Gloucestershire Escape to the Country


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Gloucestershire

Nicki Chapman is in the Gloucestershire countryside helping a couple with an £850,000 budget find a rural home with land for alpacas.


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Today you find me 13 metres above ground,

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on one of the longest tree-top walkways in the UK,

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but where can you enjoy this bird's-eye view?

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Find out in just a moment.

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On today's show, our property search puts things into perspective.

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They definitely have focused on the view.

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That's just what we're hoping for.

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I'm going to have a pound for every time we say "view", I think.

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But views aren't everything.

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-It's so big.

-Yes!

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Today I'm in Gloucestershire,

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and this is the fantastic treetop walkway at Westonbirt Arboretum,

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home to one of the most important tree collections in the world.

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This beautiful bridge, which opened in spring 2016,

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meanders along a 300 metre stretch

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and provides a unique vantage point

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on some of the 15,000 trees here.

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Now, the National Arboretum grew from the passion

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of Victorian plant collectors

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and it is rather fitting that, 180 years later,

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the walkway gives us a breathtaking perspective on their legacy.

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Gloucestershire is situated in the south-west of England,

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and borders the neighbouring counties of Herefordshire and Oxfordshire.

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The majority of the Cotswolds falls within Gloucestershire.

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Famous for its distinctive honey-coloured towns and villages,

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which flourished on the back of the medieval wool trade,

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the name refers to the range of rolling hills

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that run down the eastern fringe of the county.

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Painswick is one of the best preserved towns here,

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it's known as the Queen of the Cotswolds.

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Equally majestic is the Royal Forest of Dean,

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the former hunting ground for Tudor kings.

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It was England's first designated National Forest,

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an accolade received in 1938.

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It's also the birthplace

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of acclaimed British dramatist Dennis Potter,

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who set many of his plays in the forest.

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Gloucestershire's literary giants also include Laurie Lee,

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who lived in the village of Slad.

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The pub he frequented is a popular watering hole for fans of his books,

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including Cider With Rosie.

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So, whether it's a literary heritage or historic architecture

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that interests you,

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it seems Gloucestershire has something for everyone.

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Well, who wouldn't be inspired

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by this glorious Gloucestershire countryside,

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but living here does come with something of a premium.

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The average price of a detached home in the county

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is just over £361,000.

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Now, that's £50,000 above the national figure.

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Property hot spots such as the Cotswolds

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where second homes are in high demand

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really drives up that price tag.

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But, today's buyers are after their forever home,

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and they want their budget to go the distance.

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Susan and Bill have been married for 20 years

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after meeting whilst travelling in Tahiti.

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They currently live in Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex,

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not far from the airport,

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but they've been planning a move to a more rural setting for some time.

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Stansted Mountfitchet is charming,

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it's also becoming increasingly popular.

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So there's more and more people in a relatively small area.

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We'd like to go out into the country and get some breathing space.

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Well, we do like the area,

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it's very convenient for London and Cambridge,

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but it's time for a change.

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Whilst Bill has retired from a career in IT,

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and now spends his time running a holiday let

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at their home in Stansted,

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Susan works full-time as a lawyer in the City of London

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but she's become frustrated with her commute

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and with her firm offering flexible working,

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she's seizing the opportunity.

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Now is the right time for us to move to Gloucestershire

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because I can work in another office, I can work in Bristol.

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I can also work from home.

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It's definitely time to move.

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Their current home is a period property,

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and while it may seem like they've already made

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their Escape To The Country,

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they are now after a bit less character and a bit more land.

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As you may have heard from my accent, I am American, and, as an American,

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I thought I'd enjoy a house with a lot of beams,

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a lot of olde worlde character.

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And I discovered I'm not that keen on olde worlde!

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So we need more open-plan space that we can use more conveniently.

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We'd like to look out of the windows

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and see the countryside and the hills.

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As well as its proximity to Susan's Bristol office,

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they've also chosen Gloucestershire for its stunning landscapes.

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It's such beautiful countryside.

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We'd be happy to look out of our windows every day

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and see the rolling hills.

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And a great place to hike.

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In addition to hiking, Bill likes to play golf,

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and when she has some spare time, Susan enjoys a spot of gardening

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but, when they move, they want to try something completely new.

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We want some pasture land, so that we can maybe have some alpacas,

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my wife's dream.

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There are very easy to maintain, they look amazing,

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there are very charming,

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and I believe it's going to just look amazing

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to have them out in the garden, in the pasture,

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in front of the house, and be able to watch them.

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For a couple who have lived in different parts of the world,

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including six years in Botswana, they are not afraid of the unknown.

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In the last 15 years, we've moved ten times,

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and we like getting to know a new area, and settling in.

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We're hoping it's just a calmer lifestyle.

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Sue and Bill would like to be within 45 minutes of Bristol,

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where Sue's new office is,

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so we'll be looking at properties within easy reach of the M5.

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I'm meeting up with them in Gloucestershire, to run over their wish list.

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Bill and Susan, I have to say, welcome to beautiful Gloucestershire.

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-Thank you.

-Why have you decided that this is the county that you want to move to?

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We're looking for a particularly beautiful part of the country

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and this definitely is.

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We want some space, we want some open views

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and, if you look behind you, you see what we see, and that's why.

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Yeah, gorgeous. And ideally you'd like to commute to Bristol,

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not every day but some days, don't you?

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-Exactly, exactly.

-Best of both worlds.

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Exactly, that's the plan.

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So what about the actual property that you're looking for?

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Tell me about that.

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Well, we have - not difference of opinion but, perhaps, different priorities.

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For me, it's about the view and the land,

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and I'm not that interested in an old house,

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an old thatched cottage.

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That doesn't appeal to me so much,

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and that's partly because I'm American.

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I thought Americans loved our traditional houses!

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That's sort of what we're living in now

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and we've decided that doesn't work for me.

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-Bill, what's your priorities?

-My priorities, the views, also,

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but I want a couple of holiday units,

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because we currently have a holiday let in our house

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and we'd like to carry on doing that.

