18 April 1997

Scarce units see eager forest bids

HIGHLIGHTING the current depth of the forestry market the top five offers for a recently completed sale were well above the asking price as the lack of property available buoys up the market.

Including a spruce crop averaging 12 years old the 1087-acre Forest of Deer, near Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, was guided at £600,000 and Anthony Hart, Bidwells said it sold for significantly above this.

Leading to offers

"Although not in the most popular of locations, the crop quality and limited supply of forestry, led to 26 offers," said Mr Hart.

Interest was threefold with timber processers, private individuals and family trusts all in the market to purchase good quality units which has boosted some prices by 30% since the beginning of last year.

Also deals on three Forestry Commission woodlands (Glaisters, Ardamont and Ardmarnock – total worth £5.3m including 4670 acres) successfully completed before it was obliged to withdraw from all sales due to the announcement of the general election.

However what happens after the election depends on the new government and the nature of the forestry market will be determined by whether there are forestry enterprise sales or not," he said.

Devon interest

And in Devon interest for various lots of commercial forestry included long-term forestry owners and some newcomers to the market looking to take advantage of the current inheritance benefits from forestry ownership.

"All the offers were within 3% of the asking prices," said Simon Verdon of Fountain Forestry, "There are definite signs of a renewed interest in forestry."

Also John Clegg & Co are marketing 96 acres of commercial woodland near Sidmouth. Peak Hill Wood includes some conifers ready for thinning and younger crops of corsican pine – guide price £105,000.

In Dorset the firm is selling the 259-acre Woodlands Park, Verwood, near Wimborne. Guided at £375,000 it includes compartments of mature conifers and more recently planted douglas fir.