Alistair Appleton is in the Cotswolds with a couple searching for a dream house with a garden large enough to keep a goat. Outside space comes at a premium in the area.
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Today I'm in a part of the UK that's famous for this -
honey-coloured limestone, great for building houses and also these dry stone walls,
which are a very important part of the landscape here.
In fact, if you added up the length of all the dry stone walls in this neighbourhood,
then the total length would be greater than the Great Wall of China.
Fancy that. Find out where I am in just a moment.
In today's show, I will be helping a couple exchange suburban living for
a new life in an extremely desirable part of the country,
and they soon receive a sharp wake-up call when it comes to prices.
'They'll be viewing some stunning properties in the local area
'and start quaking in their walking boots'
I'm really impressed by it. I'm dreading to know how much it's going to actually cost.
'And finally, there's the mystery house, but will this or any of the others
'be their new country pad?'
I'm in the Cotswolds today
and these dry stone walls are real works of art.
Obviously you can't use any cement.
The skill has been around since at least the 18th century.
Chris here hasn't been around that long. How long have you been doing it?
-Seven years now.
-How old would you say this wall is?
Approximately 100 years old.
What is the secret to putting them together?
Making sure you place your stones correctly so that the water sheds out,
rather than running back in.
And we've got to the top now?
Yes, so if you would like to grab one of those...
and stick it on there.
Make sure it is nice and flat and tight up against the other one
and then the next one.
It's quite heavy. See you later.
'The Cotswolds lie in the south west of England
'and are the largest protected landscape in Britain.
'Quarried here since Roman times,
'the limestone has made the Cotswolds world famous.
'Warm and honey-coloured in the north and slightly grey in the south,
'the stone is used not only for buildings,
'but also roof tiles, and it all contributes to a magical uniformity.
'At 790 square miles and with over 3,000 miles of public footpaths,
'the Cotswolds are an international tourist hot spot
'that bring in millions of visitors every year.'
Of course, the Cotswolds aren't cheap - 16% above the national average.
The average detached house clocking in at £317,000, often a lot more.
But what's really interesting is that there are places to buy here.
Around the country people are not selling but here, with so many second home-owners feeling
the crunch and selling up, there are properties on the market,
which is great for our buyers, perhaps.
'Today's house hunters are Andy and Sally.
'They live in a four-bedroom detached house in Letchworth in Hertfordshire.
'After many years both working as accountants, they took time off
'for a trip of a lifetime around China, Australia, and New Zealand,
'and it led to a change of heart.'
We'd really like to move out to the country.
We've been away for a year.
We've come back. We've had the most fantastic year away.
We've completely re-assessed our life.
We want space, so we can walk out the front door.
On top of that, we've got used to the big, wide open spaces
that you get out in Australia and New Zealand. We'd like a big garden.
There's more to life than living where we are,
and that's why we'd like to move to the country.
'Andy and Sally can't wait to start enjoying country life.'
We both really like being outside and walking.
Our dream life would be walking out the front door into the countryside
and go for walks, possibly orienteering,
tougher walks, that sort of thing would be great.
Any sort of outdoor activity.
Horse riding would be ideal. We'd like to explore that a bit more.
We'd also like to grow our own fruit and vegetables and keep a few chickens and...
'Well, a goat is something they certainly can't keep at their current property.
'Ten years ago, the house suited their needs but now a new property's
'on the cards, they've drawn up a wish-list, and it all starts in the kitchen
'for keen cook Andy.'
A major problem here is the kitchen is fairly small.
What we are really looking forward to is a larger kitchen,
farmhouse style, with all of the work space that goes with it.
One of the problems with this house is the master bedroom is very small.
We'd really like a much bigger master bedroom and if at all possible, an en suite would be fantastic.
A main requirement for our next property is a large bathroom,
rather than this rather small and yucky avocado green design we have at the moment.
'Andy and Sally are also keen gardeners,
'and if they want to keep livestock and grow vegetables,
'they're going to need a much bigger garden.
'To sum up, what kind of home are they looking for?'
Our ideal country property would have 2-3 bedrooms - ideally three.
A study, a large kitchen, a farm-house-style kitchen, and a large master bedroom.
Yes, also a large garden so we can grow vegetables.
'With no time to lose, we've invited round a local estate agent to give a current valuation.'
This stylish, four-bedroom family home occupies a good location
and a south-facing rear garden.
For that reason, I would value it at £325,000.
I think it's a really good price. Higher than we anticipated.
If we could realise that sort of money, that would give us a nice budget to work with.
'So how much money are they looking to spend now?'
If the property ticked all the right boxes,
our maximum budget for the new property would be £400,000.
Sally and Andy are not looking for anything we haven't seen before.
They want two to three bedrooms, a big nice kitchen and a garden,
rather unusually, they might want to keep a goat in it.
But the difficult thing is where they want to buy.
They want to buy in the Cotswolds, which is not cheap
and they don't have lots of money, but we'll try our hardest.
Andy and Sally are open-minded as to their exact location
so we're focusing the search between Stow-on-the-Wold and Cirencester.
It's a highly desirable area of the country and to find them
what they're looking for, for £400,000, might be a tall order.
Over the course of two days, I'll be taking them to see houses
that I hope will whet their appetite.
But I won't be revealing the prices until they've had a good look round.
And last on our tour is the mystery house,
which might make them reconsider the focus of their search.
