Jules Hudson is in Herefordshire with an exuberant house-hunting couple who are ready to move from Birmingham and spend £500,000 on a country home.
Browse content similar to Herefordshire. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Welcome to Escape To The Country and this,
a quintessential view of the English landscape,
a beautiful village church overlooking its churchyard.
Now, this one is 800 years old.
Not in itself remarkable, but old enough nonetheless.
But its age is nothing in comparison to this beautiful yew tree which it
overlooks. So, how old do you think it is, and where are we?
Well, join me in just a moment and I'll tell you.
Today it's close family ties drawing a loving couple towards
the great British countryside and there are plenty of surprises
along the way.
-Now, this wasn't what you were expecting, was it?
Some more welcome than others.
And I'd be your neighbour.
So, that's already put a hole in it, hasn't it?
You're never going to buy it!
Well, today we are in Herefordshire,
and this is the church of St Bartholomew in Much Marcle.
It was built about 1220, and has been serving the village ever since.
But its age is nothing in comparison to this beautiful yew tree which has
been here an awful lot longer.
Just how long? Well, get this.
They've just dated it to some 1,500 years old.
Nearly twice as old as the church itself.
That makes it one of the oldest living trees in England,
and with a whopping circumference of some ten metres,
also one of the largest.
The county of Herefordshire shares a border with Wales to the West
and three other English counties to the east.
The region is one of the most rural and sparsely populated in England,
with the River Wye gracefully winding through it.
The terrain here is largely given over to agriculture,
and is well-known for its fruit and cider production.
In the county town of Hereford,
the magnificent Grade I listed
cathedral is around a thousand years old.
Prior to that, it also lays claim to being the burial site of
King Ethelbert in the late eighth century.
Pilgrims flocked to see his relics,
and he was subsequently made a saint.
Another historic highlight of the county's architecture are the
distinctive timber-framed buildings.
Some particularly handsome examples
survive in the attractive village of Pembridge,
part of the North Herefordshire's Black And White Village Trail.
Another landmark here is the
medieval St Mary's Church with its
unusual detached belltower.
So, with its fine country scenery and rich architectural heritage,
Herefordshire possesses a wonderful charm for prospective escapees.
Well, you know, I have long been a fan of Herefordshire.
So much so, in fact, that for the last five years or so,
it's been my home, too.
So if you fancy life here on the borders,
well, here are some useful facts and
figures that can help you on your way.
Currently the average price of a detached property here is
just north of £310,000. That's some
£10,000 below the figure for the UK as a whole.
But if you want your money to go that little bit further, well,
my advice is to head over towards the border with Wales.
Basically, the further west you go, well, the cheaper it is.
But there is no getting away from the fact this is a beautiful county
full of culture and a real sense of identity.
Just the sort of things, of course,
that today's buyers are looking for, too.
Charity worker Diana and her
business consultant husband Jules met as
students, and over four decades later, they couldn't be closer.
She's a wonderful mother, wonderful friend,
best wife one could ever have.
We met a long time ago, so we've been together a long time.
He's always been there and always supported the whole family.
But when their paths first crossed,
it wasn't in the most conventional of circumstances.
It was at a pyjama party at Leicester Polytechnic in 1974.
And it took a fair while, but three years later, we were engaged.
Five years later, we were married.
When Jules got a job in his hometown of Birmingham in 1976,
Diana moved to be with him, and they've been there ever since.
I'm a Brummie.
No, I've been here all my life.
It's been a good city. It's been a great city.
But there's a lot going on now.
It's grown. It's a lot busier.
It's a young person's city now.
Just ready to move on now.
The couple have lived in their Edwardian home for over 30 years.
Their two sons and daughter have left home, but when they move,
they want to be close to their eldest, Ellie.
Our daughter's disabled,
and she's recently moved to Hereford
to live in a residential centre there,
which is a fantastic place.
And we're too far away from her,
so we need to be closer so that we can see her more frequently.
As well as spending more quality time with Ellie,
they are also looking forward to having more time to enjoy some of
their many passions.
I love astronomy. In the
countryside - no light pollution, big skies,
good views. That's the sort of thing that we're looking forward to.
My hobbies have always been sort of knitting, sewing, a bit creative.
I'd like to be an artist, but I'm not.
But there's one rather decadent
activity that Diana and Jules both like.
