Cotswolds Escape to the Country


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Cotswolds

Margherita Taylor heads to the Cotswolds with a house-hunting couple who have a £550,000 budget.


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This incredible tree is one of over

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145 champion trees

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growing from strength to strength on this particular site.

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Why are they champions, and where am I?

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I'll tell you all in a moment.

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Today, it's classic British scenery that's drawing a dynamic couple

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to make the leap from a seaside town to the countryside.

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And their house-hunt is a journey full of surprises.

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-Oh, that's...

-That's interesting.

-I wasn't expecting that.

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-No.

-I'm seeing big smiles.

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It's ticking quite a few boxes.

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One property casts its spell before we even cross the threshold.

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I'm loving the ambience of this place.

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This is the sort of thing that we were looking for.

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Today, I'm in the Cotswolds, and the National Arboretum in Westonbirt.

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A large number of the trees here are UK champions,

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either for being the tallest or for having the widest trunk,

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or for being particularly rare.

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Since planting first started here over 160 years ago,

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things have really grown.

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There are now over 2,500 different types of trees,

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and it makes the perfect showground

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for the National Arboricultural Show.

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Everyone from tree surgeons to woodcarvers are here,

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and I'm going to be exploring the show a little bit later.

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First, though, let's take a look at some of the wonderful sights

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the Cotswolds have to offer.

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The Cotswolds is an area covering 800 square miles,

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running through five counties, including Gloucestershire,

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Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

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The county's largest designated

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Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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is characterised by undulating hills,

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crisscrossed by an extensive network of dry stone walls.

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Cotswold stone is a defining feature of preserved villages

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such as Stanton, where impressive houses are fronted with smart,

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mullioned windows, and Broad Campden,

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where charming cottages bordered by country gardens

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line the narrow, winding lanes.

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Much of the Cotswolds' architecture harks back to the medieval

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wool trade, not only the rows of workers' cottages,

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but also the grander buildings and large ornate churches.

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In the Middle Ages, the Cotswolds produced the best wool in Europe,

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and as the industry flourished,

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wealthy merchants hoping for a smooth journey to the afterlife

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lavished money on what became known as wool churches.

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The magnificent church of St Peter and St Paul in Northleach

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is a prime example, and dubbed "The Cathedral Of the Cotswolds."

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Attracting over 20 million visitors a year,

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and countless escapees from city life,

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the Cotswolds offer a perfect slice of English country living.

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The headline for the Cotswolds property market

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is that it's expensive,

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especially when compared to the UK average of £327,000

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for a detached home.

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The Wiltshire and Oxfordshire areas err on that more expensive side,

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but head west into Gloucestershire

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and you will get more for your property pound.

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Luckily, today's house buyers are pretty flexible

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when it comes to which part of this beautiful area

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they'd love to call home.

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Banking administrator Maria and her operations analyst husband Tony

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have been an item for 16 years.

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We met each other at a black-tie event.

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We were introduced to each other,

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and things just really rolled from that point onwards.

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-We just hit it off, didn't we?

-Yeah, we clicked.

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Yeah. It was supposed to be one of these dinner and dances

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where you actually had dance cards,

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and you were supposed to have a dance with any of the guys or girls

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on the table. We ended up dancing every dance together.

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The others didn't get a look in.

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And he did ask for my number when we left, so I was very happy.

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-BOTH:

-A big attraction.

-..I was going to say.

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Yeah, there was a big attraction, for sure.

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That attraction grew, and the couple tied the knot almost 14 years ago.

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For the last 11 of those,

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Maria and Tony have lived in their three-bedroom chalet-style house

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in Southend-on-Sea in Essex.

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After recent holidays in the English countryside,

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they have decided they would like to swap the seaside for rolling hills.

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We'd like to move away from the area,

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simply because there's not as much activity as we would like to do.

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If we've got to do any activity, or if we want to go walking,

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then we have to travel quite a way for it.

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Same with cycling, it's very flat around here.

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When we go for walks,

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we don't actually want to walk round houses and on pavements.

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We want to actually go to places where we can walk on the trails.

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We think we are going to find what we want

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somewhere like the Cotswolds, because that's going to offer, like,

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more hills, rolling countryside,

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just more of what we want than the flat that we have over here.

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When they make their move,

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they are both keen to improve the work-life balance.

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I've actually been commuting now for 33 years,

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and I think it's time to slow down

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and actually start enjoying life a bit more.

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I'm looking forward to a quieter pace

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and getting off the merry-go-round.

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Having time to do things like I enjoy. I love my cooking,

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I like making greeting cards.

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Maybe we'll join a ramblers' club or something.

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You know, we might take up fishing.

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There's so many things that we could get into,

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and that's why it appeals to us so much.

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I'd still like to do maybe a local role, but you know,

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maybe I would just work in a local company

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or a local shop or something.

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Tony is hoping to reduce his working days in London so he can enjoy

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country life and dedicate his time to his favourite passions.

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Gardening is something I enjoy doing.

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It's always therapeutic to actually get away from the daily

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sort of things going on in your mind, get away from work,

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and it just takes your mind off things.

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And that's not all.

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One of my main hobbies is to do DIY.

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If a place needs doing up or it needs any work on it,

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then I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty

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and general DIY and handyman stuff.

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With their house sold, all they need now is a new country pad

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that Tony can put his stamp on

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so the couple can begin their new life.

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We are looking for the outdoor life.

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We are looking for taking up activities, getting outside,

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and generally having a healthier lifestyle

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than the one we've currently got.

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I liken myself to a bit of a hamster on a wheel,

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and I just feel like it's time to get out of the cage

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and just start doing things.

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And that's what we want to do.

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Maria and Tony are happy to consider settling anywhere

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within the Cotswolds, so we have free rein of the region

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for our house hunt.

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Before we set off, though,

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I'm meeting up with them so they can go through the finer details

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of what it is they are hoping for in their new home.

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Hi. Hi. Maria, Tony, it's great to see you.

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How much looking have you done in the Cotswolds so far?

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Unfortunately, we haven't done any.

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We've only come down for a couple of days, and we've toured the area,

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and we like what we see. And we think this could be

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-the next place for us.

-So, what are we looking for?

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What we really need is a nice garden, a bit of land, if possible.

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Only really need two or three bedrooms,

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we don't need a massive place.

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We'd rather have it open, so it's more open-plan.