And if all this golden Cotswold beauty has got your property juices flowing,
take a look at what you can buy around here, whatever your budget, high or low.
At the pricey end of the market
is this 17th century property in Broadway.
It's up for sale at a smidgen over £1.6 million
and will appeal to those looking for a touch of contemporary glamour.
If you can brave the British weather, there is a fantastic pool
with glorious views out over the Cotswold countryside.
A little further south near Cirencester, is this slightly less expensive renovated farm house.
It still has a hefty £895,000 price tag, but it does buy you
five bedrooms and a world of period charm, with impressive timbers
and generously proportioned rooms.
Or, at the more budget-conscious end of the market,
is this gorgeous double-fronted country cottage in Blakeney.
At £5 short of £300,000, it is a cosy three-bedroom property,
with a wonderful private garden.
-Welcome to the Cotswolds, you two.
I know you're not from the Cotswolds, you've not lived here before.
Have you stolen a march on us by doing loads of research?
No, we purposely didn't so we're hoping to be surprised.
Well, you might well be surprised. Tell me about your budget.
Well the top end of the budget is £400,000.
Ideally we would look for something a bit less, but if the perfect property
comes along, we are prepared to go up to £400,000.
You know the Cotswolds is not the cheapest place to buy.
Are you willing to compromise?
We are happy to compromise on certain things. There are certain things we think we must have.
But we'll definitely compromise.
Well, we have great houses lined up, including the mystery house,
which is a twist on things.
-Are you looking forward to it?
Shall we go?
'To sum up, Andy and Sally have a budget of £400,000 and are looking for a period property.
'They need a study from when they work from home.
'A large kitchen to keep Andy happy.
'Ideally three bedrooms and a garden large enough to keep a goat or two.'
The Cotswolds are beautiful. Is this the English countryside
you were dreaming about when you were away in New Zealand?
Very much so. Travelling around New Zealand, we were very accustomed to
the open space and rolling hills, the greenery.
When the sun comes out, it is just even more magical.
Is that what made you decide in this area particularly?
The Cotswolds is well-known for that sort of thing,
so we thought this was an ideal place to live.
Have you had a chance to look at any properties or will these be the first you've seen?
No, these will be the first houses we've seen, so it's quite exciting.
Absolutely, we're looking forward to it immensely.
'It certainly is a beautiful area, and Burford,
'the location of the first property on our list, is no exception.
This lively medieval market town enjoys a fantastic vantage point,
sitting on the High Wold with its main street sloping down to the River Windrush.
With its range of beautiful shops and restaurants, it's a desirable place to live.
Unfortunately for Andy and Sally, it has price tags to match.
Nevertheless, I'm keen to see their reaction to this first house,
which sits just off the high street and score top marks for convenience.
As you can see, we are in the centre of Burford,
and this is the house I wanted to show you.
-Three storeys. I wasn't expecting that.
-I love the stone. It's lovely.
-It's got the Cotswold stone.
-It looks really lovely.
-It's from the 1720s, like a lot of the properties round here.
As you said, three storeys. Lots of lovely original features.
It's not a massive property, I can tell you that right now. Largely because of where it is.
What do you feel about the location, about being in... Burford is quite a busy town.
I don't mind actually being in a town, as long as it's not in the main high street.
-That's the main high street, so we're OK.
-So it's just outside.
-Shall we have a look inside?
-Come on in.
-Oh, my word.
-This is a classic little cottage.
The owners have done an enormous amount of work. They've been here six years.
-Are the beams original?
-The beams are original, yes.
They've done a very good job of restoring while using what's original.
For example, the fireplace is obviously original; a lot of the beams are. But if you see here,
you've got this lovely kind of window seat.
The present owners found matching old pine
-and made these shutters, which is a theme throughout the house.
-They blend in quite well.
-Very well done, yeah.
-Yeah. It's cosy. It's got a really cosy feel to it.
I do like the genuine woodburner and the fireplace as well.
-This is your living space.
This is what I meant by... You're not wrong about it being sort of not so huge.
-What do you think about it?
-It's got a lovely feel to it. It's cosy and it's nice.
It's certainly got the character that we've been looking for.
-It's dripping character.
-Shall we take a look at the kitchen?
Mind you head.
-So this is your kitchen.
You seem pleasantly surprised.
Yes, the size of that room, I was expecting this to be possibly a bit smaller. It's an unusual shape.
-It's a sort of wedge shape.
That is the outside wall of the original cottage.
This was an extension they put on in the '60s
that got a bit sort of derelict. And the present owners added this - another third here.
-So, Andy, you're the cook, aren't you?
-I am. I do like to play around in the kitchen, I must admit.
-What are you looking for?
-Good work surfaces. I like the sink.
You've got some great sort of hardwood here, possibly reclaimed teak,
which is very unusual in the kitchen, but I think works really well.
This is the first property we're looking at. Is this ticking boxes or not?
I think slightly a little small.
-The whole downstairs, really, is slightly small,
in that we were thinking a kitchen that you could sit people to eat in when they come over for dinner.
So I think slightly small, but like the character.
It's very quaint, I must say.
This is your ground space downstairs. It's not massive, as you astutely pointed out.
-But you do have three floors. Shall we look upstairs?
-We're going upstairs here.
-This is one of the three bedrooms.
They've turned it into a study. There's lots of light.