Hot tub came from a holiday we had last year,
where we spent most of the time,
actually, in the hot tub in Cornwall,
which was brilliant. We thought, "You know what?
"For our anniversary, let's literally splash out."
-Treat ourselves. Splash out!
So, with hopes riding high,
Diana and Jules are now looking forward to their new life in
You've got hills. You've got open skies.
-It's a different pace of life there.
-A different pace, you know.
You just look across at the River Wye
and you just see it flowing gently
past and you think, "I'll have some of that."
We're 60 now, so it's time to sort of wind down.
Ellie has actually decided our move, so rather than going to the seaside,
we are going to Hereford. Because that's where she is and that's where
she's happy, so we'll happy there as well.
Diana and Jules want to be within half an hour's drive
of their daughter Ellie in Hereford,
so that's where we're focusing the search.
But before we hit the road and begin our Herefordshire house hunt,
we're catching up in the county so I can be sure I know exactly what
it is they're after. Well, Diana and...
-Nice to see you, sir.
-Nice to see you, Jules.
Welcome to Herefordshire.
-Now, in terms of the property that you're looking for,
obviously we do need to cater for
Ellie's very specific needs, don't we?
So what sort of property would work for you?
We do need room for the boys to come and stay,
and Ellie to come and stay,
so we're looking for three bedrooms.
We need a downstairs bedroom and a
wet room for Ellie to come and stay...
-Or potential to convert.
-..or potential to convert.
-But we'd also, as we come into retirement,
looking for some income potential as well,
so potentially we could let out that room
or have an annexe attached where we could have a retirement income.
What do you want in terms of your social space?
Garden. We like a garden.
Don't want a huge garden, but we like garden.
Our little pleasure is a hot tub, so we've got to have space for hot tub.
Table tennis table.
Her pleasure is beating me at table tennis,
so she needs a table tennis table, so, yeah, that's her little thrill.
So, we're looking for a house of fun, aren't we, really?
A hot tub, somewhere for table tennis.
Everyone can come and visit.
Brilliant. The one thing you haven't talked about, really,
is sort of reception rooms and kitchen.
I mean, most people want something big and open plan.
-Is that you?
-I'd rather have individual rooms.
But I don't want small rooms.
-He's quite tall.
Traditional high ceilings, big rooms type places,
so I can sort of stretch out a bit.
Are we looking for something brand-new?
-Not usually, no.
Prefer the older, traditional style. A bit more character.
So, traditional but with space.
-But what about sort of exact situation?
We'd love to be isolated, but we are getting older,
so we need to be able to get out
easily to get our pint of milk, or...
It'd be nice to be able to walk to the pub,
but it'd be nice to be part of the community as well.
So how much is this move, centred on
Ellie's needs, going to set you back?
What's the budget, then?
We can go up to £500,000.
Well, I think we've got some very interesting properties to show you.
Let's go house-hunting. Come on, then.
Spend your half a million.
You put it like that, it disappears quite quickly, doesn't it?
-Sounds good, that.
-Yes, it does!
For their top budget of £500,000,
Diana and Jules are hoping for a traditional home with space and high
ceilings. They prefer separate reception rooms to open-plan.
They need three bedrooms, with a ground floor annexe,
or the potential to create one for daughter Ellie.
They're also after a decent-sized garden
with space for a vegetable patch,
and location wise, they want to be close to Hereford.
We've lined up a wide selection of country homes for Diana and Jules to
view, but only after they've
completed each tour will the price be
revealed to them. Finally,
our mystery house will require them
both to size up something altogether different.
As we travel to our first house,
it's clear that this move will benefit them as parents.
Now, Diana, I'm just trying to
envisage the sort of amenities that Ellie's
going to need in your new home.
Do we need, you know, specific wheelchair access, for example?
On occasions, yes, we do need... She is in a wheelchair,
so we'd need to have obviously access to the house.
The door needs to be accessible with a wheelchair,
and space in the rooms and the halls
for turning the wheelchair when needed.
For you two, having the chance to be
once again so much closer to Ellie in her new home
must be a great relief, Jules?
Having her close to hand rather than hoiking down the M5,
that would be a big comfort to us.
It's being able to do the quality things with her,
to take her out and to have some fun with her.
We can just say, "Let's pop and see Ellie tonight,"
which will be much nicer.
