Unique historic estate to hit market in Nottinghamshire

Great Britain’s last medieval farming estate is set to hit the open market with a guide price of £7m.

The Crown Estate has moved forward with its plan to market Laxton Estate, Nottinghamshire, in order to find an owner committed to preserving the unique, historical asset in the future.

Laxton is Great Britain’s only remaining farm that uses the medieval agricultural method of the “open field system”.

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Tenant farmers work in open fields, without hedgerows or fences, and cultivate multiple strips of land, with the aim of everyone having a fair share of the best and worst land.

The estate includes 17 tenanted farms across 1,845 acres. It will be marketed by Carter Jonas as a whole.

All tenants have been advised of this decision, according to the Crown Estate.

Laxton Estate aerial view

Key criteria

A spokesman for the Crown Estate said interested parties would need to clearly demonstrate the intention to perpetually maintain the open field system, and maintain a positive relationship with tenants and stakeholders.

The purchaser will also need to show capacity in organisational and financial respects to manage the estate positively in the long term, and will ideally have a track record of having successfully delivered sensitive management of the historic landscape and farmed environment at a comparable scale and complexity.

The Crown Estate has a policy of selling “non-core” farms and land to restructure its rural assets, creating larger lot sizes and modern tenancies, according to its latest annual report.

It owns about 220,000 acres of agricultural land and has total assets of £13bn, much of which is in retail and commercial property, as well as offshore wind.

The sale of strategic land sites and non-core rural land raised £209m in the year ending 31 March 2017. This included the proceeds of farm sales in Dorset and at Marlborough in Wiltshire.