Savills and BCM are selling the largest portfolio of farmland to hit the market since the Co-operative Group’s pension fund sold its 4624-acre Essex Farms estate in 2004 for about £15m.

The Hursley Estate may be smaller at 3828 acres, but its location around the villages of Hursley, Standon and Bunstead, near Winchester, Hants, means its guide price – the selling agents are hoping to achieve over £22m – is one of the highest ever for a commercial farming business.

However, since the vendors bought the estate from a subsidiary of the Kuwait Investment Group in 2001, they have spent a considerable amount improving its various enterprises, which include stand-alone dairy, livestock and arable operations, according to Savills’ Jessica Simpson.

“They have decided to retire and downsize.”

Available in seven lots, the property also features an excellent pheasant and partridge shoot and a substantial income from a range of commercial buildings, says Mrs Simpson.

“It’s got nearly everything; there are so many options.”

One thing the estate does not have is a mansion house commensurate to its size, but several sites would lend themselves to a new dwelling if local planners could be persuaded, she adds.

A local precedent has already been set at the neighbouring 1120-acre Forest Farm Estate where the owners Nigel and Muriel Potter eventually got planning permission recently for a 16,400sq ft house.

Their estate is for sale with Strutt & Parker for £6m and one agent said some buyers might even want to combine the two properties.

For those looking at Hursley’s separate enterprises, lot one features the heart of the dairy and arable units spread over 1929 acres of rolling Grade 3 land.

The 300-cow milk setup has been updated recently and is based around a 20:20 Westfalia parlour.

The 10,500t grain store is one of the largest in the county and offers scope for additional income.

Six-bed Grade II listed South Lynch Farm, the estate’s largest house, is also included in the £11m-plus price along with four cottages.

Lot 2 is 350 acres of downland surrounding a new sheep building for the 800-head flock of Dorset breeding ewes.

The price is £1.3m. Lot five runs to 981 acres and boasts the best shooting on the estate, which has been let for the 2006/07 season and will generate an income of around £130,000.

There is also a Grade II listed farmhouse.

Seven newly completed commercial office buildings, with a price tag of 1.75m, have the potential to produce a further £115,000, while the hamlet of Standon, which has 11 dwellings let under a mix of tenancies, is available for 2.5m.

BCM’s Iain Curry said the whole package was unique and could appeal to a private individual.

“You can end up in hidden valleys and feel miles away from anywhere.”

andrew.shirley@rbi.co.uk