By Mark Barrow, associate director, H&H Land & Estates:

WITH the leaves now falling and autumn well and truly here, I cannot believe it is already my turn for a diary entry again.

At the weekend we took our new puppy for a walk around the farm and for a ride out to Wensleydale Creamery. The weather was great and the views were fantastic – it is such a privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the country.

At this time of year, we would usually be looking for an annual round-up. However, as has been the case with much of 2020, this year continues to throw surprises at us.

On the property front, the last few weeks have been exceptionally busy as more and more people are looking to move and have a change in lifestyle. North Cumbria and ourselves are continuing to experience a particularly buoyant rural property market.

This week we have launched the much anticipated 140-acre Longlands Farm at Cartmel and associated 34 acres of land at Applebury Hill. This livestock farm, located within the Lake District National Park, offers great potential for further development. Given its location in such a highly-sought-after area, we anticipate it will be in demand from a range of different purchasers, including those from outside the area.

I would anticipate this also being the case with the grade II-listed Cross Haw smallholding near Sedbergh, especially as this has potential to connect to Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) internet.

I always like to see opportunities coming to the fore for the next generation, and we have recently launched the 360 acres of land and buildings being let under a five-year farm business tenancy at Tullythwaite Hall. We are expecting to see some brilliant tenders put forward when they arrive on our desks on October 23.

By way of a brief subsidy and grant scheme update, most hedge and boundary grant applicants will now have received confirmation on their 2020 applications. Larger Countryside Stewardship Schemes and water capital grant applications should hopefully hear soon as these agreements are due to commence on January 1.

Looking ahead, everyone, I am sure, will be aware that the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is due to be phased out from 2021 to 2027, with 2021 payments to be reduced between 5 per cent and 25 per cent, depending on farm size. In late 2024 to 2025, both BPS and the Countryside Stewardship Scheme will ultimately be replaced by a new Environmental Land Management scheme, which will be a much broader scheme paying farmers and landowners ‘public money for public goods.’

Looking back on my education before pursuing my surveying qualifications, given my original degree was in environmental land management, in order to become a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors the first few years of my career within land agency were spent on BPS and Higher-Level Stewardship work. With so many changes happening and new opportunities available, my intention is to use these qualifications and my experience in land management, as well as my farming upbringing, to do the very best for my clients and the agricultural industry in what will be a significant period of change.

Finally, I cannot sign off without mentioning the Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme, which has just launched its third round. Open for applications until November 4, 2020, the grants are available to fund livestock-handling systems, equipment and other precision machinery.

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