ESCAPE To The Chateau's Dick Strawbridge has revealed his horror when he was first faced with his "neglected" future home.
Looking back on the moment he first laid eyes on the impressive French chateau, Dick, 61, told of how the place was in entire disrepair.
Alongside wife Angel Adoree, the TV personality has been closely followed by Channel 4 cameras over the past five years, documenting their house journey on TV.
But in the couple's book, A Year at The Chateau, Dick further details some off the less appealing aspects of the up-cycling job – including the state of the chateau when buying it.
Despite seeing "immense potential" in the huge 45-room castle, the former army officer noted that it was the garden that needed the most attention.
Left unkept and neglected for years on end, there were plants everywhere and they had to "fight their way" into it on their first visit.
"We fought our way into the walled garden, where we discovered the potager; it had been neglected for decades but the potential was immense," Dick wrote.
"Walking into the walled garden was not easy. Nature had reclaimed its 2,800 square metres and underfoot was a tangle of brambles, grasses and weeds, but were some ancient fruit trees that alluded to its former glory.
"Against the walls were some deformed old pear trees that would once have been pruned to perfection, and a plum and a cherry tree that now appeared randomly placed, but must have been positioned with some thought in the garden's heyday."
The duo took on the momentous challenge to transform the castle into a home and business back in 2016, and have only recently seen the fruits of their labour in the outside space.
Now seven series into the show, which sees them transform the derelict 19th century Chateau de la Motte Husson, there are still highs and lows.
Dick continued in the book of the derelict site: "A true indication of the neglect were the numerous forty-foot-high sycamore trees that had started as self-seeded weeds and were now a major feature of the garden.
"They'd have to go. we knew the garden would have to wait, as our priority had to be the chateau, but nonetheless the potential was incredible and my smile was making my face ache."
He added: "By the time we had to leave or else camp out for the night, we were deeply happy and excited for what lay ahead.
"Our minds were racing. It was purely by chance that we had a cameraman with us the very first time we saw the chateau.
"We always thought it was an interesting idea to make a television series about the adventure we had planned and were filming a bit of a 'taster' video.
"There was so much we could do, and so much we would do. Now we had to arrange all these thoughts into a sensible order so a plan could form."
Escape to the Chateau airs at 7pm on Sunday on Channel 4.
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