2 November 2001

Eager bidders for Devon estate

POTENTIAL purchasers went home empty-handed last week, after a packed auction room witnessed the successful auction of the 715-acre Natsworthy Estate, near Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon.

Robin Thomas, of selling agent Strutt & Parker, brought the hammer down at £715,000 for the whole, well over the £500,000 guide price. He reckons, however, many in the crowd were disappointed the estate wasnt offered in the nine lots it had been provisionally split into.

"Local farmers were keen to get their hands on some additional land, and there was also a lot of residential interest in a cottage. But in the end we took the decision that the whole exceeded the sum of its parts."

This approach seems to have worked, and attracted the interest of a young couple who, the agent says, were looking for a delightful piece of England to bring up their children.

The property was originally due to be sold in April but foot-and-mouth forced the delay. &#42

although Mr Thomas doesnt believe the disease has affected demand. "Supply is so limited, if I had 10 farms on my books I could easily sell them."