-So would this work as a study area?
-I would say so, yes. It's got a light, airy feel to it.
-I think it's great.
And it's got the character that we wanted.
-It would be ideal as a study.
-Yeah, I think so.
-It could also be a guest bedroom when people come to stay.
Because the two of them are living here on their own, they have rather luxurious bathing options.
-So let's take a look.
-Looking forward to this.
-Take me there.
Oh, wow. This is more like it.
That's certainly better than my avocado green bathroom at home.
-Well, you're definitely changing gear when you come here.
-This is your style of bathroom, isn't it?
-It's a very classy bathroom.
-So is this the sort of bathroom you're looking for?
-Oh, yes. Most definitely, yes.
Nice wooden laminate floor here, which is nice and easy to clean.
These are both reclaimed. There's an extraordinary sink unit which I've never seen before.
The bathtub also similarly re-enamelled.
What do you need? What are you looking for in a bathroom?
Just something a bit luxurious, and that's ticking boxes.
-It's classy, isn't it?
-A glass of wine...
Yes, looking over the rooftops.
-Yes. Actually, that's nice as well, the view out there.
'And as well as this wonderful bathroom, there's also a convenient shower room next door,
'so there won't be any queues in the morning.
'Just by the stairs is another small room which the current owners use as a dressing room,
'but we're going to head straight up to the master.'
-I love this.
-Wow! Oh, it's wonderful.
This is character. This is real character again.
-It's a really good size, isn't it?
-It's a great size.
-You don't expect it at the top of these old properties.
Usually they're tiny little servants' quarters.
But they've made a great job of incorporating all the old beams
and giving yourself a really lovely master suite.
-Sally, is this the sort of master bedroom you were looking for?
-Oh, most definitely, yes.
And it's got the nooks and crannies and little sort of places you can put things, and it's lovely.
You do get the feeling of space of above your head as well as around you as well.
-Which is very unusual in the top of a building like this.
-I know one of the big issues for you is the garden.
-Let's have a look.
-Mind your head.
After you, darling.
It is surprising how much room there is in this house,
but we are in the heart of Burford, and that means a compromise with the outside space.
Let's talk gardens.
-I know it's a big part of your move...
-A very big part of our move, actually.
-This is not a big part of anybody's garden dream.
It's a courtyard, and a small one at that.
-It's a nice courtyard, but I have to say...
-It's a little bit too compact, I feel.
I'm not pretending that this is an enormous garden and you just can't see it.
-It is the nature of partly the location, being in the middle of the town,
and also, I hate to say it, but also budgetary. In this location to get this sort of house and a big garden
-would be a bit out of your budget.
-How much do you think this property is worth?
Difficult one, I would say. Probably top end of our budget - 395.
I think I'd like to go in a bit less at something like 360.
I know the location it's in, but I'm thinking sort of 360.
-Well, you might be surprised and alarmed to know this is on at 435.
-That's location for you, I guess.
-It's location, and the Cotswolds are not cheap.
-But don't despair.
Plenty of properties out there and this is just the first one, a taster.
-Why don't you walk around and I'll see you out the front?
I think they were totally, totally floored by the price of this house.
It's cos it is very small, but it's charming and beautiful and in a very desirable area.
But it's a bit of a wake-up call, which is no bad thing.
This lovely townhouse is on the market for £435,000.
It is £35,000 over budget,
but in the current climate, it may be worth putting in an offer
which makes it within Andy and Sally's £400,000 limit.
It's got some very nice period features.
It's got the character that we wanted. Some of the space is slightly smaller than we'd imagined.
It's a courtyard garden. It is perhaps a little bit too compact.
The main downside was the garden - no room for Andy's veg patch
and certainly no room to keep a goat in, which is something else he'd quite like.
Upstairs, the master bedroom was fantastic, just what I'd want. Absolutely perfect.
-This is what I was thinking of with the master bedroom.
-It's an extremely good size.
We're happy to compromise on quite a few things now we know what the prices are looking like.
But I think one thing we really can't compromise on is the garden.
-I'm sunning myself. The sun has come out on our search. Shall we continue?
Andy and Sally have enjoyed a few weekend breaks in the Cotswolds,
but they aren't too familiar with Stow-on-the-Wold.
So they're taking some time to explore what could be their new home.
The attractive market town grew up around the wool trade in the Middle Ages.
Today, with its range of antique shops and galleries,
it's one of the most well known of the Cotswold towns.
Oh, I like this street. This is nice.
Just a few miles south is a miniature replica of the famous Cotswold town Bourton-on-the-Water.
It was built by local craftsmen in the 1930s from locally quarried stone,
just like the original.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-It is. And here we have the lovely village church.
The clock's showing the right time as well.
-Look at this cottage.
-Isn't that idyllic?
-Maybe a little bit small even for me.
-Do you think it might be a bit cramped inside?
-A tiny bit.
Another local attraction is Birdland, home to some 500 feathered friends.
The site, built up around the River Windrush, provides a natural habitat for the many exotic birds.
One of the most popular attractions is the family of king penguins,
who, at three feet tall, are the second tallest penguins in the world.
Visitors can arrange to hand-feed them, and Andy and Sally have arrived just in time
to fill some hungry mouths.
Do you want one?
There's just one daily feed of mackerel for these penguins
and they're all determined to get their fair share.
