North Yorkshire Escape to the Country


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North Yorkshire

Alistair Appleton helps a couple find a more relaxing way of life in the North Yorkshire countryside with a £400,000 budget.


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Over millennia, torrents of water have carved out

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this spectacular ravine and in some

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places the wall is 20 metres above the stream below.

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Find out where I am in just a moment.

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Today's house-hunting journey takes us from country cottage...

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-I love it.

-Yeah.

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-It's lovely. Really nice.

-I think it's rather beautiful.

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Feels really cosy as you come in.

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..to super-sized manorial splendour.

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Ta-da!

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Wow!

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Very grand!

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It's grand, isn't it?

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Amazing!

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Today, we are in North Yorkshire and this is How Stean Gorge

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in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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Back in the last ice age,

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this whole area would have been covered with massive glaciers and as

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they melted, the torrents of meltwater carved their way through

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the limestone rock.

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Now the waters are much calmer,

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but there's still a network of amazing walkways, caves and tunnels.

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And I'll be taking a slightly unorthodox view

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on the gorge later on in the show.

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The largest of England's counties,

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North Yorkshire is bordered to its east by the North Sea.

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Spanning its western edge is the Dales National Park.

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680 square miles of undulating valleys.

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Malham Dale is home to the dramatic limestone cliffs of Malham Cove,

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rearing up over 200 feet.

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To the east is Nidderdale,

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which takes its name from the Celtic word for bright or brilliant.

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And in Pateley Bridge, one of its charming market towns,

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it's evident why.

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The streets of its well-preserved centre are home to an array of

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traditional retailers.

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Robust limestone buildings are a common sight across this county,

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notably in Helmsley, which borders the moors.

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Overlooking the town are the imposing ruins of Helmsley Castle.

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This once impressive stronghold

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enjoyed a three-month siege during the English Civil War

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at the hands of Cromwell's army,

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who eventually overthrew it.

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The county's rich geology, visible across its varied landscapes,

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market towns and villages, combined with its strong cultural identity,

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means that carving out a country life in North Yorkshire

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is an attractive option for many escapees.

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Not only does North Yorkshire have attractive scenery,

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it has attractive property prices.

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The average price for a detached house here is just shy of £312,000,

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which makes it £15,000 less than the national figure.

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Although it is the largest county in England, so prices do vary.

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Your money goes the furthest closest to Skipton,

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which is the gateway to the Dales,

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and it goes a lot less far inside one of the two national parks.

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But it's a beautiful big county with lots to offer and you can understand

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why people want to move here,

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so let's meet two people who definitely do.

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Liz and Steve from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire met when they were

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both working backstage in the theatres of London's West End.

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We met at the Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

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I was a technician

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and Liz was a stage manager.

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Because of the nature of our job,

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we were talking a lot before we actually came face-to-face with each

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other, because we spoke to each other on headsets during the show.

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-We had seen each other.

-Yeah!

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But we knew a lot about each other before we actually

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went out with each other.

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Once the couple were married,

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they upped and moved to the suburbs to raise their family.

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But since their two sons became young adults,

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town life has begun to lose its charm

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and they are ready to make the leap

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to country living in North Yorkshire.

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We've been here for 15 years.

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It's served its purpose for us, I think.

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Yeah, absolutely has, yeah.

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We've had two children, who have now flown the nest.

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Now seems the right time,

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while we are still young enough to enjoy living the dream,

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living somewhere we have always wanted to live.

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Now seems like the right time to do it.

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We really want to move to the Yorkshire Dales.

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We've always holidayed in Yorkshire.

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We met a friend of Steve's when we were last up in Yorkshire.

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And the view from his house was just...

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-Breathtaking, wasn't it?

-Breathtaking. Yeah, absolutely.

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It was a beautiful sunny day and you could see for miles.

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It was just amazing.

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With plans to scale back their working lives,

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the couple have a number of leisure pursuits they are looking forward to

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enjoying once they've made this rural move.

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I collect films, old cinema films.

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And film projectors.

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In my spare time, I really love any sort of yarn craft,

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so I do lots of knitting and crochet.

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I like a little bit of photography.

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So taking some pictures of beautiful areas would be quite nice.

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Space for enjoying their pastimes is a must.

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And although their sons won't be making the move with them,

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there are two other family members who will be

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embracing the great outdoors.

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We will be going up to Yorkshire with our two dogs,

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Barney and Ralph. I'm sure they'll be going on many long walks.

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We always take them somewhere that's, you know, countrified,

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but you always have to get in the car.

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I think one of the things I'm looking forward to is just being

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able to step out of the house and just walk.

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With their house on the market and the dogs in tow,

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the time is right for this bold next step up north.

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Hopefully our lifestyle will become a lot more relaxed,

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-a lot less stressful, and much less hectic.

-Yeah.

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Liz and Steve have been particularly focused on the area surrounding

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the scenic Yorkshire Dales,

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so we will be concentrating our hunt on the western side of the county.

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-I'm meeting them on Yorkshire soil to learn more about the home they're after.

-Hiya.

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Hey. Lovely place.

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-It is gorgeous, isn't it?

-Welcome to Yorkshire, you guys.

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-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

-Where the sun always shines.

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It's probably brighter here than it is in Hemel Hempstead.

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Definitely today.

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Because this is a bit of a break for you.

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You're packing in your job, having a bit of downtime.

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-Yes.

-Hopefully we will have a bit of a buffer to survive

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for a couple of years.

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And then we'll have to look for jobs.

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But, no, for a couple of years,

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we're going to settle in and enjoy the countryside.

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What's the reason for the move?

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What's the motivation for the move right now?

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Both our sons have left home and that's when we'd planned to make our

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-move.

-And the boys will be coming to visit soon.

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Hopefully, yes. Lots!