We're travelling to the small village of Preston Wynne,
just over a 20-minute drive from Ellie in Hereford.
Three miles away, the pretty village
of Withington provides the essentials at the local shop.
Also here is a memorial commemorating soldiers who fought in
the First World War. The churchyard of St Peter's Church is also the
resting place for Commonwealth War graves.
On the edge of the village,
the local pub is just a few minutes' drive from our first offering.
Right, come on in,
because I think as a place to start, this is really good.
To the right, recently renovated,
really nice and recently extended old Victorian farm worker's cottage.
And then here, separate annexe.
Oh, this looks nice.
I can see a vegetable plot there.
You've got a veg patch here.
-No big trees.
-No big trees.
Well, apart from the one that's in your back garden
which dominates the 1.3 acres this comes with.
Wow. I think it looks like more than we can afford.
Do you think so? Well, let's see how much you like it first,
and then we'll talk about how much it's going to cost you.
-Yeah, hmm, right.
This extended period cottage dates back to the 1850s.
Built from local Hereford brick, it's topped with a smart slate roof.
It's clear this property has benefited from a lot of TLC.
It's been in the same family for over 100 years.
We're going into the main part to explore the kitchen.
OK. There we are, madam.
-What you think?
-Oh, very nice.
It's got loads of space, and this link,
this clever structure that joins
what was the old cider barn to the rest
of the property, I think offers Ellie the sort of space...
Lots of space to get a wheelchair in.
-Look at your face.
-This is lovely.
-It's very good so far.
You've got a big burner to operate a wok on, as well,
so the range-y type cooker will do nicely, thank you.
And you don't really need to pick up a paintbrush, do you? Come this way.
No, it's all done.
Just off the kitchen is a potential breakfast area,
currently being used for storage, along with a utility room.
Next door, there's a dedicated dining room leading into a bright
conservatory beyond that,
delivering the separate living spaces Diana asked for.
So, nice dining space next door,
and then this is the most recently renovated part of this property.
First impressions - it looked quite small, but actually,
you've got two sofas in here.
-I'm liking, I'm liking this.
I think this is a really, really good fit.
-Let's... Let's continue our tour.
-By all means.
-Follow me, Jules.
We're moving upstairs to the sleeping quarters,
where there are four bedrooms
serviced by a family bath and shower room.
Facing the front of the property,
there's a cosy double and another slightly larger one.
The third is a snug-sized single,
but we're going to explore the most substantial on offer,
which they would use as theirs.
And then finally, you've got this room, which is the master,
for obvious reasons, really. It's the biggest of the lot.
You've got a sort of dressing area there,
and a little shower en suite round the corner.
-High ceilings, Jules.
-Yes. I still...
As bedrooms go, this has the highest ceilings of the lot.
I mean, you've got the four bedrooms here,
but I think the annexe is the real issue with this one,
because I think it's all about Ellie,
and the annexe is what's going to make this house work for her.
-Let's go and have a look at that.
-Let's go and have a look.
-After you, mate.
The annexe is a barn converted eight years ago,
and has been cleverly joined to the house by a closed walkway.
So, what do you think Ellie would make of this?
-Come on in.
-Lots of space.
-That is rather good.
The spiral goes up to a very simple kind of mezzanine. I'm thinking,
you know, for when the boys come to stay.
Obviously you've got this very new kind of kitchen area here.
Behind it is the downstairs shower room.
And then this space, which I'm thinking - bedroom.
-Not bad for a first one, actually.
Yeah, not bad at all.
Not bad, not bad.
So, let's go and talk about how much it's on the market for, shall we?
-Let's go outside.
Well, they do seem impressed by the layout and space inside.
Outside, the garden includes a number of defined areas,
from the vegetable plot to the front,
to a chicken house and orchard to the rear.
So, there's this beautiful tree that
I was referring to when we first arrived.
-Bags of room for the hot tub, I think.
A few spaces.
So, we now need to think about how
much this is going to be on the market for.
I thought it looked more than we could afford,
so it's got to be top of the budget.
-£500,000, yes, that's fair enough.
I tend to agree with her, but I hope it's about 485.
You hope it's 485.
Your instincts are absolutely right.
This is £499,995, so I am pleased
to say it is technically under budget.
-It's absolutely stunning.
