These successful small-scale farms offer income from a wide range of sources.
Although large-scale farming enterprises continue to power ahead, the profitability of traditional small farms has declined dramatically in recent years, forcing owners to find alternative uses for farmland and buildings in order to survive. Consequently, buyers of the first crop of small farms to hit the market this year will have the option of testing a variety of different ways to make land and buildings pay their way.
Currently for sale through Jackson-Stops & Staff in Barnstaple (01271 325153) and Smiths Gore in Exeter (01392 278466) at a guide price of £1.25 million, is picturesque, 99-acre Nadrid Farm (Fig 1), on the fringes of Exmoor National Park and three miles from the bustling market town of South Molton, Devon. This well-equipped dairy farm has seen significant investment in modern facilities in recent years. At present, all the land is down to grassland, with 22 acres described as permanent pasture, and the rest capable of growing arable crops.
The heart of Nadrid Farm is its Grade II-listed, 17th-century, stone farmhouse, remodelled and extended in about 1900, with further alterations in the mid to late 20th century and again in recent years. With accommodation comprising a kitchen, sitting and living rooms with wood-burning stoves, a variety of service rooms, four bedrooms and a family bathroom, there is clearly room for further modernisation.
The dairy unit is housed in an excellent range of modern farm buildings, including livestock and cattle-handling buildings, a covered yard, a herringbone milking parlour, a modern slurry store, two silage bunkers and two feed silos.
To the west of the farmhouse is an enclosed courtyard of traditional barns with planning consent, granted in 2014, for conversion to a farm shop and holiday accommodation and, to the north is a 6,025sq ft courtyard of stone farm buildings that has planning consent for a 14-bedroom holiday complex with an indoor swimming pool.
Set high on a hill with glorious westerly views across the Severn Vale to the Malvern Hills, pristine Owls End (Fig 2) at Shuthonger, two miles north of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, comes fresh to the market at a guide price of £1.15m through Knight Frank in Cheltenham (01242 246959) and Worcester (01905 723438).
The ultimate equestrian smallholding, Owls End offers a beautifully renovated, 3,000sq ft family house—originally a pair of late-Victorian farm cottages—with two main reception rooms, a charming farmhouse kitchen, master and guest suites, three double bedrooms and a family bathroom, surrounded by well-stocked private gardens and post-and-railed paddocks, some 21 acres in all.
The purpose-built stable yard and training facilities include four stables, a foaling box, a Dutch barn, a secure steel-framed barn, an all-weather manège, a lorry park and plenty of hardstanding. Although currently run as a private yard, with a further 17.7 acres available by separate negotiation, there is ample scope for development as a livery unit or professional training yard, subject, of course, to the necessary planning consents.
A serious farming family will appreciate all that’s on offer at versatile Hunts Hall Farm (Fig 3), near the village of Pebmarsh, 21⁄2 miles from Halstead and 12 miles from the Roman town of Colchester, Essex, which has been launched on the market through Savills in Chelmsford (01245 293258) at a guide price of £3.9m for the whole or in three lots.
The undulating wooded landscape of the 261-acre holding has considerable commercial, sporting and amenity potential, comprising some 207 acres of arable land, 61⁄2 acres of grassland, an 11.2-acre lake and 251⁄2 acres of woodland.
Diversification is the name of the game at Hunts Hall Farm, where an extensive range of traditional and modern farm buildings serves a variety of agricultural uses. Two large poultry buildings provide additional income, as do a range of 16 wooden stables and a manège.
The land supports a family shoot and fishing in the idyllic, 221⁄2 -acre setting of Prestons Lake, created in 1994 jointly with a neighbour and let under licence to Colchester Angling Preservation Society.
The main house, Grade II-listed Hunts Hall, dates from the 16th century and, according to its listing, retains important elements of that period, including the surviving cross-wings of a hall house, the main two-bay range and the stair tower at the rear of the house. The four-bedroom accommodation, including unconverted attic rooms, is laid out over three floors and would benefit from ‘cosmetic renovation’, the agents suggest. The hall, which stands in its own garden on the edge of the farmstead with its own private access, can be bought separately, with a traditional farm office, a small stable block, nearby paddocks and an area of woodland, for £750,000.
A few miles the other side of the M11, secluded Mount Pleasant Farm (Fig 4) on the outskirts of the village of Gamlingay, on the Cambridgeshire/ Bedfordshire border, is for sale, for the first time in 25 years, with 281⁄2 acres of gardens, stables, lake and land, through Cambridge-based Bidwells (01223 559352) at a guide price of £1.2m.
Formerly part of the Mount Pleasant Brick and Tile works, the farm is now a delightfully wooded country property with a pretty, four-bedroom farmhouse, a stable block and a range of historic farm outbuildings. Another appealing feature is the two-acre lake, created from a former brick and tile quarry, which provides a tranquil haven for wildlife and has previously been stocked with carp.