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Not really keen on cottages because of the low ceilings.

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I don't want to be next to a main road, or a very busy road, anyway.

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But we also want the views.

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I mean, this would be perfect.

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So, the style of property...? Not a...

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-Not a cottage.

-Not a country cottage, unless it is open-plan.

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And not really a new build, so I guess we're looking for character.

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So, maybe something that's had some sort of conversion,

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or something that we can convert.

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So, we are literally open to what may come our way.

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-Yeah.

-So, in terms of proximity to a village...?

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-Edge of a village is what we'd be looking at.

-Edge of a village.

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-Even push it out and make it rural.

-So, what's in the budget?

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Well, what's in our kitty, babe?

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Well, we've got £550,000.

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Obviously, if it needs work and the rest of it...

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I mean, that is our max.

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And if we get anything for around 450, we'll be very happy.

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-Well, it's a great place to be...

-Yes, brilliant.

-..and we have

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gorgeous properties for you to see in this beautiful part of the world

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that you could soon be calling home.

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-That'd be good.

-That'd be great.

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For their top budget of £550,000,

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Maria and Tony are hoping for a bright,

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spacious character property with high ceilings,

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an open-plan kitchen-diner, and two to three bedrooms.

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They'd like a feature garden, ideally with views,

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and are hoping to be in a quiet location

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on the outskirts of a village.

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We have hand-picked a diverse assortment of properties

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to show Maria and Tony, and after they have viewed each one,

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they'll discover the asking price.

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Our final visit, to the Mystery House,

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will offer slightly more in the way of community,

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but also goes all-out on space and character.

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We're travelling to Chipping Camden in Gloucestershire,

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in the north of the Cotswolds.

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The beautiful small market town

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has a history as a rich wool-trading centre

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in the Middle Ages, and its high street is a vision

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of honey-coloured Cotswold stone.

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In the centre is the old Market Hall, built in 1627.

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It was designed to provide shelter for the town's food market.

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The classic Cotswolds setting attracts tourists in their droves,

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and independent shops and cafes also provide for locals.

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Standing 120 feet tall,

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the striking tower of St James' Church,

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built back in 1500, can be seen for miles around.

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The neighbouring lodges and gateway

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are all that remain of the old Camden House,

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which burned down in the civil war.

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On the edge of the town, we've arrived at this detached property.

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It's nice-looking. It's got a bit of character, hasn't it?

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-It's certainly got some character.

-Yeah.

-It's interesting.

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The original part of this property, 1920s.

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It was a bungalow to start with, so not so much a barn conversion,

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but a bungalow conversion.

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And then you can see the new brick came in in 2010, 2012,

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the project was finished, where the current owner has extended.

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So you've got two-storey accommodation.

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It actually blends quite well, doesn't it?

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In character with the whole house.

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It is a little mismatched, I think, for me.

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Well, shall we see if the inside's a bit more of a winner for you?

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-Yeah, absolutely.

-Why not? Let's have a look

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-at what it's got to offer.

-Let's go.

-Come on.

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This unusual redbrick property has more than doubled in size

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since it was first built.

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It's topped with slate roof tiles,

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and is finished to a very high standard inside.

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A large entrance hallway, decked with flagstones,

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leads us to our first stop.

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Come straight in to what would be your kitchen-diner.

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-Oh, that's...

-That's interesting.

-Wasn't expecting that.

-No.

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-Especially not with the windows on top.

-No.

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-Wasn't expecting that. That's good.

-I'm seeing big smiles.

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It's ticking quite a few boxes, because you've got the light,

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you got the space, and I'm loving the floor.

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And look at the views. You can already see the views,

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-which is what we want, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-Definitely.

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You wanted to enjoy that Cotswold countryside,

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and it is literally on your doorstep.

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This room is really nicely done.

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Great. Well, let's see more.

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We are heading across the hallway to the rear of the house.

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And in you come to one of your two living spaces downstairs.

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One is used as a guest bedroom at the moment...

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-OK.

-..but it could be a dining room.

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And then this, I'm thinking, you know, after all that entertaining,

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just somewhere to put your feet up at the end of the day.

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My immediate reaction is it feels a little small.

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I'm with Maria on this. It's probably too small for me.

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Well, I imagine you would be living in that kitchen space.

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-You wouldn't want to leave it, would you?

-No, for sure.

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-But at the end of a busy day, nice cosy winter evening.

-Yeah.

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-Yeah.

-And still somewhere to put your feet up.

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-Well, there's lots more house to see...

-OK.

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..so let's keep exploring,

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-and then you can then let me know what you think.

-OK.

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Also on the ground floor, there's a cloakroom, a handy utility,

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and a space currently set up as a playroom.

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We are moving upstairs,

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where there are three potential bedrooms located in the eaves,

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which have use of a stylish family bathroom.

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One with skylights is currently used as a study,

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along with two existing doubles.

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There's one at the front of the house,

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but we're heading to the back,

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where there's a very spacious master with its own en-suite.

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-This is a good size.

-Wow.

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-That's...

-That's plenty of room, isn't it?

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-That's enough room for us, I think.

-Yeah.

-And an en-suite as well.

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No, liking it. And you've got the views as well.

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You can see that straight away. It's really good, like it.

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Well, there's so much house to explore, still.

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-There is.

-And of course we've got to guess the price, so...

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I hadn't even thought about that! I'm so into looking at the house.

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Start having a think. Let's head out into the garden and, yes,

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-then we will talk money.

-OK.

-Brilliant, thank you.

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The property has a single garage and a good-sized enclosed garden,

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with far-reaching views across the surrounding countryside.

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What do you think of the outside space of this property?

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-It's smaller than I thought it would be.

-I agree.

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Obviously, you've got all the outside space,

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which is absolutely beautiful, really lovely.

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And I know you enjoy gardening, and this is pretty much a blank canvas.

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-It is.

-Lawned at the moment but, really,

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-you could make this whatever you want.

-You could make it

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-your own, couldn't you?

-And you said you are quite up for doing work...

-Oh, yeah, sure.

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-..getting involved in a bit of a project.

-Yeah, we just have to think about

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how we want to design it.

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So, having had a look at the property,

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and taken in these beautiful views,

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what do you think this property is currently on the market for?

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I think this property is on the market

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for £465,000.

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I think it's on the market for £475,000.

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This property is currently on the market for £550,000.