It's time to move on.
Our next house is in Bledington, close to the Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire border.
It's an attractive village,
the houses built in the warm, honey tones of Cotswold stone.
Much of the housing stock, including our house, is centred around the green,
but the big bonus for Andy and Sally is that this property
sits on the doorstep of the Oxfordshire Way walk.
Away from the village green. This is the property I want to show you.
-Do you like it?
-I love it. I love it. Really nice.
It is. A nice little cottage. It looks like it's full of character.
-It's what we are looking for.
-It used to be the stables.
You can see underneath that sill, that was a door.
You can see they've turned it into a window.
This area is called Little Bledington.
You are in Bledington, but this complex is called Little Bledington,
so it will be Little Bledington, Bledington, Cotswolds.
-Shall we look inside?
You mentioned wanting a proper hallway.
This is a proper hallway. And the coat hooks and everything.
Lovely oak flooring throughout.
This is nice, this is nice. The beams.
The beams throughout.
You will see that more in here.
Plenty of features in here.
Oh, wow, yes.
-It is a nice lounge, isn't it?
It'll certainly be nice and cosy in here, comfortable as well.
Is it your sort of style?
It is nicely finished, yeah, absolutely.
I do like the beams going across, up and down and across.
-You can see the original hangings for the horses.
Great Portland stone surround fireplace.
That's perfectly working.
The present owner doesn't use it because you have central heating
and you have these very nice steel-framed windows.
I think they are a real feature.
They are certainly sizable enough. They let the light in well.
Which is what we like, we don't like it too dark.
It is lovely and you have space, again.
What about the kitchen? I know that's very important for you.
I'm looking forward to it.
So this is the kitchen, oh, wow.
-Oh, this is...
-Yeah, yeah, we like!
You have all the original depth of the wall and a lot of the beams are here, obviously.
You have this great sunken window again through the deep walls.
And this is fantastic, you actually have space.
You have a clearly delineated dining space.
Is this kind of answering your cooking needs?
-It is a nice, light and bright kitchen which is good.
Yeah and certainly the whole house so far is
-light and bright.
-Big smiles. Sally, are you...
-Yes, I like.
There is also an extra room on the ground floor, which is currently
a study, but could easily be an additional bedroom. But we're heading upstairs.
This is the guest bedroom.
But a great size, I think.
You've only got two bedrooms upstairs but they are substantial,
high ceilings and nice dual aspect.
-A lot of head space.
-Yeah, a lot.
And nice, deep window sills.
Nice view out the front.
There is easily space for a double bed and storage.
Yeah, a good-size guest room, I would say.
Next door is the family bathroom,
which is undeniably small, but you can't have everything.
However the next room is something quite special.
That's nice and big, isn't it?
-This would be the master.
-This is very nice, yeah.
Views from both windows, which is brilliant.
You can wake up and look over and see what's happening
on the village green.
There is a little bit of storage under the eves, not masses,
-and sadly no en suite.
What are your thoughts, then?
Very nice. It does feel spacious, which is good.
It is light and bright and airy, which is what we want.
Is the indoor space adequate to your needs, do you think?
I think it's pretty close.
Obviously more is better, but I think with our budget, we're beginning to
realise maybe we can't get as much as we thought for our money.
The clincher is going to be the garden.
Let's take a look at that.
'They seem to really like the house
'and I do have a bit of a garden for them, but massive it isn't.'
Clearly, we've done a little better this time because you've got some lawn.
-We've got some lawn, yeah. This is better.
What do you think of the dimensions of it?
It's slightly smaller than you'd like, but it is nice actually, it is nice.
-It's nice and private - enclosed.
-The thing about this garden is that it's very overgrown,
it's not really been looked after in the same way that the house has. You see this arch -
behind that, there is another good three or four metres of garden.
-There is quite a big shed with electricity.
It is completely overgrown, swamped up by this big leylandii.
I think if you cleared all that,
you could have a little archway through to a veggie patch.
That's got huge potential, hasn't it?
It's not a farm. But you're not going to get a farm in the Cotswolds
with all the house things that you want for your budget, sorry.
Talking of budget. The moment you've been waiting for.
Can you afford this lovely property?
-What do you think it is on at?
-I think you should go first cos I was so wrong before.
I'm sort of thinking, my guesstimate is going to be the same as I had before - high 300s.
I'm thinking probably around about £380.
I'm going to guess £390, I think.
-Well, the two of you are getting a lot better because this property is on at £385.
Slap bang in the middle of those two guesstimates.
That's pretty good for the spec.
That leaves £15,000 to do something.
It's been on the market for about seven weeks.
It's always worth putting in an offer.
I can see you are itching to have a look at the back.
I'm dying to see that!
Why don't you two have a look around there, and then a look
around the house, and then we can take a look at what happens next.
Ah, you see, it's all about the garden.
Everyone loves a garden, particularly in the Cotswolds.
And this one is a good garden -
it is not a goat's pen, but it'll do, won't it?
'At £385,000, this house is comfortably under budget.
'It has a kitchen/breakfast room,
'a study, which was on their wish list, two bedrooms
'and a reasonably sized garden -
'but I think they'd struggle to fit in a goat.'
Oh, my word ,that is a big space.
Overgrown. We can knock out the tree and the shed.
It's the perfect size for a veg patch. This is growing on me. This is growing on me.
