The best farms and estates sold in 2021, from £2m to £20m

2021 has been stellar for the farm and estate market, reports Penny Churchill, which highlights the most spectacular sales of the year.

Against all odds, 2021 has been a remarkably good year for farm and estate sales, as well-funded buyers – farmers, artists, eco-warriors and families looking for a country lifestyle – have sought to acquire one of the many fine land properties that have come on the market across the UK, at prices ranging from £2million to £20million.

Five thousand years of history lurk beneath the gently rolling landscape of the scenic 970-acre West Woodyates Manor Estate, which sits in peaceful seclusion within the Cranborne Chase AONB, 2 miles from the village of Sixpenny Handley east of east of Dorset and 11 km south of Salisbury. .

West Woodyates Manor, Dorset

Launched at an indicative price of £18.5million in July 2020, the sale of the diverse residential, agricultural, sporting and conservation estate was ‘a rich and rare event’ in this timeless part of Dorset, says the agent Salesman Clive Hopkins of Knight Frank.

At its heart is the Grade II* listed West Woodyates Manor, which dates from the 17th century or earlier and was remodeled in the early 18th century by Thomas Pitt, 1st Lord Londonderry. With some 750 hectares under cultivation and 37 hectares of permanent pasture, agriculture is still the cornerstone of the estate, with a particular focus on sports and wildlife conservation; some 50 species of birds and 30 species of butterflies, including the elusive purple emperor, inhabit its ancient forest.

Commenting on the sale of West Woodyates, which is on the market for the first time since 1929, Mr Hopkins reveals: “As expected, we saw continued interest as Christmas 2020 approached, until suddenly, An influx of resolute, UK-based buyers entered the fray in February 2021, leading to a four-party bidding with a sale completed in June 2021.’

A similar result was achieved in the case of the scenic 1,011-acre Roundtown farm estate, described by Mr Hopkins as “a truly spectacular block of rolling Hampshire countryside”, three miles from the village of Upton Gray and four miles from Basingstoke. Once part of the historic Hackwood Park estate, Roundtown hit the market in March 2021 and sold, following a lively auction, in October.

Selling a large estate or agricultural business can be a complex and time-consuming operation, often involving multiple owners, multiple properties or even an entire village, says Matthew Sudlow, estates and agricultural agency manager at Strutt & Parker.

Fortunately, having been involved in an earlier sale of the 1,306-acre Beckerings Park agricultural estate in Bedfordshire, he knew his way around when he returned to the market at an indicative price of £17million in June 2021.” The estate offered great scope for diversification and attracted interest from land-owning farmers and investors; it was sold in November to a farming family looking to expand,” he adds.

Knight Frank’s Rupert Sweeting’s thoroughbred background translates well to selling equestrian estates. After finding a buyer for North Rye House in Heythrop country in April 2021, he launched Lady Macdonald-Buchanan’s prestigious 340-acre Lavington Stud near Petworth, West Sussex, in the South Downs National Park, the same month with an indicative price of £9.5. Mr. A deal was struck and dusted by May, the buyer a North Hampshire farmer.

Savills’ Crispin Holborow has hit back with the sale of Blissamore Hall in Clanville, near Andover, North Hampshire, home to Clanville Stud Farm run by Lady Bland, whose late husband Sir Christopher Bland bought the estate in 1995. Launched in June 2020, also at a price of £9.5million, the 150-acre estate, centered on the beautiful Blissamore Hall in early Georgia, saw contracts exchanged in March of the year last, with completion in June.

One of the highlights of Mr Holborow’s year was the sale of the historic Trafalgar Park estate near Salisbury, Wiltshire, which went on the market in June 2021 with an £11million guide, and had an offer accepted in August 2021. Previously known as Standlynch, the estate was purchased by the Crown for the Nelson family in memory of the Admiral killed at Trafalgar in 1805.

It was saved from dereliction in 1995 by Michael Wade, a staunch supporter of the arts, who gradually restored the Grade I listed Georgian house set in formal gardens and parkland on the edge of the New Forest National Park and Cranborne Chase.

Leighon Estate, Manaton, Devon

Launched in February 2021; sold July 2021; guide £4.5 million; Frankish Knight

The picturesque 727-acre Leighon Estate at Manaton, five miles from Bovey Tracey, lies in a peaceful valley downwind of Hound Tor, east of Dartmoor National Park. The original moorland farmhouse was purchased in the late 1800s by the Reverend RR Wolfe, who built the current main house around an existing Devon longhouse; he sold the estate to the Singer family in 1902.

Mandinam Estate, Llangadog, Carmarthenshire

Launched August 2020; sold April 2021; guide £2.75million; Knight Frank, Llewellyn and Tustins

The Mandinam estate near Llandovery was first mentioned in records in 1660. Owned by Lloyds from 1710 into the 20th century and operated by Sellers from 1977, the estate, whose name means ‘place without blemish’ , includes the grade II-listed hall, to be modernized, a shed and an intact farmhouse, listed Grade II*.

Twyssenden Manor Estate, Goudhurst, Kent

Launched in April 2021; sale agreed May 2021; guiding £6.5 million; Savills

twyssenden

Set in the heart of a magical 252 acre estate in the High Weald AONB, Grade II* listed Twyssenden Manor is a 15th century manor house. It was altered and extended in the 16th and 17th centuries, then restored around 1870 by local landowner Alexander Beresford Hope, President of the RIBA and Member of Parliament for Maidstone, with advice from architects William Butterfield and George Edmund Street.

North Rye House, near Donnington, Gloucestershire

Launched September 2020; sold April 2021; guiding £6.5 million; Frankish Knight

For 30 golden years, from 1986 until his death in 2019, North Rye House was the much-loved home of famed Heythrop co-master Peter Stoddart and his wife, Joanna. The beautiful Cotswold stone house, built in 1960 in an idyllic corner of the Little Barrow estate, stands in 148 acres of gardens, pasture, parkland and woodland, 1½ miles from Stow-on-the-Wold.

Little Haugh Hall, Norton, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Launched September 2020; sold March 2021; guide £6.35 million; Strut & Parker

Built in the 1700s and refurbished in Georgian style, Grade II* listed Little Haugh Hall stands in 60 acres of formal gardens, parkland and woodland within a 162-acre estate. It has splendid interiors, an airstrip and hangars, gites, outbuildings, a swimming pool and a tennis court. The hall has been sold to London buyers who plan to re-wild the estate.

Crosby Court, Northallerton, North Yorkshire

Launched in May 2021; sold December 2021; guiding £4.95 million; Frankish Knight

The late Charles Barker always dreamed of owning the Grade II listed Georgian Crosby Court, set in 117 acres of rolling meadows, three miles from Northallerton at the northern end of the Vale of York. His dream came true in 1998, when he and his wife, Melanie, bought the then dilapidated house, buildings and land and turned them into the model agricultural estate that the property is today.


2021 has brought many ups and downs for all of us – but in the real estate market it was pretty much just ups, because

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