Episode 16 Escape to the Country


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Episode 16

Property series. Ginny Buckley helps a couple who are looking to buy their first home together in rural Staffordshire with a budget of £700,000.


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After those long nights and grey days of winter,

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there's no better sight to show that spring has finally sprung

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than a host of golden daffodils.

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And visitors come from far and wide to view this beautiful display.

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So where is it? Find out in just a moment.

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Today's house hunters are longing to move away from

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cluttered coastal living to wide open spaces in the countryside.

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Our properties offer the country style they've always craved...

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Could you imagine yourselves in here?

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-Yes.

-Yes.

-Don't look so surprised.

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THEY LAUGH

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..along with bedrooms which blow them away.

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-Perfect.

-He's happy.

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If he's happy, I'm happy.

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Today I'm in Staffordshire,

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and the daffodils are in full bloom here at Shugborough Hall.

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There are thought to be around 50 species of daffodils

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growing wild in Britain, but that's just a drop in the ocean compared

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to the 24,000 cultivated varieties that can be found in our gardens.

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It's a staggering number that reflects

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the enduring popularity of this vibrant symbol

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of British springtime.

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The landlocked county of Staffordshire

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is situated in the West Midlands region of England,

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covering an area of over 1,000 square miles.

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The north of the county features

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the heather-covered Staffordshire Moorlands,

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a great vantage point to take in panoramic views across this

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undulating, natural and working landscape.

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In the south lies the market town of Tamworth,

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with its historic Norman castle overlooking the River Tame.

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The castle's motte, or mound,

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is the second largest in the country after Windsor.

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Lichfield's three-spired cathedral is a unique architectural landmark.

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Dating back over 800 years, it's one of England's finest

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medieval examples, built in the Gothic style.

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Open, sweeping landscapes include Cannock Chase,

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a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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And set by the River Trent, Great Haywood is home to

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the picturesque Haywood Junction,

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where two of the country's finest canals meet.

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With 6,000 acres of national parks and a multitude of historic gems,

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Staffordshire is a savvy choice for aspiring escapees.

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If you're after a slice of rural life in a county that offers

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some truly remote countryside,

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but is in a central, accessible location,

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then Staffordshire is worth some serious consideration.

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House prices are hard to beat, too.

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The average cost of a detached property here is £220,000.

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That's £60,000 below the national figure.

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So what is it about Staffordshire that excites our potential buyers?

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Let's meet them and find out.

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Angie and Steve met 18 months ago through a chance encounter,

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when she was invited to join Steve and his friends aboard his boat.

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They were sailing to the Isle of Wight from Christchurch,

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-in Dorset, where they both live.

-Love at first sight.

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-Yes, it was love at first sight.

-Steve is a fascinating man.

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He's intelligent. Very sociable.

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Good sense of humour.

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Angie is a very caring and kind person.

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She has a lot of friends.

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She's liked by everybody.

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Corporate events manager Angie

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moved in with electronics MD Steve

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just two weeks after they met.

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However, having lived in the area for over three decades,

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Angie has noticed a lot of recent local development.

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There's been a lot of development and interest in the coast,

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and big apartment blocks have been popping up.

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There's a load more cars, there's more people,

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it's just very, very busy now.

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Living life in the fast lane, both Angie and Steve currently

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travel extensively, conducting business across the UK and Europe.

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They feel a move to Staffordshire, relocating away from the coast,

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would be more beneficial to their lifestyle.

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Moving towards the middle of the UK, in towards the country, allows us to

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have a much better location, because it'll be less time travelling.

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So it should give me

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the ability to have more of a better work/life balance.

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I would like to spend even more time at home.

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It's time to just slow down now.

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Angie and Steve both have grown-up children

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from previous relationships,

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and having spent time with Angie's daughter in Staffordshire,

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they've realised that in addition to the area's convenient location,

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it's also the ideal place for them to buy their first home together.

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It is such a beautiful area. I love the countryside.

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Not only because of the views that it lets you enjoy,

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but you can get some solitude and tranquillity.

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Everything changes as the seasons go.

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There is a lot to enjoy, and the quietness,

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which you don't get in a built-up area.

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By reducing the pace of their busy lives,

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our buyers hope this move to the countryside will allow them

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to dedicate more time to their leisure pursuits.

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I started riding when I was five.

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I'm really looking forward to getting back in the saddle

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and spending a lot more time doing that.

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I've acquired myself a vintage car to enjoy

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cruising around the countryside.

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Also, Steve loves to keep chickens, and it is something I've not done.

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We are looking for more land, ideally to change some hobbies

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and interests, bring along some animals.

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Their faithful four-legged sidekick, Truffles, will be moving with them.

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And they're hopeful that a new location won't just bring them

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a new lease of life,

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but also a renewed focus on each other into their future.

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I'm looking forward to the move so that we have more us time.

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I'm going to, naturally, miss the coast.

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But I'm even more excited about moving to the country.

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Angie and Steve are fairly flexible about where

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they live within the county, as long as it has good access to

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motorways and airports for their work commitments.

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I'm catching up with them to pinpoint

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what they want from their new country pad.

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Well, welcome to Staffordshire.

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So what is it that draws you to this part of the countryside?

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Well, my daughter lives up here, so we've spent some time with

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her and loved it. Every time we've come up,

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we've enjoyed our time here.

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Well, it's quite a move. Why make it now?

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I'm going to be doing a lot more travelling across the UK,

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and being central rather than on the south coast helps.

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-So that's an advantage.

-What's on the wish list

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for this lovely property, here in the country?

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The wish list is long. Um...

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We like long, we don't mind long.

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As long as it is doable.

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Primarily, we want some land,

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because we are looking at having some animals. Space.

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We are quite social people, we like spacious houses.

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We don't want doors that are going to stay shut

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and rooms that are going to be unused.

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So even though there is only two of us,

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with the occasional visitor, we are looking for space,

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and of course we need to work...

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Home office space.

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So it sounds like you're looking for a lot of space,

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but space that you can use to live in, for offices, for living space,

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-rather than lots of bedrooms that you might not use.

-Exactly.

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-And when you say land, how much land?

-Two to five acres.

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Oh, OK, so that's a challenge. Now what about community?

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Is a local community important to you?

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I think it would be nice to have the obvious local community,

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in terms of a nice local pub, good food.

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And not too far for the emergency milk that you need to purchase.

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OK. And neighbours. How do you fancy having a few neighbours around you?

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I think we are both looking for a bit more seclusion.

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Having a neighbour there is OK,

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-as long as they're not in full view all day.

-OK.

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Can we talk about compromises on the list? Can we go there?!

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-We can try!

-Well, if there were only five things on the list,

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there'd be no compromises.

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I think, because there's probably 15 things on the list,

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we could probably compromise ten of them.

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-But you're not going to tell me which ones, are you?

-No.

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I can tell, you're just going to go,

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"Well, that's something we could compromise on" when you see it,

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-or not.

-Or not.

-OK.

-Yeah.

-Now, remind me of the budget.

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In an ideal world, we'd be looking to spend

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around £650,000.

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If something really blew us away, we could probably stretch to seven,

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but it would have to be "move-inable".

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That's a good, healthy sum of money for this part of the country.

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And you'll be pleased to hear we've got

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some fantastic properties to show you.

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-Do you want to take a look?

-Love to.

-Let's do it.

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Angie and Steve have a healthy budget of £700,000

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and a very precise list of requirements.

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They're after four bedrooms with enough living space to allow

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for regular entertaining and home office options for them both.

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Ideally, they'd also like enough land to house some animals,

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all wrapped up in an edge-of-village location.

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We've lined up an enticing mix of properties that aim to

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meet our couple's brief. And after each of the tours,

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they'll have to guess the price before I reveal it to them.

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Our final house is the mystery option, thrown in for good measure

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to challenge these ideals and make them reconsider their priorities.

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So, you two, how have we ended up here, driving round in a car

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in Staffordshire, looking for properties?

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Um, well, this, for us, is joining dots,

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so this is the first property we've bought together.

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That said, we moved in together on our second date.

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-Yeah.

-After our second date. So...didn't hang around.

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-I was, uh...

-Steve does not procrastinate.

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-So now it's time to fulfil a dream, I think.

-Yeah.

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And, for you, Angie, this move will bring you closer to family as well.

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It will. Although I will be leaving my two sons down on the south coast,

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my eldest, my daughter, does live in Staffordshire, um...

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And she loves it here.

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And she also has some land and animals,

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so I think, uh, it's rubbing off on me.

