if it's really heavy rain, they'll want to just run in.
They also need the shelter to get out of the strong sun as well.
So would they be a breed that you would recommend as a first-time sheep owner?
Yes, well, I'd never had sheep before I had these
and once I looked into it, they just seemed ideal.
They're very easy to keep. I've got some more stock over here,
-I'll show you those.
Ouessant sheep were to be found solely on the French isle of Ouessant
until the start of the 20th century when they were saved from extinction
by a group of aristocrats
who brought them over to mainland France.
Having only arrived on British shores around 15 years ago,
today there are thought to be around 2,000 in the UK.
These are this year's lambs.
So, what are we feeding them here today, then, Caroline?
This is actually a bit like muesli.
It's called ruminant mix and it's a mixture of grains.
And what else do they eat other than that?
Primarily, they'll eat the grass but they do also eat the hedges
and the bark off the trees of any low branches on the trees.
In the winter, if the grass is very sparse,
you can give them hay, as well.
OK. Is there anything in particular that they shouldn't eat?
-What's dangerous for them?
-Well, when you've got...
When you have your plot, you've got to make sure there's nothing
that's poisonous in...
That they can reach.
-The obvious ones - yew and laurel and rhododendron...
..that are really quite nasty.
Are there any legal requirements we have to have or be aware of
if we were to buy sheep?
I recommend that you only buy your animals from a registered breeder.
You need to have a holding number which Defra will provide you with.
How do you recognise a healthy sheep?
As you can see, these are pretty lively and bright eyed.
If you check that they haven't got any runny eyes,
they're not limping, you know, lame.
If their fleece is very solid, it's a soft fleece.
You don't want anything with different patches of different
colours in because that wouldn't conform to the breed standard.
We are going to move some sheep today,
so if you want to give us a hand, that would be fabulous.
-That'd be great.
-We'd love to.
They're so friendly, it's gorgeous. Aren't you?
Surprisingly low-maintenance, these sheep are shorn once a year
and have the most wool per weight of any breed.
Come on! Sheep!
-Here they come.
-Here they come.
By splitting the plot of land and rotating them every six-eight weeks,
it not only rests the ground but keeps the sheep healthy.
Have you got any tips for what we should be doing
and how we should help you do this?
Well, they're difficult to catch unless you do pen them first.
And then what we've done is we've put a race of hurdles
in to sort of channel them down into the next field.
-They're off, aren't they?
-They know where they're going, don't they, Caroline?
-They're moving really fast, aren't they?
-They can run very fast, yes.
They're off on their hols now!
With three registered breeders in Herefordshire,
it looks like Jo and Pete will be flocking to buy some of these
little beauties before too long.
Aw. Yeah, I've fallen in love with them already, I have.
I hope you decide to keep this breed cos they're very special.
Well, thanks for showing us your sheep,
-it's been absolutely fascinating.
-You're very welcome.
Yeah, thank you. We've thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
It's been great.
Our house-hunt continues in the village of Garway.
Hovering outside the Herefordshire/Welsh border,
the pub is the heart of the community
and is a hive of weekly activities, hosting cinema and book clubs.
With monthly music gigs held at the village hall
and regular farmers' markets, there's plenty of opportunity for Jo
and Pete to involve themselves in this tightknit social scene.
The nearest local amenities are a mile away
and the property we're visiting is just a short stroll from all
the action at the edge of the village.
-So, this is the property I want to show you.
Really very pretty, isn't it? It looks very nice.
-Picture perfect, actually.
It's how you imagine a little cottage to be and it looks like
-it's got potential for lots of views.
On a day better than today, you can see right out over
-the Black Mountains.
So, the views over there are stunning.
There's an old store just over there which is currently
-used as an art studio...
-..which is of a decent size.
-There's also a stone barn...
..that needs completely converting.
One thing this property offers you is the potential for a holiday annexe.
-Shall we go and take a look?
