Lands of plenty
Country Life UK|January 12, 2022
From £2 million to £20 million properties, 2021 was a stellar year for sales of farms and estates
Penny Churchill
AGAINST all the odds, 2021 was a remarkably good year for sales of farms and estates, as well-funded buyers—farmers, entertainers, eco-warriors and families in search of a proper country lifestyle—sought to acquire one of the many fine landed properties that came to the market throughout the UK, at prices from £2 million to £20 million.

Five thousand years of history lie beneath the gently rolling landscape of the picturesque, 970-acre West Woodyates Manor estate, which sits in peaceful seclusion within the Cranborne Chase AONB, two miles from the east Dorset village of Sixpenny Handley and 11 miles south of Salisbury. Launched at a guide price of £18.5m in July 2020, the sale of the diverse residential, farming, sporting and conservation estate was ‘a rich and rare event’ in this timeless part of Dorset, says selling agent Clive Hopkins of Knight Frank.

At its heart stands Grade II*-listed West Woodyates Manor, which dates from the 17th century or earlier and was remodelled in the early 18th century by Thomas Pitt, 1st Lord Londonderry. With some 750 acres under cultivation and 37 acres of permanent pasture, farming is still the lifeblood of the estate, with sporting and wildlife conservation of special interest; some 50 species of birds and 30 species of butterflies, including the elusive purple emperor, inhabit its ancient woodland.

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 steady interest in the run-up to Christmas 2020, until, suddenly, an influx of resolute, UK-based buyers entered the fray in February 2021, which led to competitive bidding from four interested parties. A sale concluded in June 2021.’

A similar outcome was achieved in the case of the scenic 1,011-acre Roundtown farming estate, described by Mr Hopkins as ‘a truly spectacular block of rolling Hampshire countryside’, three miles from Upton Grey village and four miles from Basingstoke. Once part of the historic Hackwood Park estate, Roundtown was launched onto the market in March 2021 and was sold, following spirited bidding, in October.

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