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But it'd be lovely to be close enough

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-to spend some more time with her.

-That's exciting. That's great.

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We're starting our property search

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in the village of Draycott in the Clay, to the east of the county,

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which has a local store with post office and two pubs,

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all surrounded by rural countryside.

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Nearby is the larger village of Tutbury,

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which lies at the foot of the medieval ruins of Tutbury Castle.

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A handful of independent shops and an antiques store sit alongside

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more practical amenities, like a mini-market and a pub.

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Just ten minutes' drive away

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and located down its own private driveway

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is where we'll find our first offering.

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It's a detached property.

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Built in 1760, originally.

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The present owners have had it for 19 years.

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It's been beautifully renovated and extended.

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-It certainly looks like a very nice property.

-Very attractive.

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Beautifully done, well-kept. It looks modern.

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It looks modern because it is modern.

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-The front part of the house is the more recent addition.

-OK.

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I've always had new properties,

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so to get a blend of modern and...

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more traditional would be lovely.

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Very attractive. In a lovely location.

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We have noticed that it does have a neighbour, at this point in time.

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Yes, there's a farm next door. Lovely couple.

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They haven't farmed it for 15 years.

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I think you'll be surprised once we go into the property,

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-and you see how it's laid out, how the gardens are laid out.

-Yeah.

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You don't feel as if you have neighbours quite so close.

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-Are you still keen to have a look inside?

-Yes.

-Yes.

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Come on.

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Dating back to the 18th century,

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this character property started life as a cottage for workers

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on the surrounding land, owned by the Duchy of Lancaster.

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'Although the extension at the front was added during the 1980s,

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'it is a sympathetic design in keeping with the house's history.'

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OK, come on. Straight into the living room.

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So this is the new part of the building.

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-These are old, reclaimed oak beams.

-OK.

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Just to give it that older feel to the property.

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Lovely, cosy log burning stove.

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It's certainly very welcoming and cosy.

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If this is the main lounge,

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probably smaller than I had in my mind, what we were looking for.

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It is a small space on its own, but if we go through here,

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we have a lovely sunroom as well.

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Sun...travels right over here during the day,

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so it's always warm and light and bright.

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-You can't help but want to imagine your own furniture in...

-Yeah.

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.. and coming in the door and having your glass of wine.

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I'm trying to get the flow of the property.

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Certainly, it's very...it is cosy, it's very nice.

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Very nicely presented.

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I just want to see more of it, see how it all works.

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OK, well, let's go on with the flow because there is

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a definite flow to it.

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So we come through from those rooms

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-to a cosy snug.

-OK.

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I'd be hard pressed to choose which room to sit in, though,

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-because they're fairly similar.

-Yeah.

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You could sit in one each, couldn't you?

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Hopefully not, but you know!

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Now, I'm conscious that there are a lot of rooms here,

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but I do think that they have a feeling of flowing in

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from one to the other.

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Well, it does seem to flow so far.

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There's not going to be doors that are going, so far, remain closed.

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-Closed, yeah.

-And rooms unused.

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-Angie, I know the kitchen matters to you.

-It does.

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You're keen to do lots of cooking, lots of entertaining.

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-Shall we go and take a look?

-Yes, please.

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Also on the ground floor, there's a formal dining room,

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handy for hosting their guests,

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and a study which could be useful

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for either Angie or Steve to work in from home.

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-Is this your kind of kitchen, Angie?

-It's beautiful.

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Great size, beautiful quality. Beautifully done.

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-It's got your range.

-It's got the range.

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I can see me...

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-cooking up something lovely there.

-Definitely.

-Yeah.

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This is a good social space. Very nice.

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Anything that you'd, you know, would you change about it?

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I'd put a wine fridge in, probably.

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-It's beautiful.

-OK, you've got an idea for the flow of the space.

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How is that working for you so far?

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It's nice.

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I think, from my side, the way the living space is laid out into

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the sunroom and two lounges, isn't perhaps as open as I had in my mind.

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But it is done to a very high standard.

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I think we need to head upstairs,

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because wait until you see the views from some of the bedrooms.

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So, come on, let's go up.

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On the first floor, there are four immaculately finished bedrooms.

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Three good-sized, lovely lit doubles and one single.

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There's also a stylish bathroom, complete with freestanding bath.

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The master bedroom's down in the new extension.

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'We're heading to the largest of the four bedrooms.'

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They're real views.

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From both windows.

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Really pretty.

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A very nice modern en suite.

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You might notice that the house has just been decorated.

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It's really only in the last few months - new carpet,

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new wallpaper, it's all freshly painted.

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-I think the owners have got lovely taste.

-They have, indeed.

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Very homely. And very welcoming.

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You probably want a bigger bedroom.

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-I probably would want a bigger bedroom. Yeah.

-Yeah.

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You tend not to get, unless you're looking at

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-a Victorian, Edwardian property, those really big rooms.

-Yeah.

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-It's all about the compromise!

-I know!

-It is.

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-It's all about the compromise. Yeah.

-Lovely.

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Let me show you the garden,

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-and let's have a chat about the subject of land.

-OK.

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The manicured garden here sits within an acre of land,

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and includes a good-sized lawn, vegetable plot and a duck pond.

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I know our buyers are after more land than on offer here,

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but I've got a potential solution up my sleeve.

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It does sit in the middle of land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster,

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and there is a possibility of renting a field,

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some fields, off them.

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Would that appeal?

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I think, if it was an adjacent field, and depending on the size,

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that's a possibility.

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-There's also stables and a livery, a mile away, just up the lane.

-OK.

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So if you did want to get horses straightaway,

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-there's definitely somewhere that you could keep them.

-OK.

-Yeah.

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It's beautifully proportioned, and you're spoilt for places to sit.

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-And spoilt for which view to look out.

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

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I think the best elevation of the property as well.

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Really? That's interesting, because this, of course,

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-is the original front of the property.

-OK.

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-Let's come to the tricky part.

-Mmm.

0:16:290:16:31

-Let's guess the price!

-OK.

0:16:310:16:34

I think because we're on the east side of Staffordshire,

0:16:340:16:37

near the Derbyshire border,

0:16:370:16:39

the price is going to be slightly higher.

0:16:390:16:41

So I'm going to go with 625.

0:16:410:16:44

OK. Angie?

0:16:440:16:45

I agree, I think house prices in this area

0:16:450:16:48

are a little bit more...

0:16:480:16:51

expensive.

0:16:510:16:52

So I will... It's a tough one.

0:16:520:16:55

I'll go with 635.

0:16:550:16:57

It is a more expensive part of the county.

0:16:570:16:59

It's actually on the market for 675.

0:16:590:17:02

What do you think now you know that?

0:17:020:17:05

It doesn't surprise me, really.

0:17:050:17:08

Because there are still too many compromises,

0:17:080:17:10

I think I would probably continue my search.

0:17:100:17:14

-It's not grabbing you in the heart, is it?

-It's not, no.

0:17:140:17:16

You haven't got that gut feeling for it.

0:17:160:17:19

I think you should still go back, have a look around,

0:17:190:17:21

just appreciate those beautiful views,

0:17:210:17:23

-and then it's on with the search.

-Thank you.

-OK. Thank you.

0:17:230:17:26

£25,000 below the top

0:17:290:17:31

of their budget,

0:17:310:17:33

this immaculate character cottage,

0:17:330:17:35

with four bedrooms,

0:17:350:17:36

multiple living areas,

0:17:360:17:37

office space

0:17:370:17:38

and a large country kitchen,

0:17:380:17:40

would provide the blend of old and new

0:17:400:17:43

that Angie and Steve are after.

0:17:430:17:44

Outside, the gardens are surrounded

0:17:440:17:46

by beautiful views

0:17:460:17:47

of the countryside,

0:17:470:17:49

and a home to a few chickens.

0:17:490:17:51

-Great views.

-You've got your space for the chickens.

-Yes.

0:17:520:17:56

-And your duck. Oh, look, this gate here.

-Yep.

0:17:560:17:58

Goes right through out to...

0:17:580:18:01

-the field.

-That's good space.

0:18:010:18:03

I mean, that is a pretty big field.

0:18:030:18:05

-You could get a horse or three on there.

-Yeah.

0:18:050:18:07

But you'd have to put the other animals in with them.

0:18:070:18:09

It's nice, the fact that it's not just open fields,

0:18:090:18:12

that there is, you know, it's broken countryside,

0:18:120:18:14

undulating hills.

