The 23,315-acre Vyrnwy Estate in Wales is the largest single block of land to come to the market in living memory. Knight Frank is asking £11m for the 125-year lease.
The estate surrounds Lake Vyrnwy, a reservoir created in 1892 by the Liverpool Corporation to supply clean water to the rapidly growing city – a function it still performs today.
At the time, the reservoir was the largest in Europe with the biggest masonry dam ever built. Villagers were re-housed further down the Vyrnwy Valley with a chapel on the edge of the lake the only visible sign of the flooded settlement.
The estate owned by Severn Trent Water is the largest disposal of land in England or Wales in living memory. The sale has been split into four lots and offers a unique and diverse portfolio of property that will appeal to many different potential purchasers.
Lot 1 includes almost 12,000 acres of in-hand farmland farmed jointly with the RSPB on an organic basis with a strong emphasis on the environment. Lot 2 is a diverse portfolio of let farms and land ranging from under two acres to almost 1,000 acres. There are 14 farms in total with all bar one let under Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies. Lot 3 covers 5,000 acres of coniferous and beech woodland managed by Forestry Commission Wales. Lot 4 includes 31 residential and commercial properties let under a variety of different tenancies.
Tony Wray, Severn Trent’s chief executive, says: ‘Severn Trent runs all its estates sustainably and responsibly, but our core expertise is in providing excellent water and wastewater services for our customers, rather than managing upland estates. Other organisations exist that can concentrate more intensively on running the land at Vyrnwy. A responsible transfer process will bring benefits for all those living, working on and visiting the estate.
Clive Hopkins, head of farm and estate sales at Knight Frank, adds: ‘This is a fantastic sale that presents numerous opportunities to potential buyers. Never before has a property of this size come to the open market in one block under a single ownership, not in my lifetime anyway. Due to such a diverse portfolio of property we anticipate interest from a wide variety of sources, institutions, pension funds, private landowners and investors.’