I really like the downstairs, it is pretty much perfect.
The kitchen-dining area is just what we wanted.
Upstairs, the two bedrooms are a fairly good size.
My only issue is possibly the size of the bathroom.
It is a wee bit small. You could perhaps put in a shower by the bath.
It has potential. As far as the house is concerned, I'm feeling quite comfortable with it.
Overall, I think it's a good buy.
As well as the country pursuits that Andy and Sally hope to take up when
they move to the Cotswolds, they'll also have time to dabble with a few
new ideas, and as Andy is a keen cook,
we thought a quick lesson in fudge making might go down a treat.
So we're visiting local fudge maker Eileen Anderton at her shop.
-You must be Eileen. This is Sally and Andy.
-Pleased to meet you.
I can smell the fudge.
'There are 25 varieties on sale, and today Eileen is showing us
'how to make two different types. They both start off with the same chocolaty base.
'First into the vat is the butter, water and cream powder,
'and then the chocolate powder and icing sugar.
'Next up is the all important vanilla flavouring,
'and then it all needs a good old mix.
'When it's a lovely smooth consistency, it's ready to
'be spooned into the trays.'
Phwoar! Looks delicious!
So, are we going to do a special chocolate recipe?
Yes, we are going to do a chocolate cherry and a rocky road,
which is chocolate with marshmallows and walnuts in.
OK, so you pop in the marshmallows and press them down,
press them quite hard because they tend to bounce up again,
and mix the colours a little bit.
How long would this take to set?
About 24 hours, a little bit longer in the warm weather.
But at room temperature it is about 24 hours.
'Well we can't wait that long to taste it,
'so fortunately Eileen has some she made yesterday.'
-OK, dig in.
-Just a little bite.
You like it? Could you stay here all day eating? You can't.
-Eileen, thank you so much.
-You are welcome, it's been a pleasure. Thank you for helping me.
I hope this is a big seller, I'm sure it will be.
With day one of the house-hunt over,
Andy and Sally retreat to their hotel for a sum-up of their thoughts so far.
So what did you think of the three-storey cottage in Burford?
It certainly had all the character we were after.
But I really think the garden for me, it was just not big enough. There wasn't enough space there.
-But the bathroom was just what I'd like.
-Good size bathroom, had a separate shower room as well.
The kitchen, for my liking, was possibly a little bit on the small side.
OK, we also saw the cottage overlooking the green at Bledington.
-What did you think of that?
-It was just beautiful. It's just how you imagine a cottage should look like.
And its location was wonderful - right opposite the village green,
with greenery everywhere you looked. It was picture perfect.
-What did you think?
-It's a very charming cottage.
It's made of the archetypal Cotswold stone, which is what we're looking for.
-The kitchen is pretty much spot on, I felt.
-I think absolutely spot on.
-What did you think of the bathroom?
-I would really like a bigger bathroom.
-One of your main things is a bathroom, so...
-It would be such a bonus, yeah.
A garden - it's unkempt at the moment, but it's got huge potential.
-We could really put our own stamp on it.
-Very much so.
Looking forward to tomorrow. I must admit, I'm very intrigued about this mystery house.
'Andy and Sally, from Letchworth in Hertfordshire,
'are looking for a new home in the Cotswolds.
'They have a budget of £400,000 and want a three bedroom house with a large garden,
'possibly for keeping chickens or goats.
'So far, they've viewed two houses, which have been a mixed bag
and highlighted the sort of space they'll get for their money.
Coming up, there's a treat in store.
This is more like it, this is a nice kitchen.
'And have we hit the nail on the head?'
I think I'm falling in love with it already, actually.
Yesterday turned into a bit of a quest for that elusive garden for Sally and Andy,
but today I'm feeling more horticulturally hopeful.
'Our first house this morning is in Avening,
'which sits further south of the Cotswolds.
'The village became prosperous during the Cotswold wool trade
'in the 14th and 15th centuries.
'It is a picturesque place with a stream running through its heart.
'I'm very excited about the house we're viewing, as I think
'it has the indoor and possibly the outdoor space they're looking for.
'and it's steeped in history, too.'
Come take a look. Obviously we've come a bit further south.
Not for any particular reason, other than we wanted a garden,
and they are thin on the ground.
This is the house I wanted to show you. It used to be a coach house
from the 1700s, but it's been completely rebuilt in 1990.
It has all the mod cons, but within the shell of an older building.
-What do you think of it from the outside?
I'm very impressed with it so far. Absolutely. Nice old stone work.
-Shall we look inside?
Come on in.
Nice quarry tiles.
Really unusual, isn't it?
-Nice and open.
-It's very open plan.
This is the dining room hall, as halls should be.
Indeed, a proper hall.
Let's take a look at the living room.
So you can see, actually,
even though it was rebuilt, they've kept the same plan.
These big windows would have been where the coaches came in,
that's why they're so big.
It certainly gives it that nice light, airy feel.
This is east facing so you get the morning sun in here.
Very nice, light, bright, airy character again, so very impressed,
yeah, a really nice feel to it.
-I do like the alcoves either side of the fireplace.
-It's a nice touch.
This bath stone which you see is a little bit lighter than the golden
Cotswolds stones further north.
-What do you think, Andy?
-I'm liking it so far, that's for sure.
'Great, that's what I wanted to hear.
'Back off the dining hall is a room for our chef, Andy.'
