2 August 2002

August gap is filled by batch of northern units

By Catherine Paice

A clutch of new farms in the north of England, two within national parks, will form a major contribution to a very thin August market.

Near Thirsk in the North Yorkshire National Park, Dialstone Farm at Hambleton is billed as a first class commercial arable farm by selling agent, Dee Atkinson and Harrison.

Had it not been for the fact that foot-and-mouth hit the farm next door, it would have been on the market last year.

Unusually for farms in the national parks, it is a sizeable arable holding with good land that has grown seed potatoes for Walkers for decades, as well as cereals and sugar beet.

Racing devotees would enjoy the fact that meetings were held at Dialstone centuries ago, until 1776, before the establishment of the course at the Knavesmire at York.

The land was part of Hambleton Common, which gave its name to the Hambleton Cup now run at Thirsk, and was favoured as a racecourse because of its good natural drainage. It sits high on the limestone cliff of Sutton Bank.

The name Dialstone is believed to have originated from the "dial" or weighing machine used to weigh jockeys; evidence of the racecourse is still to be seen on the property.

A £1.3m guide for its 481 acres includes a principal farmhouse and two other houses, one of which has been tenanted for about 20 years. A range of traditional buildings with diversification potential and extensive modern buildings adds further value.

"Weve valued the land itself at about £2200/acre," says John Atkinson. "Its a good farm – what I call a real working mans farm."

The vendors, selling on retirement, have been farming a total 650 acres; more land is available with Dialstone should a purchaser want it.

In the Northumberland National Park, FPDSavills is selling Donkleywood Farm at Hexham, close to Kielder Water.

The stock on this 590 acres of farm and woodland were culled out because of a suspected case of F&M – never confirmed – at the beginning of last year. After 20 years of farming, renovation and improvement of the house and holding, the owners have decided to leave England for rural France.

Donkleywood has a traditional Northumbrian farmhouse, in an area that is becoming more popular with commuters working in Newcastle and the Tyne Valley. The guide price for the whole property is £800,000.

With a grade 2 listed Georgian house just four miles from Scotch Corner, and comprehensive modern general purpose buildings on 169 acres, Uckerby Hall Farm will also broadly appeal to both farming and residential markets.

"It could go either way," says agent Robin Jessop. "The house stands very well and is handy for Scotch Corner, but because of very good buildings and good land in a ring fence I have already had farmers showing interest in it."

Mr Jessop is confident enough to set a closing date for informal tender of Sept 6, based on a guide price of £650,000 to £750,000. Of three farms he has sold this year, one attracted strong farming interest and sold above the guide. &#42

Uckerby Hall Farm, near Scotch Corner, has farming and residential appeal.