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In terms of the house, then, so you probably want some rooms for them,

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what's the spec of the house, how many bedrooms and so on?

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At least three bedrooms.

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-Yeah.

-Detached.

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-Has to be detached.

-We need a garden because we've got two dogs.

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But not too big. You're not such a keen gardener, is that right?

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I'm not a great gardener, no.

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No, I can mow the lawn.

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A sort of manageable garden.

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-Yeah.

-An outbuilding of some description,

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be it a double garage or an out store for Steve's hobby.

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So you've got your amazing film collection, film projectors.

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Film projectors and films.

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-I have quite a large collection that at the moment resides in a storage unit.

-What about the location?

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Where do you want to be in terms of...

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Do you want to be in the middle of nowhere or in a village?

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Maybe not...

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Maybe not a house on its own with nothing around it...

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-In the middle of the moors.

-Maybe not that.

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But certainly in a village or on the outskirts of a village

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-would be just fine.

-Yeah, sounds good.

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And the style of the property, a bit like this, but smaller?

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-That would be nice!

-Yeah, a little bit smaller.

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But sort of a traditional house, nothing too modern.

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We live in quite a modern house at the moment.

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So we want to go back to sort of a character house, I guess.

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Remind us of your budget.

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How much are we playing with?

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We are looking at about... really top is 400,000.

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OK. We have found some really nice properties.

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-Excellent.

-And I can't wait to show them to you.

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-Great.

-Good.

-Follow me.

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Liz and Steve have a budget of £400,000 and for that

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would like a characterful, three-bedroom property.

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They need a garden for their dogs,

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space for Liz's sewing room

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and preferably outbuildings for Steve to store

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his collection of projectors.

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We've cherry picked three properties

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that will give them different options to consider,

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although they won't know the price tag until the end of each tour.

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The final property of course will be our Mystery House,

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a grand and dramatic offering which may require some home-making

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imagination from our theatrical pair.

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To get the wheels in motion on our North Yorkshire house hunt,

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we are heading to the village of Constable Burton.

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Accessible amenities are just a five-minute drive away in Leyburn.

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Granted its market charter in the 17th century,

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today it is a base for walkers

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looking to take a stroll across Leyburn Shawl,

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which provides views over Wensleydale.

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Back in Constable Burton, it's time to view the first of our houses.

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Here it is, our first little slice of Yorkshire.

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It's very Yorkshire, isn't it, with the stone and everything?

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-Beautiful, yeah.

-It is.

-It's very pretty.

-What do you think?

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-What are your first impressions?

-Very pretty.

-From the outside

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-it looks lovely, yeah.

-Yeah.

-I love that front door.

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But in terms of the look of the property,

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-is this what you were aiming for?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-Absolutely.

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It's got your old front door with two windows either side.

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Front door, window either side.

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-Yeah, that's certainly a promising start.

-Looks great.

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All you have to do now is fall in love with the inside.

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-OK.

-Yeah.

-Let's have a look.

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There is an attractive symmetry to the front of this converted

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stone-built barn conversion that really seems to have resonated with them both.

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Dating back to the 18th century, it was renovated in the 1980s.

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The main section of this home is the original footprint of the old barn,

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and the rooms off it were all later additions.

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This home doesn't have any existing outbuildings but, as they'll see,

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inside should compensate for that.

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This is the oldest part of the house,

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this would have been the entire house, actually, when it was a barn.

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What do you think of the style inside?

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-I love it.

-Yeah.

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-It's lovely. Really nice.

-I think it's rather beautiful.

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Feels really cosy as you come in.

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I like the stone walls and the fireplace is great.

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The fireplace is fantastic.

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And the beams, yeah, no, it's lovely.

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Any other thoughts on the space?

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Does it kind of feel warm and...?

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It does. It feels cosy.

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-It feels homely, doesn't it?

-Yeah.

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-Really nice.

-Let's have a look in the kitchen because that's important, too.

-Cool.

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I'm loving their positivity.

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And so pleased that the living space

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and the historic features are scoring highly.

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Their hobbies could be catered for in an additional snug off the living

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room, giving Steve a space for his projectors.

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There is another smaller room off that that would serve well as Liz's

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knitting area, plus there's also a downstairs shower room.

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With their separate interests dealt with,

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time to get their collective view on the generous kitchen.

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-Who's the cook?

-Me.

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Definitely not me!

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So this would be more your domain?

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Yeah. No. It's great.

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Absolutely lovely.

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Very in keeping with the style of the house.

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-Yeah.

-In terms of the size, is it a good enough size?

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It's a great size, yeah.

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Especially having the dining table in here as well.

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Makes it a part of the home.

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Well, the bedroom is obviously important, too.

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-Let's have a look there.

-OK.

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This tour just keeps getting better and better.

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Upstairs would provide them with three bedrooms.

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There's a double under a sloping ceiling,

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plus another single spare bedroom.

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And the family bathroom has enough space

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for a bath and separate shower.

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The master bedroom also has a high beamed ceiling, exposed timber

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floorboards and ample storage with three built-in wardrobes.

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-This is lovely.

-Yeah, a really good size.

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Fantastic view out of your bedroom window.

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You can see the sheep when you wake up.

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-That is smashing.

-You can see the high beams

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that go right up into the kind of rafters of the original barn.

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-Lovely.

-So, it's all very positive so far.

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You haven't even wrinkled your nose.

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No.

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It's a really lovely house.

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-Yeah.

-What would be the deal-breaker here, if there was any?

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Maybe the away from the house storage

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that this house doesn't have.

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Well, there are some options outside,

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-so let's go and have a look.

-Excellent.

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Overall, they seem enthusiastic about the inside,

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so hopefully those smiles will continue outside.

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The thoughtfully landscaped garden

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also includes pretty stone patio areas

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and paved walkways.

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An attractive mix of flowers and planting

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enhances the rural surroundings

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of this handsome stone property.

