Published: 19/07/2021 By Sarah PhillipsWoolley & Wallis were proud to sponsor this event which is a great example of
diversifying to make 4th grade land work harder for you.
CLA Deputy President Mark Tufnell addresses members at the Dorset AGM where he has updated members on what the CLA has been working on and its policy priorities moving forward.
In uncertain times the CLA members are finding new ways to grow their business and the Holme Estate is a prime example of how poor quality land with little or no value can be transformed by diversifying and using renewable energy, benefiting the land , landowner and the environment.
The Holme Estate, nephew to Creech Grange and Tyneham, has been in this Dorset family for 300 years. In the 1928 Estate Duty valuation it consisted mainly of heath and rough grazing of no value, small farmsteads and cottages and the principle house, then known simply as ‘Holme’.
During the last century its independence has been secured by the commercial exploitation of ball clay in the south east, and sand and gravel in the north west, but reserves of both are declining. On the death of the tenant in 1984, one of the principal farms on the estate came in hand, and rather than create a hole in the estate, Will took it in hand. The farm management advice for this Grade 4 land was to plant it with trees, but a combination of farm subsidies and the hit on capital values from afforestation meant that never happened.
Instead, by the turn of the century, Will (an ecologist by profession), was looking at more active ways of mitigating climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Now the farm has planning consent for solar panels which, on these soils, is consistent with a restoration to heathland. During the day we looked at the empty fields awaiting their transition and discussed the shift in land management.
We visited an excavation area in the sand quarry which sells around 200,000t p.a. and heard how Will has won planning consent for wind turbines in the worked out voids, adding to the diversity of the renewable energy generation. The wind farm too is predicated on its ability to support serious ecological restoration, including the recreation of 13ha of heathland from exhausted arable farmland.
When these projects are up and running they will deliver more than 30MW of complimentary renewable generation capacity and significantly increase the area, quality, and diversity of heathland in this core area of Dorset.
Harriet Parris, Graduate Surveyor from our Salisbury branch attended the event and commented that the event was
“A very insightful afternoon on different diversification opportunities in Dorset"
The Woolley & Wallis team who attended the event were all extremely pleased to see so many of their clients and be offer advice and insight to landowners in the region.
If you would like any help or advice, please contact our Farm & Rural teams
Salisbury 01722 424524 Marlborough 01672 515252 Shaftesbury 01747 852242