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-Wow.

-Really?

-That's a lot more than we thought.

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-Yeah.

-That's a surprise.

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I wonder if that is because of the area.

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Well, we're in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty....

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-OK.

-..in the Cotswolds...

-Yep.

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..not too far to commute to some beautiful towns.

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-Yeah.

-It's a hot spot.

-That's interesting.

-Fair enough, yeah.

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Now you know what this is on the market for,

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why don't you take another look around at the space,

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-and I'll meet you out the front in a few moments?

-Yeah.

-OK, will do.

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Bang on the top budget,

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the price tag of this property has clearly shocked them.

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That said, it's beautifully finished,

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with a fabulous open-plan kitchen-diner and three bedrooms.

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The garden is a fair size, providing magnificent views,

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and all set in a desirable location.

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Primarily, what has caught my eye about this house is the kitchen.

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It has a lot of light, it has a lot of space,

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and some of the other areas that have openness feel quite spacious.

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I really like this house. I think it's got a lot of character.

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I especially like the kitchen, with all the light coming through,

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and I quite like the outlook of the property

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towards the back of the property.

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-Hi.

-Hi.

-So, you've had a good explore around?

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-Yes.

-We have.

-The first ever house you'd stepped inside

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-in the Cotswolds?

-Yep.

-It is, yes.

-Are you ready to see more?

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-Yes, we are.

-Definitely.

-Come on. Let's do it.

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Spanning Wiltshire,

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Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire is the beautiful Cotswold Water Park.

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Covering 40 square miles, it encompasses more than 150 lakes,

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and is a wildlife haven.

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Within the park is the Lechlade and Bushyleaze Trout Fisheries,

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where amateur anglers can come to learn fly fishing

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and pros can come for their catch of the day.

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Maria and Tony can't wait to get stuck into countryside pursuits

0:16:140:16:18

when they make their move, so we have sent them along

0:16:180:16:21

to try their hand at fly fishing.

0:16:210:16:24

Tim Small set up the farm in the 1970s,

0:16:240:16:27

when he was one of only eight trout farmers in the UK.

0:16:270:16:30

Now, he is one of around 450.

0:16:300:16:33

So, how long have you been in business, Tim?

0:16:330:16:35

I've been up here fish farming since 1974.

0:16:350:16:39

I started when I was very young.

0:16:390:16:41

Started off small, doing restaurants

0:16:410:16:43

and local fishmongers and stuff,

0:16:430:16:46

grew up to doing wholesalers, supermarkets,

0:16:460:16:49

and actually I became the first fish farm in Europe

0:16:490:16:52

to get organic certification, and as a result of that,

0:16:520:16:56

I saw that I could actually produce fish on the farm

0:16:560:16:59

which are of such a good quality

0:16:590:17:02

that they were perfect for fishing.

0:17:020:17:04

Have you ever done fly fishing before?

0:17:040:17:06

No, I've never been fly fishing.

0:17:060:17:07

So what's the difference between fly fishing and the other sort?

0:17:070:17:10

Trout mainly feed on insects.

0:17:100:17:14

We are going to get you to cast an imitation fly

0:17:140:17:17

that imitates what they are feeding on at the moment.

0:17:170:17:21

There are around 70,000 fish growing here at any one time

0:17:210:17:25

across the ten ponds and raceways,

0:17:250:17:27

and around 4,000 swimming in the two fishing lakes.

0:17:270:17:31

These are restocked at least twice a week.

0:17:310:17:35

Now it's time for an introduction to the different types of flies.

0:17:350:17:39

Tony has a little experience in coarse fishing,

0:17:390:17:41

but Maria is a relative novice.

0:17:410:17:44

So, this is a mayfly.

0:17:440:17:46

This one here is a damselfly, but the one they really love are these,

0:17:460:17:51

which are called a buzzer, and that is like a mosquito larva.

0:17:510:17:55

And they adore those, they prefer them to these.

0:17:550:17:58

So, I'll hand you over to Nick. Have a great time,

0:17:580:18:00

-and I shall see you later.

-Thank you, brilliant.

-Thank you.

0:18:000:18:02

Thanks a lot.

0:18:020:18:05

It's fishery manager Nick Mackie who is going to teach the pair how to,

0:18:050:18:08

hopefully, catch a fish in Bushyleaze Lake behind them.

0:18:080:18:13

Generally with fishing and fly fishing, it's all hands,

0:18:130:18:16

so you are pulling the line off and keeping it in your hand.

0:18:160:18:19

And on the end here, we have got a fly that I put on ready earlier,

0:18:190:18:22

which is a little damsel. If you want to have a hold of that...?

0:18:220:18:25

-It's quite light, actually. Lighter than I thought.

-Yeah, they are.

0:18:250:18:28

-Can't wait to get out there and give this a go.

-Excellent.

0:18:280:18:31

But before they hit the water for real,

0:18:310:18:33

they need to know how to cast correctly.

0:18:330:18:35

So, all we are doing is plying off a bit of line and going back and fall.

0:18:370:18:41

We call it a ten to two.

0:18:410:18:42

So, if you imagine a clock face, you are just going ten to two.

0:18:420:18:46

And then right at the very end when you cast,

0:18:460:18:48

you just drop your rod down and let the line come out like that.

0:18:480:18:51

-And if you just want to have a go, Maria.

-Sure.

0:18:510:18:54

And then you just want to lift up...

0:18:540:18:56

And go ten to two,

0:18:560:18:58

ten to two, ten to two.

0:18:580:19:01

So, same thing, Tony, if you just pick the rod up for us.

0:19:010:19:05

And you've done a bit of fishing before,

0:19:050:19:06

so you've got to remember that you're not casting one single,

0:19:060:19:09

you're going back and forth.

0:19:090:19:10

So, as I say, ten to two.

0:19:100:19:13

That's it. Perfect.

0:19:130:19:16

That's it. And if we just go back over to here.

0:19:160:19:20

Protective glasses and headwear on, they're ready to fish.

0:19:200:19:23

And we'll hopefully catch some fish.

0:19:230:19:25

The sunglasses not only help with the glare from the sunlight

0:19:250:19:28

on the water, but protect against any stray fishing hooks.

0:19:280:19:33

So, if you just hold it in your hand there,

0:19:330:19:35

-but be careful because obviously it's a hook.

-OK.