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We find it's very interesting, meeting lots of different people,

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and the income is really useful, as well.

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How many bedrooms, ideally, do you want?

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Well, there's just the two of us, so we don't need that many bedrooms.

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Three would be ideal.

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More... It tends to be bigger properties that have these annexes.

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-So true.

-So if we have more, that's a bonus.

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Inside, lots of light.

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Bill's quite tall, so we'd rather not him banging his head,

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-which he currently does.

-Yes, I find that a problem.

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-You're good at ducking.

-Yes!

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So, lots of light, more open plan than what we have now,

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which is a rather small rooms, so it's all boxy,

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and we'd like it to be opened up.

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If that's something we could do to the property,

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we're willing to take on a bit of a project.

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Who's going to make the final decision?

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You were very honest and said you've got different priorities.

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We've both got to love it.

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-I like that.

-If we don't, there's no point.

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So do remind us of your top budget.

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Our top budget is about £850,000.

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That is without having to do any work.

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-So, ideally, if it needed a little bit of work, under that.

-Yes.

-Yeah.

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Well we do have three rather splendid properties to show you

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in this lovely county, so shall we get started?

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-Yes.

-Come on then.

-Great. Thank you.

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With the generous maximum budget of £850,000,

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Sue and Bill will pay good money to get a property with an amazing view.

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The house itself should be light and airy and, ideally, open plan.

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It must include three bedrooms and a holiday let,

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or the potential to build one, and Sue would like some land,

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up to an acre, for alpacas.

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We've lined up three properties that best reflect this exacting wish list,

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but they won't know how much it will cost them

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until the end of each property tour.

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The Mystery House could challenge our couple to sacrifice

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some of their wish list to get the house of their dreams.

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Our property journey starts in the small hamlet of Coopers Hill,

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just outside Gloucester,

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and close to the M5 for Sue's journey into Bristol.

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The closest village to our property is Cranham,

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which is tucked away in a wooded valley

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and features pretty cottages built from distinctive Cotswold stone.

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English composer Gustav Holst lived in the village in the mid-19th century.

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His music to the classic Christmas carol In The Bleak Midwinter

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is thought to have been inspired by cold snowy days

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looking out across the valley from his cottage.

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Hard to imagine on a day like today.

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Under a ten-minute drive away,

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property one has an enviable position situated on the Cotswold way,

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and with commanding views across Gloucestershire.

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So let me introduce you to our first property

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on this elevated position, looking out.

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From what we can see, the views are amazing.

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-Superb.

-And the house is that lovely Cotswold stone.

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This is reclaimed Cotswold stone, it comes from an old barn,

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-because this house was only built around 2004.

-Oh, OK.

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And it has been designed with that view in mind.

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You said to me the views are more important than the house.

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Yes. Yes, I did.

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But I want the house to work as well for you, so fingers crossed.

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Follow me, let's take a step inside.

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With the space for cars and a timber garage to the side,

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the front of the house is designed with practicalities in mind.

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It's when you step inside that you really get a sense of the character

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of this building, which takes advantage of the view.

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So, this house is on different levels, you've probably guessed that now.

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So we actually come downstairs to not only marvel at that view,

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which I'm sure we'll be discussing in some detail,

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but also introduce you to the kitchen-dining-breakfast room.

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-Very nice.

-Good size.

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We like this a lot. Well, I like it a lot.

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-What do you think?

-I think it's very good.

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And, as you say, looking at that,

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taking advantage of that amazing view.

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Our current house, we have no view out the window, from the kitchen,

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we always thought we would like to look out and see something beautiful.

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-That'll do.

-So we're liking the inside so far.

-Absolutely.

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Let's see what you make of next door to our sitting-room.

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Again, I think, generous proportions.

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This is a lovely room.

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Light and airy, isn't it?

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Windows on three walls.

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They definitely have focused on the view.

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That's just what we're hoping for.

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I'm going to have a pound for every time we say "view", I think,

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because we're going to say it all the time.

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Is it going to get obnoxious?

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-Vista!

-Vista, scenery...

-OK.

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Yeah. We'll have to think of other words.

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Out there!

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Yeah, but that's the whole point with this house.

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It is a large property,

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but it's all about the view.

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Yeah. It's beautiful.

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As well as this living room,

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a spacious garden room lies next door,

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which spills out onto a sunny courtyard.

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There's also a utility and shower room on this level.

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Upstairs, there are four bedrooms, including two good-sized doubles,

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at the back of the house.

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And, a single with exposed stone.

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What's more, there's a study,

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but I'm showing Sue and Bill their master suite.

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So you've actually got three doubles on this level of this house.

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This is the master, so you've got your en-suite, the shower and bath,

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wardrobe space, and then the room itself.

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It's nice.

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Doesn't knock my socks off but it's very nice.

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Yeah, I prefer it a little bit larger

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and bigger windows, I think,

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I suppose you could try and open up the view.

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Maybe put in French doors, or something like that.

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French doors and a balcony, really.

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That would be lovely, wouldn't it?

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I'm saving the best till last here,

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as we're finishing the tour with that splendid view.

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Because the property is perched on a hill, the gardens are terraced,

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a patio section leads down to a lawn with well-stocked borders

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and further below there's a mini orchard.

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A few reservations about the property itself

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but I wonder whether this...

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-Stunning, absolutely stunning.

-It is absolutely amazing.

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Two other things I know you are quite passionate about.

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One is the possibility of having an annexe.

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You may have noticed to the right of the entrance of the property,

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a double garage, wooden structure,

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planning permission has been sought

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for that to be turned into holiday let accommodation,

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has not been granted yet, but the paperwork's gone in.

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-We like a project.

-You would be starting from scratch.

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There is a great double garage, but there is space there.

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The other thing that you two like is land, isn't it?

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If you're thinking of grazing land, you could look either to the side,

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or, straight in front of us.

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Conversations could be had either about leasing that or buying it,

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but that is something you would need to look into.