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It's a lovely garden,

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it's very well presented and it would be easy to maintain.

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This is about a manageable size, I think, for us, yeah,

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-it's a perfect garden.

-Yeah.

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Good for the dogs to have a bit of space to run about in.

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One of the options are, behind here,

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there is a sort of like shed which

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you could extend into a summer house.

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-Yeah.

-Good. And what do you think the price of this is?

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I think this is quite close to our budget.

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I think £380,000.

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I think I'm going to go even closer and say 390.

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Well, you're a bit pessimistic because this is actually on

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the market at £375,000.

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-Wow.

-Good.

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-That's good news.

-So why don't you go inside and have a look and then I

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-will see you out the front?

-OK.

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That's pretty much signed, sealed and delivered.

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I mean, they loved it. Good price.

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I don't need to show them any more.

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Under budget by £25,000,

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this traditional stone-built barn conversion has proved to be a great

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opening gambit.

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Dating back to the 18th century, it has a large living room,

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plus two further reception areas and the three bedrooms they asked for.

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Outside there is an attractive garden for the dogs

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and it's set close to a village.

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I think it's a really beautiful house.

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It looks great from the outside, the front is gorgeous.

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I like the two rooms downstairs the most.

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They're really cosy, they definitely have a feeling of warmth.

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Maybe I was expecting maybe an outbuilding,

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which this property doesn't have,

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but I think there are probably ways round that.

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It fits the character cottage, the stone-built,

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traditional style house that we're looking for.

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You know, obviously it is property number one, not to get too excited,

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but it's a really lovely house.

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That was a very good first house tour.

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It was a great first house.

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-Brilliant.

-I feel like I don't need to show you any more, but I will.

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So follow me.

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The Yorkshire Dales is home to a rich variety of habitats,

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from native woodlands to swathes of pasture land

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across limestone valleys.

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That is exactly the reason why our nature loving couple have chosen to

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relocate here.

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Both have a passion for wildlife and Steve is keen to build

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on his love of photography and capture his natural surroundings.

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With that in mind, they're meeting local photographer Simon Phillpotts.

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Highly commended in the British wildlife photography awards on

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several occasions, he has offered to pass on his insight

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on achieving the best images of the much-loved yet elusive red squirrel.

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-Hello, there.

-Hi.

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Hi, nice to meet you, I'm Simon.

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-And you, I'm Liz.

-Steve, hiya.

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-What are you up to?

-Well,

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I'm just putting out some food here for one of our native mammals,

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the red squirrel. As you can tell, we're in a pine forest here,

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lots of Scots Pine and spruce trees,

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which really are the squirrels' preferred natural habitat.

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-Right, OK.

-So, I can see you've got a camera.

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-Yeah.

-You're looking forward to photographing some?

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-Absolutely.

-Well,

0:17:270:17:29

we can do that and hopefully we should see some very shortly,

0:17:290:17:31

so if you follow me, we'll go into the hide.

0:17:310:17:33

-Excellent.

-Follow me.

0:17:330:17:35

The UK is home to around 140,000 red squirrels.

0:17:350:17:40

The introduction of their grey counterpart in the 1870s devastated

0:17:400:17:44

-the population.

-And, actually, just on cue...

0:17:440:17:48

-Yeah.

-Here we have one.

-Here we have one.

0:17:480:17:51

Today in England, red squirrels are found in areas of the Isle of Wight,

0:17:520:17:56

Cumbria and Northumberland, as well as here in North Yorkshire.

0:17:560:18:00

In this woodland, the red squirrels are fed and their preferred trees

0:18:010:18:05

are planted, meaning the chances of seeing one are favourable.

0:18:050:18:08

So why can't the grey and the red squirrels live together?

0:18:100:18:13

The grey squirrels carry a very virulent squirrel pox virus.

0:18:130:18:17

80% of the grey squirrels carry the virus, which is easily passed on to

0:18:170:18:23

reds when they come into contact with each other and it can kill

0:18:230:18:28

a red squirrel within two weeks.

0:18:280:18:30

So, at the moment, this particular squirrel is a pregnant female,

0:18:300:18:34

so hopefully, within another month's time she will go into her dray and

0:18:340:18:40

give birth to up to four youngsters, known as kittens.

0:18:400:18:44

Fantastic. So they are on the increase and that is a good thing.

0:18:440:18:48

They are, but they need the help of the local community to really expand

0:18:480:18:53

further. At the moment it's quite a fragile population still.

0:18:530:18:56

So, fingers crossed that they can be helped and we can get them so

0:18:560:19:03

everyone in the Dales can see them one day.

0:19:030:19:06

Spotting a red squirrel may be a rarity,

0:19:080:19:10

but their distinctive colour and long, bushy tail make them easy to

0:19:100:19:14

recognise. On average, their tails can grow up to 20cm,

0:19:140:19:18

almost the same length as their bodies,

0:19:180:19:20

which comes in handy when climbing and keeping their balance.

0:19:200:19:24

So, Simon,

0:19:240:19:25

what would be your top tips on how to take a brilliant photo of a red

0:19:250:19:29

-squirrel?

-OK, well, first things first, it's a dark day,

0:19:290:19:33

so we want to have your camera as steady as possible and you can use

0:19:330:19:38

one of these beanbags.

0:19:380:19:39

That will damp out any vibrations to make the shot as steady and sharp

0:19:390:19:44

as possible.

0:19:440:19:45

Frame up the squirrel and you actually want to focus on the eye of

0:19:450:19:49

the squirrel, because that is the part that communicates with whoever

0:19:490:19:52

is looking at the final picture.

0:19:520:19:54

Nice, slow squeeze of the camera button and see how that looks.

0:19:550:20:00

Steve produced some impressive results,

0:20:010:20:04

and clearly has a flair for capturing

0:20:040:20:05

the stunning wildlife here.

