NORTH YORKS firm Lister Haigh is testing out the upland land market with 450 acres of hill pasture near Skipton.

The attractive parcel of land at Kettlewell, Upper Wharfedale, is priced at 275,000 (611/acre) and has attracted farmers and investors even though no entitlement to the historic element of the single farm payment is included, according to the firm”s Catherine Davies.

It has been suggested that upland livestock farming could struggle when support payments are decoupled, but Miss Davies said environmental payments produced an annual income of about 13,500, and although the land was quite high a large proportion of it was below the moorland line.

This means it will qualify for a higher rate of the regional element of the SFP. It is estimated that gross moorland payments will be about 12/acre by 2012, but in severely disadvantaged areas they could be closer to 50/acre. “The land could actually be a better earner than before,” said Miss Davies.

Some nice barns were included in the sale as well said Miss Davies, and this might offer the potential for a residential conversion if somebody was looking to work the land and could prove the need for an agriculturally tied dwelling. There had also been interest from investors looking to benefit from inheritance tax breaks, she added.