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-Sounds promising.

-We're going to try to put a cost, a price,

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on our first property, with these spectacular views.

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What are you thinking?

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I'm going to be a bit cheeky, I'm going to say 795.

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OK.

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Yeah. I would have thought slightly lower than that.

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750.

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OK. The house has only just gone on the market, the asking price is...

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Bill, well done - £750,000.

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Good grief. Sounds promising. I think £100,000,

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we could make this house to what we wanted it to be,

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and do the holiday unit as well.

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I'm glad you're both pleasantly surprised.

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It's a good start.

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And now you know that price, I think you're going to want another look, aren't you?

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Yes, absolutely.

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Have a wander on your own this time,

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and don't forget the double garage - annexe potential, holiday let potential, income.

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Thank you.

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With £100,000 left over,

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Sue and Bill seem to have warmed to our first house -

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a modern detached property with character features.

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An open-plan kitchen-diner and large living room have exceptional views,

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and it comes with four bedrooms.

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The garage could be turned into a holiday let,

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and there are neighbouring fields available to rent for alpacas.

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Well, that's a surprise.

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Could obviously be the bedroom.

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I think this could work really nicely but you'd have to spend some money to do it.

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I think this property has great potential,

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the price is very reasonable -

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750,000, which gives us enough money to change some of the layout

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which we don't like in this house, plus to develop the garage,

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to be a holiday unit.

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The outside area is gorgeous.

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I have mixed feelings, I'm not thrilled with the upstairs.

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And the annexe obviously will take a bit of work because it's not even

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there yet. That would take some consideration for us.

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We have mixed views, but the view does sell the house pretty well.

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Have we had a good look around for a second time?

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-We have.

-A few concerns when we started but, by the end,

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especially with that price, things were falling into place with

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our first property. A good start?

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Yes, it's a very good start, lots of potential.

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Excellent. We do have more to show you, so let's hit the road.

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Sue has expressed an interest in keeping alpacas on their land

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when she and Bill move to Gloucestershire.

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The distinctive woolly creature hails from deepest Peru.

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They first arrived in the UK in the 19th century as exotic zoo exhibits

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but in the last 20 years

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their popularity as pets has grown and there are now estimated to be

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around 35,000 alpacas in Britain.

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We sent our buyers to meet with alpaca farmers Bridget and her husband

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James Tibbs at their farm near Cowley to find out more.

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So how did this all happen, running an alpaca farm?

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It's a dream. I worked on a city farm...20 - scary - years ago,

0:17:230:17:28

and learned to spin and use wool and all sorts of fibres.

0:17:280:17:33

I found alpaca and thought, one day, I want alpacas.

0:17:330:17:37

We've been here three years now and just love it.

0:17:370:17:40

What's the difference between an alpaca and a llama?

0:17:400:17:42

Good question. People always think these guys are llamas.

0:17:420:17:45

Llamas are a lot bigger

0:17:450:17:47

and in their native country, Peru, they are used as pack animals,

0:17:470:17:51

so they're beasts of burden.

0:17:510:17:52

They do have a coat which you can work with, but it's coarser.

0:17:520:17:56

So alpacas are small, highly valued for their fleece.

0:17:560:18:01

We're thinking of getting some alpaca when we move this way.

0:18:010:18:04

Are they difficult to manage?

0:18:040:18:06

How much land do they need?

0:18:060:18:07

They are absolutely adorable.

0:18:070:18:09

They don't take an awful lot of land.

0:18:090:18:11

You could have three or four on an acre quite happily.

0:18:110:18:13

-Really, that much?

-Yeah.

0:18:130:18:16

Although alpacas are hardy creatures, they do require care.

0:18:160:18:19

As well as an annual haircut, alpacas need twice-yearly vaccinations

0:18:190:18:23

against bacterial diseases, and vitamin D supplements in the winter.

0:18:230:18:28

Like any animal, they are demanding when they are little,

0:18:280:18:31

and James is on daddy duty.

0:18:310:18:33

-Hi, how are you doing?

-Who do we have here?

0:18:330:18:36

This is little Melody.

0:18:360:18:38

She is having a bit of a bottle feed.

0:18:380:18:39

-Would you like to have a go at feeding her?

-I'd love to.

0:18:390:18:42

Let me stop her a moment.

0:18:420:18:43

Steady, mate. I know, that's not fair, is it?

0:18:430:18:46

Take the bottle. What you want to do is stand astride.

0:18:460:18:50

Keep your hand around her neck there.

0:18:500:18:52

And then lift up and keep the bottle up nice and high for her.

0:18:520:18:55

-That's it, there you go.

-And how often do you have to feed her?

0:18:570:19:00

We're feeding her two times a day, sometimes three, depending.

0:19:000:19:03

We're weighing her at the same time just to see how she goes.

0:19:030:19:06

Her mum had mastitis last year,

0:19:060:19:09

and she lost some of the quarters off her udder.

0:19:090:19:11

They usually have four teats but she only has one so she is only getting

0:19:110:19:15

25% of her milk.

0:19:150:19:17

And we're backing that up at the moment.

0:19:170:19:18

But she's growing well, she's doing really good.

0:19:180:19:20

-What is she drinking?

-She's actually drinking goat's milk.

0:19:200:19:23

We've experimented a little bit with her. She has a little bit of honey in that, which is a bit of a trick,

0:19:230:19:27

cos it sweetens it slightly cos the alpaca milk is slightly sweeter than the goat's milk.

0:19:270:19:32

There she goes.

0:19:340:19:35

Alpacas can also generate a healthy income.

0:19:360:19:40

Their fleeces are often compared in quality to cashmere,

0:19:400:19:43

and money can be made by turning the luxury fibre into woollen clothing.

0:19:430:19:48

Selling the raw fleece alone can fetch up to £90 per animal,

0:19:480:19:52

but spinning the wool into a yarn can reap even bigger rewards.

0:19:520:19:56

We've so much fibre that we send the majority away to a mill in Wales

0:19:560:20:01

and we have yarn made and produced, and we have rugs and throws.