Here's your kitchen.
Oh, this is more like it.
This is a nice kitchen.
What do you like about it?
It's spacious. It's got loads of worktops.
The stove there blows your mind, really, I think.
Well, this is the country kitchen I thought you were looking for.
It's very big and square as well. It's not like narrow.
Lots of windows, lots of light coming in from different directions.
-Anything you like about it, Sally?
-I think simple is nice.
We like the simple style - a real farm house kitchen.
I can see us sitting at that table and having breakfast.
You have a range cooker, have you ever cooked with those before?
I haven't, but I look forward to using it.
It's good for stews and casseroles.
-How about curries?
-And for curries. Shall we take a peek upstairs?
'Well, that seems to have satisfied them both.
'Upstairs there are three bedrooms, the first is set up with a raised
'single bed, but it could take a double.
'Next for us is the second bedroom.'
It's a fair size, isn't it?
-Oh, a little alcove.
-It goes around the corner.
What do you think of the size?
Excellent, the whole place is... Yeah.
Absolutely, and it has fairly tall ceilings as well.
-You could easily get a double bed in here.
-I should think so.
-It's a very good size.
-'All positive stuff.
'But next we head to the bathroom, which I can't pretend is huge.'
-Have a look in.
-It's not tiny, it's not tiny.
Actually, it has a lovely outlook there.
Certainly fully functional by the looks of it.
You will have to put the shower in.
It has the plumbing there, so that's OK.
'Well, it doesn't look like that was a deal breaker.
'Lastly on our tour inside is the master bedroom.'
-There you go.
-This is good.
Pretty simple. They haven't done an awful lot with it,
but you could put your mark on it quite easily.
It's a very good size, isn't it?
It's not a square room which is good, there's lots of potential there.
What do you think of the inside space altogether?
I'm really impressed by it.
I'm dreading to know how much it is going to actually cost.
But the space is brilliant.
As far as the overall interior is concerned, all the rooms are tall,
which, you know helps enormously. OK it means you have to use a bit more
paint but hey, that's not a problem!
'There's also the added bonus of a loft room, which isn't a bad size.
'But we're heading for the garden which I'm hoping delivers more of
'what they're looking for.'
So you can see the garden is very steeply banked, or was.
Actually when they first rebuilt the house it came in a bank
straight down into the kitchen.
So they dug all this out,
put in this retaining wall and these rather attractive steps up.
Wow, I do like those steps.
So this would be your outside space, for eating and dining.
-You are protected.
I do like this, actually.
-Would you use it?
-Oh, yeah, a lot.
-We like eating outside.
-Shall we go up?
Mind the steps.
-Outside toilet, original.
-Now a potting shed.
Your garden is really this brick wall, this retaining wall is the
-edge of your garden right up to the end there.
And then down to the road.
What are your thoughts about the garden?
-I love it.
Good, I was worried it wasn't going to be quite big enough for you still.
I think size-wise, absolutely, there's loads of space
for a veg plot down there
and it looks like there are a few fruit trees already established.
That was something on our list we didn't think we'd get.
It's a real added bonus having those down there, that's for sure.
It is an unusual shape, so it feels like there's lot of bits to it,
it's not a square garden again.
The question mark still hangs over your goats.
That's the big question mark.
But I was thinking, you know, if you can't find the land,
you might be able to rent a patch nearby.
Well, what are your thoughts about the price?
The garden, the property?
Very difficult question. Because it is quite an unusual style.
It's got a lot more ground than the previous ones we've seen. I'm going to pitch in at £425.
I'm going to go for £417.
An unusual figure.
Well, then you may be pleasingly surprised to know that the house
-is on the market for £395,000.
-Just under your budget.
Pleasingly surprising, I would say.
Why don't you have a look around
some more and then, as usual, we'll reconvene at the front.
Excellent. Will do.
Well, that's very satisfying.
I thought for a moment they weren't going to like it so much, because of
its location being further south
and maybe because it's near the road, but, it seems to be fine.
'At £395,000, this house scrapes in just under budget.
'There's a kitchen diner that they both loved, three bedrooms,
'a loft room which they could use as a study and a large garden.
'Sadly, I don't think with their budget there will ever be room for that goat.'
We walked through the entrance hall - fantastic,
a proper entrance hall, which is just what we wanted.
The bathroom wasn't enormous but it was certainly bigger than the
others we have seen and I think it'll be fine.
The kitchen is very nice, pretty much a perfect kitchen.
What are you thinking?
-I'm really quite liking it.
-I like it very much.
Nice high ceilings, it gives it that nice spacious feel to it.
It's got a homely feel. The best bit was the garden.
A nice patio area. Oh, our own personal river!
Oh, wow, like it.
To my mind, the garden is pretty much perfect.
I don't know how you managed to find a property for that price with that
sort of garden and this sort of space.
Well, it wouldn't be England without a bit of rain, would it?
'If Andy and Sally do buy a goat,
'they're going to need to know how to care for it.
'So they're dropping in to see local expert, Andy Cole, at the Cotswolds
'Farm Park, to learn a little more about keeping these animals.'
Hi, I'm Andy.
I'm Andy. Two of us!
Firstly I think we'll do some bottle feeding, we'll start with some young
goat kids and then go on to goat husbandry.
-And take it from there. Right, let's make a start.
