26 June 1998

ESAboosts profits

RECEIPT of substantial payments due to management agreements has boosted the profit margins on almost 900 acres in the heart of Exmoor during a difficult time for traditional livestock farming.

In an environmentally sensitive area Emmetts Grange, Simonsbath, near South Molton, Somerset is tied into a management agreement terminating in Aug 2003. A small acreage included in the Exmoor National Park known as Hangley Cleave is subject to another agreement and the 474 acres of enclosed hill grazing are designated a site of special scientific interest.

"Last year the total income from the livestock subsidies, the ESA and National Park payments was about £53,000," says Richard Addington, Knight Frank who is handling the sale.

Currently the 893-acre estate carries cattle and sheep enterprises. A 900-head Scottish Blackface ewe flock, a 250 mule ewe flock and a small Blue Faced Leicester flock provide ram replacements. The beef enterprise includes a 40-head suckler cow herd of Aberdeen Angus.

The 408 acres of pasture are fenced and each field has a water supply, but during the winter and lambing period most of the sheep are housed in some of the general purpose farm buildings adapted for livestock accommodation.

Also, a courtyard of traditional farm buildings has planning permission for conversion into three self-contained holiday units and an annexe. Four existing cottages now let on assured shorthold agreements, generating an annual rental income of more than £18,000, previously were used for holiday lets. And the main five-bedroom house Emmetts Grange was refurbished recently.

About 10 acres of woodland are managed privately but could attract some grant aid from the National Park Authority..

For sale as a whole, the estate is guided in excess of £1m but the vendors would sell the unit on a lock, stock and barrel basis.

"With the income finely balanced between the residential and farming elements the estate could appeal to a variety of buyers and there are plenty of nearby farmers who would rent the land," Mr Addington said.

Emmetts Grange includes 893 acres of pasture and enclosed hill grazing which currently support sheep and suckler cow enterprises.