I think you should go and have a look around,
and I will catch up with you a little bit later.
-Off you go.
-Smashing, thank you.
-Fabulous, thank you.
This extended mid-19th-century cottage is just
a whisker under budget,
but does meet all of Diana and Jules' requirements.
It's traditional, without low ceilings.
It has four bedrooms,
separate reception rooms and a self-contained annexe.
What's more, it's less than half an hour away from their daughter Ellie.
I'm really surprised by it.
I'm impressed by it.
It looked quite small from outside, and when we got in,
it was so spacious downstairs, lots of room.
Outside is absolutely fabulous.
I love the garden, love the orchard.
The only small thing is the bedrooms. Literally the small thing.
They are smaller than I would like, but whatever house you go to,
there's going to be a compromise.
Absolutely stunning. It's got
everything we need without the need to do
anything to tidy it up or any extra work.
It's a bit close to our budget,
but on that basis, because there's no work, quite happy with it.
That was a cracking start.
Yes. Really good.
-Our other two properties have got a lot to beat, I suspect.
-Well, it's always there!
When they've settled into their new country life,
Diana and Jules are planning to put their green fingers to good use
and grow their own produce.
They may well decide to introduce herbs to their kitchen garden.
But they have far more uses than just adding some flavour to cooking.
Paul Richards has developed an
alternative purpose for the herbs he's been
growing on his organic five acre farm for over 30 years.
At any one time,
there is a colourful array of over 20 different flowers in bloom, all,
he believes, rich in powerful nutrients.
Tell us about the history here.
My father and my uncle used to take me out on walks and show me various
birds and plants and so on.
I actually got really interested in the plants,
and I found that there are also lots
of interesting uses for these plants,
and that is something that has kind of sown the seed in me,
and I then went on to do botany at university.
Then, eventually, I managed to find some land here in Herefordshire,
and got going.
Paul started his herb pharmacy just outside Eardisley ten years ago.
What makes it so good for growing the plants here?
The soils are very rich.
They're nice, red Herefordshire soils,
and it's also a really nice place to be.
-It's beautiful. Beautiful.
-So, what's this in front of you?
It looks a bit like an evening primrose.
-It's not, is it?
-It does a bit, and the colour is almost identical,
but it is from a different family.
This is what the gardeners know as Verbascum,
or mullein, as we call it.
These flowers we pick individually,
and they are actually quite an interesting herb.
It's got anti-inflammatory, it's got emollient,
and also it is reputed to help with the elasticity of the skin, so,
-Youth and beauty.
-Yeah, that's it.
We need some of that.
Diana and Jules are helping Paul to pick some of the
vibrant yellow flowers,
which will be one of the key
ingredients in a facial balm they'll be learning
-how to make later.
-Do you do this all by hand,
or do you use any machinery to pick them?
We do all this by hand.
Having picked these potent fresh flowers,
it's off to the drying shed to see how Paul preps and processes the
-These are what they look like when they're dried.
-How long does that take?
-It takes about 48 hours for most herbs.
So, then, how do you extract them?
Yes, so we've got to try and get the properties of these herbs into our
skin care products, so we mainly use oil to extract.
So, for instance, with these
mullein, if we fill up a container with them -
in quite tight, there, like that.
And then, gently, we pour in sunflower oil.
This is a high oleic sunflower oil.
So, then you close it down there,
then that goes in something like the airing cupboard,
-if you are doing it at home...
..to keep it warm, for about three weeks,
and you shake it every day to keep it agitated.
And then it is strained out, and it is ready to use
in the balm.
Showing them how to create the natural balm is
deputy production manager Orla Henning.
A variety of herbs have been steeped in oils,
which will be mixed together.
First in, we can put the marshmallow and jojoba.
Would you like to pour that into this jug?
-Marshmallow root extract is believed to soothe delicate skin.
Next up, we've got the marshmallow and sunflower.
So, why the two different mixtures with marshmallow?
This one's sunflower.
So, sunflower is our main base oil, whereas the jojoba, it's lot richer,
so we like to use a mixture of both of them.
Next, it's the calendula.
That one is the anti-inflammatory.
The mullein in sunflower oil is then added.
It's the active ingredient in this rejuvenating balm.
And, lastly, in goes some beeswax.
And that's for the texture, is it?