'Andy's been rearing goats since leaving agricultural college and
-'has a soft spot for the animals.'
-They are very friendly creatures.
They sure are. They have a lot of interaction with the public
on a daily basis - hundreds of people come see them.
'These baby kids have a twice-daily bottle feed of formula milk, packed
'with all the essential vitamins they require.'
You are hungry this morning, aren't you?
So if you make sure you hold it upright so they can get the milk,
-we don't want them sucking air.
-You've nearly finished there.
He's got most of it on his head!
Now the bottle feed with the kids is over, there's just time to see
the older goats in another field.
Fortunately for Andy and Sally they're for sale, each one for £100.
Home goat keeping has become incredibly popular, especially
for people who are intolerant of dairy milk.
Fresh milk every morning, if you can get your nanny in kid.
There is a big demand in the UK. They are hardy animals.
They are very intelligent and relatively easy to look after.
It's a myth that they'll eat anything,
in fact, they are particularly fussy eaters.
'Andy and Sally seem at home with the goats,
'but I think they'll have to find
'a patch of land to rent if they go ahead and buy one.'
'With three houses down it's now time for the mystery house.'
They wanted the Cotswolds, so I'm going to give them the Cotswolds!
Ah, the mystery house. What do you think the mystery might be?
I don't dare say anything.
I have a certain hunch it's going to tick quite a few of the boxes.
I think it might not tick any boxes but it's going to be something completely different.
A difference of opinion.
That's good. It heightens the mystery.
'The mystery house I've been keeping under wraps until now is in
'Southrop, on the Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire border.
'This village really does conjure up that true chocolate box image of the Cotswolds.
'The house we've lined up is no exception and is believed
'to have once been a Victorian pub that pulled in the locals,
'but now, will it appeal to Andy and Sally?'
Come along, come along.
Southrop, what do you think to Southrop?
A lovely little village.
Very charming. The house I want to show you is this one.
-Good grief, that's completely different to the previous ones.
Lovely, absolutely lovely.
I think I'm falling in love with it already, actually.
Very grand, isn't it?
It looks fabulous from the outside.
The present owner is Danish, hence the Danish flag.
I did wonder about that.
Come on in, a lovely little hall, I know you like a hall.
Come into the sitting room here.
Oh, my word.
This is some living room, isn't it?
You've gone back to the full country, country, country cottage.
The fire is absolutely a dream. It's really, really lovely.
-And again, the high ceilings.
-Yeah, we have the high ceilings.
-I like it!
This is definitely the biggest living room I've showed you.
Sally, what do you think?
Oh, I don't really know what to say, it's wonderful.
You don't need a TV - you can sit there and look at the fire place.
-I'm loving it so far.
-Unfortunately in your budget,
not a massive house, so the downstairs is not huge,
but we can look at the kitchen.
-Oh, my word!
-You weren't expecting that, were you?
-Isn't it great?
-Work surfaces galore, it's got a range as well.
It's quite similar in size to the last property I've shown you,
but you can see it's been much more lived in, and it has more authentic
features - the beams going across, lovely cabinets throughout.
-What do you think?
-This is almost too perfect.
It is almost.
It is just fantastic.
Andy, you're the cook.
Indeed and I'm thinking I can work in here quite easily.
One area that's quite clear and almost new actually,
because they did it five years ago, it is the conservatory...
-and then you have all this out here.
-Wow. Good grief.
It is a great contrast. The other side is quite cluttered.
This is all clean.
This is only five years' old.
This is a fantastic space.
This would be a very useful room, wouldn't it?
Light and airy and spacious.
A door that takes you back to the driveway,
and look, a well, with a pump.
-So does it actually work?
It takes a bit of effort. I'm too delicate to pump.
Would you use this space?
Oh, we would definitely use this space, definitely, yeah.
'I'm so pleased the mystery house has impressed them.
'On the first floor there are two bedrooms and I'm sure they're going to be wowed by the first.'
Oh, my word.
-It is the mystery house.
-I'm thinking, budget, budget!
-Look at that ceiling.
-I know, fantastic.
-It is very extravagant in many ways.
Extravagant is good.
You can see how big it is - you can see how tiny the double bed
looks in this huge space, and then you have all this storage up here.
-And, behind you,
your en suite.
'This shower room is small but it is clean and bright and does the trick.
'So there's lots of space for grandeur here.'
You wanted a big bedroom.
-Indeed we did.
-You certainly got us that.
I can't speak again.
Gosh, I've torn your tongue out.
That's quite something, actually.
So you've got, essentially,
two bedrooms on this floor and then another surprise.
Oh. We are full of surprises.
-The second bedroom.
-This is nice.
-What's interesting about this
house upstairs is rather than having bedroom, en suite, family bathroom,
bedroom, because of the space being at a premium, they have
bedroom en suite, bedroom en suite,
this time with a bathtub.
So when your guests are here they have their own place,
but when they are not, you can have a bath.
This room is a good size, but the reason I'm bringing you in here is
not just to show you this room but to show you up these stairs.
Why don't you have a little explore up there on your own.
-Here we have the office.
It's quite spacious, isn't it?
-Again, remove all the stuff.
What about the garden?
'Well I bet they weren't bargaining for that.
'This property certainly has the indoor space they are looking for,
'but as ever, it always comes at the expense of something else.'
-Here's the rub.
-I thought there might be one, yeah.
