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Farming family buys 1,000 acres of Norfolk arable for £8m

PUBLISHED: 12:31 16 October 2012

An East Anglian farming family has bought 1,000 acres of land on the Marquess of Townshend’s Raynham estate for about £8m.

The largest block of grade III commercial arable land to be offered on the open market for some years in Norfolk sold for close to the £7.9m guide price.

The land, extending to 999.84 acres, which has previously grown wheat, barley, oilseed rape, peas and sugar beet, lies between Oxwick and Hempton, near Fakenham, on both sides of the Tittleshall Road.

Although most had been owned by the estate for centuries, part was subject to a sale and leaseback in the 1970s. It was later re-acquired by the estate, which is still in the family of “Turnip” Townshend, the second viscount, who helped to launch the agricultural revolution by pioneering the four-course rotation.

Christopher Miles, from Savills in Norwich, said: “This sale demonstrates the strength in the market and the need to have access to the widest possible number of buyers. After the first buyer pulled out for personal reasons, we then withdrew the contract from the second when he tried to renegotiate.

“However, we were able to generate further offers and quickly place it with a third buyer, an East Anglian family with existing farming and property interests.”

“Is this a sign of a market at the top? For the right thing like Raynham, no. But there are increasing signs of the widening of the gap between what the hot money wants and the rest, in a market short of supply,” he added.

The Townshend family has owned land in West Norfolk for 600 years, since the reign of Edward IV.

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