0:20:010:20:05

But I do keep the very nicest, softest cria fleeces to do by hand.

0:20:050:20:10

OK. So you need a piece of fibre each.

0:20:100:20:14

-Thank you.

-The principle of spinning is very, very simple.

0:20:140:20:17

You just pull a piece of fibre out, the wheel will twist it,

0:20:170:20:21

the wheel will pull it in onto the bobbin and wind it.

0:20:210:20:25

Your job is to determine the thickness of the thread you are

0:20:250:20:29

-going to spin.

-OK.

0:20:290:20:30

The three alpacas Sue and Bill would like to keep could generate

0:20:320:20:35

a kilo and a half of quality wool each year.

0:20:350:20:38

-Good man.

-Easily enough for a warm winter jersey.

0:20:380:20:42

That's it. Get the foot going.

0:20:440:20:46

That's it. You are on a roll. You are on a roll.

0:20:460:20:48

Bridget, this has been brilliant.

0:20:500:20:52

We have a lot to learn but we have really enjoyed it.

0:20:520:20:55

I hope you get alpacas and we'll see you one day back here for

0:20:550:20:58

a bit more spinning.

0:20:580:21:00

Yeah, we'll look forward to it. Thank you.

0:21:000:21:03

For our second property,

0:21:060:21:08

we are crossing the River Severn to the southwestern part of the county

0:21:080:21:12

and heading to the hamlet of Etloe, a 45-minute journey to Bristol.

0:21:120:21:17

Situated near the Severn, the closest village is Blakeney,

0:21:170:21:20

which has a range of local amenities,

0:21:200:21:22

including a post office and public house.

0:21:220:21:25

The nearby Forest of Dean offers plenty of opportunities for walking,

0:21:250:21:28

and as one of the last surviving ancient woodlands in England,

0:21:280:21:32

it provides a steady stream of tourists for Bill's potential holiday let.

0:21:320:21:37

House two is a mile from Blakeney,

0:21:370:21:39

situated on a quiet country lane with fabulous views across

0:21:390:21:43

the River Severn.

0:21:430:21:44

So, brought you down a little country lane.

0:21:460:21:47

We are on the other side of the River Severn

0:21:470:21:50

for this, our next property.

0:21:500:21:53

-Beautiful.

-It's got more kerb appeal, hasn't it, than the first property?

0:21:530:21:57

Any idea how old this property might be?

0:21:570:22:00

We think there's an older part and then perhaps a newer addition.

0:22:000:22:05

A couple of hundred years old?

0:22:050:22:06

50 years?

0:22:060:22:08

16th century.

0:22:080:22:10

Oh, my gosh! That's amazing.

0:22:100:22:12

We are stepping back in time, but, Susan, being eagle-eyed,

0:22:120:22:17

you have noticed there's been an extension.

0:22:170:22:19

I'm a little bit worried about the light but we'll see.

0:22:190:22:21

OK. Let's do that.

0:22:210:22:23

This former farmhouse is actually Grade II listed but shows how

0:22:260:22:30

alterations can be made provided you get the right planning consent

0:22:300:22:34

from the local conservation officer.

0:22:340:22:36

We are heading to the kitchen in the extended part of the house.

0:22:360:22:40

So the kitchen - it does have beams.

0:22:410:22:44

They are lovely beams.

0:22:440:22:46

-They are nicely...

-A great high ceiling.

0:22:460:22:48

Yeah. It's a very attractive kitchen.

0:22:480:22:50

Yes, I do like this.

0:22:500:22:52

I think if you took the table out, this would be a really nice size.

0:22:520:22:55

Yes. And you could easily take it out and perhaps put it next door

0:22:550:22:58

because you've got a beautiful garden room there.

0:22:580:23:00

-OK.

-So if you did want to have separate dining, you could use that.

0:23:000:23:03

I suppose another option is that we can knock through to the next room.

0:23:030:23:07

OK. Let's keep going.

0:23:070:23:09

So we are now stepping into the oldest part of the house.

0:23:120:23:15

You've got your snug to one side,

0:23:150:23:17

dining table on the other. This was the original kitchen.

0:23:170:23:21

-OK.

-It's a lot smaller. I want to show you through here.

0:23:210:23:24

Next to the dining room, there is a utility with WC and an office.

0:23:250:23:30

Although this older part of the house is darker than the kitchen,

0:23:300:23:33

I'm hopeful the living room will allay Sue's fears

0:23:330:23:36

about lack of light.

0:23:360:23:37

So at the end of the hallway, we have this sitting room.

0:23:380:23:43

This is a very pleasant room.

0:23:430:23:45

It's obviously smaller than more modern properties but a good size

0:23:450:23:49

for an older building, for a much older building.

0:23:490:23:51

Yeah, I love the beam and the fireplace.

0:23:510:23:53

It's got plenty of windows.

0:23:530:23:55

Lots of natural light.

0:23:550:23:57

And it's not too twee.

0:23:570:24:00

Not too old-fashioned.

0:24:000:24:01

-Right.

-I probably would prefer more open-plan but I don't think it's...

0:24:010:24:05

I don't know if it is possible with the way the rooms have been...

0:24:050:24:07

Yeah. Let's take you upstairs.

0:24:070:24:10

-OK.

-See what you make of the bedrooms.

0:24:100:24:13

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms.

0:24:130:24:16

These include a double and a single

0:24:160:24:18

both serviced by a family bathroom with roll-top bath.

0:24:180:24:22

There's also a large double with exposed ceiling beams

0:24:220:24:25

and en-suite shower room with its own staircase

0:24:250:24:28

leading up from the snug.

0:24:280:24:30

This could serve as the master but the current owners are using the

0:24:300:24:33

largest and lightest bedroom at the other end of the house.

0:24:330:24:37

So here...

0:24:370:24:39

is your master bedroom.

0:24:390:24:41

Wow! This is beautiful.

0:24:410:24:43

This is a great room.