0:18:140:18:16

-It's good.

-Mm.

-Good space.

0:18:160:18:19

I felt the inside,

0:18:190:18:20

for me, was limited in terms of the flow and the space.

0:18:200:18:23

Having more...

0:18:230:18:25

accessibility within that living space would be better.

0:18:250:18:29

When I first saw the house,

0:18:310:18:32

I thought it looked really attractive, beautifully kept.

0:18:320:18:35

The interiors have just been done up so beautifully. Great quality.

0:18:350:18:39

The grounds are beautiful, well tended.

0:18:390:18:41

Just a little bit too much garden for me, rather than not enough land.

0:18:410:18:45

Any change of heart?

0:18:480:18:51

No. Come on, let's look at the next one!

0:18:530:18:55

THEY LAUGH

0:18:550:18:56

The Staffordshire countryside has been shaped

0:19:020:19:05

by its working landscape.

0:19:050:19:07

Arable and pastoral farms are both common throughout the county.

0:19:070:19:11

And Angie and Steve are keen to find out more

0:19:110:19:14

about what the land could offer them.

0:19:140:19:16

So we've arranged for them to meet Louise Fletcher-Chard,

0:19:160:19:19

who runs a small educational farm in the heart of the county,

0:19:190:19:22

helping people with learning disabilities.

0:19:220:19:25

She started with just two horses, but now her land is home

0:19:250:19:29

to five other types of livestock, including sheep, pigs and poultry.

0:19:290:19:33

So tell me about Sherratts Wood.

0:19:370:19:38

Well, we are not a traditional working farm.

0:19:380:19:40

We are helping some of the most vulnerable people

0:19:400:19:42

in our community, with learning disabilities,

0:19:420:19:45

mental health problems, brain injury,

0:19:450:19:47

to develop the skills to live an ordinary life.

0:19:470:19:49

So they learn about teamwork, they learn about communication,

0:19:490:19:52

and they do that through the animals.

0:19:520:19:54

What sort of activities do you do on a daily basis

0:19:540:19:56

-with your participants?

-They get involved in everything we do.

0:19:560:19:59

Mucking out pigs, feeding all the animals.

0:19:590:20:02

So these are some of our Portland sheep.

0:20:040:20:07

Would you say sheep make good companions, or best left alone?

0:20:070:20:10

You can see in here we've got a pygmy goat in with them,

0:20:100:20:13

and I think as long as the companion animal that comes in

0:20:130:20:16

isn't aggressive or too assertive,

0:20:160:20:18

the sheep tend to be quite accepting of them, really.

0:20:180:20:21

-Would these be suited for us?

-Oh, yes, they're a really good Smallholders breed,

0:20:210:20:25

the Portlands. They are really easy to look after.

0:20:250:20:27

You really don't need to be up early to look after sheep.

0:20:270:20:30

They just get fed once. Generally, for us,

0:20:300:20:33

-it is midday, that sort of time.

-Right.

-Very civilised.

0:20:330:20:36

Yes, indeed.

0:20:360:20:37

To keep any farm animal on your land, you need a holding number

0:20:370:20:40

and must follow regulations

0:20:400:20:42

and guidelines set out by animal health authorities such as Defra.

0:20:420:20:46

Lambing season is underway at Sherratts Wood,

0:20:460:20:49

and although Angie and Steve aren't thinking about breeding sheep,

0:20:490:20:52

let's hope they don't become too attached to these little beauties.

0:20:520:20:56

-Do you want to hold?

-Yeah.

0:20:560:20:57

-And how old is he?

-This is Zara,

0:20:590:21:02

and she was born on Friday - she is only four days old.

0:21:020:21:05

And this is Zed, who's three weeks old.

0:21:050:21:07

You can see the difference already.

0:21:070:21:08

-So they get used to being handled really quickly

-Oh, yeah.

0:21:080:21:12

At what point are they weaned?

0:21:120:21:14

They generally will wean themselves, this breed.

0:21:140:21:17

Come on then, Zed.

0:21:170:21:19

But we tend to give them sort of four months, maybe a bit more,

0:21:190:21:22

depending on how well they're getting on, and then...

0:21:220:21:24

and then we'll separate them for a little bit.

0:21:240:21:27

OK, ladies. So if you want to come with me,

0:21:270:21:29

I'll take you to see some other animals

0:21:290:21:31

-that I think might suit you.

-Thank you.

0:21:310:21:33

In the mid-1800s, Shetland ponies were brought to Staffordshire

0:21:330:21:36

and other counties to work in the coal mines

0:21:360:21:39

instead of children and women, who by then were prohibited by law.

0:21:390:21:43

Their strength and size made them perfect for passing through

0:21:430:21:46

low underground tunnels, hauling truckloads of coal.

0:21:460:21:50

Today, they're simply loved as family pets or used to

0:21:500:21:53

entertain children with rides at country fairs.

0:21:530:21:56

So how much land do these guys need?

0:21:560:21:58

They don't need an awful lot of grazing, half an acre,

0:21:580:22:01

you'd be absolutely great. They're like a garden variety, really.

0:22:010:22:04

So would they make good companions for a horse?

0:22:040:22:06

Oh, brilliant, yeah. Really playful with other horses as well.

0:22:060:22:09

Although they do tend to think that they're bigger than they

0:22:090:22:11

actually are, so they do tend to be quite cheeky.

0:22:110:22:15

The docile nature of Shetlands means

0:22:150:22:17

that they're low-maintenance for owners.

0:22:170:22:20

Once a month, they need to be

0:22:200:22:21

brushed from head to tail to remove mud

0:22:210:22:23

and check that they're healthy.

0:22:230:22:25

So, if you want to get your brushes,

0:22:250:22:28

and just give her a little bit of a brush?

0:22:280:22:30

And you can use that one, Angie, to do her mane, actually.

0:22:320:22:35

It works well.

0:22:350:22:36

This is the type of time where we would just check

0:22:400:22:42

-whether they're feeling a bit fat.

-OK.

0:22:420:22:45

I would also have a look at their feet, as well.

0:22:450:22:48

So we'd run our hands down, pick their feet up,

0:22:480:22:51

just make sure that they looked OK, making sure that the nose is clear,

0:22:510:22:55

looking really healthy, nice bright eyes.

0:22:550:22:58

She's looking happy.

0:22:580:23:00

Thank you so much for sharing your animals with us.

0:23:000:23:02

-Thank you very much.

-You're welcome.

0:23:020:23:04

With a better understanding of what it takes to keep farm animals,

0:23:040:23:07

it's back to the property search to see if Angie and Steve

0:23:070:23:10

can find a place with enough land

0:23:100:23:12

to live out their very own countryside dream.

0:23:120:23:15

For our next stop, we're travelling west to the village of Standon,

0:23:190:23:22

just four miles from Eccleshall, where Angie's daughter lives.

0:23:220:23:26

Lying in a conservation area,

0:23:260:23:28

Eccleshall is a thriving market town, featuring many attractive

0:23:280:23:31

Georgian-fronted buildings neatly lining its high street.

0:23:310:23:35

The town offers a range of local stores,

0:23:350:23:38

a sweet shop and a variety of pubs and restaurants.

0:23:380:23:41

Back in Standon, the River Sow meanders around the edge

0:23:410:23:44

of the village, just a few minutes' drive from our house.

0:23:440:23:47

A sprawling property, which is best appreciated from the rear.

0:23:470:23:52

Now, this is the property that I've brought you both to see.

0:23:520:23:55

-What are your initial thoughts on it?

-It's a house.

0:23:550:23:58

It's a house!

0:23:580:24:01

I notice you said house rather than home!

0:24:010:24:03

-It's modern.

-Yeah. More modern than expecting.

0:24:030:24:06

Part of the reason we're here is because of the location.

0:24:060:24:09

-It's ten minutes from Eccleshall...

-OK.

-..which...

-Perfect area.

0:24:090:24:13

-..I know you know well.

-The right location.

0:24:130:24:15

-Because your daughter is in Eccleshall, isn't she?

-Indeed.

0:24:150:24:18

You've said it's a house.

0:24:180:24:20

Are you interested to see if it feels like a home inside?

0:24:200:24:22

-Indeed, yes.

-Yes. We must.

0:24:220:24:23

OK, come on, let's go and look.

0:24:230:24:25

Formerly two cottages built in the 1930s,

0:24:250:24:28

this modern property was made into a single dwelling in 1997.