0:20:050:20:07

Time to find them a picture-perfect country property from which they can

0:20:070:20:11

enjoy the region.

0:20:110:20:12

For our next offering, we are off to the village of Hudswell.

0:20:170:20:21

On the very edge of the Yorkshire Dales and set by the banks of the

0:20:210:20:24

River Swale, the landscape and views are exceptional.

0:20:240:20:27

Furthermore, there is something here that I think our couple will be

0:20:270:20:31

pleased with.

0:20:310:20:32

So, just going to take a moment here in Hudswell.

0:20:320:20:35

-This is the village where the house is.

-OK.

-To look at this.

0:20:350:20:37

Not very prepossessing from the outside,

0:20:370:20:39

but it is quite interesting.

0:20:390:20:41

This is one of the first, perhaps the first,

0:20:410:20:44

pub in Yorkshire that was taken into community ownership.

0:20:440:20:48

-Oh, OK.

-And last year, in 2016, it won best pub in the whole country,

0:20:480:20:54

according to the Campaign For Real Ale.

0:20:540:20:57

So it's a quality boozer.

0:20:570:20:59

-Absolutely.

-Let's go and look at the house.

0:20:590:21:01

Having taken in a major focal point for the community,

0:21:020:21:05

we're strolling to our next property,

0:21:050:21:07

which is under a five-minute walk away.

0:21:070:21:09

Set back from the lane,

0:21:110:21:12

it's a home with wonderful kerb appeal and good historic bones.

0:21:120:21:17

This is house number two.

0:21:170:21:19

-Wow.

-Yeah.

0:21:190:21:20

This is in an extension that you see on the side,

0:21:210:21:23

the full top-to-bottom extension.

0:21:230:21:25

From the outside, it looks fantastic.

0:21:250:21:28

It does look lovely.

0:21:280:21:29

-Yeah.

-Perfect.

-Chocolate box.

0:21:290:21:31

Let's look inside.

0:21:310:21:32

The location and the look of the property seem to have garnered

0:21:340:21:37

good reactions. Dating back to be 19th century,

0:21:370:21:40

this stone property effectively blends old and new.

0:21:400:21:44

Which is immediately evident in the central hallway.

0:21:460:21:48

Towards the back of the property is the more recent addition,

0:21:490:21:52

added in 2009, where we find the kitchen.

0:21:520:21:56

Come on through. Rather unusually,

0:21:580:22:00

I'm going to show you the new part first.

0:22:000:22:02

-OK.

-So this is the extension that they put on, maybe ten years ago...

0:22:020:22:06

-Right.

-..to give you this big, bright kitchen-dining room.

0:22:060:22:10

This is rather lovely, isn't it?

0:22:100:22:11

That is gorgeous. Yeah, really lovely.

0:22:110:22:13

The island in the middle, that looks great.

0:22:130:22:16

Yeah, a great island.

0:22:160:22:17

-That's really nice.

-And is this a bit more up to your speed

0:22:170:22:21

-in terms of units?

-Yeah.

0:22:210:22:23

-Yeah.

-That was unanimous.

-Yes, that was unanimous, wasn't it?

0:22:230:22:27

Certainly looks promising.

0:22:270:22:29

-Yeah.

-You don't sound so convinced.

0:22:290:22:31

Um... No,

0:22:330:22:34

I guess first impressions is not as a classic internal Yorkshire house,

0:22:340:22:39

I guess, as I was expecting.

0:22:390:22:41

But I don't dislike it at all.

0:22:410:22:44

Let's have a look at the rest of the ground floor.

0:22:440:22:46

Hopefully, the more Steve sees, the more he will feel at home here.

0:22:470:22:51

So now we are going back in time, as it were,

0:22:530:22:56

into the older part of the house.

0:22:560:22:57

You can see the cornicing -

0:22:570:22:58

this would have been in the original building.

0:22:580:23:00

Again, this is an extension towards the back.

0:23:000:23:02

Yeah.

0:23:020:23:04

It's nice having windows at both ends of the room.

0:23:040:23:07

Yeah.

0:23:070:23:09

Another wood burner - that's good.

0:23:090:23:11

-Yeah.

-It is a big room.

0:23:110:23:13

And then on the other side of the hallway,

0:23:130:23:14

there is quite a nice-sized study,

0:23:140:23:18

but we though that could be your film room.

0:23:180:23:20

OK. Mm-hm. Certainly, yeah.

0:23:200:23:23

Upstairs gives them four bedrooms, all of a good size.

0:23:240:23:28

There's a double, a single and one is set up as an office.

0:23:280:23:32

Good accommodation for their visiting sons.

0:23:320:23:35

There's also a bright family bathroom with a stylish shower.

0:23:350:23:39

The master bedroom is generous and benefits from dual aspect windows.

0:23:400:23:44

A lot more size here.

0:23:480:23:50

This is your bedroom with its own en suite.

0:23:500:23:54

-Lovely.

-Yeah, I like this room.

0:23:540:23:57

I'm trying to win you round with the room upstairs.

0:23:570:23:59

-I know.

-It's really nice.

0:23:590:24:02

So it's a really picturesque spot, and from upstairs

0:24:020:24:05

you really do get the views.

0:24:050:24:07

Yeah, it's lovely. A really nice room.

0:24:070:24:09

There really is so much potential in this home, and plenty of space.

0:24:090:24:14

In the top-floor attic there is a fifth bedroom -

0:24:140:24:16

a potential perfect fit for Liz's sewing room.

0:24:160:24:20

Outside also provides useful storage for Steve, with a detached garage.

0:24:210:24:25

Another great selling point of this house is the view,

0:24:270:24:30

overlooking scenic Swaledale.