0:24:430:24:44

-It's so big.

-Yes!

0:24:440:24:47

-I found it, a big room.

-Yeah, lovely.

0:24:470:24:51

Light, airy, good size.

0:24:510:24:53

Good views from this one.

0:24:530:24:55

Yeah, love the views.

0:24:550:24:56

Of course, it's not just finding the right house for our couple.

0:24:570:25:01

I'm mindful that Bill is keen on running a holiday let.

0:25:010:25:04

And, so far, I've been hiding this from them -

0:25:040:25:07

a completely self-contained annexe with two bedrooms and a bathroom,

0:25:070:25:13

a fully-fitted kitchen, and a large living room.

0:25:130:25:17

-My gosh!

-This is actually part of the dairy.

0:25:170:25:20

When the owners were given planning permission to put the extension on

0:25:200:25:24

and to make changes to the main house, they also converted this.

0:25:240:25:28

So surprising, and such big space.

0:25:280:25:30

It's been sort of landscaped so that they have a little bit of garden,

0:25:300:25:34

but it doesn't infringe on yours.

0:25:340:25:36

That's great. That would work really well for us.

0:25:360:25:39

Yes, sounds ideal.

0:25:390:25:41

And then, of course, there's the land for Sue.

0:25:410:25:44

The house sits in an acre plot and although she'd probably want to keep

0:25:440:25:47

the lawned garden for herself,

0:25:470:25:49

a gate leads to a field which is available to rent for alpacas.

0:25:490:25:53

But again, I've saved the best till last.

0:25:530:25:56

Perhaps the most important part of this garden is the view

0:25:570:26:02

of the River Severn and beyond.

0:26:020:26:03

Stunning view. When we were doing research about this area,

0:26:030:26:07

we weren't that keen on the Severn view, but it's really lovely.

0:26:070:26:11

It's much nicer than we expected.

0:26:110:26:13

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

-How much are we thinking for this property?

0:26:130:26:17

What's it on the market for?

0:26:170:26:19

I'm going to go a bit higher this time because of the holiday lets.

0:26:190:26:21

I will say 800.

0:26:210:26:23

-OK.

-Maybe slightly lower.

0:26:230:26:25

-795.

-OK, well, the asking price is...

0:26:250:26:29

-£835,000.

-OK.

0:26:290:26:33

Has come down quite considerably as well because they are very keen

0:26:330:26:36

-to sell.

-OK.

-I suppose it's a fair price, cos there is a lot of house.

0:26:360:26:41

OK. Well, now you know that figure,

0:26:410:26:43

why don't you have another look around?

0:26:430:26:45

I'm sure the holiday lets, you are going to want to explore those for a second time.

0:26:450:26:49

And then go back into the house and see what adjustments perhaps you

0:26:490:26:52

might make to make it perfect for the two of you.

0:26:520:26:54

-OK?

-Great, thank you.

-Be my guest.

0:26:540:26:57

£15,000 below budget,

0:26:580:27:00

our second property is a Grade II-listed farmhouse

0:27:000:27:03

with parts dating back

0:27:030:27:05

to the 16th century, with a new kitchen and garden room

0:27:050:27:08

added recently.

0:27:080:27:10

It has four bedrooms and comes with a self-contained annexe with two

0:27:100:27:14

bedrooms. There is an acre of garden and options for alpacas and, what's

0:27:140:27:18

more, it overlooks the River Severn.

0:27:180:27:21

-It's beautiful, isn't it?

-Yes, it certainly is.

0:27:230:27:25

With the staircase down right into the snug,

0:27:270:27:31

it almost feels like a self-contained unit.

0:27:310:27:34

Which you could do.

0:27:340:27:35

Yes. Lovely en suite, isn't it?

0:27:350:27:38

So you could close this off and make this another holiday let.

0:27:380:27:41

This is a lovely home.

0:27:420:27:44

It's very impressive, the outside, lovely garden.

0:27:440:27:47

The views over the Severn.

0:27:470:27:49

The garden is beautiful,

0:27:490:27:50

but it's not really going to be suitable for the alpacas

0:27:500:27:53

if we did decide to do that.

0:27:530:27:55

So there are some really positive points.

0:27:550:27:57

It's a lovely house overall.

0:27:570:27:59

Well, we've certainly had the best weather for house-hunting here in

0:28:010:28:04

-Gloucestershire, haven't we?

-It's been beautiful.

0:28:040:28:06

-Gorgeous.

-Yeah.

0:28:060:28:08

So, interest in what we've seen so far?

0:28:080:28:10

-Interested, yes.

-Yeah?

0:28:100:28:11

Yeah. We've been very impressed with the houses.

0:28:110:28:14

Hopefully you're going to be even more impressed tomorrow,

0:28:140:28:18

-because we've got our Mystery House still to show you.

-Great.

0:28:180:28:20

We are in Gloucestershire with Bill and Sue from Essex,

0:28:360:28:39

hoping to find a home with land on an £850,000 budget.

0:28:390:28:43

Coming up, the Mystery House reaches new heights...

0:28:430:28:47

Wow! This is really surprising.

0:28:470:28:51

..and lows.

0:28:510:28:52

I have to bend down like this.

0:28:520:28:54

Right, OK. Moving on to the next room.

0:28:540:28:57

And I get the scoop on one of the county's coolest concoctions.

0:28:570:29:01

You're like the Willy Wonka of the ice-cream world.

0:29:010:29:04

Although Susan and Bill told me at the start of this search

0:29:060:29:10

that the view was more important than the actual house, yesterday it

0:29:100:29:14

became clear that the two homes we showed them didn't quite deliver

0:29:140:29:19

on the layout, even though they both had exceptional vistas.

0:29:190:29:22

So today we're going to shift our focus back to the home itself.

0:29:220:29:27

Now, the mystery property is a unique new-build but, as ever,

0:29:270:29:31

there is a compromise, and this time, it's the land.

0:29:310:29:35

For our final house,

0:29:380:29:39

we are hopping back over to the eastern side of the Severn

0:29:390:29:42

and heading to the village of Purton.