0:24:280:24:32

The exterior may not have impressed our buyers,

0:24:320:24:35

but I'm hoping the open-plan layout inside will be more to their taste.

0:24:350:24:39

So I'll bring you in through the folding doors,

0:24:410:24:43

into a lovely big, spacious family room, kitchen-diner.

0:24:430:24:48

It is a great size space.

0:24:480:24:50

And just come in here,

0:24:500:24:51

because I want you to get a better idea of how the space works.

0:24:510:24:54

-And there is a lot of it.

-And it flows.

-It does flow.

0:24:540:24:59

It's a good, open space.

0:24:590:25:00

-Could you imagine yourselves in here?

-Yes.

-Yes.

0:25:000:25:04

-Don't looked so surprised.

-THEY LAUGH

0:25:040:25:07

Slightly am, actually.

0:25:070:25:09

That isn't the response I was necessarily expecting...

0:25:090:25:13

-after we talked outside.

-No, it is nice.

-Open minds.

0:25:130:25:17

When there's just two of us for the majority of the time, it's

0:25:170:25:20

nice to be able to have somewhere to sit, to eat, to relax,

0:25:200:25:23

without moving too much.

0:25:230:25:24

And on the subject of places to sit, that's something that this house

0:25:240:25:27

isn't short of, so let me show you another one of them.

0:25:270:25:30

OK.

0:25:300:25:32

'Flowing on through from the kitchen,

0:25:320:25:34

'the dining area should be spacious enough for their dinner guests.'

0:25:340:25:37

-This is your sitting room.

-OK.

0:25:370:25:39

And I think because the house is so open and airy,

0:25:390:25:43

what I liked about it was the cosy feel that it has in here,

0:25:430:25:46

that when it is a cold winter's night, you come and lock yourself away in here.

0:25:460:25:50

-Yeah.

-Yes, it's lovely. I agree totally.

0:25:500:25:55

Yes. And it does flow. It does flow.

0:25:550:25:57

It definitely flows. This is the more formal...

0:25:570:26:01

evening, cosy.

0:26:010:26:04

Yes, warm.

0:26:040:26:05

-Guess we should look upstairs.

-I think we should.

0:26:050:26:07

Yes, that's a good cue. Come on. Follow on.

0:26:070:26:10

'Also on the ground floor, there's a large study with an adjoining

0:26:120:26:15

'conservatory overlooking the garden.

0:26:150:26:18

'Back through the entrance hall, we're heading upstairs.

0:26:180:26:22

'All five bedrooms are good-sized doubles.

0:26:220:26:24

'One is currently used as a twin,

0:26:240:26:27

'whilst another is used as a dressing area.

0:26:270:26:29

'A further roomy double benefits from its own en suite,

0:26:290:26:32

'and there's also a family bathroom.'

0:26:320:26:34

-Now, I'm going to show you what is the master bedroom.

-It is a good size.

0:26:350:26:39

-Yeah, good size.

-How do you feel about the fact that this house

0:26:390:26:42

has got five bedrooms?

0:26:420:26:45

-See what we... Maybe we can make them into three.

-Or make it into four.

0:26:450:26:49

You're talking about knocking walls down?!

0:26:490:26:51

THEY LAUGH

0:26:510:26:53

Five bedrooms would be wasted, so we'd have to look at what

0:26:530:26:57

we could do in terms of just making some bigger rooms, but fewer.

0:26:570:27:01

There's a lot of improvements that can be made.

0:27:010:27:03

I'm going to take you downstairs, out into the garden. I have an idea I'd like to talk to you about.

0:27:030:27:07

I know you seem quite receptive to ideas and knocking things down and building things.

0:27:070:27:11

OK.

0:27:110:27:13

After a shaky start, Angie and Steve seem to be appreciating

0:27:130:27:16

the full potential of this property.

0:27:160:27:19

With a garden of half an acre, there isn't enough room to keep sheep,

0:27:190:27:22

but there is a duck pond and enough space for chickens

0:27:220:27:25

and goats to roam amongst the established garden and woodland.

0:27:250:27:29

As well as a large lawned area and a patio for dining outdoors.

0:27:290:27:33

I was quite pleasantly surprised inside with the reaction from

0:27:340:27:38

the two of you, but I sense it was the outside that didn't grab you straightaway.

0:27:380:27:43

Yes, the kerbside appeal doesn't get it for me, but inside works.

0:27:430:27:46

Just coming back to the kerb appeal of the house, how familiar are you

0:27:460:27:49

-with the New England-style property, those wooden-clad properties?

-OK.

0:27:490:27:54

-The beach house type.

-Yeah. I like that.

0:27:540:27:57

Because I think the shape of the house, and particularly with

0:27:570:28:00

all those gables, lends itself to perhaps being clad in wood.

0:28:000:28:04

You could cedar-clad it, you could paint it

0:28:040:28:06

and give it that kind of very, you know, New England feel.

0:28:060:28:10

Yeah, sounds good.

0:28:100:28:12

I like your thinking.

0:28:120:28:13

Could potentially change how you view it from the outside quite dramatically.

0:28:130:28:18

-Yeah.

-Yes.

-But, of course,

0:28:180:28:20

that would all depend on how much money you have left in your budget.

0:28:200:28:23

-Ah.

-Always.

0:28:230:28:25

So, shall we move on to that one?

0:28:250:28:29

Oh! It's a whole lot of house.

0:28:290:28:32

So I'm going to tip my hat at 675.

0:28:320:28:36

I'm going to go lower than that. I'm going to say 640.

0:28:360:28:40

OK, you're both under, actually.

0:28:400:28:44

It was on the market for £725,000.

0:28:440:28:48

It was reduced a year ago to £695,000.

0:28:480:28:52

I'm sort of surprised.

0:28:520:28:56

-But not wholly.

-Because it is a lot.

0:28:560:28:59

It's a lot of bedrooms, a lot of house.

0:28:590:29:01

Are you getting that slightly more emotional feel that you

0:29:010:29:04

didn't necessarily get with the last property?

0:29:040:29:06

Yeah, it's a lot more interesting.

0:29:060:29:09

It has a lot more scope for change.

0:29:090:29:12

Why don't you two go back inside, have a chat about knocking

0:29:120:29:16

walls down, putting cedar cladding on, have a think?

0:29:160:29:20

-OK.

-That's lovely.

-I'll see you soon.

0:29:200:29:22

£5,000 under our couple's maximum budget, this modern detached

0:29:260:29:30

property has five bedrooms, open-plan kitchen and living spaces

0:29:300:29:35

and home office options that seem to suit their desired lifestyle.

0:29:350:29:39

Although well-presented throughout,

0:29:390:29:41

it appears to offer the potential for our buyers to make it their own.

0:29:410:29:45

A-ha.

0:29:470:29:49

-OK, the office.

-Potential office.

0:29:490:29:51

Interesting why it runs into the conservatory.

0:29:510:29:54

Not quite sure how that works.

0:29:560:29:59

You know what, if you just took this whole little section out and

0:29:590:30:02

then pushed everything together...

0:30:020:30:04

Yeah, lose this fifth of the property,

0:30:040:30:06

-lose the bedroom above it, and then it starts to...

-To work.

0:30:060:30:10

But this is one of those rooms that potentially wouldn't be used.

0:30:100:30:14

'My initial thoughts, when I saw the property,

0:30:140:30:16

'were, it's a modern, purpose-built house.'

0:30:160:30:20

So I was a little bit disappointed when we first saw it.

0:30:200:30:23

However, when we came inside, the space downstairs was beautiful.

0:30:230:30:29

The kitchen and social living space was excellent.

0:30:290:30:32

Lovely hallway and dining area and beautiful sitting-room.

0:30:320:30:36

It is pretty much perfect in terms of its flow and its space.

0:30:360:30:41

The ground floor of the house has been given some love and care,

0:30:410:30:44

but upstairs, I think it needs quite a bit of attention.

0:30:440:30:47

I think the property needs some work

0:30:470:30:49

to turn it into the perfect home for us.

0:30:490:30:52

In part because of the excess number of bedrooms,

0:30:520:30:55

and outside doesn't have the... doesn't have the separate

0:30:550:30:58

office space, and of course there's no adjoining land for the animals.

0:30:580:31:04

Oh, no, you're going to make me get up from this lovely sunny spot,

0:31:050:31:07

-aren't you?

-Up you come.

-So have you seen enough

0:31:070:31:11

-to get some thoughts about it?

-Yes, I think we have.

0:31:110:31:13

We've spent some good time walking around the house.

