North Yorks tenancy – 605 acres and hefted Swaledale flock

A substantial livestock farm business tenancy (FBT) is set for launch this week in North Yorkshire.

The 605-acre Highfield House Farm on the Swinton Estate has a mix of meadow, pasture, rough grazing and moorland and is to be let for 15 years from October.

Most of the land has been in Higher Level Stewardship for the past 10 years, managed extensively on a low-input, high-nature-value system and let on short-term grazing agreements over the 2022-23 winter and for this summer.

See also: Analysis: what tenancy reform might look like for farmers

More recently, the landlord has entered a Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier Agreement which includes a range of grassland revenue options and capital items.

This began on 1 January 2023 and will be transferred to the tenant.

The new tenant will work alongside a progressive landlord to jointly deliver a wide sustainability strategy on the farm in the heart of Nidderdale, said letting agent GSC Grays. 

The 20,000-acres Swinton Estate runs from the River Ure through lowland and hill farming country up to open moorland, where it borders the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“The estate’s tenancy agreements promote environmental sustainability and nature-friendly production as the key to thriving post-subsidy farming,” said GSC Grays managing director Guy Coggrave.

The farm has 128 sheep grazing stints on the neighbouring Ilton Moor and the hefted flock of Swaledale sheep is to be bought by the incoming tenant, with the stints reserved exclusively for the seasonal grazing of that flock.

The four-bedroom farmhouse close to the market town of Masham is being renovated in advance of the start of the tenancy and the range of modern farm buildings has been structurally overhauled.

“Highfield Farm is at the heart of a fantastic estate and presents a rare opportunity to rent a first-class expansive livestock farm from a progressive landlord and to assist Swinton Estate in its commitment to helping the environment,” said Guy.

“An opportunity to rent a farm as sizeable as this on a long-term FBT in such a desirable location does not come around often.”

Viewing days for Highfield farm are on 23 and 29 June and 7 July, with tenders to be submitted by 12 noon on 20 July.