0:24:300:24:32

This classic Yorkshire vista is the ideal place to take a view of what

0:24:330:24:38

the asking price is for this substantial package.

0:24:380:24:41

Here you go.

0:24:420:24:44

It's a blank canvas, this garden.

0:24:440:24:46

Obviously you can see it's fairly new.

0:24:460:24:48

So the land really goes down to that second fence.

0:24:480:24:50

-Uh-huh.

-Yeah.

0:24:500:24:52

-And also there is a covenant on the land behind that they are never going to build on it.

-OK.

0:24:520:24:56

That's nice to know.

0:24:560:24:58

Not going to interrupt that lovely view.

0:24:580:25:00

Yeah, you don't get that view very often.

0:25:000:25:03

You can see the little outbuilding here.

0:25:030:25:05

It's not huge, but it's of historic interest.

0:25:050:25:07

-Yeah.

-Could be a useful store for...

0:25:090:25:11

-For films and things.

-Films and things, yeah.

-Indeed, yeah.

0:25:110:25:15

The only piece of the puzzle we don't have is the price.

0:25:150:25:17

Yeah.

0:25:170:25:19

I think this is a really difficult one.

0:25:190:25:21

-Do you want to go first?

-Yeah, I'll go first.

0:25:210:25:24

I think it's...

0:25:240:25:26

..maybe a little bit over our budget,

0:25:260:25:29

so maybe round about 410,000.

0:25:290:25:31

I'm going to go less. I think...

0:25:320:25:35

..£370,000.

0:25:350:25:37

Well, you should probably listen to your wife,

0:25:370:25:40

because it's more in her ballpark.

0:25:400:25:42

This is on at £400,000 and offers above.

0:25:420:25:45

-OK.

-Oh, OK.

-So it would be more in your ballpark.

0:25:450:25:47

Yeah. OK.

0:25:470:25:49

-Yeah.

-That's interesting.

-That is interesting.

0:25:490:25:51

So, have a look inside again and explore all of those rooms.

0:25:520:25:54

-OK.

-See where you would put things and I will see you at the front.

0:25:540:25:57

-OK. Thanks.

-Cool.

0:25:570:25:59

Bang on budget, this sympathetically extended 19th-century property

0:26:030:26:07

delivers a large, modern kitchen,

0:26:070:26:09

whereas the living spaces hold on to their history and character.

0:26:090:26:13

Upstairs, there are five bedrooms

0:26:140:26:17

and outside provides a detached garage

0:26:170:26:19

and uninterrupted views across countryside.

0:26:190:26:22

It's a lovely, lovely property.

0:26:230:26:25

The kitchen is amazing.

0:26:250:26:27

I love the kitchen.

0:26:270:26:28

First impressions from outside is it is a beautiful house,

0:26:280:26:31

typical chocolate box house.

0:26:310:26:34

Very nice. I felt the spaces were a little bit smaller than I was

0:26:340:26:38

expecting. I'd quite like a room

0:26:380:26:41

that was a bit more substantial in size.

0:26:410:26:45

A little bit disappointed that the living room is a little bit smaller

0:26:450:26:48

than we would have liked.

0:26:480:26:50

Although it does have fantastic views, so there's pros and cons.

0:26:500:26:54

Hey, guys. Are we all done?

0:26:560:26:57

-Yeah.

-Yeah. Finished in that one, I think.

0:26:570:26:59

So... We are all locked up. So that's all the houses for today.

0:26:590:27:04

Time for you to put your feet up and have a reflect.

0:27:040:27:06

-Excellent.

-Excellent.

-Come with me.

0:27:060:27:08

I'm in North Yorkshire,

0:27:150:27:16

helping Liz and Steve from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire

0:27:160:27:20

find their dream character home in the Dales.

0:27:200:27:22

They would like space for visiting sons,

0:27:240:27:26

Liz's sewing and Steve's film projectors,

0:27:260:27:29

all for a budget of £400,000.

0:27:290:27:31

Coming up, our Mystery House will have our couple thinking they are

0:27:330:27:36

Yorkshire gentry.

0:27:360:27:37

We'll have to get some paintings as well,

0:27:370:27:39

to hang below all the lights.

0:27:390:27:41

Probably need to get the two of you painted.

0:27:410:27:43

Family portraits.

0:27:440:27:46

And later, I will be putting my life on the line.

0:27:460:27:50

Ta-da!

0:27:500:27:51

That makes me feel much safer.

0:27:530:27:54

It's the second day of our house hunt here in North Yorkshire

0:27:590:28:02

and the sun is totally shining on our Mystery House today,

0:28:020:28:06

which is a good thing because it is slightly, as always, controversial.

0:28:060:28:10

Liz and Steve really seem to like the first house and their tastes are

0:28:100:28:14

quite quiet, conservative with a small c,

0:28:140:28:18

nothing too extravagant, which is problematic because the Mystery

0:28:180:28:22

House is an extravaganza, which they are either going to love

0:28:220:28:26

or totally hate.

0:28:260:28:27

Is there anything you would dread I was showing you?

0:28:350:28:38

Something on an estate.

0:28:380:28:40

Something really on its own in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

0:28:400:28:46

-Stuck on the moors.

-Yeah.

0:28:460:28:48

Yeah, yeah, that would probably be not great.

0:28:480:28:50

Our final destination for the Mystery House is Brough Park,

0:28:560:29:00

just outside the market town of Richmond.

0:29:000:29:02

Here, Liz and Steve would find a variety of appealing shops in a

0:29:040:29:08

stunning architectural setting.

0:29:080:29:10

The town's castle dates back to Norman times

0:29:100:29:13

and its 12th-century keep is

0:29:130:29:15

a strong reminder of this imposing fortification.

0:29:150:29:18

Historic town equals grand properties,

0:29:190:29:22

and our Mystery House five miles south-east of Richmond certainly

0:29:220:29:25

delivers that. It will challenge them to think grand thoughts

0:29:250:29:29

and should appeal to their theatrical backgrounds.