-Excellent, yes, we'd love to.
Originally constructed in the 18th century, this attractive
stone cottage was sympathetically renovated in the 1970s
to form an endearing characterful house packed with original details.
Come on in. Let's move over here.
So, we're standing, actually, inside a 1970s addition to the property
which I think, externally, has been done really sympathetically.
-And internally, as well.
-I wouldn't have believed this was 1970s.
-Yeah, it is.
Now, this property doesn't offer you the open-plan living that
I know we talked about at one point.
But it does have quite a nice flow to it. So, you come into this
first entrance room, they've got it set up as a dining room,
I think you could use it for lots of different purposes.
What are your initial thoughts?
Potentially, you're right next to the kitchen, aren't you?
So, you know, depends on how big the kitchen is
but this looks as though it could be a through room, anyway.
Well, it carries on the warm quaintness of the initial
view as you walk in straight away.
I think the best way to see this house is just to have a wander round
downstairs cos it does have a very interesting flow to it.
-So, let me show you another room.
Oh, wow. I just keep coming out with wows, don't I?
-This is stunning.
-Yeah, this is cosy.
-A lovely room.
This is, obviously, the original part of the cottage.
-That's an inglenook fireplace, isn't it?
It's got the lovely feature of the original bread oven.
Sadly, it doesn't work any more but it looks nice.
It's definitely quite a big room. With the three windows in it, it's...
Very bright and airy.
Yes, for a cottage, this is a really good-sized living room.
-Breathtaking, I have to say.
-It takes your breath away.
It's very interesting when you see the staircase up there as well.
It just adds to it, doesn't it? It adds to the feel of the place.
I was going to come to the staircases
because there are two staircases that lead upstairs.
I'm not going to take you there just yet though.
You've already spotted the kitchen from the entrance or dining room
but there's another way into the kitchen,
-so follow me and all will become clear.
'On the ground floor there is also a conservatory and a study-cum-library,
'which may be useful for Pete's home-based consulting,
'which leads through to the kitchen.'
That a good size, isn't it?
Again, nice and light with double aspect window.
And you've got lots of working surfaces.
What about the style of the kitchen? Is it your style?
Erm, it may be.
I mean, there's always room for potential, isn't there?
It's certainly something I could live with.
I think what you could do with this kitchen
is potentially knock that wall down.
You could end up with a really lovely free-flowing space
that gives you a bit of that open-plan feeling that you wanted.
I think that would really be something that I'd be interested in doing.
Then you could put an island on here
because you've got more room around.
And if you did go for the big open-plan look then you've got
a separate utility room out there, which is very handy.
-I think it's time we went to investigate those two staircases.
'Due to the cottage having undergone previous extensions,
'one staircase leads to two doubles
'and one single bedroom, as well as a bathroom on the first floor.
'And the other staircase leads to another double bedroom
'with its own shower room.'
So I've brought you up the staircase that leads you through
to the master bedroom.
Oh, wow, very airy and spacious, isn't it?
Oh, fantastic views as well. Can you imagine?
To wake up and see those views must be wonderful.
And again, because this is in the newer part of the house,
you've got the high ceiling height,
so you don't have those low cottagey ceilings.
It's quite nice in a bedroom.
-Could you see yourself in here?
-This is, er, definite, definite...
Definitely nice. A good size as well, isn't it?
-It's not a small bedroom at all.
-Let me show you the outside.
Jo and Pete seemed to be making all the right noises
when it comes to the interior of the house
so I'm hoping they'll be impressed with the bigger garden here,
which amounts to two-thirds of an acre.
It's certainly got the type of garden I would look for.
-It would definitely keep me busy, wouldn't it?
-It certainly would.
Well, let's see if guessing the price can bring back some of those wows.
What you think, Jo?
I think, looking at it,
the garden and the potential with the two outbuildings, I think £445,000.
-I'm going to go a little bit lower. I'm going to go £425,000.