0:31:130:31:17

You're quite cagey, you two, you're not giving much away at this point.

0:31:170:31:20

I think it is probably time for a glass of wine

0:31:200:31:22

and some mulling over.

0:31:220:31:24

Glass of wine, sleep on it - sounds good to me.

0:31:240:31:27

Angie and Steve, from the town of Christchurch in Dorset,

0:31:330:31:37

have a budget of up to £700,000 and they are itching to buy their

0:31:370:31:41

first home together in rural Staffordshire.

0:31:410:31:43

Coming up, our mystery property throws uncertainty into the mix...

0:31:430:31:48

-You've gone very quiet on me.

-I know.

0:31:480:31:50

I can hear your brain whirring, almost.

0:31:500:31:53

And I get to grips with the county's most iconic of

0:31:530:31:56

agricultural monster machines.

0:31:560:31:59

-It's like driving a really big automatic car.

-Exactly!

0:31:590:32:03

We didn't quite get things right yesterday.

0:32:030:32:06

Angie and Steve have got a really healthy budget

0:32:060:32:09

for this part of the country.

0:32:090:32:11

But they also have a very healthy wish list,

0:32:110:32:13

which they're not prepared to compromise on.

0:32:130:32:15

But I've got high hopes for today's two properties,

0:32:150:32:18

particularly the mystery house, which I think will offer them

0:32:180:32:21

that elusive flow that they are after.

0:32:210:32:23

As long as they can live with the neighbours.

0:32:230:32:25

But before we get to the mystery house, for our next property stop,

0:32:250:32:29

we are travelling north and hopping over the border into Cheshire.

0:32:290:32:33

Our destination is the village of Bridgemere, which has great

0:32:330:32:37

road and rail connections for Angie and Steve's work.

0:32:370:32:41

Nearby is the village of Audlem,

0:32:410:32:43

with a run of 15 locks on the Shropshire Union Canal.

0:32:430:32:47

There are canalside pubs and it attracts thousands of visitors annually.

0:32:470:32:51

The high street has a delicatessen, local stores and post office.

0:32:510:32:55

And five miles away is the house I want to show them.

0:32:550:32:58

-It certainly has Steve's kerbside appeal.

-Yes.

0:33:030:33:06

It looks really lovely.

0:33:060:33:07

It's a 1960s house, but it's got a lot of character going on,

0:33:070:33:10

-which I know would appeal to you two.

-Yes.

-Yes, indeed.

0:33:100:33:13

-Well, shall we see if you're still smiling when we get inside?

-Yes.

0:33:130:33:16

-Yes, absolutely.

-Come on.

0:33:160:33:18

'Over the ten years that the current owners have lived here,

0:33:180:33:21

'they have scoured reclamation yards for timeless pieces to add a sense

0:33:210:33:25

'of tradition and rustic charm

0:33:250:33:27

'to the exterior and interior of the house.'

0:33:270:33:30

You come into a really good-sized entrance hall.

0:33:300:33:33

I'm going to show you, first of all, the main family room.

0:33:330:33:36

-It doesn't look like a 1960s property.

-No.

0:33:360:33:39

-An exciting property. Like it.

-How do you feel?

0:33:390:33:41

-You actually imagine yourselves cosying down here?

-Yes.

-Definitely.

0:33:410:33:45

This actually isn't the largest living and entertaining space.

0:33:450:33:48

That's just round here, so follow me.

0:33:480:33:51

-You've got this substantial-sized dining room.

-Beautiful.

0:33:520:33:57

And then this brings us through

0:33:570:33:59

to this really lovely summer room, a snug.

0:33:590:34:03

Again, lots of great features found in those reclamation yards...

0:34:030:34:08

And still lots of light.

0:34:080:34:09

Because even though there's a lot of wood and quite dark wood, it's...

0:34:090:34:12

-There's lots of light coming in.

-Yeah.

0:34:120:34:14

It's got this quite modern feel, I think,

0:34:140:34:16

-which is in contrast.

-Mmm. It's beautiful.

-It's good.

0:34:160:34:19

It's got great personality.

0:34:190:34:21

The doors are lovely, they open out on both sides,

0:34:210:34:24

one onto the garden, the other onto the patio area that gets

0:34:240:34:26

-the sun all day and it's a fantastic barbecue spot.

-OK.

0:34:260:34:30

-Well, you've got smiles on your faces and your eyes are lighting up...

-Yeah.

0:34:300:34:34

It's really homely. Quirky.

0:34:340:34:36

OK, well, I know kitchen is important, particularly to you, Angie,

0:34:360:34:40

-so I bet you're keen to take a look at that.

-I'm very keen now.

-Yeah.

0:34:400:34:44

'Back through the dining hall, there's also a large utility room,

0:34:440:34:47

'and I'm hoping the positive vibes I'm getting from Angie and Steve

0:34:470:34:51

'are going to keep coming.'

0:34:510:34:53

-Wow.

-Is this your style, Angie?

0:34:530:34:55

Yeah, yeah, I think the set-out's OK.

0:34:550:34:57

It'd be nice if it was a little bit bigger, but doable.

0:34:570:35:00

And what about the elusive flow that we've been talking a lot of?

0:35:000:35:03

Are you getting a feel that the house has a flow?

0:35:030:35:05

I think it has the warm feel, it's welcoming

0:35:050:35:08

and because it's open space, going through the dining hall

0:35:080:35:12

-towards the sunroom, it's...

-It still works.

0:35:120:35:15

-OK. You keen to see upstairs?

-Yes.

-Yes.

0:35:150:35:17

Let's go and look at the bedrooms.

0:35:170:35:19

We're heading upstairs to where there are four bedrooms in total.

0:35:220:35:26

The three double bedrooms, although full of character,

0:35:260:35:29

don't lack in space and light.

0:35:290:35:31

There's also an airy single and a wood-panelled bathroom.

0:35:310:35:37

So, I want to show you the master suite,

0:35:370:35:39

which I know is something that you were both quite keen on.

0:35:390:35:42

As you can see, this has got lots of space.

0:35:420:35:45

It's got a good-sized en suite just round the corner, there.

0:35:450:35:48

-Is this the kind of thing you had in mind?

-Perfect.

-He's happy.

0:35:480:35:51

HE LAUGHS

0:35:510:35:52

-If he's happy, I'm happy.

-What do you like about it?

0:35:520:35:56

-Space, character...

-As I say, the mix of space is right.

0:35:560:35:59

This is the perfect-sized bedroom.

0:35:590:36:01

One of the things yesterday that I know was

0:36:010:36:03

a bit of an issue for both of you, was office space.

0:36:030:36:06

-Because in an ideal world, you'd rather not have the bedroom next door...

-No.

0:36:060:36:10

..becoming the office.

0:36:100:36:12

I'm happy to say that that's not a problem that you'll face in this house.

0:36:120:36:15

-OK.

-So, come on, let me show you the office.

-OK.

0:36:150:36:17

Got to go back downstairs.

0:36:190:36:21

The office is built above the double garage, which is attached to the house.

0:36:210:36:25

Stylish in its finish, it's spacious enough

0:36:250:36:27

for a double bed and a smart en suite.

0:36:270:36:31

-So, is this the kind of thing you had in mind?

-Yeah.

-Perfect.

0:36:310:36:35

-Yeah, absolutely.

-Lots of daylight.

-Yeah, it's nice.

0:36:350:36:38

-Doesn't need anything doing to it.

-THEY LAUGH

0:36:380:36:40

-Yeah, that's good.

-Nice views.

-Yeah.

-Brilliant.

0:36:400:36:43

There's actually, attached to the house, a separate one-bedroom annexe.

0:36:430:36:48

It's a really good size and gives you another alternative

0:36:480:36:51

for an office space, or you could have one each.

0:36:510:36:54

So we've got to go back out into the garden and we'll wander through

0:36:540:36:56

-and take a look at it.

-Right.

-Perfect.

-OK.

0:36:560:36:59

Back outside, and with its very own entrance,

0:36:590:37:02

the annexe here isn't shy of space, either.

0:37:020:37:05

There's a good-size studio-style living area with a

0:37:050:37:08

fully fitted kitchen, compact shower room and a double bedroom.

0:37:080:37:13

BELL RINGS

0:37:130:37:15

Come on into the one-bedroomed annexe.

0:37:160:37:20

So is this a welcome addition, or actually something

0:37:200:37:22

that you think you wouldn't use?

