22 June 2001

Rare farm opportunities in Scotland and Wales

By Andrew Shirley

A PAIR of Celtic holdings have come on the market, and both are situated in areas where farm sales are relatively rare.

"Since I came to the area in 1988 I cannot recall any big sales in this part of Scotland," says Richard Holliday, whose retirement means Newmore of Mains and Pitmaduthy farms, Invergordon, Easter Ross, are now available from Langley-Taylor and Knight Frank.

One of the reasons for this could be the regions remoteness – north of Inverness it is virtually at the limit of Scotlands viable cropping zone, and even the owner admits few are aware that top quality land is available so far north.

"Cropping here is early due to the influence of the Gulf Stream and the land is as good as any in East Lothian, but I dont think many people realise that."

The units are managed as one 888-acre stock and arable enterprise by Tom Robb and currently feature as FARMERS WEEKLYs Scottish barometer farm. Most of the land is classified as grade 3 by the Macaulay Institute but the manager says the soil types vary anywhere between pure sand and pure peat.

"We use grass and crop rotations specific to each part of the farm and this has enabled us to achieve winter wheat yields of up to 3.8t/acre."

In total, the arable soils extend to 800 acres and the farm also supports an 800-head breeding ewe flock and a 70-strong Aberdeen-Angus/Charolais suckler herd.

Although the sale includes eight dwellings, none are likely to entice the residential buyer, says Langley-Taylors Christopher Hall. "This is definitely a commercial proposition."

However, he points out that planning consent for a new house at Newmore, which Mr Robb says has "fantastic" views towards the Black Isle, would be a possibility.

Available in four lots, the entire unit is being guided at offers over £1m. Given that a medium-sized English farmhouse with 20 acres could easily command such a figure, anybody prepared to move this far north of the border could pick up what appears to be an arable bargain.

In Wales, a 245-acre property in the Vale of Glamorgan is up for grabs from Herbert R Thomas. The Farm, near St Hilary, is initially being offered as a whole, which agent Philip Thomas says is unusual.

"Because we are so close to Wales largest residential centre most farms are lotted and the houses are snapped up by buyers from outside agriculture," he explains. "But in this case the farm has been in my family for five generations so it would be nice to see it remain intact."

Featuring a five-bedroomed house, a good range of buildings and 138 acres of IACS-registered land Mr Thomas is valuing the holding at £1.5m. &#42