0:19:350:19:37

And you just want to drop that into the water now.

0:19:370:19:39

-OK.

-Just let that go down into the water.

0:19:390:19:41

And then peel off a little bit of line, as we were before.

0:19:410:19:44

-Is that enough?

-Yeah, that should be fine.

0:19:440:19:46

And then you want to come back out and then cast out,

0:19:460:19:49

again with the ten to two.

0:19:490:19:52

That's it.

0:19:520:19:53

Let that go. That's it, straight on top of him, look at that,

0:19:540:19:58

-perfect cast.

-There we go.

-If you come round to my right, Tony,

0:19:580:20:01

-because you're right-handed, aren't you?

-Yeah, I am.

0:20:010:20:03

And you're just doing that ten to two action again.

0:20:030:20:06

A little bit of line out with your hand as it goes forward.

0:20:060:20:08

That's it. And then last one, and let that go.

0:20:080:20:11

-That's it.

-They're taking the bait.

-THEY LAUGH

0:20:110:20:14

-We've got you hooked, have we?

-You definitely have.

-Excellent.

0:20:140:20:17

-Practice makes perfect.

-It does, it does.

0:20:170:20:19

The more you do something, the better you get at it.

0:20:190:20:21

And if you're going to come back and do it again,

0:20:210:20:23

and keep doing it and keep doing it, you will find that, over time,

0:20:230:20:26

it becomes sort of a natural...

0:20:260:20:27

Almost as much as walking and riding a bike.

0:20:270:20:29

Once you know how to do it, you never forget it.

0:20:290:20:32

It's certainly been a lot of fun.

0:20:320:20:34

-Good.

-Well, Nick, thanks for the lesson.

0:20:340:20:36

-That's all right.

-No doubt we'll see you again.

-Brilliant.

0:20:360:20:38

-Best of luck, guys.

-Bye.

-Thanks very much.

0:20:380:20:40

Although there's no bite today,

0:20:400:20:42

lets hope that our house hunt results in us reeling in

0:20:420:20:45

a great property catch here in the Cotswolds.

0:20:450:20:48

It's day two of our Cotswolds property adventure,

0:21:000:21:03

seeking out a country escape for Maria and Tony

0:21:030:21:06

from Southend-on-Sea in Essex to call home.

0:21:060:21:09

They've got a budget of £550,000

0:21:090:21:12

to spend on a spacious character property

0:21:120:21:15

with an attractive garden.

0:21:150:21:17

Still to come, church bells may chime

0:21:170:21:20

when our Mystery House is revealed.

0:21:200:21:22

So, every Sunday morning, as you lie in bed,

0:21:220:21:25

you may hear a little singing waking you with your morning cuppa

0:21:250:21:28

-and the papers.

-Depends what time they start, I think!

0:21:280:21:32

And top tree experts show off the impressive art of knot tying.

0:21:320:21:37

Stop the clock! Wow, 26 seconds!

0:21:370:21:41

You smashed the record!

0:21:410:21:43

It's a new day, and there are still two more houses to see.

0:21:450:21:48

Later, of course, there's the Mystery House,

0:21:480:21:51

which might not be quite the rural escape our couple had in mind.

0:21:510:21:55

But first, I'm going to show them a house on a hill.

0:21:550:21:59

Our next property stop is in the village of Eastcombe

0:21:590:22:02

in Gloucestershire, towards the west of the Cotswolds.

0:22:020:22:05

Sitting on a hilltop,

0:22:050:22:07

the village has spectacular views across the Toadsmoor Valley,

0:22:070:22:10

including from the local pub,

0:22:100:22:12

where visitors can enjoy the outlook while stopping for refreshment

0:22:120:22:16

after a beautiful country walk.

0:22:160:22:19

On the edge of Eastcombe,

0:22:190:22:20

we've arrived at this detached Cotswold-stone property,

0:22:200:22:23

which benefits from its elevated position.

0:22:230:22:27

So here we are, Maria, Tony, in the Cotswolds, your Cotswold cottage.

0:22:270:22:32

-That's lovely.

-That is nice.

-That is really, really nice.

0:22:320:22:36

Loving the ambience of this place.

0:22:360:22:38

We're getting the height, and you know the views are going to come.

0:22:380:22:42

Suddenly, they just open up.

0:22:420:22:44

This is the sort of thing that we were looking for.

0:22:440:22:46

And the house has got heaps of character.

0:22:460:22:48

-It was an old worker's cottage.

-Was it?

-Well, originally, two...

0:22:480:22:52

-OK.

-..but they converted years ago.

0:22:520:22:54

-Shall we get inside and see more?

-Can't wait.

-Absolutely.

-Come on.

0:22:540:22:58

This cottage is thought to date back to the early 1800s,

0:23:000:23:04

and with that history comes character charm.

0:23:040:23:07

It's been extended twice in its lifetime.

0:23:070:23:10

We are entering into a galley kitchen which forms

0:23:100:23:13

part of the extension, and accommodates a dining area.

0:23:130:23:16

-Good views.

-Views are great.

-Straight over the valley.

0:23:190:23:23

-Gorgeous.

-Shame about the kitchen size, but the view is there.

0:23:230:23:27

Do you like what's here already?

0:23:270:23:29

It's lovely. You know, it's woodwork surfaces, they look great.

0:23:290:23:32

What's here is nice.

0:23:320:23:33

Well, this is the newer part of the property.

0:23:330:23:35

-Let's go into the older part of the house, your living area.

-OK.

0:23:350:23:39

At the front of the cottage is the open-plan sitting room.

0:23:390:23:42

So, this was the original worker's cottage,

0:23:430:23:45

or the two of them separated, joined together.

0:23:450:23:48

I'm loving looking at the stonework in the lounge.

0:23:480:23:52

Just brings the cottage alive.

0:23:520:23:54

There's a lot of light coming through from various windows.

0:23:540:23:57

-Cos it opens it up, doesn't it, around to this area.

-This one isn't listed...

0:23:570:24:00

-OK.

-..so in terms of adding different doors in...

0:24:000:24:04

-OK, right.

-..or even extending out into that patio space at the back...

0:24:040:24:08

-Yeah.

-..and maybe up as well, to give you even more space

0:24:080:24:11

in the property. Or here, extending out onto the patio

0:24:110:24:14

-with your kitchen.

-I'm liking the sound of that.