0:37:220:37:24

I think it's a welcome addition, if we were to make this the office space,

0:37:240:37:29

because there's a lot of room in here to

0:37:290:37:31

actually have office and meeting space.

0:37:310:37:34

-Which is what you wanted.

-Absolutely. Choices now.

-Yeah.

0:37:340:37:38

-But you haven't seen the garden yet.

-OK.

0:37:380:37:40

While the house here gives them super-size proportions,

0:37:400:37:44

the compromise is on the land.

0:37:440:37:46

The secluded and tranquil garden makes up

0:37:460:37:49

three quarters of an acre, and is mostly lawned,

0:37:490:37:51

surrounded by established trees and also features a charming brook.

0:37:510:37:56

There's not enough space for a horse, but there could be, next door.

0:37:560:38:00

The neighbour keeps horses, she has stables

0:38:000:38:02

-and she's got a number of paddocks at the back of the house.

-Right.

0:38:020:38:05

Who knows, you could have a conversation with her...

0:38:050:38:07

-You're smiling still! That's good.

-Still smiling, yeah.

0:38:070:38:10

THEY LAUGH

0:38:100:38:12

-Yeah.

-No, I think that might have to be the compromise.

0:38:120:38:14

It's got a good space.

0:38:140:38:16

And now, I think we need to talk about the price, don't we?

0:38:160:38:19

Yes.

0:38:190:38:21

It is a lot of property,

0:38:210:38:23

and I think it's going to be over our budget at 725.

0:38:230:38:25

It is a beautiful house, a lot of house and lovely grounds,

0:38:250:38:29

so I'm going to...push up to 750.

0:38:290:38:31

-Are you?

-Mmm.

-OK.

0:38:310:38:33

Well, you'll be both very pleased to hear that this property is actually

0:38:350:38:39

under your budget.

0:38:390:38:41

It's on at £650,000.

0:38:410:38:44

-That's good news.

-Yeah, that's very good news.

0:38:440:38:47

Why don't you go and have a look around?

0:38:470:38:49

There's so much to see.

0:38:490:38:51

Under budget by £50,000, this modern, quirky, character property

0:38:530:38:58

with four bedrooms has more space inside

0:38:580:39:01

than Angie and Steve could have wished for.

0:39:010:39:04

With a fabulous master bedroom suite,

0:39:040:39:06

two potential home offices

0:39:060:39:08

and set within a beautiful,

0:39:080:39:10

secluded location,

0:39:100:39:11

this house is a strong contender.

0:39:110:39:14

Stunning. Absolutely perfect.

0:39:160:39:19

-Yes, the babbling brook.

-Whoa!

0:39:190:39:21

Oh! Big fail.

0:39:210:39:23

-Just brilliant.

-Amazing.

0:39:230:39:25

Ticking the boxes as I walked through.

0:39:270:39:29

The gates, the gravel driveway, the kerbside appeal,

0:39:290:39:33

recognising the space that it's got.

0:39:330:39:35

The annexe is an additional part of the property that we hadn't expected,

0:39:350:39:40

but would make extremely good working space.

0:39:400:39:43

And then the space above the garage could become a cinema room

0:39:430:39:46

or some kind of games room or additional accommodation for guests.

0:39:460:39:50

Overall, I would say we are nine-and-a-half out of ten.

0:39:500:39:54

Great property.

0:39:540:39:56

There are really modern features in the house and some really great

0:39:560:39:59

traditional ones, so I can have my balance of quirkiness and modern.

0:39:590:40:03

I love the outside space, it is not manicured,

0:40:030:40:06

but it is beautifully kept.

0:40:060:40:08

You've got the space for the chooks and the ducks.

0:40:080:40:11

Got lots of social space. Yeah, very nice.

0:40:110:40:14

Of the properties that we've seen, this probably sums Steve and I up.

0:40:140:40:18

It's got the space, it's got the ability for us to

0:40:180:40:21

put even more personality into it and it has a lot of character.

0:40:210:40:25

It's warm, it's different and we love it.

0:40:250:40:28

-Have you seen enough?

-Yes, thank you.

-I really like those positive smiles.

0:40:310:40:35

-Very good property.

-And we've still one more to show you.

-Wow.

0:40:350:40:38

For our mystery house, we are staying within Cheshire,

0:40:460:40:48

but heading north to the hamlet of Hunsterson.

0:40:480:40:51

Nearby is the market town of Nantwich,

0:40:510:40:55

whose centre is made up of over 130 listed buildings,

0:40:550:40:58

including many preserved black-and-white timber-frame structures.

0:40:580:41:03

A popular local town,

0:41:030:41:05

the busy high street is home to everything our couple would need.

0:41:050:41:09

Seven miles away and overlooking wide-open views

0:41:090:41:12

is our final proposition.

0:41:120:41:15

So, here we have the mystery house.

0:41:150:41:19

It's a beautiful detached, period barn conversation.

0:41:190:41:22

It was renovated six years ago and it's done to an incredibly high standard.

0:41:220:41:26

What are your first thoughts?

0:41:260:41:30

It pushes all my buttons for modern and sleek and...

0:41:300:41:34

Which is possibly what I was trying to get away from,

0:41:340:41:36

so it's going to cause me a problem.

0:41:360:41:38

Yes. What about you, Steve? Because you...

0:41:380:41:40

No, I like it. I like the look of it.

0:41:400:41:42

Yeah, we considered barn conversations

0:41:420:41:44

and this certainly... Yeah, it looks impressive.

0:41:440:41:47

One of the really strong points about this property, I think,

0:41:470:41:50

is that you've got this stunning rural location.

0:41:500:41:53

-I mean, could you wake up and look at those views every day?

-Very nice.

0:41:530:41:56

Lovely. And it's so quiet and secluded.

0:41:560:42:00

Very attractive.

0:42:000:42:02

-Well laid out.

-Yeah. The development looks nice.

0:42:020:42:05

Even though they've got the neighbours, it looks immaculate.

0:42:050:42:09

I think you're going to like the inside.

0:42:090:42:11

-Are you keen to have a look?

-Oh, yes.

-Yes.

0:42:110:42:13

I think you're going to be smiling.

0:42:130:42:15

Set within a small development of four barn conversions,

0:42:150:42:18

the mystery element is the close proximity of neighbours.

0:42:180:42:22

However, with such a smart and open-plan interior to consider,

0:42:220:42:26

maybe Angie and Steve will be seduced by its impressive interior design.

0:42:260:42:30

-So you come straight into this amazing entrance space.

-Wow.

0:42:300:42:34

It's a dining hall, isn't it?

0:42:340:42:37

And straightaway in here, you will get an idea and

0:42:370:42:40

a look and feel for the fact that this has a flow!

0:42:400:42:43

-Yes, yes.

-It does have a flow.

0:42:430:42:46

Whoever lives here has beautiful taste.

0:42:460:42:49

Mmm, it's got my name on it.

0:42:490:42:52

STEVE LAUGHS

0:42:520:42:53

It couldn't be more of a contrast to the property we've just seen

0:42:530:42:56

and I do think this will challenge both of you into exactly what

0:42:560:42:59

you're prepared to compromise on.

0:42:590:43:01

So, follow me... The dining hall.

0:43:010:43:03

We come into a brilliant-sized family room.

0:43:030:43:08

It's very bright and airy for a barn conversion. What do you both think?

0:43:080:43:12

Nicely done. It is the perfect barn conversion, yeah.

0:43:120:43:17

Yeah, it doesn't feel like a barn at all.

0:43:170:43:19

That's maybe because you expect wood, beams, A-frames.

0:43:190:43:22

Well, it flows through nicely from your entertaining space, through...

0:43:220:43:28

You've got an open-plan feel into the kitchen.

0:43:280:43:31

And look, there we go.

0:43:310:43:33

Lovely ceiling height.

0:43:330:43:35

The kitchen, again, is done to a fantastic specification,

0:43:350:43:39

-good quality wooden units, nice marble worktops.

-So bright and clean.

0:43:390:43:43

-Yeah.

-Lots of light.

0:43:430:43:45

-Yeah, that's what we're looking for, in terms of...

-Oh, yeah, yeah.

0:43:450:43:48

..openness and...

0:43:480:43:50

There's another really nice sitting room that I'm going to show you,

0:43:500:43:53

so let's just wander back through the central entrance hall.

0:43:530:43:55

-It's beautifully done, isn't it?

-Yeah. It's good.

0:43:550:44:00

-The living space is good.

-It is, it's beautiful. And spacious.

0:44:000:44:06

The flow is superb.

