The largest and most interesting land launches in 2019

Many high-quality and interesting launches hit the UK land market in 2019.

These ranged from a 5,000-acre forest to a company that included a tenancy “forever” and a hill farm with a hefted flock that hadn’t changed hands in more than 60 years.

Despite supply being down 40% on the year, buyer demand was high, keeping values stable and helping many sales achieve record prices.

See also: Analysis: England farmland market by type, size, price, area

Farmers Weekly asked land agents for an update on the year’s highlights.

Biggest sale

Strutt & Parker Farms

© Kevin Snell

East Anglia-based Strutt & Parker (Farms) was sold to Robigus this year after 12 months on the market.

The business, which farms about 33,000 acres, was launched for sale with Savills in September 2018.

No guide price was publicly issued, but the sellers were expected to be looking for about £200m.

Robigus is operated in conjunction with Belport, with finance provided by European investors. 

Bequeathed tenancy

Trafford Farm

© Lincolnshire Agricultural Society

Local farmer John Hollis successfully tendered for 465-acre Trafford Farm, which was left to Lincolnshire Agricultural Society by Sheila Trafford in her will.

A total of 19 tenders were received for the arable farm by land agents JH Walter, seven of which were made by first-time farmers.

Mr Hollis impressed with his progressive approach to soil health and his interest in supporting the charity’s objectives.

His six-year farm business tenancy began in October.

Versatile unit

Clea Hall Farm

© H&H Land & Property

This 326-acre livestock farm in Cumbria received considerable interest over the summer months and sold in a matter of weeks in excess of its £2.5m guide price to a neighbouring farmer.

Clea Hall Farm, a former dairy unit, included three residential properties, an extensive range of buildings within two courtyards, and good-quality grassland in a ring-fenced block.

Selling agent H&H Land & Estates described the farm as “immaculate” and said it would suit any farming business.

See also: 6 things we know about the 2019 farmland market

Investor interest

Monks Hall Estate

© Clarke & Simpson

The historic Monks Hall Estate in Suffolk hit the market in May and drew some competitive bidding from farmers and lifestyle buyers, both local and national, before going to an investor for well above the £7.775m guide price.

Clarke & Simpson launched the 785-acre holding, which included three properties, and said contracts were exchanged less than eight weeks later.

Under offer

Ardgarth Farm

© Galbraith

In late October, Galbraith launched 1,247-acre Ardgarth Farm, near Dundee, as a whole for offers over £5m or in two lots.

The mixed arable and dairy farm includes a New Zealand-style milking complex for 660 cows, four-bedroom house, two-bedroom cottage, woodland and two lochs.

It was on the market for less than three weeks and is now under offer.

Woodland winner

Cloughton Moor Wood

© Carter Jonas

Cloughton Moor Woods in North Yorkshire was launched with Carter Jonas and Cundalls for £450,000 in July.

All 143 acres of commercial woodland went to a farmer for more than the guide price after several offers were received from a wide range of interested parties.

See also: 6 innovative ways to market your farm

Diversification options

Elm Farm

© Carter Jonas

In Berkshire, Carter Jonas launched organic Elm Farm, with a house, courtyard of buildings converted to offices, and 213 acres of pasture, arable and woodland.

Following a number of bids, the property sold in lots comfortably above the £3.25m guide, to a number of non-farming buyers, with one lot retained.

Local move

Bank Top Farm

© Robin Jessop

Mixed unit Bank Top Farm in North Yorkshire came to the market in May with Robin Jessop, guided at £900,000.

The property, which included a house, buildings, 110 acres of arable and grassland, shooting rights and woodland, was taken to best and final offers on an informal tender basis and received several offers.

A sale was agreed in July with a neighbouring farmer in excess of the guide price.

Private purchase

Talisker Estate

© Strutt & Parker

The 2,450-acre Talisker Estate on the Isle of Skye was sold in November through Strutt & Parker in an off-market deal.

It includes Talisker Bay, mountains Preshal Mor and Preshal Beag, hill land and permanent pasture, and two lochs.

The new owner plans to restore the estate to its former glory working in partnership with the current farming enterprise, which runs the hefted sheep flock.

Island living

Llys Lew Farm

© Carter Jonas

On the Isle of Anglesey, Carter Jonas is selling 67-acre Llys Lew Farm with a guide price of £1.2m.

It includes a five-bedroom house, stabling, paddocks, indoor manège, and a range of traditional stone buildings with development potential.

It is for sale as a whole or in two lots.

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