0:24:140:24:17

-Yeah.

-You've got options here.

-That's what we like.

0:24:170:24:19

-Shall we take a look upstairs?

-Yeah.

-OK, come this way.

0:24:190:24:22

An open wooden stairway leads to the first floor,

0:24:260:24:29

where there's a tiled family bathroom and three bedrooms.

0:24:290:24:33

There's one with a contemporary cottage feel in the extension,

0:24:330:24:36

a smaller one in the main part of the house,

0:24:360:24:39

and next door is the master.

0:24:390:24:41

Quite high ceilings for a cottage,

0:24:420:24:45

and waking up with those lovely views of the valley.

0:24:450:24:48

I mean, as a bedroom size for a cottage, it's a good size.

0:24:480:24:51

-Yeah...

-You've got a proper bed, a king-size bed.

0:24:510:24:54

Yeah, it's a cottage, so rooms traditionally are smaller.

0:24:540:24:57

It's now trying to figure out how you would configure them.

0:24:570:25:01

It's lovely as it is, but I think we would need to make a few changes.

0:25:010:25:04

Quite a few changes.

0:25:040:25:05

I want you to see the garden, so let's head out

0:25:050:25:07

-and have another look.

-OK.

-And let's guess the price.

0:25:070:25:10

Yeah, all right.

0:25:100:25:13

-With all the work involved...

-With the work involved!

0:25:130:25:15

At the rear of the property is an enclosed courtyard and shed.

0:25:180:25:22

And at the front, as we've already seen,

0:25:220:25:25

there's a tiered landscape garden surrounded by trees and borders

0:25:250:25:29

with a large raised patio

0:25:290:25:31

from which to take in the stunning outlook and beautiful sunsets.

0:25:310:25:35

Lovely views. The peace and quiet.

0:25:360:25:39

It's almost like you've got different rooms out here.

0:25:390:25:42

Yeah. Obviously, it's not your traditional garden, but then,

0:25:420:25:44

we weren't looking for traditional.

0:25:440:25:46

I quite like the idea of having different sections in the garden

0:25:460:25:49

-as a whole.

-Bearing that in mind, what do you think this property,

0:25:490:25:53

with these amazing views, is currently on the market for?

0:25:530:25:56

I think this property is on the market for...

0:25:560:26:01

..£420,000.

0:26:010:26:04

-Tony, what do you think?

-I would have to go low as well.

0:26:040:26:08

My initial thought was around £425,000.

0:26:080:26:12

This property is currently on the market for £410,000.

0:26:120:26:18

OK.

0:26:180:26:21

I'm glad it is that much under budget

0:26:210:26:24

and we are on the right wavelength

0:26:240:26:27

for what we can get for our money,

0:26:270:26:29

including those wonderful views,

0:26:290:26:32

but allowing us to add our stamp to the property.

0:26:320:26:36

Well, knowing that now, do you want to take another look around,

0:26:360:26:39

and we'll catch up once those cogs have whirred a bit more?

0:26:390:26:43

-Yeah!

-We can start moving walls now!

0:26:430:26:46

I'll come see the plans once you've had a little look round!

0:26:460:26:50

-Bye.

-See you in a bit.

-Thank you.

-See you later.

0:26:500:26:53

This gorgeous Cotswold-stone period cottage is priced

0:26:530:26:56

£140,000 below the top budget,

0:26:560:27:00

which would allow Maria and Tony the freedom

0:27:000:27:03

to really put their stamp on it.

0:27:030:27:05

It's full of character both inside and out,

0:27:050:27:07

gives them three bedrooms, and a delightful garden

0:27:070:27:10

with spectacular views.

0:27:100:27:12

The village location means amenities are close to hand.

0:27:120:27:16

I think this house is in a great location.

0:27:160:27:19

It's got all the countryside that we are looking for.

0:27:190:27:23

It is a little small as it stands,

0:27:230:27:26

but we can see that there's potential

0:27:260:27:30

to knock a few walls here and there

0:27:300:27:32

to make it our own.

0:27:320:27:34

I think this place is lovely. I think the space has got

0:27:340:27:37

a lot of character, it's in a wonderful position,

0:27:370:27:39

some great views.

0:27:390:27:41

However, I think it's probably a little bit small in places,

0:27:410:27:45

we would need to do some work to it to give us the space

0:27:450:27:49

that we are looking for.

0:27:490:27:50

When I walk around this property,

0:27:500:27:52

I get a good feel for the actual ambience of the house.

0:27:520:27:56

It's feeling nice and quiet and peaceful,

0:27:560:28:00

and the general layout of the property is really good.

0:28:000:28:04

Great, lots of smiles, still. I'm liking this.

0:28:040:28:07

-Had a good look round?

-Yes, we have.

-Yeah, we had a good look around,

0:28:070:28:10

and I think the both of us have knocked a few walls out,

0:28:100:28:13

and we're happy, within the budget,

0:28:130:28:15

we are going to be able to make it our own if we wish to.

0:28:150:28:18

-Great, sounds good, lots to talk about.

-Yeah.

-Come on.

0:28:180:28:22

Our final journey to the mystery property takes us to the village of

0:28:320:28:35

Tytherington in the south of Gloucestershire,

0:28:350:28:38

and to the west of the Cotswolds.

0:28:380:28:39

There's a real sense of community here,

0:28:410:28:43

with a village shop run by residents,

0:28:430:28:45

a post office, and a village hall.

0:28:450:28:48

There's also a 16th-century dining pub and two churches,

0:28:480:28:53

one neighbouring our last offering,

0:28:530:28:55

which is approached down a gravel driveway.

0:28:550:28:58

As Maria and Tony will see,

0:28:580:29:00

our Mystery House may be in an unexpected setting,

0:29:000:29:03

which will mean compromising on those far-reaching views,

0:29:030:29:06

but if they can do that, they'll be suitably rewarded.

0:29:060:29:09

So, here we are - the Mystery House.

0:29:110:29:14

-BOTH:

-That's interesting!

-THEY LAUGH

0:29:140:29:16

That's different and interesting.

0:29:160:29:18

-That's quite big.

-I take it it's the whole thing?

0:29:180:29:21

-It's the whole thing.

-OK, that's impressive.

0:29:210:29:23

Looks good from the outside.

0:29:230:29:24

It's a lot of character, and plenty of space.