0:44:060:44:07

The back, there, it's used as an office,

0:44:070:44:09

-so it is all kitted out as an office. It's a home office.

-OK.

0:44:090:44:12

I know the two of you are quite keen to have a separate feel to that,

0:44:120:44:15

rather than it be part of the house,

0:44:150:44:17

and one thing I thought you could do is, you would lose some light,

0:44:170:44:20

but you could take the double sets of doors out,

0:44:200:44:23

and you could put an internal wall across there, and you could access

0:44:230:44:26

the office by a separate door there at the back.

0:44:260:44:29

It would give you that separation you need.

0:44:290:44:31

You needn't know it was there, but if you really felt strongly

0:44:310:44:34

about that, you could separate it from the rest of the house.

0:44:340:44:37

-You've gone very quiet on me.

-I know.

0:44:370:44:39

STEVE LAUGHS

0:44:390:44:40

I can hear your brain whirring, almost.

0:44:400:44:42

I think it's playing to Angie's weakness in the...

0:44:420:44:46

take it immaculate...

0:44:460:44:48

It's the pristine property and it does what it is.

0:44:480:44:53

In my head, I'm thinking,

0:44:530:44:55

I want to pick this up and put it somewhere more secluded.

0:44:550:44:58

We want the mystery property to challenge you,

0:44:580:45:00

-to challenge the way you're thinking.

-It's doing that.

-I did feel that.

-Good.

0:45:000:45:03

Well, I know what a sucker you both are for a big master suite!

0:45:030:45:06

We've got one waiting upstairs for you.

0:45:060:45:10

The mystery house has divided opinion,

0:45:100:45:13

so I wonder if upstairs is going to receive harmonious reactions?

0:45:130:45:17

There are four double bedrooms, featuring the original beams

0:45:170:45:20

of the property, which give character and height to the rooms.

0:45:200:45:23

There's also a stylish family bathroom, with neutral decor,

0:45:230:45:26

but we are heading straight for the main bedroom.

0:45:260:45:29

-Here we go. How about that for an original feature?

-Oh, wow.

0:45:310:45:36

Beautiful old... It's the old A-frame.

0:45:360:45:39

-It's lovely, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:45:390:45:41

-Good character.

-And it's a good-sized bedroom, extra large.

0:45:410:45:44

-You've got an en-suite.

-Nice.

-Amazing.

0:45:440:45:46

It's still well proportioned.

0:45:460:45:48

And also, a walk-in wardrobe, just behind us there.

0:45:480:45:51

-So much light coming in.

-There is a lot of light. And a lot of character.

0:45:510:45:54

It is a good space, nice.

0:45:540:45:56

Let's go downstairs, let's explore a little bit more,

0:45:560:45:59

-and just talk about what the options could be outside.

-OK.

0:45:590:46:02

Extending to a third of an acre, the garden's proximity to open

0:46:040:46:07

fields and uninterrupted views might just prove to be of more

0:46:070:46:11

interest to Angie and Steve than first meets the eye.

0:46:110:46:15

So, back in the garden.

0:46:150:46:17

Interestingly, I think of all the properties we have seen,

0:46:170:46:20

this one gives you the best options for having some land,

0:46:200:46:24

because the local farmer owns all the fields around me,

0:46:240:46:27

-and you could potentially buy an acre here, right opposite you.

-OK.

0:46:270:46:33

We've got so much to think about now.

0:46:330:46:35

And there's a bit more we need to think about now,

0:46:350:46:37

because I need to know how much you think this property is on the market for.

0:46:370:46:41

Ooh! Is it my turn to go first? Um...

0:46:410:46:43

I'm going to be very precise and say, 649,950.

0:46:430:46:47

I'm going to go lower than that. I'm going to say 629,950.

0:46:470:46:51

Well, this evening's glass of wine goes to...Angie.

0:46:510:46:55

It's on the market for £650,000. And then, of course,

0:46:550:46:58

whatever negotiations happen with the land would be in addition to that.

0:46:580:47:02

-Absolutely.

-How does that feel, now you know that?

0:47:020:47:04

Well, clearly, it needs nothing doing to it. You'd just up and move in.

0:47:060:47:11

-Yeah.

-And...

0:47:110:47:12

I don't know how I feel about that.

0:47:140:47:15

I haven't actually seen you both this quiet over the last two days!

0:47:150:47:18

THEY LAUGH I think you need to go and digest...

0:47:180:47:20

-I feel like I've given you a lot to think about.

-You have.

0:47:200:47:23

And that's what the mystery house is supposed to do.

0:47:230:47:25

So why don't you go in, have a look around,

0:47:250:47:27

-explore the garden, go take a look over the fields?

-OK.

0:47:270:47:30

£50,000 below budget, our mystery barn conversion

0:47:330:47:36

is beautifully presented throughout

0:47:360:47:39

and has a spacious, open-plan layout with four bedrooms.

0:47:390:47:42

It has rural views, as well as

0:47:420:47:44

the opportunity to purchase land.

0:47:440:47:47

It's given them a lot to think about.

0:47:470:47:49

This property has challenged every requirement, I think,

0:47:490:47:53

we had in a house.

0:47:530:47:55

It has really given us something to think about.

0:47:550:47:58

Internally, you can't help

0:47:580:48:00

but be totally impressed by how immaculate it is.

0:48:000:48:03

It works, it flows, the spaces are big, there's loads of light.

0:48:030:48:07

I think it's probably just a bit too perfect for me.

0:48:070:48:11

It doesn't have the charm that we saw in the previous property,

0:48:110:48:16

because it seems very clinical, very clean, very immaculate, and I would like

0:48:160:48:20

to put a bit of Steve and Angie into the property to make it feel like ours.

0:48:200:48:24

-You seen everything you want to see?

-I think so.

-Good.

0:48:280:48:31

Final property done. All that's left is for us to find

0:48:310:48:34

-a nice quiet spot and have a chat.

-OK.

0:48:340:48:37

Staffordshire is home to one of the greatest British manufacturing

0:48:410:48:45

success stories of the last seven decades.

0:48:450:48:48

From humble beginnings as a small, rural business

0:48:480:48:50

selling farm trailers, the company has grown to become one of

0:48:500:48:54

the biggest names in construction and agricultural machinery,

0:48:540:48:58

and highlights how British innovation has changed

0:48:580:49:01

the face of farming and building across the globe.

0:49:010:49:04

I've come to meet Lord Anthony Bamford,

0:49:040:49:06

son of the founder, at the world headquarters,

0:49:060:49:09

to discover how the county's home-grown machines

0:49:090:49:12

have become an iconic part of the rural landscape.

0:49:120:49:15

How lovely to meet you.

0:49:150:49:17

I would love you to tell me about your father

0:49:170:49:19

and about the company that he founded, how it all came about.

0:49:190:49:22

Of course.

0:49:220:49:24

It goes back to 1820 in Uttoxeter,

0:49:240:49:27

and our family started as blacksmiths.

0:49:270:49:30

They were shoeing horses

0:49:300:49:33

and they gradually went into making things for farms.

0:49:330:49:39

In 1945, after the war, he wanted to do all sorts of modern things,

0:49:390:49:45

like welding, rather than riveting.

0:49:450:49:48

And his father got fed up with him and sacked him,

0:49:480:49:52

so he started on his own.

0:49:520:49:54

He wasn't allowed to use the name Bamford by the other members of the family,

0:49:540:49:58

so he called it JCB, and he invented this thing called a backhoe loader.

0:49:580:50:03

And that was in the early 1950s.

0:50:030:50:06

And that is when we really got into construction machinery.

0:50:060:50:10

Worldwide in their distribution, with 12 factories in Britain,

0:50:100:50:14

the Bamford family have committed to keeping 11 of those

0:50:140:50:17

factories in Staffordshire, where the company was born.

0:50:170:50:21

Why has it been important for your company to stay in this county?

0:50:210:50:25

I am from here, my father's from here and my grandfather.

0:50:250:50:28

I think, obviously, that is where our roots are.

0:50:280:50:31

And we've grown up with many generations of people,

0:50:310:50:36

many of our engineers, their fathers were here,

0:50:360:50:39

and maybe their grandfathers were.

0:50:390:50:41

So a lot of it is the sort of family thing.

0:50:410:50:44

When the company began, they made a few hundred machines a year.

0:50:440:50:48

They are now producing 75,000 annually and employing 7,000 staff.

0:50:480:50:53

I'm meeting Ivan Dyke, who, as a loyal worker,

0:50:530:50:57

just can't quite tear himself away.