0:29:290:29:32

The sheer scale might be daunting,

0:29:340:29:37

but playing the roles of lord and lady of the manor

0:29:370:29:40

might prove tempting for our couple.

0:29:400:29:43

Look what I'm showing you, it's a grade one-listed mansion.

0:29:450:29:48

-Oh, wow!

-That's a bit of a surprise.

0:29:480:29:50

What are your thoughts about living here?

0:29:510:29:54

It's a beautiful building in amazing grounds.

0:29:540:29:57

-Yeah.

-I'm fascinated to see what you are actually going

0:29:570:30:01

to show us inside.

0:30:010:30:02

-It's not all of it.

-Oh!

-OK.

0:30:020:30:04

Sadly. This is Brough Hall.

0:30:040:30:06

And the portion that you will own is this wing on the right,

0:30:060:30:10

-just downstairs.

-OK.

0:30:100:30:12

-Oh, OK.

-And you get access to the whole nine-acre estate.

0:30:120:30:16

-That's nice.

-Yeah.

0:30:160:30:17

-Yeah. Lovely.

-Fantastic.

0:30:170:30:18

Let's go and have a look.

0:30:180:30:19

This country mansion dates back to the 15th century, when it was home

0:30:210:30:25

to the prominent de Burgh family.

0:30:250:30:28

The present interior largely reflects the 18th-century

0:30:280:30:31

neoclassical Robert Adam style.

0:30:310:30:33

All laid out on one level, the home is currently unfurnished,

0:30:340:30:38

providing a Georgian empty stage full of possibilities.

0:30:380:30:42

The main reception area is truly magnificent,

0:30:420:30:45

the perfect place to start our tour.

0:30:450:30:47

Ta-da!

0:30:490:30:51

Wow.

0:30:510:30:53

Very grand.

0:30:530:30:54

It's grand, isn't it?

0:30:540:30:55

-Amazing.

-Yeah.

0:30:550:30:57

-Beautiful space.

-So, obviously, it's not furnished at the moment,

0:30:570:31:01

but, wow, look at the kind of theatricality of it.

0:31:010:31:04

Incredible, isn't it?

0:31:040:31:05

-It's...

-This is the main space...

-Yeah.

-..as you can imagine.

0:31:060:31:10

And it is really all built around this incredible Adam-style ceiling

0:31:100:31:15

piece, the central panelling, which is listed.

0:31:150:31:18

And also the wonderful kind of cornicing and flagging

0:31:180:31:21

around the doors and the great big...

0:31:210:31:23

It's a gas fire, but just a great big kind of fireplace.

0:31:230:31:26

-Wow.

-Gorgeous.

0:31:260:31:28

Have to get some paintings as well for...

0:31:280:31:31

To hang below all the lights.

0:31:310:31:32

Probably need to get the two of you painted.

0:31:320:31:35

Family portraits.

0:31:350:31:37

Yeah.

0:31:370:31:39

Let's look in the kitchen.

0:31:390:31:41

Having set the scene and fired up their creative energy,

0:31:410:31:44

we're going to what I suppose you would call backstage,

0:31:440:31:47

to think practically.

0:31:470:31:49

So, obviously, the Georgians weren't very big on cooking for themselves,

0:31:490:31:53

so this would not have been a kitchen.

0:31:530:31:55

The question is, is it adequate or big enough, or...?

0:31:550:31:58

I think it's certainly big enough.

0:32:000:32:02

-Yeah.

-Compared to THAT room, it feels quite small.

0:32:020:32:05

It does.

0:32:050:32:06

Most kitchens, you wouldn't have such a great wonderful window.

0:32:060:32:10

No. Fantastic.

0:32:100:32:12

It's not a bad view to cook Sunday lunch over, is it, really?

0:32:120:32:15

Let's look in the bedrooms. They're all on the ground floor.

0:32:150:32:18

OK.

0:32:180:32:19

I think our slice of mystery mansion has overwhelmed them a bit.

0:32:200:32:24

Moving onto the next act,

0:32:240:32:26

the sleeping quarters are equally as impressive.

0:32:260:32:29

Three good-sized double bedrooms all retain the same sense of grandeur.

0:32:290:32:35

And there is a modern fitted family bathroom.

0:32:350:32:37

The largest bedroom is the master, with its own en suite.

0:32:390:32:43

All three are blank canvases and give our couple

0:32:430:32:46

the chance to make their own decorative mark.

0:32:460:32:49

At the far end of the master is a staircase leading past storage space

0:32:500:32:54

and to a superb mezzanine level overlooking the vast living room.

0:32:540:32:59

Perfect hobby space for them, perhaps.

0:32:590:33:01

For now, though, we will pause for breath in the master.

0:33:020:33:05

It keeps on being grand in the bedroom.

0:33:070:33:09

-Sure does.

-It does.

0:33:100:33:12

Loads of space.

0:33:120:33:14

Really lovely. Just picturing our things in here and where we would

0:33:140:33:19

-put everything and...

-Yeah.

0:33:190:33:21

-Yeah.

-If you don't have kind of Regency furniture,

0:33:210:33:25

it is quite a shift, isn't it?

0:33:250:33:28

Let's go outside, though, and look at the outside.

0:33:280:33:30

OK.

0:33:300:33:31

Brough Hall is grade one-listed,

0:33:330:33:35

but a few alterations could still be made,

0:33:350:33:37

subject to planning permission.

0:33:370:33:39

The nine acres come with a maintenance charge

0:33:400:33:43

of around £2,000 a year -

0:33:430:33:44

worth bearing in mind when they guess the price.

0:33:440:33:47

Out here there is also a dedicated double garage as well as a small

0:33:480:33:52

private garden that Liz and Steve would have to themselves.