That's right. That will set it into a solid state.
Here we are, all of our ingredients.
We will pop this on the heat to get up to just over 80 degrees.
After around an hour and a half, the ingredients are pasteurised.
I'll just add the essential oils.
We add these at the very end so that they don't get too cooked.
It will make it smell nice.
The liquid balm is then poured into warm jars, where it's left to set.
I think yours is better than mine.
Of course it is!
-You have both done really well.
-Of course it is!
This is setting really quickly.
How long do you leave these to set for?
We normally leave them to set, depending on the size of jar,
for between half an hour to an hour.
OK. And when can you use it?
We can use it right now if you like.
-We've got some that have already set.
-Right, thank you.
Oh, it is quite solid.
That just softens up straight away, doesn't it?
-Give it a smell.
A lot of people get a little bit put off because it's a balm,
but actually, it's more moisturising than a lot of creams,
and it will go into the skin quicker.
Well, thank you so much.
This is really good to see how this balm has been made.
Thank you very much. It's been brilliant.
We're continuing our property search in the village of Madley,
which is under a 20-minute drive from Hereford.
The attractive stone parish church has been a landmark here for around
The oldest part is the window and arch over the main door,
which is Norman.
Today, the village is well served by
a handful of shops and a couple of local pubs.
And on the outskirts of the village, we reach our second property.
What do you think?
It's different to the last one.
-Very different to the last one.
-Very different to the last one!
-The obvious thing, of course, is that it is single-storey living,
this. Yeah. I'm not going to call it a bungalow because it's vast.
-OK, that's promising.
If I tell you there are some 20 rooms here,
not including the garage...
But the fact that it's all on one level, I think,
makes it quite an interesting
proposition for what you need to sort out
for Ellie. Yeah. And I'd be your neighbour.
So, that's already put a hole in it, hasn't it?
You're never going to buy it!
-But let's see what you think of it.
Two people called Jules in the same village.
This rather unusual yet extensive property was built in the mid '60s,
but has more recently been updated,
and the neutral exterior is hiding a rather more vibrant interior.
-Now, this wasn't what you were expecting, was it?
No, this is a lovely space.
intriguing. There's lots of light coming in here, which is good.
It's nice and quiet.
-I just love the space.
I think it's fantastic.
Like you said, the light coming through is lovely.
And then this all opens up through
here to give you this sort of L-shaped
arrangement to your living space.
Something of a sort of dining area, I suppose,
with the hatch through to the kitchen.
Let's have a quick look at the kitchen while we're here.
Now, given the scale of this place,
the kitchen actually is surprisingly small,
but given the amount of rooms that, you know, surround it,
it doesn't bother me, to be perfectly honest.
No, there's plenty of work space,
which is the main thing in the kitchen,
and quite a bit of storage.
There's a big smile from your wife here.
-I like it.
-I think she's liking it.
-I like it!
-I'm just seeing work.
It's a project! You'll love it!
Well, there's plenty more for Diana
to love as we move through the living areas.
The property is laid out in sections,
with the kitchen situated over in one wing.
Fanning out from it is a utility and cloakroom,
as well as a raft of rooms they really could make their own,
including a spacious library and a bright study, along with a bathroom.
So, having made sense of the living spaces,
we're heading over to the four
bedrooms that occupy two separate wings.
Another room to do with what you like.
But it leads us on to this suite of rooms,
and I'm thinking this might work really nicely for Ellie,
because you've got two of the five bathrooms over there.
One is a separate bathroom. The other one is the shower room.
You've got another bedroom behind there.
So, if you forego the idea that this
contains a bed and you put the bed next door,
this would be her sort of living space.
-And, of course, when the boys come to stay,
they'd have the run of it as well.
Master bedroom there?
Yeah, the master bedroom, as is, is behind that wall there.
-Yeah. Got some ideas.
-Will it work?
-Lots of ideas.
-Yeah, I mean, I'm just chucking them out there,
-but you've got to make sense of it all.
-Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
I think this could work.
I do think now is probably the time to step outside into that lovely
afternoon sunshine and start thinking about the price.
So, come with me.
Outside also delivers generously.
There is a garage-cum-workshop, a pleasant patio,
and the garden stretches to almost an acre,
which includes a vegetable patch, a shed and a summer house.
