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PHOTOS: This is how you can win a French chateau... for just £10

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7:03am 17th May 2018
(Updated 7:03am 17th May 2018)

The competition to win a Cornish woman's French chateau

A 350-year-old French chateau worth more than a million pounds could be yours for just £10 - yep, seriously!

The stunning property is owned by a Cornish woman who has put it up for grabs as a competition prize.

The added bonus is that some of the proceeds will be going to Duchy-based homeless charity the St Petroc's Society.

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Ruth Philips, from Truro, owns Chateau de Cautine, which boasts nine bedrooms, a 12m swimming pool and 30 acres of land, and hopes she will also be able to help first-time buyers.

It means profits made from the competition will fund a community interest company run by Ruth, The Eco Village Development Company.

This will be used to build affordable, alternative housing, with 5% of all ticket sales donated to St Petroc's, and costing buyers around 10% of the average UK house price.

What's it like?

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The chateau, built in 1667, is located in the most easterly point of the Dordogne, in the Department of Corrèze and has been valued by a French estate agent at €1.4m, or £1.23m.

The kitchen is full of antiques and has a farmhouse table, and the rest of the renovated rooms can be described as 'quintessentially French'.

Outside benefits from a 12m swimming pool, 30 acres of stunning land, a piggery and even a separate three-bedroom cottage and two large stone barns.

Ruth said: "It's captivating, the place, when you walk through the gates you feel stunned. Not only is the house beautiful but the location, it's on a hill and drops away into a valley and you are in deep nature.

"It's a magical place in the middle of the wilderness - you feel like you have fallen into a deep cushion of trees and green.

"I'm really happy that someone else is going to get it and have chance to appreciate it, it's a magical property - everyone who comes says that".

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So, why now?

Ruth has lived in the chateau for almost a decade and made efforts to turn the property into an eco village.

Her aim was to provide sustainable and affordable housing for those who can't afford their first step on the housing ladder.

Now Ruth is selling up to spend more time with her family in the UK and said: "I've been starting with this eco village in France, it's the work I have done for the past seven years.

"It took a long time to get the planning permission and my kids by then were firmly settled in England.

"My ex-husband has been running a restaurant that I started 13 years ago but he said he wanted to retire and asked if I wanted it back. I said OK and that's when I realised I had to move back to the UK and put the chateau on the market.

"When I came across this competition idea I thought this would enable us to raise funds for the continuation of the Eco Village Development plans in England".

In France, Ruth had been working with a Dutch architect to develop affordable eco-homes. Together, they designed a 20sqm home, big enough for two, which will cost a fraction of the average house price in the UK.

With the profits made from the competition, Ruth will run an asset-locked community interest company that will bring the homes to the UK.

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Ruth added: "What we have developed is the design of an affordable kit house which can be built anywhere and it is off grid.

"We anticipate in September starting to build the first kit house, then we hope by the following spring, 2019, to have raised sufficient funds to buy the land and build the first project.

"Affordable housing is one of my main interests as I feel it is everyone's right to have a home.

"It is impossible nowadays for people to afford a home because of the extremely high prices.

"We also need to build houses which do not damage the environment and which have built in systems which do not harm nature.

"This will provide a solution, the kit houses can be put together in a week and aim to cost less than 10% of the price of an average house in the UK".

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Not only does the chateau benefit from incredible scenery and unspoilt views, a rich history is also included.

During World War II, the chateau was used as a refuge for Jewish families, who hid in a secret compartment in the attic.

And the history of the property dates back further still, as dotted around are hints that the Knights Templar may have built the property.

Ruth said: "The family crest over the fireplace in the dining room and over the front door, it is full of the symbology of the Templars - the star, the crescent moon, the Maltese cross.

"I feel there is a Templar connection, but we can't prove it".

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Quick - how can I enter?

A total of 500,000 tickets will be up for grabs for £10 each, and anyone entering must first answer two skill-based questions.

Then they will be entered into the competition to win the property.

To enter the competition, click here.

7:03am 17th May 2018

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