Wow. I think there's a bit of wishful thinking
going on with you two at the moment.
You're way off the mark, both of you.
-This property is on the market for £500,000.
What do you think now you know that?
That's at the very, very top of our bracket,
which would leave us nothing to actually do any development work
and there's quite a lot of development that would be needed
to create that holiday let there.
Well, you still haven't seen all of it properly yet
and you haven't investigated the annexe and also that barn.
So, why don't you go and have a good look around?
-OK, thank you.
At the very top of their budget,
this pretty stone cottage with four bedrooms, bags of character
and a large garden has huge potential to convert
the outbuildings into self-contained holiday lets.
Based in an excellent edge-of-village location,
it would be close but far away enough for Jo and Pete
to immerse themselves in as little or as much as they want.
The flow downstairs is great. I definitely liked the lounge area.
This is a nice little room. Could you see yourself in here as a study?
When I want to work, I want to lock the rest of the family off
and get on with work
and I think sitting right next to the kitchen
is just a little bit too close for me.
I like the fact that the garden is big and there is potential.
In the studio we are in here, there is some potential
but it's not enough.
Whether that potential is what we would want to achieve from it, I don't know.
The house itself is very pretty.
The work that needs to be done is quite substantial
and that would take it well over our budget.
I think this is a lovely house,
but I can't see myself in it.
It doesn't actually feel like I could make it my home.
Well, that's the final one for today.
-Has it been a good day for you both?
-It's been a fabulous day.
Yes, it's been very interesting.
It has, and it's been rewarding and it's actually enabled us
to sort of refine a bit more what we do want
and also we don't want
and what's more important and what isn't important.
I think you should think about that this evening
because I've got some very interesting things to show you tomorrow.
It's the second day of our property search in Herefordshire
with Jo and Pete, who have just returned to the UK
from international army service.
With a budget of up to £500,000,
they're ready to begin the next chapter of their lives
in the countryside they know and love.
Coming up, our house-hunt offers more history than they could have hoped for.
That is absolutely stunning. I just love the height.
The colours are very enchanting.
And I find out how traditional Herefordshire
is keeping up with modern day tastes.
Oh, it's a lovely mellow, fruity flavour that's very smooth.
There were elements in both of yesterday's houses
that really appealed to the lifestyle that Pete and Jo
are looking to lead here in Herefordshire.
But it's a new day and there are two new properties to show them,
including the Mystery House,
which could make them reassess exactly what it is they are looking for.
Let's find out just how open-minded Pete and Jo are prepared to be.
But before the mystery property, our search is taking us
to the village of Bishops Frome.
Located on the border where Herefordshire meets Worcestershire,
this idyllic and very active village
has a community-run shop with two pubs.
Half a mile away is the Hop Pocket Shopping Village
spread over a number of old agricultural buildings,
which offers a cafe, wine centre and butchers with fine local produce.
Just outside the village,
our next property can be found down a quiet, country lane.
Now, in our conversations we've talked a lot
about how you like old, but you like new.
Wow. I'm back to wows again now.
You are back to wows. I like that.
-That looks impressive.
-That's stunning. That is actually very stunning.
From the first impression, it looks good.
It looks like it blends in very well.
-It makes you want to actually go in and view it.
-Let's go and investigate.
Built in 1650, this former barn
of traditional oak timber frame construction
originally belonged to the house next door
until it was converted in the 1980s.
Two years ago an annexe was added to the rear.
The front door leads to a hallway and the main sitting room,
but because there's so much of this house to see,
we're heading straight through it to the kitchen.
-A double wow.
-This is stunning. Absolutely stunning.
-It's so nice to see you two smiling like this.
This is obviously the older part of the house.
-It's got the beams that you wanted, hasn't it?
There's lots of character here.
I've got a warm, cosy, homely feeling
that we had in the upside-down house yesterday
but there is space around.