Now, to be honest, I think from here,
you do actually get the best view of it,
because you can begin to see how it all fits together.
Look at your face. This is good, isn't it?
-It's all good.
-I can see you're leading the charge, here, you know,
between you, Diana, on this one.
-Look, he's worn out.
-Jules can manage the garden.
-Please make her stop.
Let's talk about the price of this one, then.
There's still stuff to be done for us.
-Round about 425.
I'm thinking 440, 450.
OK. This is on the market for
-Yes, you did, you did.
Go and explore it.
-And once you've figured it out, come and tell me,
because I have no idea how it all fits together.
If we're not back in half an hour, send out a search party.
Yeah, I will. You will probably get lost.
This detached single-storey property already goes a long way to meeting
Diana and Jules's family needs,
and would also leave £50,000 change in their pockets.
It's got four bedrooms, including good options for Ellie,
a variety of other living rooms, and a garden
that is large but manageable.
Plus, it's less than a 20-minute drive to Hereford.
This is a lovely room, isn't it?
What you think of this house?
It's bonkers and great in equal measure.
It's got a lot of potential.
Huge potential. I love all the separate spaces in the house,
and obviously space for Ellie.
-Space for Ellie.
-There's lots of space for Ellie.
Lots of options for space for Ellie.
And also, possibly, income potential as well.
Our work is pretty much done, guys, you'll be pleased to know.
Which means, as it's
apple harvest time, we should probably go and try some cider.
-Yeah, we really...
-Yeah, come on.
It's day two of our Herefordshire house hunt,
searching out the perfect country
pad for Diana and Jules to call home.
They've got £500,000 to spend on a property suitable for not only them
but also visiting family.
Coming up, we've still got a lesson
or two to learn with our mystery house...
It's not a bad view, is it, really?
-I could take that.
And watch the seasons go by.
..and I'll be rolling up my sleeves
and getting to work on an accessory for
my own Herefordshire home.
That's a good effort.
I think there's a... You can tell who's done it before, can't you?
Well, so far this week our house
search is proving to be as challenging as
it is rewarding. Trying to find a home, of course,
not just for Jules and Diana,
but also one that can meet the very
specific needs of their daughter Ellie.
Well, as we head into our final day,
we are, of course, halfway through.
We've seen two, we've got one more to come,
so what possibly could our mystery house provide them that our first
two properties haven't?
Well, it's very simple. Two words - splendid isolation.
Our mystery journey takes us to the hamlet of Brinsop,
just 20 minutes drive from Hereford.
It's a rural setting,
but St George's church here
contains some exceptional Norman carvings,
and is thought to be where the legend of
St George and the dragon hails from.
The 19th-century saw poet William Wordsworth
visit the area on many occasions.
And just a stone's throw away is our final offering.
The mystery house,
a perfect example of how wonderful things come in small packages.
Right, then. The wait is over.
At last, I can show you our mystery house.
There it is. What do you think?
-It's very pretty.
-It's very pretty.
You may be forgiven for thinking you are in the middle of nowhere,
because look at where we are. It's the most gorgeous setting.
-The one thing we need
to sort of think about is whether or not
you'd be interested in converting that detached garage there
for a more bespoke solution to
Ellie's needs when she comes to stay.
-The only other thing to point
out is that once upon a time it was an
old schoolhouse, believe it or not.
-It's not the biggest we've shown
you, but it's absolutely 100% done,
raring to go. Yeah?
-Come on, let's see what you think.
Our mystery schoolhouse dates back to the 1860s,
and with age comes character, which we're just about to take in.
We're heading inside and going straight into the sitting-room.
Come on in. There, what do you reckon?
It's a bit small. I don't know, is it small?
It's certainly big enough for me.
I don't have to touch the ceiling.
-I can stretch out a little bit.
So, yeah, that's good. It is nice.
-It's not the only reception area.
You can probably just get a
glimpse of what's going on through there.
That lovely oak-framed garden room.
And it's done, there's nothing to do.
-There's nothing to do. Come through here.
Beyond the sitting-room
with doors to the garden is the dining room,
which adjoins the impressive kitchen and utility space.
This is my favourite colour.
-You like it?
-I do like it.
-The sort of classic duck egg.
Now, the other thing to point out
about this arrangement is that next door
we've got a downstairs shower room.
