Farm For Sale

Strawberry Hill Farm, Knotting Green, Knotting, Bedford, Bedfordshire

Offers in Excess of £3,000,000


A ring-fenced amenity farm with significant ecological and conservation prospects in a favourable location.

  • • Detached Bedford Estate Grade II listed four-bedroom farmhouse.
  • • Grade II listed Bedford Estate Model Farm Buildings with development potential (STP)
  • • Modern portal framed farm buildings
  • • About 364.60 acres (151.60 ha) of grazing, amenity and woodland.
  • • Situated in an accessible location.
  • • In all about 376.97 acres (152.55 ha).
  • For sale as a whole by private treaty



Situation


Strawberry Hill Farm is conveniently situated in a private but accessible rural setting in the picturesque hamlet of Knotting Green in north Bedfordshire.


The village of Sharnbrook, two miles away, provides a range of facilities and amenities, including shops, two public houses, restaurants, a pharmacy and newsagent.


The county town of Bedford along with the nearby towns of Rushden and Wellingborough offer a more comprehensive range of shopping and leisure facilities.


Transport links are excellent with the A6 (0.8 miles) providing access to Bedford (9 miles) and Kettering (16 miles). Northampton (20.5 miles) and Milton Keynes (24 miles) are easily accessible. The A14 is just 12 miles away.


The A1 (13.7 miles) lies to the east and the M1 motorway (23.5 miles) to the west.


The mainline railway station at Bedford offers frequent commuter links to London and the North.


There are a range of private and state schools in the locality including Wellingborough School, Kimbolton School, Bedford Modern, Bedford Girls School and Bedford School.


Description


Strawberry Hill Farm offers a truly unique opportunity for farmers, investors, developers, conservation groups, lifestyle purchasers and equestrian buyers alike.


The property is ideally located in the Bedfordshire countryside, yet easily accessible. It offers purchasers the opportunity to acquire a traditional Bedford Estate model farm including period farmhouse, range of traditional and modern farm buildings and about 374.60 acres of grazing land, woodland and amenity land.


Strawberry Hill Fam offers significant scope for refurbishment and development to create a truly distinctive country property.


The farm is being offered for sale as a whole.


The Farmhouse


Strawberry Hill Farmhouse is a detached Grade II listed dwelling believed to have been built by the Duke of Bedford in around 1868 and described in its listing as a “Bedford Estate” farmhouse. The house is of yellow gault brick construction, under a hipped slated roof, and set over two floors, with a large cellar. The house benefits from a wealth of original features including a stone porch and single glazed sash windows.


The house provides well-proportioned accommodation ideal for family living. On the ground floor there are three good sized reception rooms along with a fitted kitchen with Aga. Additionally, there is a separate study to complete the ground floor offering.


The first floor comprises four double bedrooms and a family bathroom with a standalone bath and separate shower.


The house would benefit from some interior modernisation and refurbishment and as such it offers a buyer an exciting project to individualise the residential accommodation.


The farmhouse is accessed via a gated driveway off Knotting Road and it is surrounded by its own gardens and grounds. The immediate gardens are mainly laid to lawn with mature trees and shrubs.
Adjacent to the farmhouse is a single-storey brick outhouse comprising a garage, former stables and fuel store under a slate roof.


The Farm Buildings


The traditional farm buildings are believed to have been built in 1872 and comprise several red brick ‘Bedford Estate Model Farm Buildings’ of both single and two storey construction, set around three principal courtyards. The buildings are subject to an independent listing (Grade II). The Farm Buildings are accessed directly off Knotting Road.


The traditional farm buildings present a significant opportunity for conversion to residential use, subject to the necessary consents. A detailed pre-application enquiry was submitted to Bedford Borough Council in December 2020 for the conversion of the traditional buildings into either four or six dwellings. Copies of the application and response are available on request.


There are several modern portal farmed buildings including two open sided Dutch barns and a general-purpose building. There is a redundant building within the woodland.


The Land


Beyond the farmhouse and its immediate grounds is a ring-fenced block of approximately 374.60 acres (151.60 hectares) of grazing, woodland, amenity land and ponds. The land was entered into a habitat scheme in the early 1990s for a 20-year period. The scheme was designed to create and enhance certain valuable habitats by removing land from agricultural production for the benefit of wildlife.


The agreement expired in 2014 and has since remained unmanaged and undisturbed.


The Vendors commissioned a high-level ecology report in 2016 to include a Phase 1 habitat report and breeding bird survey. The report was designed to establish the extent of any ecological areas of importance and the potential for converting part of the land to an arable rotation.


The bird breeding report suggested the diversity of habitats have created ideal conditions for an array of rare and declining bird species.


The habitat report suggested there were areas of ideal condition for a range of rare and protected species. Further reports should be undertaken to consider protection of those areas and to sympathetically manage the same where alternative land uses are proposed. The report further highlighted opportunities to enhance the various habitats along side potential reversion to active farming across the land.


Natural England confirmed an area of approximately 160 acres may hold higher ecological value and any subsequent changes to land use should be considered carefully and in line with a full Environmental Impact Assessment.


Fisher German strongly advise any interested party to take their own independent advice in respect of potential and future land use across the farm and can give no warranty to the contents of the 2016 report.


The soils may be described as lime-rich loamy and clayey soils and the land is classified as Grade 2 on the Agricultural Land Classification Map.


The land may hold significant opportunities for future conservation projects, ecological research and environmental protection over a substantial acreage. Alternatively, subject to the necessary consents, the land may be suitable for reversion to arable production or grazing land.


Drainage Rates


We are advised that drainage rates of approximately £306 per annum are payable across the holding.


Fixtures and Fittings


All fixtures and fittings whether mentioned or not in these particulars are excluded from the sale but some may be available by separate negotiation.


Services


The farmhouse benefits from mains water and mains electricity connections. The farm buildings benefit from a mains electricity connection.
The farmhouse benefits from a private drainage system. Heating to the farmhouse is by way of electric storage heaters.


None of the services, heating installations, plumbing or electrical systems have been tested by the selling agent.


Sporting, Timber and Mineral Rights


The sporting, mineral and timber rights, so far as they are owned, are included within the freehold sale.


Easements, Wayleaves and Rights of Way


The Property is sold subject to and with the benefit of all rights of way, easements and wayleaves that may exist over the same whether disclosed or not. The Property is traversed by public footpaths and public bridleways.


Basic Payment Scheme and Environmental Schemes


The land is not registered with the Rural Payment Agency and entitlements are not included. The property is not entered into any environmental schemes.


Development Clawback


The farm buildings and immediate grounds will be subject to an overage provision which will state that 30% of any uplift in value due to development (as defined in Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act) will be payable to the Vendors or successors in Title should such development occur within 30 years form the date of completion. The overage will be triggered on the earlier of implementation of a consent or upon a future sale with the benefit of a consent.


Tenure and Posession


The freehold property is offered for sale by private treaty with vacant possession provided on completion.


Council Tax


Strawberry Hill Farmhouse: Band G


Local Authority


Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford MK42 9AP. T: 01234 267422


Viewings


Strictly by appointment and only through the sole selling agents, Fisher German LLP. T: 01234 823661.


Directions


Travelling north from Bedford continue on the A6 for approximately 7.5 miles, through the village of Milton Ernest, heading north towards Rushden and Kettering. After passing the VesuviO Restaurant and Sharnbrook Hotel on the left hand side of the A6, take the next right turning off the A6 down Knotting Road, signposted “Knotting”. Continue on Knotting Road for approximately 0.8 miles and the entrance to Strawberry Hill Farm can be found on the right hand side of the road.

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