Machinery sale marks end of family's 100-year farming history
- Credit: Tom Buxton
A century of farming heritage is coming to an end for a Norfolk family which is retiring after 100 years of working the land.
The Buxton family has decided to sell its machinery fleet and step back from agriculture after three generations at Park Farm in Heydon, near Aylsham.
More than 420 lots including seven tractors, a combine harvester and a vintage Foden lorry will go under the hammer in an auction on June 23, along with a further 100 lots from other farms.
Paul Buxton, who is retiring at the age of 66, said his family have been tenants on the Heydon Estate since his grandparents Ernest and Esther Buxton first arrived there in the early 1920s, followed by his father Joe who introduced new innovations after the Second World War.
Mr Buxton, the last of five brothers who once worked together on the farm, said while his own three children are pursuing other careers it is now time to close this chapter in the family's history.
"I have enjoyed everything I have done, but that is why I have come to the decision to retire now," he said.
"It will be a big change to see the machines go, but it is a different phase of life now. I don't mind, I have got plenty to do."
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Mr Buxton said his father once employed as many as 15 workers on the farm, and was "ahead of his time", introducing a grain dryer in 1952 - the same year he bought the Foden lorry and trailer which feature in the sale.
Long-serving farmworker Ray Newson used it to carry 20-tonne loads of sugar beet to the factory at Cantley or carrots to Kent, he said.
Mr Buxton's wife Jenny added: "There is a story behind each piece of machinery, all those hours of work. For all those years it has been very much a family concern, and it is an incredible history."
The landmark sale also marks the return of full-scale in-person bidding after lockdown, said Simon Evans of auctioneers Arnolds Keys - Irelands Agricultural.
“The 420 lots from Park Farm, along with the 100 or so other items included in the sale, are already attracting attention from potential buyers throughout the county and beyond, and we are expecting a strong turnout on the day,” he said.
The company said the sale will be conducted under strict Covid-safe conditions which may include face coverings, social distancing and Test And Trace registration.
- The auction takes place from 10am on June 23 at Park Farm in Heydon, with viewing the day before. For full details see www.arnoldskeys.com/agricultural-irelands/auctions/current-auctions.