It's interesting for me
because you really did like open-plan
and this technically isn't open-plan
-but it's appealing to you.
It flows very naturally
and, actually, whilst there is only doorways,
not huge open-plan,
I think it adopts a more modern feel to open-plan.
What's welcome is the utility room just over there
-so you can keep everything out of the way.
I don't know how keen your ears were when we were outside looking at the property.
-Did you hear the tinkling?
-I did hear that.
Let me just give you a glass of that just to try. You can have one each.
There you go.
You've got your very own stream.
Well, it's a spring and the water for the property
is fed from the spring so you don't pay any water rates on this property.
-So cheers to that.
-Cheers to that.
Apparently it tastes very good. I haven't tried it yet.
-That's nice, isn't it?
-Jo loves water.
That's very, very clean and fresh.
So, yes, the spring is up right at the top of the garden.
My gosh, that's amazing too, isn't it?
-I'd like you to take a closer look at the dining hall because that's really interesting.
Also on the ground floor there's a double bedroom with en suite
and in the eaves of the dining hall there's a mezzanine,
both of which could provide great office space for Pete.
-Ooh, it looks good.
-Oh, wow. That is absolutely stunning.
I think we can add a couple more wows into here.
Yeah, I was going to say, your wow quota is building for this property.
I mean, I just love the height.
-Isn't that fantastic?
-Absolutely stunning. Just absolutely stunning.
What a feature though, this bit is.
You get the sense that this was, of course, a beautiful barn.
You've got the old beams in here.
You really get the feeling of what it once was back in the day, don't you?
Yes, you do. I love the exposed stonework.
The colours are very enchanting.
-Can you imagine the family in here at Christmas?
I could imagine a Christmas tree in here, a full height Christmas tree.
Let's just talk, then, about the annexe.
The doorway here leads through to the modern part.
-Would you like to have a look?
The self-contained annexe space here is the real selling point of this property.
Completed to a very high spec,
with its own double bedroom and shower room,
it meets all modern eco-requirements
and is just what our buyers are after.
I can just hear the wows coming in behind me.
I'm just... My breath is just taken away.
Absolutely taken away.
-But how different it is though.
-What a complete contrast.
You've gone from the 17th century to the 21st century.
I'm not sure I want to let this be a holiday let, actually.
It's just so nice. I'd want to live here myself.
Everything is ready for a kitchen to go in across here.
They haven't put one in, but it's got water, it's got all the points that you need.
It's even got the extractor fan.
So you might notice it's very lovely cosy and here from the underfloor heating
and it's free in this house because it's got a state-of-the-art wood pellet boiler.
So that, combined with the solar panels,
means that this house has a zero carbon footprint.
There is no gas bill. There is no electricity bill.
And you actually make money on the property.
You're just ticking every box. Absolutely every box.
This is something that Pete and I, Pete was looking at
when we first started looking at houses saying,
I want an eco-friendly house.
This is just... I'm just blown away.
This is everything I could ever have imagined in a house.
And the view from there, those trees, just changing colour,
is just absolutely breathtaking.
Does the prospect of closing off that area
and having this is a holiday let, does that appeal to you?
-It does actually because I think it would work.
I think you could do it.
And there's still so much more to show you
because we have to go back into the old part so I can show you the master bedroom.
Aside from the two bedrooms downstairs,
on the first floor there is a bathroom and two further bedrooms,
a single and the master.
So this is the master bedroom.
You've got fantastic views across the Fromes Hill.
-You've actually got the size of the room
-without the beams taking away that view.
I seem to be getting a really positive vibe
from both of you about this house. What is it that you like about it?
You've got the warmth and the cosiness of the 17th century.
It is old but this part, because it's been so nicely renovated,
it actually has a new feeling about it too.
It belies how old it is.
It's quite exciting as well because I still get to show you the outside.
-And there are some really good things to tell you
-when we get out there.