0:29:420:29:44

A 45-minute journey from Bristol,

0:29:440:29:47

the quiet village is home to a scattering of pretty cottages

0:29:470:29:50

and is one of the last stops along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

0:29:500:29:54

The land between the canal and the river

0:29:550:29:57

is known for the Purton Hulks -

0:29:570:29:59

the remains of old boats intentionally beached to protect

0:29:590:30:02

the banks from erosion.

0:30:020:30:03

Our Mystery House is set back from the road,

0:30:050:30:07

tucked away behind the parish church

0:30:070:30:09

in the heart of the riverside village.

0:30:090:30:12

So our final house is of course the Mystery, and here she is.

0:30:120:30:19

Wow! This is really surprising in this location. It's beautiful.

0:30:190:30:24

Well, this looks really intriguing. Can't wait to have a look.

0:30:240:30:27

This brand-new barn-style property has been

0:30:270:30:30

built with energy efficiency in mind.

0:30:300:30:33

Based on the German Passivhaus design,

0:30:330:30:35

the insulation is three times thicker than an average home,

0:30:350:30:39

resulting in very low running costs.

0:30:390:30:41

With triple-glazed windows on every side,

0:30:410:30:44

the main living space is bathed in natural light and takes advantage

0:30:440:30:48

of some stunning rural views at the back.

0:30:480:30:51

-Beautiful.

-Fantastic, yeah.

0:30:510:30:53

Great use of light, space.

0:30:530:30:56

-It's really beautiful.

-And we know it's important that you love

0:30:560:30:59

the home as much as the view. We've found that out.

0:30:590:31:02

This is all about the home.

0:31:020:31:04

So you've got your kitchen...

0:31:040:31:06

It's a lovely kitchen. I love the island.

0:31:060:31:08

It's beautiful granite.

0:31:080:31:10

And you feel like you are outdoors.

0:31:100:31:12

-Yes.

-My problem is that I've got to duck to look through the windows.

0:31:120:31:16

So you see a big green...

0:31:160:31:18

Blob. Yeah. I don't see the vista.

0:31:180:31:21

I think it's better for someone of your height, to be honest.

0:31:210:31:25

I have to bend down like this.

0:31:250:31:27

Right, OK, moving on to the next room.

0:31:270:31:29

I'm going to take you in here and then hopefully you will see it

0:31:290:31:32

-at its best.

-Oh, very nice.

0:31:320:31:35

Simple, but great fireplace.

0:31:350:31:38

Yes, I like this area.

0:31:380:31:39

So you do have access to your patio area out there,

0:31:390:31:42

which is slightly raised, and they've put in this huge pond

0:31:420:31:46

which comes from the rainwater off the roof, and you can swim in it.

0:31:460:31:50

-That's brilliant.

-So when they have their friends and their children, they all have a dip in the pond.

0:31:500:31:54

-That's great.

-Yeah.

-And Bill has actually always wanted a pond.

0:31:540:31:58

-I have, yes.

-Have you?

0:31:580:31:59

-Ah! There we are.

-So that's another tick.

0:31:590:32:01

It's working. It's working.

0:32:010:32:03

Right, let's head on upstairs.

0:32:030:32:06

As well as this huge open-plan entertaining space,

0:32:060:32:09

the ground floor also features a bedroom with a wet room en suite

0:32:090:32:13

and a laundry area.

0:32:130:32:15

Upstairs, there are three further bedrooms,

0:32:160:32:18

including two good-sized doubles,

0:32:180:32:20

each with their own en-suite bathrooms.

0:32:200:32:23

And, finally, a spacious master.

0:32:230:32:25

I probably should put Bill this side.

0:32:270:32:30

Bill will be able to see my view.

0:32:300:32:32

But do take a look at the actual master bedroom as well.

0:32:320:32:35

-This is gorgeous.

-Fantastic. I do like this room.

0:32:350:32:37

-What a wonderful place to wake up in the morning.

-Yes.

-Great views.

0:32:370:32:41

-Good size. I love it.

-Yes.

0:32:410:32:43

-Really nice.

-Yes, we both do.

0:32:430:32:45

-This is beautiful.

-Let's head back downstairs.

0:32:450:32:48

The Mystery House seems to be working its magic but, as always,

0:32:500:32:54

there is a compromise.

0:32:540:32:55

There is less land here than our previous properties,

0:32:550:32:58

so they'd have to put their alpacas on neighbouring land.

0:32:580:33:02

In addition to the garden at the front of the house,

0:33:020:33:04

there's a small lawn to the side which is the location for one

0:33:040:33:07

of the outbuildings. The current owners use this as an office.

0:33:070:33:11

There's also a separate workshop.

0:33:110:33:14

So the final part of the jigsaw are these beautiful outbuildings,

0:33:140:33:17

really, aren't they? At the moment, set up as an office.

0:33:170:33:22

You've actually got a shower room there, storage, workshop,

0:33:220:33:25

whatever you want.

0:33:250:33:26

Now, it is the Mystery House.

0:33:260:33:29

I'm going to give you a "small C" compromise,

0:33:290:33:32

because we don't have holiday lets set up at the moment.

0:33:320:33:36

You would need to seek planning permission to change the use of

0:33:360:33:39

these buildings and make a few changes, as well,

0:33:390:33:42

but there is the potential if you wanted to rent them out.

0:33:420:33:46

-OK.

-Yeah, that's something to think about.

0:33:460:33:50

There's a lot to take in with this property, isn't there?

0:33:500:33:52

And also now, we've got to try and guess the price.

0:33:520:33:55

Shall I go first this time?

0:33:560:33:58

If you want.

0:33:580:33:59

Maybe around the 800,000 mark.

0:33:590:34:02

-795.

-OK.

0:34:020:34:04

-I'm going to go much higher.

-I think it's the top of our budget.

0:34:040:34:06

It's a brand-new build, I'm going to say 845.