0:29:240:29:27

It was built, they believe, at the same time as the chapel next door...

0:29:270:29:32

-Ah.

-OK.

-..in 1898.

-Wow.

0:29:320:29:35

And I know you wanted a sort of edge-of-village location,

0:29:350:29:38

and this is a quiet village,

0:29:380:29:40

but you are next to almost the heart and soul of the village, the chapel.

0:29:400:29:44

-Yeah.

-So every Sunday morning, as you lie in bed,

0:29:440:29:47

you may hear a little singing waking you with your morning cuppa

0:29:470:29:51

and the papers.

0:29:510:29:53

That's every other Sunday.

0:29:530:29:54

-Oh, OK.

-Depends what time they start!

0:29:540:29:56

THEY LAUGH

0:29:560:29:57

-But you like the looks of it?

-The looks...

-Yeah.

0:29:570:29:59

It's got a lot of character, and it looks a really good size.

0:29:590:30:02

-Yeah, I like it.

-Shall we get in?

0:30:020:30:04

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-Come on.

0:30:040:30:09

This handsome Mystery House was built by the local squire,

0:30:090:30:12

originally as a bakehouse.

0:30:120:30:14

It's constructed from local Tytherington quarry stone.

0:30:140:30:18

The property was never used as a bakehouse,

0:30:180:30:20

and was converted into two cottages, then later into one dwelling.

0:30:200:30:24

We are entering through a sun room and starting our tour

0:30:240:30:27

on the ground floor.

0:30:270:30:30

The original part of the house is made up of three reception rooms,

0:30:300:30:34

with a kitchen, shower room and sunroom later additions.

0:30:340:30:38

We are starting our tour in a large drawing room,

0:30:380:30:41

which boasts an Indian slate floor.

0:30:410:30:43

So, come through into one of three living spaces

0:30:440:30:48

-in the house.

-Wow.

-This is the largest of them.

0:30:480:30:51

Next door, you've got a dining room, and then there's a snug...

0:30:510:30:54

-Oh, OK.

-..at the end as well.

0:30:540:30:56

-This is nice-size room.

-It's a good-size room.

0:30:560:30:58

-I love the slate floor.

-Lovely Rajasthan slate, here.

0:30:580:31:00

And then you can put your Persian rug or something there

0:31:000:31:03

to give it a bit of colour and change it.

0:31:030:31:05

-So, a good start?

-It is a good start, yeah.

-It is a good start.

0:31:050:31:07

The kitchen-diner is always the heart, for you, of the home.

0:31:070:31:10

-It's the hub of our home.

-Shall we see what this house

0:31:100:31:12

-has on offer for you?

-Yeah. Let's go.

0:31:120:31:14

Come through into your farmhouse kitchen-diner.

0:31:170:31:21

OK! That's a different layout than I would have anticipated,

0:31:210:31:24

-I have to admit.

-What were you imagining, then?

0:31:240:31:27

Probably more standard, where you've got work surfaces

0:31:270:31:30

-all the way around.

-It's big enough, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:31:300:31:32

So, what I was thinking for you two is you knock through.

0:31:320:31:36

There's a shower room behind here,

0:31:360:31:38

and then you've also got that garden room

0:31:380:31:41

-where the main front door comes into...

-OK, I see.

0:31:410:31:43

..which was added on in 2000. Knock this whole thing through...

0:31:430:31:47

-Through, and just...

-That's sounding more like what I'd like to see.

0:31:470:31:50

Yeah. You could certainly open that wall up,

0:31:500:31:53

have a lot more light come through.

0:31:530:31:55

-Options are there.

-Shall we see more?

0:31:550:31:57

-Yes.

-Let's head upstairs.

0:31:570:31:58

I'm glad Tony is thinking through

0:32:010:32:03

how they can make the layout work for them.

0:32:030:32:05

Upstairs would give them three bedrooms,

0:32:050:32:08

all serviced by a characterful family bathroom.

0:32:080:32:11

They are all good-sized doubles,

0:32:110:32:13

two with feature fireplaces,

0:32:130:32:15

one which is in the master.

0:32:150:32:17

Nice high ceilings as well, a good size.

0:32:170:32:20

A good-size room. You would have room to put some storage.

0:32:200:32:24

You've got enough wardrobe space here!

0:32:240:32:26

Each bedroom, you could put a big couple of wardrobes in there.

0:32:260:32:29

-Yeah.

-It's a good-sized bedroom.

0:32:290:32:31

And on this one, you've got a loft hatch above.

0:32:310:32:33

-OK.

-Now, these walls are thick as.

0:32:330:32:36

-OK.

-But the next middle bedroom also has a loft hatch.

0:32:360:32:40

-OK.

-And the current owner has thought about

0:32:400:32:42

going up into the loft and

0:32:420:32:44

then creating another bedroom space up there.

0:32:440:32:47

And we'll head outside, and you can

0:32:470:32:48

also get a sense of the outside space

0:32:480:32:50

-that you get with this property...

-Yep.

-..and then we'll talk price.

0:32:500:32:53

-OK.

-OK.

-No worries.

0:32:530:32:54

Our Mystery House may be in the heart of the village,

0:32:570:33:00

but it has a generous garden that extends to a third of an acre.

0:33:000:33:04

It's laid to lawn and surrounded by attractive hedges and flower beds.

0:33:040:33:08

There is also a useful double garage.

0:33:080:33:10

It looks like it's been well looked after. Nice garden.

0:33:130:33:16

Yeah, it's a good amount of space.

0:33:160:33:18

Well, it's time to talk money.

0:33:180:33:19

What do you think the Mystery House is currently on the market for?

0:33:190:33:23

Well, I'm going to go straight in with about 485.

0:33:230:33:27

£485,000.

0:33:270:33:29

I think it's a bit less than that.

0:33:290:33:30

I think this property is on the market for...

0:33:300:33:33

..£465,000.

0:33:330:33:36

The mystery property is currently on the market for...

0:33:360:33:39

..£525,000.

0:33:390:33:43

-Wow.

-OK.

-I can understand that.

0:33:430:33:46

It is actually a really big house.

0:33:460:33:48

There's a lot of space here.

0:33:480:33:50

Why don't you take another look around the Mystery House,

0:33:500:33:52

get a sense of what you do get for your money here,

0:33:520:33:54

-and I'll catch up with you in a moment?

-OK.

-OK.