Jo and Pete are obviously wowed by the property,
and with the rear garden set in just over an acre,
plus an extra paddock of a third of an acre,
I suspect that the outside space here might just be the icing on the cake.
So, up here, this is where your sheep can live
and the really hard work in the garden has been done.
All the real legwork.
What it needs now is just that work of landscaping.
-Is it too big for you?
It's that time for you to guess the price.
Because it's in the east of Herefordshire,
it's got good communication links, I'm going to say £575,000.
Because I think it's a lovely house,
I do think it's going to be over our budget.
I'm going to go for £525,000.
You will probably be very pleased
when I tell you that it's on the market for offers over £500,000.
However, I've had a conversation with the owners
and they've made it clear to me that they would accept
an offer of under 500,000, only just,
from buyers in your position.
That is amazing. That is utterly amazing. Where do I sign?
Well, I'd like you to go back inside and really look around the property.
I know it's got a lot to offer and there's a lot you haven't seen,
so take your time, explore and I'll come and find you.
-OK, thank you very much.
At the top of their budget,
this former barn with an eclectic mix of original character features
and modern eco-specifications
meets all of Jo and Pete's wish list and more.
Having an almost ready to go holiday let opportunity,
it's set in an ideal village location and has fantastic views.
This property ticks every single box that we could think of.
It's the right location.
It's got the views,
the opportunity to develop the garden.
This room is amazing, isn't it?
Look at the way the carving is up on the minstrel's gallery.
I just love the double height, the space, the light...the history.
I'm feeling really excited
because I think there's an opportunity for me, here definitely,
to do a holiday let.
I can see myself here at home and also entertaining the family here.
This is just absolutely amazing. It's everything we want in a house.
It's a combination of old, new, quirky, characterful...
I'm going to interrupt you. I know you love this house
but there is still one more to go and it's the Mystery House.
-I'm very excited.
What about the Mystery House?
What do you think I'm going to show you there?
I think you're going to go something quirky, new, today because I think
that just is totally opposite to what we've
-put out in our brief, really, I think.
I think it's going to be a chapel conversion or something like that.
-My lips are sealed, of course, at this point. All will be revealed.
You kind of feel, I think, like you have a good idea of what you want,
but from my perspective, I don't know if you actually do.
I think you're probably quite right.
It's the first time we've actually been looking inside and around
a house as a potential purchase.
But we've also found it very interesting
refining down what we do like but also what we don't want,
and what's more important than we previously thought,
and what is less important. Such as, I actually picked up yesterday,
at the first house, that actually, views are quite important.
Because if I'm going to be in the country, I want to be able to see it.
Another aspect for me, of course, is that the study is important.
And, Jo, what about you?
I do want a reasonable-sized garden that
I can actually spend a lot of time in.
I probably want a smaller house than I first anticipated
because I think it would be more cosy.
And probably, I don't want one that's too remote.
We've always been part of a community
and as much as we quite like being on the edge of a community,
I think we like being able to join in as and when we wish.
I'm quite excited about the mystery property.
So the pressure's on to find you a property that knocks both your socks off.
Not at all, not at all.
I'm sure you'll rise to the challenge, Ginny.
For our mystery property,
we're heading to the small village of Wormelow Tump.
South of Herefordshire, the tump itself was a mound,
which local tradition claims was the burial place of King Arthur's son,
having been flattened to widen the road in 1896.
There's a local garage and a pub here.
With the greater amenities of Hereford nearby,
it's just a short drive to our next property,
which is blessed with a stunning setting.
-It's not so much a Mystery House...
-Oh, my goodness.
..as a Mystery Mansion.
-Wow. Goodness me.
-It is stunning, isn't it?
It's been bought by developers and it's being turned into 12
extremely high-end, luxury apartments and two houses.
I know you've lived in properties all over the world,
-different kinds of properties...
-Never a stately home.
-Have you come across a stately home on your travels?
-No, we haven't.
-A few officers' messes like stately homes...
