Commercial opportunity is creating excitment

Christchurch College, Oxford, is selling a large Shropshire commercial root farm that also has plenty of residential appeal.

“This is really, really rare,” said an excited Tony Morris-Eyton, of Savills’ Telford office, who is handling the sale of the 1222-acre High Hatton Estate at Hodnet, 10 miles from Telford.

 “There’s been nothing like this around here for at least 15 years, and in my 25 years of selling farms I can’t think of much else like it.”

Mr Morris-Eyton said the farm was being sold after the surrender of three tenancies on the estate and the proceeds could be invested in other land purchases.

Christchurch College bought the farm in 1988 from the Distillers pension fund, which had acquired it from the Cambridge Community Chest in 1975.

The estate would almost certainly be sold as a whole to a private individual attracted by the house, the scale and agricultural quality of the land, added Mr Morris-Eyton.

“It hits every button for the farming estate buyer.”

In terms of agricultural potential, potatoes, sugar beet and other high-value crops like carrots have been grown in the estate’s soil, which is mostly Grade 2 with pockets of Grade 3, with cereals used a break crop.

Cropping flexibility is also increased by an extensive underground irrigation network supplied from boreholes with abstraction licences for over 50m gallons of water.

“You can really farm properly here, it’s not an estate just for play,” Mr Morris-Eyton said.

At the heart of the estate is High Hatton Hall, a nine-bedroom Grade II listed Georgian house built in 1762 and designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, who was later the architect for Abraham Darby’s famous Iron Bridge constructed over the Severn at Coalbrookdale in 1779.

There is also an established small shoot with scope for enlargement and three cottages.

In total, Mr Morris-Eyton has guided the estate at 5m, although he has also lotted it 15 ways to identify value.

The house and 34 acres are priced at 1.25m, while 262 acres and a range of farm buildings, including 400t of grain storage, are available for 775,000.

The rest of the land has been split into parcels ranging from almost 12 acres to 217 acres, which have been valued at about 2800/acre.

“It reflects the quality of the land.”

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