0:33:540:33:56

Our late 19th-century stone Mystery House

0:33:580:34:02

comes in £25,000 below budget,

0:34:020:34:05

and whilst being located

0:34:050:34:06

in the heart of a charming Cotswold village,

0:34:060:34:08

it provides generous and adaptable spaces.

0:34:080:34:12

There's the potential to create

0:34:120:34:14

a fabulous open-plan kitchen-diner,

0:34:140:34:16

plus three reception rooms and a sunroom.

0:34:160:34:19

As requested, it has three bedrooms

0:34:190:34:21

and a pretty garden.

0:34:210:34:23

This house has got some absolutely great features.

0:34:230:34:25

You've got beautiful flagstone, lovely tall ceilings,

0:34:250:34:29

and it's really roomy.

0:34:290:34:32

The Mystery House has a lot of space, has a lot to offer.

0:34:320:34:36

Hi, good to see you again.

0:34:360:34:37

-And you.

-Right, time for a cuppa?

0:34:370:34:40

-Oh, yeah.

-Oh, absolutely.

-Come on, let's do that.

0:34:400:34:42

Around a tenth of the Cotswolds countryside

0:34:480:34:51

is given over to forests and woodland

0:34:510:34:53

with ash and beech trees the most prevalent.

0:34:530:34:56

Westonbirt, the National Arboretum near Tetbury,

0:34:580:35:01

is home to 15,000 tree specimens

0:35:010:35:04

and includes 2,500 species from across the globe.

0:35:040:35:08

The Arboretum is hosting the ARB Show, which I'm at today.

0:35:080:35:12

It is the Arboricultural Association's annual trade show

0:35:120:35:15

which brings together experts from the tree world

0:35:150:35:18

and attracts visitors from far afield.

0:35:180:35:21

Jake O'Kean is a former chairman of the association.

0:35:220:35:26

You are the man in the know, what is arboriculture?

0:35:260:35:29

Have I said it correctly?

0:35:290:35:31

You have said it perfectly.

0:35:310:35:32

Arboriculture is really the science of looking after trees

0:35:320:35:37

where people live, where they play and where they work.

0:35:370:35:40

It's different to forestry.

0:35:400:35:42

Forestry is where you would grow trees as a crop,

0:35:420:35:46

so producing timber or providing large spaces for recreation.

0:35:460:35:51

But arboriculture tends to be carried out in our urban areas.

0:35:510:35:56

Why is that important?

0:35:560:35:57

It's good for our psychological and physiological wellbeing.

0:35:570:36:01

Essentially, we love to have trees around us.

0:36:010:36:04

Not only that, they are actually cooling our cities,

0:36:040:36:07

they are providing the air that we breathe...

0:36:070:36:09

They are just wonderful.

0:36:090:36:11

This annual event has been running for 19 years

0:36:110:36:14

and after being located at two previous sites

0:36:140:36:18

has moved to the Arboretum.

0:36:180:36:19

It seems huge,

0:36:190:36:21

giant machinery everywhere,

0:36:210:36:23

people climbing gigantic trees.

0:36:230:36:25

Yeah, and that's the beauty of this industry, or this sector,

0:36:250:36:28

that whatever your interests, whatever your motivations,

0:36:280:36:31

there's something for you in it.

0:36:310:36:33

If someone is coming to the show for the first time,

0:36:330:36:35

what are the two or three things they must go and see?

0:36:350:36:37

For a start, they've got to go and see the climbing.

0:36:370:36:40

You've got to see the physical skills these people have.

0:36:400:36:42

You can go and see, for instance,

0:36:420:36:44

some of the big machines that are here,

0:36:440:36:47

if you love that sort of thing.

0:36:470:36:49

Go and talk to the educationalists,

0:36:490:36:50

because it's such a rewarding industry,

0:36:500:36:53

go and find out how you can learn about arboriculture.

0:36:530:36:56

Well, there's obviously a lot of passion

0:36:560:36:58

to be found in the tree world and my next stop is with

0:36:580:37:00

tree surgeon and champion knot tier,

0:37:000:37:03

Nick Winrum.

0:37:030:37:04

He's running a knot tying competition.

0:37:040:37:06

So, Nick, tell me, why knots at the show here?

0:37:060:37:10

They are really important to every aspect of our jobs.

0:37:100:37:13

They keep us safe in the trees, save our lives.

0:37:130:37:15

We use them for bringing branches down

0:37:150:37:18

and even just tying ladders on the roof to drive down the motorway.

0:37:180:37:21

So every aspect of our job involves knots.

0:37:210:37:25

How did you get involved?

0:37:250:37:26

I did some training, did an evening course,

0:37:260:37:28

did my chainsaw licence and got a job with a tree surgery company.

0:37:280:37:31

And now I am running my own business

0:37:310:37:33

and I always say, "I've got the best job in the world,"

0:37:330:37:36

I absolutely love what I do.

0:37:360:37:37

And it seems to be quite a competitive field

0:37:370:37:39

when it comes to the knots because at the show today

0:37:390:37:41

someone will be coming out an ARB champion?

0:37:410:37:43

Yeah, we will have the knot tying champion.

0:37:430:37:45

We've got five knots you tie in every day arboricultural work

0:37:450:37:48

and we tie them against the clock

0:37:480:37:50

and whoever's fastest wins the prize.

0:37:500:37:52

Current leaderboard.

0:37:520:37:54

We have a few leaders at the moment.

0:37:540:37:56

-Is this you?

-That is me.

0:37:560:37:58

Probably get the times down to near 20 seconds by the end of the day.

0:37:580:38:01

So this is 30 seconds for five knots?

0:38:010:38:03

-Yes.

-Can anyone have a go?

0:38:030:38:05

Absolutely, we had a little nine-year-old girl last year.

0:38:050:38:08

She started off doing 1:29 for her first attempt.

0:38:080:38:12

By the end of the day she got down to 28, 29 seconds.

0:38:120:38:15

After hearing all about this competitive and important skill,

0:38:150:38:19

I want to see Nick in action.

0:38:190:38:21

-Nick, you ready?

-Yes.

0:38:210:38:23

Go.

0:38:230:38:24

I think this is the most complicated one.

0:38:260:38:28

Seven seconds, eight seconds, done.

0:38:280:38:30

Getting a bit easier as they work their way down.

0:38:300:38:32

12 seconds. 13 seconds, Nick.