-..but never actually lived in one.
It's communal living. It's very different.
I know you had these ideas about the lifestyle you were going to have
in Herefordshire, and I just thought,
-"Why not challenge that?"
-It's very beautiful,
-you have a view...
-A fantastic view.
-..and it's a different thing to consider.
-I quite agree.
In the scheme of things, it is something we should consider
-cos it's...one avenue...
-It challenges our thoughts.
-We would probably never have looked at something like this.
I guessed not, somehow. But it's inside this house
that you really get the feeling for how stunning it is...
-..so I think we should go in and take a look.
This Victorian gothic manor house was constructed in the 1860s
by Sir James Rankin,
whose family made their money through timber and shipbuilding.
Steeped in history, it also spent former years as a factory
and prisoner of war hospital during the Second World War.
So, I just thought I'd bring you into the entrance hall, you know.
Look at the chandeliers up there.
-I mean, it's gothic architecture at its finest.
-Look at the fireplace.
-How does this style appeal to you?
It's a different period of architecture
but it has that immenseness of it that I'm not overawed by it,
I'm actually drawn into it. I think it's stunning.
So, how do you think it would be welcoming your friends
and your family into this entrance hall.
Well, you can just imagine walking through that huge gothic door
and saying, "Please come into our house,"
coming through, walking up those stairs...
It just blows people's minds, doesn't it?
Luckily, the apartment I'm going to show you, is on the first floor.
It's the only one ready at the moment and it's fantastic
cos we get to take advantage of going up that lovely staircase.
The show home here mirrors the style
and layout of the apartment Jo and Pete would be able to buy.
-..come on in.
-Very clean. Oh, goodness me.
So, you've got the beautiful original features, those lovely,
tall windows, the original doors but then you have
the modern touches as well that I know appeal to you both.
The height and the spaciousness and the clean, uncluttered lines it's...
-And the doors are absolutely stunning, aren't they?
I really wanted to challenge your perceptions of what your journey
could be like, of what your escape to the country could be for you.
You're impressing us. You're making our decision hard.
I might be about to make that decision harder because, Joanna,
the kitchen really matters to you
-and I know you're going to like this kitchen.
-There we go.
-Wow. That's a really good, open kitchen, isn't it?
-It's a lovely space, isn't it? And it's the ceiling heights.
-The door heights are half the height of the room.
And look at the view out the kitchen. Sheep.
THEY LAUGH Yeah, we could watch sheep even if we couldn't have our own, couldn't we?
Is it too modern for you? Do you think it compliments the property?
I think it does, yes. It's that new and old again.
Could you imagine a family get-together and a meal in here?
Lots of working space, lots of good working space.
-I'd really like to show you the master bedroom and its view.
With two double bedrooms, a second bathroom,
and an office on offer in this spacious, single-level apartment,
it's the aspect from the master that's hard to beat.
-SHE GASPS Oh, yes.
Yeah, that'd be nice to wake up to, isn't it?
It's a lovely sized bedroom.
You've got a beautifully finished en suite bathroom.
Do you think you'd have a good night's sleep in a room like this?
Oh, I think so. You'd almost want to wake up early
-to see the view.
-And, again, it's the stunning high windows.
It's letting so much light into the room.
-But can you both imagine living here?
-I'm not so sure.
I know we're not getting any younger but I'm not quite ready for this.
Ten years down the line, I think it would be fantastic.
I've still got that little bit inside me that wants to try
and make my garden and make my home.
I am still keen to show you the gardens cos, as you can imagine,
they're as stunning as the house.
The immaculate communal gardens elegantly sweep
around the mansion and, along with the upkeep of the main building,
have maintenance charges of £2,000 a year.
So, these will form part of the communal gardens
and you'll have a veggie plot to grow your own vegetables in.
It's a fantastic place. Scenery and setting but not just yet.
I can imagine myself here, but maybe not at this time in my life.