-OK? So, if you did do something in the garage for Ellie
and combine the two buildings,
you've already got the possibility of a wet room downstairs for her.
-I'm liking this...
Probably more so than she is.
I love the kitchen. It is smaller.
-But I like it.
Let's continue, then. Come on.
Jules clearly loves the impeccable finish in this house,
which means there's nothing left for him to do.
So, let's see if the theme continues upstairs,
where there's a white-tiled family bathroom and three double bedrooms.
There is one to the front, complete with feature beams and fireplace,
another which is equally well presented, and lastly,
there's the master to see.
That's fab. That's beautiful.
And you've got this storage up here.
This is rather sweet, the ladder that comes with it.
Yeah, very cleverly thought through.
And that fabulous window that just brings that beautiful view right in.
So, let's go out to the garden and
give a bit more thought to how we might
connect this building with the garage...
-..you know, for Ellie.
With the right planning in place,
the garage could offer accommodation options over two floors.
Outside, the mature gardens enjoy
spectacular views to the Brecon Beacons,
with a decked area, a perfect space for relaxing.
It's not a bad view, is it, really?
-I could take that.
-And watch the seasons go by.
It's lovely, isn't it? But what I
want us to really try and make sense of
is how we connect these two buildings.
You can see this lovely oak-framed garden room here,
so I'd be interested to talk to the planners and see whether or not we
could extend that right across to meet the garage.
That would give access for Ellie, then,
-so she'd still be part of the house.
How much do you think this, as it currently stands,
is going to set you back?
I'm going to go for 420.
I'm going to go a little bit lower, about 410-ish.
Because of its size?
Well, it's on the market for £435,000.
-So, it's doable.
-The question is - do you want to do it?
So, I'm going to give you a bit of time here to wander around this one.
-Off you go.
And I'll come and find you a little
bit later on, after our mystery house,
I hope, has worked one final bit of magic.
Under budget, our immaculate mystery schoolhouse may not have the huge
proportions they were after,
but it has character and bags of potential.
There are three bedrooms, separate living spaces,
and an annexe ready and waiting to be transformed.
Plus, it's just a 20-minute drive to visit Ellie.
This is a really tough one because it's a beautiful house.
Loads of character.
I don't know whether we would fit in it.
And then there's the extension for Ellie as well.
It's beautiful. The location is perfect.
So I'm looking around how could it work,
but I'm not sure if it will for us.
I think this house is absolutely fabulous.
Sadly, I don't see it necessarily being for us.
For our particular needs,
the change that we'd have to do to
the back of the house to get something
in for Ellie might be just that little bit too far.
We've really spoilt you for choice this week, haven't we?
-No, well, the pressure's all on you...
..I've done my bit.
It's up to you to try and make your minds up.
-Come on, let's go.
-Magical. Thank you.
Well-known for its historic
architecture and abundance of cider orchards,
Herefordshire is also home to makers
reviving many traditional craft skills.
In the south-west of the county, on Garway Hill,
Aaron Heath has switched from farming to blacksmithing,
and has a forge creating a range of beautifully-made items and artworks.
-Hi, Aaron, nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
You know, we talk about blacksmithing...
I mean, you've taken what is a very
traditional craft into the 21st century,
looking at some of the shapes and
the forms that you make around here.
What we do, we try and do a lot of traditional work,
but then it's also gone on into
other areas where we do an awful lot of teaching now.
And then we also do some of the more modern twists on the traditional
element of the business.
As well as creating these elaborate pieces,
Aaron and his team also skilfully replicate heritage ironwork,
which has included commissions for Hereford Cathedral and conservation
-A large percentage of our work is doing work for English
Heritage and Cadw, doing architectural hinges and latches,
down to anything that needs repairing,
whether it be a church or a manor house.
I'd love to see how you go about
replicating some of these items from the past.
-Let's have a look, then.
The forge is a family business,
and working with Aaron and his wife is a team of six blacksmiths.
Oh, this is lovely, mate.
I presume this is just some of the
range of items that you've had to make
-over the years?
-Yes, of course.
This is just a few examples.
I could take all of this home, to be perfectly honest with you.
I've got uses for all of it, however,
there is one thing I do need,
and it's something, actually, like that, with these very flat ends.
I've got one on one side of a door, but not on the other.
OK, I'm sure we can help you with that.