0:34:060:34:09

The asking price - and it hasn't been on very long,

0:34:100:34:13

it came on at the beginning of the summer - is £770,000.

0:34:130:34:18

-Seriously?

-Yeah.

-That really surprises me.

0:34:180:34:20

-It's a good price.

-Have a wander around and I'll find you

0:34:200:34:23

-when you are ready.

-Great.

-Thank you.

0:34:230:34:25

£80,000 below budget,

0:34:260:34:29

our Mystery House is a stylishly modern barn-style property

0:34:290:34:32

with eco-friendly credentials.

0:34:320:34:35

The main living space is light and open-plan

0:34:350:34:37

and there are four bedrooms.

0:34:370:34:39

The third of an acre of land features two timber outbuildings

0:34:390:34:43

and there are stunning country views to the rear.

0:34:430:34:45

A great office, isn't it?

0:34:470:34:48

Yeah. But it would need a lot of work for an annexe.

0:34:480:34:52

We could keep this for ourselves.

0:34:520:34:55

We love the house, we love the space, we love the light,

0:34:550:34:57

and the fact that it is eco-friendly is really attractive to both of us.

0:34:570:35:02

The location is nice but it doesn't have the views of the first property.

0:35:020:35:06

The land is an issue,

0:35:060:35:08

because there is not much of a garden.

0:35:080:35:10

Is it a compromise too far?

0:35:100:35:12

I'm not sure. It's something that we need to discuss because this house

0:35:120:35:15

is so beautiful.

0:35:150:35:16

I'm just admiring your new neighbours. Look at those cows.

0:35:180:35:21

-Hello.

-So have you enjoyed our final property?

0:35:210:35:24

Very much so. We love this house.

0:35:240:35:26

Well, let's go and have a chat and find out what your next move

0:35:260:35:29

-is going to be.

-Great.

-Thanks.

0:35:290:35:32

The common land near Stroud in Gloucestershire is graced

0:35:360:35:40

by free-roaming cows, who provide a key ingredient to one of

0:35:400:35:43

the county's famous delicacies, ice cream.

0:35:430:35:47

So it's no surprise that Rodborough Common

0:35:480:35:50

has been the historic home to a family-run ice-cream producer

0:35:500:35:54

for three generations.

0:35:540:35:56

They set up on this very spot back in 1925

0:35:560:35:59

and it's now one of the longest-running ice-cream makers

0:35:590:36:02

in the country.

0:36:020:36:04

I've come to the headquarters to meet Frank Winston,

0:36:040:36:07

whose entrepreneurial father started the business nearly 100 years ago.

0:36:070:36:12

Well, Frank, lovely to meet you on this gorgeous, sunny day.

0:36:140:36:18

-It's grand, isn't it?

-Tell me,

0:36:180:36:19

how did it all get started? Because it is a family business, isn't it?

0:36:190:36:24

My dad started back in 1925.

0:36:240:36:26

He was a French polisher by trade and he was made redundant,

0:36:260:36:31

so he thought, well, we could sell drinks from here -

0:36:310:36:35

a lot of people walking on the common.

0:36:350:36:37

So he put a little wooden shack up and started selling drinks.

0:36:370:36:41

And that went quite well and so he thought, "How do you make ice cream?"

0:36:410:36:45

People were asking for ice cream.

0:36:450:36:47

So your father's name was Albert, wasn't it?

0:36:470:36:49

-Yes.

-But he had no past experience?

0:36:490:36:51

No. He was quite intelligent. He was pretty bright.

0:36:510:36:53

-Yes.

-First lot was atrocious, he said, but gradually got better.

0:36:530:36:58

And then he bought a motorbike and sidecar and started trading

0:36:580:37:01

on the streets around Stroud, in Cirencester.

0:37:010:37:03

-I love the fact that the premises is right on the edge of Rodborough Common...

-That's the beauty of it.

0:37:030:37:08

-..and you haven't moved.

-No, no.

-So you took over the business.

0:37:080:37:12

I took over the business when...

0:37:120:37:14

I did my National Service and then I went into partnership with my dad.

0:37:140:37:17

And then when my dad retired,

0:37:170:37:18

I took over the reins and now my daughter Jane has taken over

0:37:180:37:22

the reins and she runs it.

0:37:220:37:24

Frank still lives on-site so he can keep a keen eye on the family business.

0:37:250:37:29

Although the company has grown since the days of his father's

0:37:290:37:32

motorbike and sidecar, it's still small-scale.

0:37:320:37:36

Frank's son-in-law, Colin Vear, is general manager

0:37:360:37:39

and is showing me around.

0:37:390:37:41

What is it about this region that makes it so special?

0:37:420:37:45

I think this region more than any other is really well-known for its

0:37:450:37:48

dairy products. So, for example, its milk and its cream,

0:37:480:37:51

and I think there's just a certain

0:37:510:37:53

excellence about the milk and cream from this region.

0:37:530:37:56

Strangely enough, you've also got to count the water, as well, from this

0:37:560:37:59

particular area.

0:37:590:38:00

There's a certain amount of water in the product, as well.

0:38:000:38:03

-It's just got...

-Has that flavour.

0:38:030:38:05

I'm not sure exactly what, but it seems to bring it out.

0:38:050:38:09

As well as being proud of their heritage, they like to keep things local.

0:38:090:38:13

The milk and cream all come from these grazing cows.

0:38:130:38:16

They sell from their vintage ice-cream vans on the common,

0:38:160:38:19

or direct to nearby pubs and restaurants.

0:38:190:38:22

The rest is sold in the shop but I'm meeting Frank's daughter, Jane,

0:38:220:38:26

who's now in charge of the business.

0:38:260:38:28

-This is the magic.

-I wouldn't mind having a go.

0:38:290:38:31

-Do you need an extra pair of hands?

-I do.

0:38:310:38:33

What do I need to remember? What do I need to do?

0:38:330:38:35

-OK, you've got your scoops.

-Yes.

-And cones.

0:38:350:38:37

-Yes. And what do I offer them? Three different varieties?