0:50:570:51:00

What's your story with the company? What's your history?

0:51:000:51:02

I've been here 48 years.

0:51:020:51:05

I was on the shop floor in manufacturing, machining,

0:51:050:51:08

I took early retirement 13 years ago,

0:51:080:51:12

came back as a tour guide, looking after visitors.

0:51:120:51:14

-Is your story unusual?

-It isn't unusual these days.

0:51:140:51:18

There's people been here ten years longer than me,

0:51:180:51:22

working as tour guides today.

0:51:220:51:24

I think you'll be here for quite a few more years to come,

0:51:240:51:26

I have a feeling!

0:51:260:51:27

If the legs will stand up to it, maybe so!

0:51:270:51:30

Over the course of its history, the company's initial

0:51:300:51:33

production of 2-3 products has now flourished into a range of 350.

0:51:330:51:38

I think it's time for me to test drive one of these machines,

0:51:400:51:43

so I am being given a quick lesson by agricultural marketing manager,

0:51:430:51:46

Richard Foxley.

0:51:460:51:48

-Hey, Richard!

-Hello.

-How are you doing?

-Good, are you?

-I'm fine.

0:51:480:51:52

Now, this is an absolute beast!

0:51:520:51:54

Yeah, it's the biggest tractor that we produce.

0:51:540:51:56

-Are you up for giving me a lesson?

-Yes, yeah, let's come and have a go.

0:51:560:52:00

OK. I think the first challenge will be getting in it.

0:52:000:52:02

'And the second challenge, I discover,

0:52:020:52:04

'is that Richard would actually like me to plough the field.'

0:52:040:52:08

Great. So, clutch...

0:52:080:52:11

-Engine on.

-OK, so, to go forward, hold the joystick,

0:52:110:52:16

press the trigger and then push the lever forward.

0:52:160:52:19

-OK.

-OK.

0:52:190:52:20

This is an absolute monster.

0:52:220:52:25

-It's like driving a really big automatic car.

-Exactly.

0:52:250:52:28

I mean, an enormous automatic car,

0:52:280:52:31

-but it's actually really simple to drive.

-It is.

0:52:310:52:33

-OK, now drop the implement to the ground. There you go.

-There we go.

-OK.

0:52:330:52:37

Great, so it's in.

0:52:370:52:39

-So now you turn that on, that engages the cultivator to start going round.

-OK.

0:52:390:52:43

So now you want to increase the revs of the tractor.

0:52:430:52:46

-Oh, you can really feel it revving!

-Now, if you touch the throttle...

0:52:460:52:50

-Is slow and steady the best way to keep it straight?

-Yeah.

0:52:510:52:54

On a sunny day, in the English countryside,

0:52:560:52:58

you could while away an hour doing this.

0:52:580:53:01

So, how long would it take to plough an acre?

0:53:020:53:04

With a large plough, you could probably do an acre in ten minutes.

0:53:040:53:08

You could easily cover 60-70 acres a day with this tractor.

0:53:080:53:11

Am I keeping straight?

0:53:110:53:13

Yeah, you are covering it all anyway, so you are doing a good job.

0:53:130:53:16

You're a natural to it. OK, so, now drop your revs off. Perfect.

0:53:160:53:21

-That was a lot of fun, thank you.

-It's easy.

0:53:210:53:23

Although world leaders in their industry, it is

0:53:230:53:26

heartening to see that a home-grown company has remained on UK soil,

0:53:260:53:30

staying true to their Staffordshire roots.

0:53:300:53:33

I will be back in the summer. I'll be back for the harvest!

0:53:330:53:36

THEY LAUGH

0:53:360:53:38

It's been nice to see such strong and positive reactions

0:53:390:53:42

from Angie and Steve to both today's properties.

0:53:420:53:45

I wasn't that surprised, really.

0:53:450:53:47

I thought the mystery house would appeal to Angie, in particular.

0:53:470:53:50

But you know, now, thinking back over the day,

0:53:500:53:52

I have a feeling I might be wrong.

0:53:520:53:54

There's a lot of contemplating going on there.

0:53:590:54:01

You know, I sensed a lot more enthusiasm from both of you

0:54:010:54:04

today for the two properties that we saw.

0:54:040:54:06

So where are we at? How're you feeling?

0:54:060:54:09

Today's been...an enlightening day.

0:54:090:54:13

The first property we saw today,

0:54:140:54:15

we really engaged with, we really felt at home,

0:54:150:54:19

and felt it delivered so much of what we are looking for.

0:54:190:54:22

What about the mystery house, Angie?

0:54:220:54:25

I think I went into a very small state of shock when I saw that,

0:54:250:54:29

because on paper, it would be everything I would be looking for.

0:54:290:54:33

It was a barn, it was immaculate, tidy, clean, straight lines.

0:54:330:54:39

So I felt a bit of conflict between how I felt

0:54:390:54:42

about house number three and the mystery house.

0:54:420:54:45

But it didn't take too long to overcome that.

0:54:450:54:47

Totally discounted the mystery house.

0:54:470:54:50

It's what I've always done - clean lines, modern interiors.

0:54:500:54:53

And the point is, we are changing everything,

0:54:530:54:56

we are changing our lifestyle and changing...

0:54:560:54:59

Yeah, changing everything.

0:54:590:55:01

I find that quite surprising.

0:55:010:55:02

I think a lot of people will.

0:55:020:55:04

So, that quirky house that we saw...

0:55:040:55:07

What next? What are your plans?

0:55:070:55:10

Certainly want to have a second viewing, have another look around.

0:55:100:55:14

Because, as Angie said, it's the top of the list.

0:55:140:55:17

When we go back and have another viewing,

0:55:170:55:19

if we're still that enthusiastic, it will hopefully lead to an offer.

0:55:190:55:22

So, we started off in Staffordshire,

0:55:220:55:24

but we ended up pushing you just over the border, into Cheshire.

0:55:240:55:28

How do you feel about that?

0:55:280:55:29

It's still not that far away from the boundaries we set.

0:55:290:55:32

We are still within 20 miles of where we wanted to be, I think.

0:55:320:55:37

-Yeah.

-Just! And it's such a beautiful area.

0:55:370:55:40

And I've got to ask,

0:55:400:55:41

this thing about the land - if it turns out that the quirky house,

0:55:410:55:44

you can't get any land with it, would that be a deal-breaker?

0:55:440:55:49

That, I will know when I go back and have another look.

0:55:490:55:52

There are horses behind the house,

0:55:540:55:57

there might be an opportunity to help somebody with their horses,

0:55:570:56:01

ride with them, if I can't get my own.

0:56:010:56:04

So, there are conversations to be had a little bit more,

0:56:040:56:06

interrogation...

0:56:060:56:08

But I don't think it's a deal-breaker.

0:56:090:56:11

But the two of you can imagine starting this next chapter

0:56:110:56:14

of your life together, in your first home together, in that house?

0:56:140:56:17

-Definitely.

-Yeah.

0:56:170:56:18

That's absolutely fantastic news, I'm so thrilled to hear that.

0:56:180:56:22

Keep us informed.

0:56:220:56:23

We are coming back up in a few weeks,

0:56:230:56:25

so we will make arrangements to go and have another look.

0:56:250:56:27

I just wish you so much luck with your move, and lots of happiness.

0:56:270:56:31

-Thank you.

-Thank you very much.

-It's been great fun.

-It has.

0:56:310:56:34

And yeah, we've learnt an awful lot.

0:56:340:56:36

The two days I spent with Angie and Steve

0:56:390:56:41

could not really have been more of a contrast.

0:56:410:56:43

I felt like I had a slightly disappointed couple on my hands

0:56:430:56:46

at the end of the first day!

0:56:460:56:47

But today has been so positive and I've just left two people who,

0:56:470:56:51

I sense, are very excited at the prospect that they could have

0:56:510:56:54

found the property that will become their first home together.

0:56:540:56:58

A great end to our visit to Staffordshire.

0:56:580:57:01

Join me next time on Escape to the Country.

0:57:010:57:04

And if you'd like to escape to the country in England, Scotland, Wales

0:57:040:57:09

or Northern Ireland and would like our help, you can apply online at:

0:57:090:57:13

Ginny Buckley is supporting a sociable and successful couple who are looking to buy their first home together in rural Staffordshire. Their healthy £700,000 budget turns up an assortment of attractive properties, and Ginny learns about the county's driving force that has influenced agriculture and architecture across the globe.