0:38:320:38:34

14, 15.

0:38:340:38:35

Two knots down.

0:38:350:38:36

Third.

0:38:380:38:39

Wow, that was fast, almost didn't even see that one.

0:38:400:38:43

Stop the clock.

0:38:430:38:45

26 seconds!

0:38:450:38:47

You smashed the record.

0:38:470:38:49

Excellent.

0:38:490:38:51

That was impressive.

0:38:510:38:53

And my final visit today is to Simon O'Rourke,

0:38:530:38:56

he is a chainsaw carver.

0:38:560:38:58

He turns unwanted wood into a beautiful art form.

0:38:580:39:01

APPLAUSE

0:39:050:39:07

Simon, it was amazing watching you work, creating this.

0:39:090:39:13

You take this all over the world?

0:39:130:39:15

I do, yes. I've competed in all sorts of places.

0:39:150:39:19

Watching you work, I have to admit, it looks dangerous.

0:39:190:39:22

I'm guessing I shouldn't try this at home?

0:39:220:39:24

-No...

-Is it dangerous?

0:39:240:39:26

It is dangerous, it's like anything, proper training will

0:39:260:39:30

set you up to use anything in the correct manner.

0:39:300:39:34

What is it about working with wood in this way that you enjoy so much?

0:39:340:39:37

I enjoy the speed...

0:39:370:39:40

..and I've always been an artist.

0:39:400:39:42

I was a trained illustrator and then a tree surgeon,

0:39:420:39:45

which is what brought me into it.

0:39:450:39:47

I love the texture it leaves as well,

0:39:470:39:50

it's like tool markings on the wood,

0:39:500:39:53

like when you sculpt clay and

0:39:530:39:54

you get the thumb marks and the fingermarks.

0:39:540:39:57

And is there a best type of wood to use

0:39:570:39:59

when you are carving in this way?

0:39:590:40:01

The quickest wood to carve are the softwoods.

0:40:010:40:03

I use a lot of oak,

0:40:030:40:05

I use some of the softwoods,

0:40:050:40:07

I use Western red Cedar or Redwood.

0:40:070:40:09

And does sustainability come into your work in any way?

0:40:090:40:12

It does, all of the wood I get is

0:40:120:40:15

usually from either forestry contractors or tree surgeons.

0:40:150:40:19

Simon, it's been fantastic seeing you work

0:40:190:40:21

and experiencing the ARB Show,

0:40:210:40:22

I can see why it's such a pull.

0:40:220:40:24

-Thank you for your time.

-Thank you.

0:40:240:40:26

I've left Tony and Maria having a cuppa and a think

0:40:310:40:33

about all the properties that we've shown them.

0:40:330:40:35

I can't wait to find out what their next move is going to be.

0:40:350:40:37

Hi, lovely to catch-up again.

0:40:400:40:42

-Hi.

-Hi.

-I can't wait to find out,

0:40:420:40:44

do we have a favourite from all the properties we've seen?

0:40:440:40:47

The favourite from me was the hillside.

0:40:470:40:50

The house with the lovely views?

0:40:500:40:52

-Yes.

-Breathtaking, weren't they, those views?

0:40:520:40:54

I would agree. It's my favourite out of what we've seen.

0:40:540:40:57

But it wasn't quite, quite perfect for you?

0:40:570:41:00

No, it was actually quite small, the actual cottage, for us.

0:41:000:41:04

Although there was room to extend out into the garden area,

0:41:040:41:09

but because it was quite a small courtyard,

0:41:090:41:11

we felt that would make the garden a little bit too small.

0:41:110:41:14

What did you think of the properties we've shown you?

0:41:140:41:17

We liked aspects in most of the houses,

0:41:170:41:19

the bungalow conversion had a great kitchen,

0:41:190:41:22

light coming through the ceiling, absolutely wonderful.

0:41:220:41:25

The one on the hill, as we have said, it was our favourite.

0:41:250:41:28

The views on that property were absolutely amazing.

0:41:280:41:31

We almost want to take the views of that property,

0:41:310:41:33

we want to take the character of that property.

0:41:330:41:36

I think we'd like to take the kitchen-diner of the conversion.

0:41:360:41:40

But obviously you can't do that and

0:41:400:41:42

we understand that you compromise with

0:41:420:41:43

what you are looking for and each of the properties we viewed over the

0:41:430:41:48

last couple of days has given us a lot of information

0:41:480:41:51

as to what we think would be our ideal property.

0:41:510:41:54

So where does that leave us now?

0:41:540:41:56

It leaves us with a good, clear idea of what we actually do want,

0:41:560:42:00

where we want to be and what we won't accept.

0:42:000:42:03

Until you actually get here and look around,

0:42:030:42:06

there's so many different areas,

0:42:060:42:08

it's hard to sort of know where you want to be,

0:42:080:42:10

but having been around everywhere,

0:42:100:42:13

I think we've got a clear idea now of what we think we like.

0:42:130:42:15

Well, we wish you all the best with your property search

0:42:150:42:18

and please do let us know when you find that dream place.

0:42:180:42:21

We will and thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to view a

0:42:210:42:26

number of properties that we wouldn't have done on our own.

0:42:260:42:28

-It's been a pleasure. Good luck with it all.

-Thank you.

0:42:280:42:31

Exploring the Cotswolds really has

0:42:340:42:36

helped Tony and Maria confirm that this is absolutely

0:42:360:42:39

the place they want to start the next chapter of their lives.

0:42:390:42:42

And through the properties we've shown them,

0:42:420:42:44

they've really crystallised what they want on that must-have list for

0:42:440:42:48

their new dream home.

0:42:480:42:49

I'm sure it's out there for them and

0:42:490:42:51

I look forward to hearing from them soon

0:42:510:42:52

that they have found the perfect property.

0:42:520:42:55

I'll see you next time on Escape To The Country.

0:42:550:42:57

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

0:43:000:43:03

Northern Ireland or Wales and need our help,

0:43:030:43:06

you can apply online at...

0:43:060:43:11

Margherita Taylor heads to the Cotswolds with a house-hunting couple who have a £550,000 budget and a dream of swapping coastal life in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, for views of rolling countryside.

Along the way, Margherita visits Westonbirt, The National Arboretum where the annual arboricultural show is in full swing, and sees tree experts putting a range of impressive skills into action.