Bedfordshire firm Warmingtons is wasting no time in swinging into action in 2006 with the imminent launch of a 450-acre arable farm.

The firm’s Jeremy Clayson said the vendors had decided to put Bourne End Farm at Bletsoe, seven miles from Bedford, on the market so early in the year for a number of reasons.

“They are retiring and once they had made that decision they just wanted to get a move on.”

This year could also be busier in terms of farm sales, said Mr Clayson, and there was no harm in taking advantage of an empty market.

He said it would also be good to complete the deal early to make transferring single farm payment entitlements easier.

“My clients would like to sort things out by April, but they would be prepared to run on until harvest.”

Richard and Jim Day took over Bourne End from their father Walley in 1986 when it was expanded with the purchase of neighbouring 140-acre Vicarage Farm.

The brothers won the East of England Farms competition in 1988 and have only decided to retire after ill health.

“Anybody who knows anything about farming at all will be able to see the standard of farm work that has been carried out.

There is nothing to hide on this farm,” said Mr Clayson.

The rarity and quality of the farm was likely to attract plenty of local interest as well as from further afield, he added.

“We think this is the nicest viable farm unit sold in this part of the county since Westfield Farm at Oakley in 1991.”

Although Mr Clayon thought the farm would sell as a whole to a farmer, with a guide of 2.6m, he has lotted it five ways because the attractive seven-bedroom Georgian-style house, which is split into two, could attract amenity buyers as well.

A range of farm buildings also offered the possibility of residential or commercial development.

“It would make a fantastic equestrian centre.”

Planning consent was granted in 1998 for a change of use of some of the barns to storage and warehousing, but Mr Clayson said he thought there was potential for a more substantial scheme.

“We have approached the local planners about a residential/work project.”

andrew.shirley@rbi.co.uk