10 May 2002

Royal-winner hangs up boots

THE Wilts home of a prize-winning Dairy Shorthorn herd is on sale for £2.1m, after the decision of farmer Roger Osborne to hang up his well-worn boots.

Manor Farm, Tytherington, near Warminster, was originally taken on as tenanted unit in 1955 when it was part of the nearby Heytesbury Estate. Ownership of the 470-acre unit subsequently passed to Legal and General Insurance and finally to the Osborne family in 1989 when the freehold was acquired.

Using progeny from the Cotley herd, established by Mr Osbornes father Garnett in 1929, the genetics of the herd have been continually improved, resulting in a winning streak of breed class championship honours at four out of five of the last Royal Shows.

But producing top class milkers is not the only useful attribute of Manor Farm, says William Grant of Salisbury-based selling agent Woolley and Wallis. "This is some of the best farm land in the country, over 85% of the soil is Grade 2 and 357 acres are IACS-registered. Wheat yields consistently exceed 4t/acre."

Amenity interest is also well catered for with 450 yards of single-bank fishing on the River Wylye and some attractive water meadows and ponds that could offer interesting conservation opportunities to an environmentally minded buyer.

Accommodation is taken care of by a Grade 2 listed five-bedroom farmhouse, and there is over 55,000sq ft of traditional and modern buildings. The parlour features a well-designed Westfalia direct-line milking system, although this is not included in the sale. "Mr Osborne would like nothing better, but I think it unlikely the eventual buyer will carry on milking," says Mr Grant.

Although the sale brings to an end the familys tenure of Manor Farm, Mr Osborne and his wife, Nancy, will still be able to keep an eye on the property, having moved just a few hundred metres away to a recently built agriculturally tied dwelling.

But with an obvious affection for the holding he and his sons have put so much work into, the farmer says: "If somebody really made a mess of it I think I would have to move away." &#42

Manor Farm at Tytherington, Wilts, is surrounded by attractive countryside and is available for £2.1m.