-A nice courtyard.
-A lovely courtyard.
Well-appointed. Lots of trees around. Not your trees,
but there are trees. This is officially a garage,
a store cupboard and there is a little shed behind it as well.
And you could, if you were interested, take this down.
You don't really need it, certainly not to park your car.
And just clear this and it's probably another...3m of garden
back there, which you could make into a little veggie bed.
-'So it isn't the largest garden, but there is potential.
'At the side of house there is a large driveway,
'and if they decide to knock down the garage and the shed behind,
'then they could turn the log storage area into a carport.'
A driveway of this size is quite a luxury.
But it is, I think, one of the nicest properties I have shown
you on paper, inside.
It really does answer all of the Cotswold dreams.
-How much do you think it is worth?
It's got to be over budget. £435.
I think £435 is probably around about my mark.
It is priced at £450,000,
but because it's only
just gone on the market, it could be that that is not a realistic price.
'So the mystery house is over their budget at £450,000,
'but it is always worth putting in an offer.
'There is a large lounge,
'a conservatory I'm sure they'd make lots of use of,
'three bedrooms and a courtyard garden and driveway.'
There was quite a wow factor to the house. I think we both felt that.
It was perfect. A lovely sized lounge.
Lots of space, nice windows, high ceiling,
and the fire was just gorgeous, absolutely brilliant.
Downstairs it has a very large kitchen, which is one of our main requirements.
It's a very, very good size. The storage space is massive.
It has an en suite. It's the first en suite which I think we've seen.
It's a lovely, lovely cottage.
I felt that internally I could actually live here quite happily.
The real downside, I have to say, is probably the garden.
I really think we're going to need something
that's a bit bigger for a garden, which is a shame,
because the rest of the house was absolutely beautiful.
Ah, coming out of the conservatory door.
Well it has been a long couple of days,
-time now to regroup, discuss and decide.
'Andy and Sally's trip around the south Cotswolds is now over.
'Their lack of knowledge of area shocked them when it came to prices,
'so some compromises are going to have to be made.'
We've tried very hard to find the house that Andy and Sally want to
match the garden that they want, and we haven't always succeeded,
but a couple of them have been quite close. How close? I'm about to find out.
We've had two Cotswolds-stuffed days.
-Do you think you're settled on coming here?
-I think so.
It is just the sort of place we want.
First of all we took you to that three-storey cottage right in the centre of Burford.
Great location, great town.
What did you think of that three-storey cottage?
It was a lovely little cottage, but it didn't have the garden.
But the cottage itself was lovely, and the bathroom... I really liked the bathroom.
-And you liked the shower room, didn't you?
The other big plus that it had
was the absolutely massive master bedroom
right at the top of the house.
What did you think of the location? Because it was slap bang in the middle of Burford.
It was good, actually, because you could walk into town.
I think I still would prefer to be further out in the countryside so you can walk out your front door
and see greenery.
Later on, we went to see another property which had lots of character
and was in perhaps an even more Cotswold-y location in the sense it was right on the village green.
in Bledington. What are your memories of that property?
It was in a perfect spot. From every room, you could see green.
It was wonderful. I really liked that.
I can't really add too much to that.
The location was pretty much spot on.
The inside of the house was very good.
The downstairs was pretty much perfect.
The kitchen itself - very, functional, loads of workspace
but I think possibly the bathroom
was perhaps a bit small for your needs, in particular.
-What about the garden, Sally? Because it did have a garden.
-It did have a garden,
and first thought was the garden was slightly small. The garden was not a bad size.
Not bad at all. We both quite liked the property and the garden.
This morning we went to see the house in Avening.
This did have a garden, so let's talk about that first. What did you think of that garden?
I thought the garden was superb, actually.
It's got huge potential, I feel, for a veggie patch where
the patio is, if not where the fruit trees are.
It was an interesting house inside
as well, it was very different to anything I think we've ever seen.
We liked it a lot, yeah.
What about the mystery house? Now, that was an interesting property.
From the outside - wow. When we went downstairs it looked
wow, the kitchen was fantastic, the lounge was beautiful, but
overall it was the garden. No matter how beautiful the house is,
I think without the garden, that's going to be the selling point for us.
Overall what have you learnt, do you think, about your budget
and buying in the Cotswolds?
We didn't really know what you'd expect for the money.
We're going to have to compromise on some things to get what we want.
But we've both learned we couldn't compromise on the garden.
But we could compromise on being on a road, or possibly the size of the
-What happens next?
I think we're quite taken with two of the properties,
in particular the one in Avening,
and also the one in Bledington. What we're planning to do, is we're going
to go around and have a drive around both the surrounding area and villages and
take a look at the local atmosphere, if you like, and take it from there.
I wish you all the best. I hope you find what you are looking for, with
-a big garden for plenty of goats!
-Thank you very much.
It looks like the old Cotswold magic has done its job again
and persuaded Sally and Andy to stay here and move for good.
And if you love the countryside
and want to see more of it, make sure you join us again next time
for another edition of Escape To The Country.
If you'd like to escape to the country and need our help,
please contact us through our website at:
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Alistair Appleton is in the Cotswolds with a couple searching for a dream house with a garden large enough to keep a goat. They view some stunning properties, but in such a popular and expensive part of the country, outside space comes at a premium. Will they find anything that suits, or will compromises have to be made?