Cumbrian ex-dairy unit sure to have wide appeal

The advent of spring is bringing out a flush of farm auctions – and H&H Bowe’s Andy Dyer is handling the biggest to be announced so far.

Lees Hill Farm at Brampton, near Carlisle, Cumbria, will go under the hammer on 11 April at The Shepherds Inn, Carlisle, and the 327-acre former dairy unit is sure to attract plenty of farmer interest, said Mr Dyer.

Although the farm went out of milk in 2004, a number of enquires had been received from farmers considering starting dairy production again, he said. “I think demand will be split between dairy and livestock farmers, although in the end it will probably go to a stock farmer.”

Mr Dyer said Cumbria was experiencing the increase in land values highlighted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ recent nationwide rural survey. “And it’s not just being driven by external influences like the Irish genuine local farmers are looking for good bits of bare land,” he said.

Northern Irish buyers, however, were likely to feature strongly in the bidding for Lees Hill, which includes a five-bed stone farmhouse, he reckoned. “There is very strong interest from Ireland at the moment. They are also interested in 200-300-acre blocks of land as an investment as well as farms.”

Lees Hill has been guided by Mr Dyer at £950,000. “It’s a fair price. It’s always difficult when you get close to £1m it seems to be a bit of a psychological barrier. The trick is to get people through the doors on the day.”

Ian Gibson, the owner of the farm, had no offspring to take over the farm and had decided to take advantage of the bullish market, said Mr Dyer. “He’s doing the sensible thing and riding a strong market. I can’t deny it’s concentrating people’s minds.”

H&H Bowe will also be launching two 300-acre and 500-acre dairy farms in Scotland later in the year, said Mr Dyer. “One of them will really appeal to Irish buyers.”