Aaron has taken on the challenge of helping me make a door handle,
so I can have a matching pair at home.
We've got one on the go here.
-Oh, look at that. Red hot.
-So, this, I've formed as a blank.
We've got the bean end here, which we need to splat out,
give it some more width.
You're going to splat it out?
-What sort of
temperature are you heating it to there?
It's about 1,300 degrees.
I'm looking to be working at yellow,
because the steel doesn't stay hot for long.
-There we are.
-Let's have a go.
Wow, you've absolutely got every last ounce of heat out of that,
Yes, we've increased the size of that considerably.
-So, would you like to have a go?
-I would, absolutely, yes.
That's it. Go for it.
An even splat.
An even splat, we're looking for.
That's a good effort.
I think there's a... You can tell who's done it before, can't you?
Right, the next stage is called swaging
and we're going to put a curve over the width of the handle.
Swaging, yeah, that lovely sort of arc you've got there.
Yeah, which just makes it more comfortable in your hand.
This is called a swage.
It goes in the hardy hole in the anvil.
The swage allows me to hammer a
groove into the back of my new handle.
Hold it nice and centrally.
This requires all my effort and
concentration, but if Aaron was making it,
he'd do it in ten minutes.
If we take another heat again...
There's a lot to learn, isn't there?
The metal is steel,
and once it cools it needs to be heated again and again to make it
malleable to shape.
Once red hot, it goes into the vice,
where the curve can at last be added.
And I'll hold it here.
If you could hammer into there, please.
-Right in at the bottom?
Ah, you really get that sharp angle.
That's right. And then if you can put a bit more curve in there now.
-There we go.
So now we've got to form it around the mandrel.
This is a clever little device, isn't it?
-A few more knocks into shape...
-It's almost there, isn't it?
So, a few finishing touches from the
expert and my handle might actually look
like it's supposed to!
Cool it off.
Fabulous. A period handle that really does match
the one I've already got on the door. Fabulous.
So, let's forge ahead and see if Diana and Jules have come to a firm
decision about any of our properties.
Well, Jules and Diana wouldn't be the first buyers I've met who've
actually complained about being
spoiled for choice, but in my experience,
that can only be a good thing.
But, of course, they can choose only one.
So, which one of our properties are they likely to go for?
Well, to be perfectly honest, I really don't know.
So, what's it to be, then,
if indeed any of our properties are likely to suit?
They've been fascinating properties, all of them.
Erm, it's trying to make what will work for us.
We liked all of them.
Yeah, they were all brilliant,
but the one that was bonkers, big and rambling, a bit like me...
It's the second one for us.
-It was great.
And what do you think Ellie will make of it?
I think she would love it, actually.
She loves... She loves walking, so walking around there,
there's loads of things to look around and see,
but the garden she'd love,
because the garden is as rambling as the house.
There's lots of different areas and she'd love that.
Yeah. If you do buy property number two,
we can virtually wave at each other from our gardens!
Guys, thank you very much, it's been a lot of fun.
You're obviously going to go back and have another look, I suppose.
-Will you take Ellie with you?
-Very much so.
Good. Well, let us know how you get on, and I dare say...
Well, friends and neighbours will
tell me before even I know if you've bought it.
But I look forward to hearing how you've got on.
-Aww. Yeah, we'd love to have it.
-Thank you so much indeed.
Well, this certainly has been a
house search with a difference because
of one fundamental element that we have not sought to compromise on,
and that is Diana and Jules's wish to find a home that is absolutely
perfect for their daughter, Ellie.
The journey that's brought this
family here to Herefordshire has had many
twists and turns over the years,
and I suspect it has not been entirely easy,
but hopefully that is a journey that is now coming to an end -
an end that in itself marks the
start of a new life here in the Borders.
Take it from me, I can certainly recommend it.
I'll see you next time.
If you'd like to escape to the country
in Northern Ireland, Scotland,
Wales or England and need our help, you can apply online at...
Jules Hudson is in Herefordshire with an exuberant house-hunting couple who are ready to up sticks from Birmingham and spend £500,000 on a country home that allows them to lead the good life while being close enough to Hereford for regular visits to their daughter.
While in the county, Jules visits a family-run blacksmiths that forges commissioned pieces for historic buildings, and he takes to the anvil to make a wrought iron accessory for his own home.