Shropshire Star

Escape to the Country sees Cheshire couple trade town life for rural fantasy in Shropshire

This week's Escape to the Country saw a Cheshire couple eyeing up homes in north Shropshire.

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Cheshire couple Tom and Rachel. Image: BBC

Monday's episode of BBC's Escape to the Country featured Cheshire couple Rachel and Tom looking for a home amongst the "lush valleys and lofty peaks" of Shropshire.

It was certainly easy to feel smug about our home county as the screen lit up with picturesque views of rolling countryside and the timber-framed property-lined streets of Shrewsbury.

We'll forgive the faux pas of presenter Denise Nurse telling the camera that she was in "the majestic Shropshire hills" when she was actually at the foot of the Wrekin and chalk that up to creative licence.

Monday's house hunters were looking to relocate to Shropshire to "turn their back on town life" and embrace the "simpler life of self-sufficiency".

"I've always wanted to have a tractor," laughed Tom, while his partner Rachel dreamt of keeping alpacas.

In forming their list of must-haves, the young couple also wanted somewhere Tom - a keen stargazer - could have his own observatory, while Rachel could have an agility course for their two dogs, Eva and Nigel.

With a budget of £650,000 for a detached, three to four-bedroom property with over an acre of land, I've written enough Shropshire property articles to know this young couple were in for a treat.

Their house-hunting journey started with a 180-year-old double-fronted red brick property in the village of Weston, next door to Hawkstone Follies.

Property number one in Weston. Image: BBC

With three acres of land and a plethora of outbuildings, the pair were smitten with the homes' potential and didn't seem to be dissuaded by the guide price taking up their entire budget of £650,000.

Before being taken to their next viewing, Rachel and Tom were dropped in Market Drayton for a wander around the offerings of north Shropshire.

Stopping by Field's farm shop, the pair had a literal taste of the town by sampling the town staple of Billington's Gingerbread, which was once made in the shop's cellar.

To the couples' (and my) surprise it was paired with port, which they were encouraged to dunk the biscuit into.

The next home presented to the pair was outside of Shropshire - and England for that matter - over the border of Wales in the village of Llwynmawr.

Dating back to the 1800s, the traditional and large farmhouse with majestic views of the valley invoked several 'wows' from the pair.

The price tag too, at £610,000, threatened to pull the couple away from Shropshire.

Property number two in Llwynmawr. Image: BBC

Back in more recognisable territory, the programme featured local estate agent Richard Heath from Barbers, standing on the towpath of the Shropshire Union Canal in Market Drayton.

Richard explained that Shropshire was facing a surge in popularity, as more young people were looking at setting up home in market towns because of the freedom brought by working remotely.

And with that, Rachel and Tom were back in Shropshire, viewing their mystery property just outside the market town in Longslow.

Presented with a vast and stunning barn conversion, being situated in a small complex with three other conversions, the property failed to check a few of their boxes, but the couple went in open-minded.

Despite being blown away by the fabulous home and its much below-budget price of £580,000 - it was clear that their aspirations for solitude and acres of land held firm.

While Rachel and Tom deliberated, Denise visited with Ashley from Shropshire Petals near Newport, who showed off their newest member of staff - a robot that plants and weeds all of their flowers.

Dubbed 'Florrie', the solar-powered robot saves the petal farm hundreds of hours of manpower, contributing to their carbon reduction, protecting biodiversity and encouraging wildlife.

Cut back to deliberation, Rachel and Tom had made up their mind, and in the end - spoiler alert - Shropshire had won out, with the pair optimistic about their second viewing of the Weston home.

The episode can be found on BBC iPlayer.