Well, let's price the show property that I've shown you.
It's a two bedroom property, it's got a generous living space,
it's got access to the communal gardens. Who wants to go first?
-I'll say budget. 450,000.
-I'm going to say more.
-I'm going to say 475,000.
-OK, that's quite interesting.
-The two of you are way off the mark, actually...
Completely, cos it's massively under your budget at £359,000.
Wow. That sort of price, that's good value, I think.
-I'm impressed at the price.
-Yes, I am. That's a good price.
-Go and have a poke around, have a look...
..cos it's a really interesting place to explore so go on.
-I'll catch up with you.
-Thanks very much.
At £141,000 under budget,
this gothic style apartment with uninterrupted, stunning views
offers an alternative modern and characterful home
in the style that Jo and Pete are fond of.
It's a very impressive structure.
As you look at the building it...takes your breath away.
Oh, this is another nice-sized room, isn't it? Good size for a spare room.
-It's the heights, the view... Stunning.
-I don't think it's really wowing me as a house.
-I am tempted by this.
This is low-maintenance living where we could come in and do very little.
Yeah, it's been a great opportunity to see a different style.
-Something very, very different.
-Not for us.
-..I'm not ready for it yet.
The mystery apartment, it has got some nice features about it,
but I can't see it becoming a home.
We've challenged you with this property.
-I just don't know if it's the right point in your lives.
-I think so too.
But I do think we have a lot of talking to do so let's go and get a cup of tea.
Yeah, I think so.
With its agricultural heritage,
it'll come as no surprise that Herefordshire is full of farms
yielding a wide range of wonderful, and sometimes exotic produce.
Having bought a cider-making farm in 2007,
and with the need to broaden the spectrum of his produce,
William Chase decided to make a slightly less traditional
product from potatoes.
I'm meeting his son and third-generation potato farmer
James Chase to get more of a flavour on what's become
of your average spud.
-Hi, how're you doing?
-So, what about the potatoes? Where do they come in?
All of our vodkas are distilled from potatoes,
and that award-winning vodka has gone on to be
supplied into about 32 countries around the world.
Don't tell me you send it to Russia cos I will love it if you do.
Well, it's really funny you say that.
Two weeks ago, we signed our first distribution agreement to Russia.
So now the English are selling vodka back to the Russians.
You've diversified, I hear, as well.
You're now using fruit for making different kinds of vodkas.
About four years ago, we released a marmalade flavoured vodka.
I'd love to see how marmalade vodka is made. That sounds fascinating.
Well, why don't you head on up the path? Go and meet our master distiller, Jamie.
-Fantastic. Hopefully I'll get to try some too.
-See you later.
The potatoes are grown on the farm here before they're
peeled, mashed, fermented and distilled to form vodka,
in a process that takes ten days.
Using the finest oranges from Seville,
the farm extracts the most intense flavour from the top of the oranges,
where the fruit has absorbed the greatest sunshine.
The essential oils released
are used to form the basis of a thick-cut and juicy marmalade,
which is redistilled with their potato vodka.
-Hi, Jamie. That looks intriguing.
-Oh, hi, Ginny.
So, what have we got going on in here, then?
Once we've made the vodka,
we then move it into a vacuum chamber where we heat it up
under pressure with the addition of real marmalade
and some Seville orange peel. A little bit of colour from these kibbles, or peels,
-will then macerate out into the finished product.
-Shall we do that now?
-Let's do it. Absolutely.
Yeah, we just need a piece to hang it down into the liquid.
How long does it have to be in there for?
Well, it depends on the time of year. When it's nice and warm in the summer,
it happens quite quickly, so anywhere up to 48 hours
but in the winter it can be as long as 72 hours.
-And you're just tasting all the time?
-Every three hours we taste it.
-So all we do, we suspend it in here.
That smell is amazing.
This smells really fruity. It's like being in an orchard.