-Yes.

0:38:370:38:40

-Or they might want a tub.

-These are all the traditional flavours but you

0:38:400:38:43

go out there and do some weird and wacky ones.

0:38:430:38:45

We do. We do rhubarb crumble, we've done gooseberry.

0:38:450:38:49

We are about to try a liquorice and blackcurrant.

0:38:490:38:52

You are like the Willy Wonka of the ice-cream world.

0:38:520:38:55

We've got some customers coming.

0:38:550:38:56

Keep an eye on me. I'll give it my best, ready?

0:38:560:38:59

Here we go. Big smile.

0:38:590:39:01

This isn't the first time I've sold ice cream.

0:39:010:39:04

1986, Herne Bay Bandstand - I remember it well.

0:39:040:39:08

You've picked a perfect day for an ice cream, haven't you?

0:39:090:39:12

I used to live here and I grew up with 99s.

0:39:120:39:15

If you still do a 99, I'd like a 99.

0:39:150:39:17

-So that's vanilla?

-Yes.

0:39:170:39:18

If I can tempt you with a cone, or did you want...?

0:39:180:39:22

-I have to have a cone.

-And which one would you like?

0:39:220:39:25

-Which one would you like?

-That one will do good.

0:39:250:39:27

-Yes.

-So we are going to have vanilla.

-Vanilla.

-A double...

-A little more ice cream on it.

0:39:270:39:31

-Yeah.

-I'm going to put it into a little ball.

0:39:310:39:33

Maybe a little bit of a bigger ball.

0:39:340:39:37

I'm thinking of her profits.

0:39:370:39:39

LAUGHTER

0:39:390:39:40

There we are. Enjoy.

0:39:410:39:43

-Nice to meet you.

-Thank you.

0:39:430:39:44

-Bye.

-Bye-bye.

0:39:440:39:46

'Back in the summer of '86, I ate more ice cream than I sold.'

0:39:460:39:51

-Am I allowed a double one?

-You are allowed a double one.

0:39:510:39:53

Ooh!

0:39:530:39:55

'And it seems old habits die hard.'

0:39:550:39:59

Total job satisfaction.

0:39:590:40:00

Well, we finished on a high but has the Mystery House done enough

0:40:070:40:10

to convince our couple to move to Gloucestershire?

0:40:100:40:14

Let's go and ask them.

0:40:140:40:15

Well, Bill and Susan, we started off this house-hunt with a very generous

0:40:230:40:27

budget and a very generous wish-list, didn't we?

0:40:270:40:31

-Yes.

-And how have we done?

0:40:310:40:34

You did well. And hitting our wish list -

0:40:340:40:36

maybe not all on the same property.

0:40:360:40:38

But bits and pieces of all of it, you've got it.

0:40:380:40:40

So, Bill, have we got close with any of our properties?

0:40:400:40:44

Yeah, all three properties were very nice and they had lots of positive

0:40:440:40:47

points. But I think, overall, my favourite was probably number three.

0:40:470:40:52

Was it? The Mystery House?

0:40:520:40:53

-Yes.

-The house itself was great.

0:40:530:40:56

Almost perfect. The light,

0:40:560:40:59

the care that they had taken in putting it together,

0:40:590:41:01

the materials they used.

0:41:010:41:03

-It was great.

-It did work its magic but do you love it enough that you

0:41:030:41:07

might consider a second viewing?

0:41:070:41:09

I don't think so.

0:41:090:41:10

We do love the house but there are too many compromises for us.

0:41:100:41:14

It's a lovely house and I'm sure it will be snapped up pretty quickly.

0:41:140:41:17

If I could pick up the Mystery House and take it somewhere where it had

0:41:170:41:21

perhaps more impressive views...

0:41:210:41:24

If you moved it to where the first property was...

0:41:240:41:26

-Yeah.

-Yeah. That would have been...

0:41:260:41:28

-I think that would have been perfect.

-Yes, that would have been our dream house, I think.

0:41:280:41:31

Yes. Because of the land that you are after, this pasture land,

0:41:310:41:35

and it's not half an acre, it's sort of one or two acres,

0:41:350:41:38

with the holiday lets, and I'm going to say, a big home...

0:41:380:41:43

You didn't want a big home, but boy, you like space, you like size.

0:41:430:41:47

We have learnt that we need to increase the budget

0:41:470:41:50

if we get the house of our dreams.

0:41:500:41:51

-Yes.

-Yeah. Or we give up something and that may be the pasture land

0:41:510:41:57

and sadly the alpacas.

0:41:570:41:58

-The alpacas have got to go.

-I'll just go and visit them.

0:41:580:42:01

Well, all the best when you do make the move and thank you, both,

0:42:010:42:04

-very much indeed.

-Thank you so much for this.

0:42:040:42:07

-It's been so good.

-Yes, we had a brilliant time.

0:42:070:42:09

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:42:090:42:10

So, in the end, the Mystery House was a compromise too far.

0:42:160:42:20

However, what this week has shown Bill and Susan is, to achieve

0:42:200:42:24

everything they want to the standard they desire,

0:42:240:42:27

they are either going to have to look at that rather generous budget

0:42:270:42:30

all over again or reduce their wish-list.

0:42:300:42:33

So we haven't secured a sale over the last few days but I'm pleased

0:42:330:42:38

we've given them clarity, what their priorities actually are,

0:42:380:42:42

and hopefully they'll be making a move very soon.

0:42:420:42:45

So that's it from me from Gloucestershire.

0:42:450:42:47

See you again next time on Escape To The Country.

0:42:470:42:50

If you would like to escape to the country in England, Scotland,

0:42:520:42:55

Wales or Northern Ireland, and need our help, you can apply online...

0:42:550:42:59

Nicki Chapman is in the Gloucestershire countryside helping a couple with an £850,000 budget find a rural home with holiday-let potential and land for alpacas.

While in the county, Nicki visits Rodburgh Common and gets the scoop on a family who have been making ice cream there for nearly a century.