0:33:520:33:56

So this is your portion, it's quite a small portion.

0:34:020:34:06

It's basically just this little strip...

0:34:060:34:09

-OK.

-..of grass here.

0:34:090:34:12

But your big garden is nine acres.

0:34:120:34:14

So you can think of it this way,

0:34:150:34:17

that the bit that you have to look after, Steve, is quite small.

0:34:170:34:20

-Sure.

-I have to cut this bit.

0:34:200:34:21

-Exactly.

-OK.

-So it's a slightly unusual set-up,

0:34:210:34:24

unusual property, unusual garden,

0:34:240:34:26

everything about it is unusual.

0:34:260:34:29

What do you think the price is? Do you think that's unusual?

0:34:290:34:32

I am going to go for £390,000.

0:34:320:34:37

And I think it's going to be a little bit more than that.

0:34:370:34:40

I think it's going to be £415,000.

0:34:400:34:44

Actually, you're both a bit over.

0:34:440:34:45

It's actually on the market for £385,000.

0:34:450:34:48

-Oh, OK.

-OK.

-But it is...

0:34:480:34:50

It's a striking proposition.

0:34:500:34:52

-Very striking. Yeah.

-So I'm going to let you go back in and wander

0:34:520:34:55

the grounds, dance in the ballroom,

0:34:550:34:58

and I will come and pick your brains once you're done.

0:34:580:35:01

-OK, lovely.

-Thanks.

0:35:010:35:02

Under budget by £15,000,

0:35:080:35:10

our mystery slice of country mansion living makes a real statement.

0:35:100:35:15

It features an enormous Adam-style reception room,

0:35:150:35:18

a great mezzanine and three bedrooms.

0:35:180:35:21

Outside, their own private garden is small and manageable with access to

0:35:220:35:26

the wider nine-acre estate.

0:35:260:35:28

When I first saw the house, my initial reaction was

0:35:300:35:32

"Oh, my goodness, that's amazing."

0:35:320:35:35

Set in the most fantastic grounds.

0:35:350:35:37

The whole thing is just stunning.

0:35:370:35:38

I thought the house was amazing.

0:35:390:35:41

What a beautiful area to live in.

0:35:410:35:44

I think I could live in here,

0:35:440:35:45

but I have got reservations about the practicalities of living here,

0:35:450:35:50

with the dogs and our storage needs and things like that.

0:35:500:35:54

So, if you had asked me before we saw the property if I could imagine

0:35:560:35:59

us living here, I probably would have said...not really.

0:35:590:36:02

But now we've been here and had a look round, then, yeah,

0:36:020:36:05

I am starting to think, yeah, we could live here.

0:36:050:36:08

It would be quite something.

0:36:080:36:10

Hey, guys. I was just enjoying the last of the bluebells.

0:36:110:36:14

-They're beautiful.

-Beautiful.

0:36:140:36:16

So that is our time in this Georgian pile all done.

0:36:160:36:19

-But let's find somewhere to have a cup of tea and we can talk about all the houses.

-OK.

0:36:190:36:23

The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty features

0:36:310:36:35

over 200 square miles of rugged moorland scenery

0:36:350:36:38

and incredible views.

0:36:380:36:40

One natural spectacle here is How Stean Gorge.

0:36:420:36:46

It's a remarkable site,

0:36:460:36:47

and not being one to settle for admiring from afar,

0:36:470:36:50

I'm meeting with Stan Beer, who's going to show me

0:36:500:36:53

how I can get up close to this incredible feat of nature.

0:36:530:36:56

-Hiya, Stan.

-Hiya.

0:36:580:37:00

Nice to meet you. This is a good place to work.

0:37:000:37:02

-Thank you. Yes.

-So, how long have you been working at How Stean Gorge?

0:37:020:37:05

We actually bought the place about ten years ago, but prior to that

0:37:050:37:09

I used to come up on my days off because I used to be a paramedic and

0:37:090:37:11

-had a few days.

-So you have got all sorts of things that you do here.

0:37:110:37:14

I know you do lots of activities.

0:37:140:37:16

-But we're going to be looking at the... What is it called?

-The via ferrata.

0:37:160:37:19

-Via ferrata.

-That's Italian.

0:37:190:37:21

Via is the way and ferrata is iron.

0:37:210:37:24

Am I going to come out of this with skills?

0:37:240:37:26

Yes, you will do. Yes.

0:37:260:37:27

-Life skills.

-Wonderful.

0:37:270:37:29

-Can we have a go?

-You can have a go, yes.

0:37:290:37:31

-Lead the way.

-I'll lead the way.

0:37:310:37:32

Stan has nine years of experience

0:37:340:37:36

and an activity this daring should not be attempted

0:37:360:37:39

without an expert like him as a guide.

0:37:390:37:42

After a rigorous safety briefing, and with the right kit on,

0:37:430:37:47

it's time to traverse the gorge.

0:37:470:37:50

-OK.

-So I basically just hang on to the wire now?

0:37:510:37:54

Just hang on to the wire, that's right.

0:37:540:37:57

The via ferrata are thought to have first been used

0:37:590:38:02

during the First World War as a means for soldiers to reach

0:38:020:38:06

inaccessible areas of the Austrian mountains.

0:38:060:38:09

I can feel my confidence growing.

0:38:110:38:13

Ta-da!

0:38:130:38:15

That makes me feel much safer.

0:38:160:38:18

A series of metal rungs have been worked into the stone

0:38:190:38:23

and a continuous cable runs the length of the route

0:38:230:38:26

for the daring adventurer to clip themselves onto for safety.

0:38:260:38:30

Yeah, because how do you get these metal things into the rock that are

0:38:330:38:36

-safe?

-Well, they're all resined in.

