Rare conservation oppotunity in Wales goes on sale

John Clegg & Co is selling a large mid-Wales hill farm in the Cambrian Mountains with over £150,000 of annual environmental payments.

The firm’s Colin Gee said he wasn’t sure who would buy 2230-acre Nant Gwernog Farm at Llanddewi Brefi, near Tregaron, in Ceredigion, but reckoned it was a rare opportunity that could appeal to the conservation minded.

“I don’t think there will be a queue of people, but there will be somebody out there.

‘Inheritance tax shelter’

” It’s not often you get the chance to buy something of this size that is so easy to farm and can offer a shelter from inheritance tax,” he said.

Much of the farm, which is partly bounded by two tributaries of the River Towy, is part of the Cwm Doethie-Mynydd Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the importance of its various habitats, particularly for the Red kite.

The land is also part of an internationally important Special Protection Area, which aims to safeguard rare, vulnerable and migratory birds, and a Special Area of Conservation, which protects rare species of flora and forna and their  habitats.

Heather regeneration

Tir Gofal and other payments for 2007 total £167,353 and include almost £95,000 for habitat management.

Nant Gwernog was originally home to over 2000 sheep, but under the terms of the various environmental schemes only 281 are now allowed, along with 92 suckler cows and some hill ponies. This is to encourage heather regeneration.

There is no inhabitable house on the farm, but architect plans have been drawn up to convert an abandoned cottage, most recently used as kennels by the local hunt, into a three or four-bed house.

‘Price justified’

Mr Gee said it might also be possible to get consent for a new agriculturally tied dwelling.

Mr Gee has guided the farm at £4m, which puts the land at £1794/acre.

He admitted this sounded a lot of money for hill land, but said a yield of just over 4% provided by the environmental payments helped justify the price.