What we're trying to create here is layer and layer of natural flavour so it stays with you on the palate.
Makes you feel like you've had marmalade on toast.
We've got some here if you want to try some.
-You've twisted my arm. Go on, then.
-OK, follow me, then.
Passed through a filter before it's ready to drink, 1,000 bottles
of marmalade vodka are being produced today.
Due to its popularity, the farm are now diversifying their products,
infusing vodka with blackcurrants and rhubarb.
Well, I don't know much about the art of distillery
but I'm guessing this is everybody's favourite part of the process.
It certainly is. Everybody likes a taste.
First of all, have a really good smell.
Oh, it's a lovely, mellow, fruity flavour.
There's none of that harsh hit that almost makes your eyes water.
Let's try this.
Wow, it's very smooth.
I'm getting a lovely kick of sweetness
actually that's just starting to come through.
I would love to stay here and work my way through a whole range of them,
but sadly, and it breaks my heart to say this, I've got to go.
-No problem. Thank you very much.
Well, Pete and Jo have seen all the properties we had to offer
and it's obvious, isn't it? There's a clear favourite.
What I need to find out now is what they're going to do about it.
Well, Pete and Jo,
I think it was apparent that there was one house that got quite
-a lot of wows over our search.
What was it about that 17th-century house with the modern annexe
-that really appealed to you both?
-It was that mix of old and new.
It ticked every box that we had for a property,
and actually ticked even more that we hadn't asked you to find.
The eco side of it, etc, etc. It just left us overawed.
So, there were things that you hadn't mentioned to us
-that you found in that property?
-That's right, yes.
We'd discussed beforehand about having an eco-friendly house
and that was something Pete was looking for,
so he was really pleased to have seen that today.
It also seemed to offer you the potential for the lifestyle
that you want to lead when you move here to Herefordshire.
Yes, it's good access through Ledbury, to the M50.
I can get a train to London, should I have to,
through Ledbury train station.
It then has easy access to friends and family who are in
that area of Herefordshire, and it ticks all the property bits.
The village aspect of it seems very nice too. The location is fantastic.
Then, it's going to be a challenge for me to develop
the potential of the garden and our house as a holiday let.
There was a little sense that I got though, as we were looking round,
that you were definitely enthused by the house.
I felt a bit more reticence from you. Is that fair to say?
Probably, cos I'm always the one that has to be slightly
swayed by Pete in decisions, I think. I think things through, perhaps more.
But eventually, if it's the right decision, I'm quite happy with it.
Well, then, I've got to ask. What are you going to do about it?
We'll definitely be going for a second viewing with our children,
-and then we'll be putting an offer in.
-That's great news.
I'm not surprised but I'm thrilled to hear it, and I do hope
we've managed to find you the home that you were looking for.
-I think you have.
-You have, yeah. I'm sure we'll be very happy there.
-Yeah, you've done a fantastic job for us and we're very grateful.
-Thank you very much.
I'm so thrilled to hear you both say that
and I'm so excited that this move back to the UK
after your travels around the world has such a potentially happy ending.
-Yes. We can't wait to start.
-We can't wait to start.
I'm delighted that Pete and Jo
have decided to take their family back for a second viewing
of that fabulous 17th-century property with the modern annexe.
Let's face it, it's got their name written all over it.
If I was a betting woman, my money would be on them
calling it home before too long.
I've got my fingers crossed for them. I'll see you next time.
After a second viewing of the barn conversion, Jo and Pete decided that
the older part of the house required just a bit too much work for them.
On the plus side, they've since found
and fallen in love with a cottage in Herefordshire and having
put in an offer which was accepted, they're due to exchange shortly.
If you'd like to escape to the country in England, Scotland, Wales
or Northern Ireland and would like our help, you can apply online.
Ginny Buckley helps a couple with £500,000 find a country home in rural Herefordshire. While in the county, Ginny samples a potent yet palatable drink produced by one pioneering farm there.