0:38:360:38:40

And then they are all tested with a puller and we have to test them

0:38:400:38:44

annually, they are inspected regularly.

0:38:440:38:47

This is just one of three via ferrata courses in the UK.

0:38:470:38:52

Although the shortest,

0:38:520:38:53

it's unique in that it is the only one located in a gorge.

0:38:530:38:57

It also has the reputation for being the trickiest,

0:38:570:38:59

and I think I know why.

0:38:590:39:01

Oh, lordy. That's hard.

0:39:020:39:05

Don't forget to look around and enjoy the scenery.

0:39:060:39:09

This is a long one.

0:39:120:39:14

I'm actually feeling a bit scared.

0:39:150:39:17

It is quite a long way down.

0:39:170:39:19

And it's really wobbly.

0:39:190:39:20

I know I'm attached, but my body is, like, going,

0:39:200:39:23

"This is a bad idea. You should get right off this thing."

0:39:230:39:26

And look at Stan grinning like a loon behind me.

0:39:260:39:29

Happy as a sandboy.

0:39:290:39:31

This is what makes my job so exciting.

0:39:310:39:33

To complete our route, I need to cross the main crevasse.

0:39:340:39:38

Known as a Tyrolean traverse...

0:39:380:39:41

Holy Moley!

0:39:410:39:42

..this method was developed in the Italian Dolomites in order to

0:39:420:39:45

navigate large, precipitous drops.

0:39:450:39:49

The important thing is, do I look stylish, Stan?

0:39:490:39:51

I don't think I do.

0:39:510:39:53

Something tells me I'm not looking my best.

0:39:530:39:56

You now get to the uphill bit.

0:39:560:39:57

And there I am.

0:40:000:40:02

Are you there? Well done.

0:40:020:40:04

Thank you.

0:40:040:40:05

You make it look so easy, Stan.

0:40:100:40:12

I have to say, it was a bit more frightening than I was expecting.

0:40:170:40:20

Good. Well, not frightening...

0:40:200:40:21

-It was...

-You sort of eased me in, like, you know, it would be no problem.

0:40:210:40:24

And then there was quite a few quite hairy moments.

0:40:240:40:26

-Built up slowly, didn't it?

-Thanks, Stan.

0:40:260:40:29

-A good day out.

-Very good.

0:40:290:40:30

I've enjoyed myself. Thank you.

0:40:300:40:32

After that high adrenaline activity,

0:40:330:40:36

I think it's best to stop and take stock as we return to our lovely

0:40:360:40:39

couple, who are also in search of North Yorkshire's natural drama.

0:40:390:40:43

Liz and Steve are such good-natured,

0:40:500:40:54

sweet-tempered house-hunters that it is quite difficult to pierce through

0:40:540:40:58

their very polite responses and find out

0:40:580:41:00

which of the houses they actually like.

0:41:000:41:03

I have a hunch it might be number one, but let's go find out.

0:41:030:41:06

Hi, guys.

0:41:100:41:12

-Hi.

-Hiya.

-Nice cup of tea.

0:41:120:41:13

Lovely. Three houses under our belts.

0:41:130:41:17

Any of them contenders?

0:41:170:41:19

Me, personally, I think number one was probably the favourite.

0:41:190:41:23

Yes, that doesn't surprise me.

0:41:230:41:25

-What about you?

-Yeah, same.

0:41:250:41:26

I think I loved property number one, same as Steve,

0:41:260:41:29

property number three, the Mystery House, was amazing,

0:41:290:41:34

but I think the head takes over from the heart.

0:41:340:41:36

I don't think it was really us.

0:41:360:41:38

We prefer somewhere a bit more homely, a bit more cottage-y,

0:41:380:41:42

a bit more traditional.

0:41:420:41:44

-Yeah.

-Now, the first house really did sort of offer you that,

0:41:440:41:46

it was a very homely, solid property.

0:41:460:41:49

What are you going to do next, what is the next step?

0:41:490:41:51

Well, I think we might return to Yorkshire in a couple of weeks and

0:41:510:41:56

maybe arrange to have another look, I think.

0:41:560:41:59

Yeah.

0:41:590:42:00

Anything else that has come into focus?

0:42:000:42:02

I think it has confirmed that we are doing the right thing and we love

0:42:030:42:06

-the area.

-Yeah, definitely.

-And certainly see ourselves spending the

0:42:060:42:10

rest of our lives here, I guess.

0:42:100:42:12

Well, I hope it all works out in Yorkshire.

0:42:120:42:13

Sounds like you could do with a couple of years relaxation,

0:42:130:42:16

and it's a beautiful spot, so thanks for bringing us here.

0:42:160:42:19

-Thank you very much.

-Been a pleasure showing you around.

0:42:190:42:22

-It's been brilliant.

-Yeah.

0:42:220:42:23

For a couple who met in the theatre,

0:42:280:42:30

I was hoping that the spectacular interiors of the Mystery House might

0:42:300:42:35

just bowl Liz and Steve over.

0:42:350:42:38

But they have grown older and wiser and are looking for something a bit

0:42:380:42:41

cosier, and I can quite understand how house number one would win them

0:42:410:42:45

over. But I do hope they come back and I hope they buy our house,

0:42:450:42:48

but even if they don't, look at all this.

0:42:480:42:50

Who wouldn't want to move here?

0:42:500:42:52

And I'm hoping it's also going to inspire you to join us next time

0:42:520:42:55

for more Escape To The Country.

0:42:550:42:57

And if you would like to escape to the country in Northern Ireland,

0:43:000:43:02

Scotland, Wales or England and need our help, please apply online at...

0:43:020:43:07

Alistair Appleton helps a couple find a more relaxing way of life in the North Yorkshire countryside with a £400,000 budget.

While in the area, Alistair attempts an adrenalin-fuelled adventure traversing How Stean Gorge on a course of high wire cables.