Top five myths about buying a farm

Top five myths about buying a farm

Farming and agriculture

Farming is at the heart of the West Country and the region is home to more livestock than any other area in the UK.

Living on a farm allows you to live a potentially healthier lifestyle; for those of you who are yet to live and breath the rural lifestyle, we take a look at the top five myths and misconceptions when it comes to buying your own farm.

You have to be from a farming background

Do you really need to be from a farming background to set up a farm?

Having agricultural experience certainly helps, but some of the country’s most successful farmers started out with little or no practical knowledge.

Jim Doherty, known from the BBC series ‘Jimmy’s Farm’, is one of many examples that you don’t need experience to succeed. Jim’s farming career began in 2002 when he established a rare pig breed farm in Kent. For a number of years his progress was followed by the BBC and, today, Jimmy’s Farm has an award-winning restaurant, butterfly house and hosts food festivals throughout the year.

His pigs don’t fly but we think that’s definite proof that you don’t need agricultural experience to buy a farm!

It’s all mud, sweat and tears

Farming is often portrayed to be a backbreaking industry, with little reward. However, the benefits can be huge; latest statistics show the total UK earnings from farming is around £5.3 billion a year!

According to Defra (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) more than 300,000 are employed by the agriculture sector in England and 62,000 of the total workforce are in South West. If you’re looking for a career in agriculture there are plenty of viable options available to you.

You have to go big to succeed

Buying a large acreage farm doesn’t guarantee your it’s going to be successful.

Some of the most profitable businesses have developed from smallholdings by diversifying into tourism and farm shops.

For example Hallwood Farm Shop based near Petrockstowe is an award winning shop and grows the majority of its vegetables on the farm.
Meanwhile Parkside Farm in Middlesex transformed its mixed dairy and arable farm into one of the UK’s best pick your own businesses and this year went on to become Retail Champion of the Year in the national FARMA awards.

Proof that you don’t need to buy big to become successful!

We can help you find the perfect farm to suit your needs, take a look at services here…

It’s bank breaking

Farming can often be misconceived to be ‘bank breaking’, but if you’re looking at taking your first step in the industry, you’ll be pleased to know that land prices remain stable.

If you’re considering a move from the city to the West Country, you’ll be able to get more for your money. Figures show the average semi-detached property in London is fetching more than £500,000; this will go a long way towards your first farm!

It’s a dwindling industry

Farming in the West Country is far from in decline. Alongside tourism, agriculture plays a crucial role in the West Country’s economy, directly contributing more than £1.6 billion a year.

Since 2009 the farming industry has contributed £10 billion to the UK’s economy, which is an increase of £3.1 billion (about 45 per cent) over five years.

Meanwhile, sales of organic farm produce rose by 4% last year so if you’re hoping to grow and sell your own products, now is the time to start!

West Country Dream helps people looking to buy farms and smallholdings achieve their West Country Dream. For more information on how we can help your move become a reality please give Helen a call on 07816 514667.

Five things to consider when buying a smallholding

Five things to consider when buying a smallholding

Buying property with land

Owning and managing a smallholding has become increasingly popular across the country and even celebrities are seeing the attraction; former singer Jonathan ‘JB’ Gill from the band JLS dove into the world of agriculture three years ago when he bought his 10-acre farm.

Are you looking at buying a smallholding in the West Country but not sure where to start? We’ve taken a look at five areas you should consider…


Two vital questions: how much can you afford to spend, and how much is it going to cost to make the dream a reality?

Not only do you need to consider the initial costs of buying a property with land, you’ll also need to factor in any additional capital that may be needed for your business. Are you hoping to convert redundant barns into holiday cottages? Do you want to buy livestock?

These potential start up costs need to be taken into account before buying. Create a list of all potential expenditure and also allow for some contingency. Not sure how much rural life really costs? If you’re looking at taking the plunge there is plenty of support available through local rural business agencies such as Business Information Point at Okehampton, who’ll be able to work with you on a business plan.


You’ve decided you want to invest in a smallholding, but you find yourself asking where?

With some of the UK’s best beaches, scenic spots and a vibrant agricultural sector, the West Country is one of the most sought after places for people buying smallholdings, but with the region stretching across more than 1.8 million hectares, deciding whereabouts you want to invest can be mind-boggling and daunting.

What are your priorities? Do you have a young family and need to live near a school? Are you looking for land suitable for certain livestock? Is accessibility a key factor if you’re planning on opening your farm to the public? Do you want to be part of a community or near somewhere with shops and services?

Prioritise the must-have factors and use your list to help find the property that suits most of your requirements. Don’t have time to look yourself? We can help; give us a call today to start your journey to finding your West Country Dream.


The size of the smallholding is a fundamental factor when it comes to buying a property. Ask yourself just a few simple questions; How much land do you need to make the profit and revenue you’re targeting? Is there room for future growth? Is there potential diversification?

Although a smallholding tends to be a farm of 50 acres or less, it is still enough space to allow you to run a successful business; remember not to over commit to the costs associated with vast swathes of land unless you know that you need it, and exactly what you’re going to do with it!


The beauty of buying a smallholding is that there is something available for budgets of all sizes.

Start small, dream big!

It’s unlikely that you’ll buy everything up front and there will be on-going costs as you build your West Country dream. Factor in these costs to all of your calculations and if you’re worried there may be areas you’ve not considered, why not give us a call?

The future

What do you want to achieve from your smallholding? Is it a retreat for you and your family? Stable income? A growing business? A place for the public to visit? All of these things?

Ensure you know what your target is from the beginning to help you fulfil your ultimate goal.

We wish you the very best of luck in your search.

West Country Dream helps people looking to buy farms and smallholdings achieve their West Country Dream. For more information on how we can help your move become a reality please give Helen a call on 07816 514667.

Top five reasons for living on a farm

Top five reasons for living on a farm

Farming and agriculture

As a child one of the best places to grow up is on a farm in the West Country, where space is aplenty to roam the rolling fields for hours on end. However, as an adult with a family, buying a farm can seem like a daunting prospect with a big commitment, particularly if you’re moving from a great distance away.

Although undoubtedly a big move, the benefits of living on a farm should far outweigh any concerns you have. We’ve taken a look at just five of the many benefits that come with living on a farm or smallholding.

Healthier lifestyle

If you’re looking for a healthier lifestyle, look no further! Government statistics show people live longer in the countryside compared to cities, with Devon having some of the lowest premature mortality rates in the UK.

The South West also has some of the lowest levels of air pollution in the UK; on average London is four times higher than the South West’s regional capital Exeter.

Take a deep breath of that fresh countryside air!

You can be your own boss

Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, but don’t want to compromise your senior job position?

Running your own farm in the West Country means you can have the best of best of both worlds; you can break free from city chaos and be your own boss, meanwhile cut out the commute.

Relocating with young children? Managing a farm allows you to arrange your workload around family commitments ensuring no one misses out!

Room for everyone

Figures show in the last year the average price for a semi-detached property in London fetched more than £500,000; making it the most expensive place to live in the UK!

Want somewhere with more space for your growing family? Look no further than a farm or smallholding in the West Country; you can exchange your £500,000 modest family home in the city for a five-bedroom bungalow with 18 acres of land!

Take a look at some of the properties on our website and get a flavour for what could become your own West Country Dream:


By owning a farm in the West Country, the opportunities for business development are endless. Figures show around half of all UK farms use diversification in some form, contributing an extra £10,400 a year to their income.

If you’re not ready to plunge into the agricultural trade, there are a number other options you can consider…

• Diversifying into tourism by converting redundant barns to holiday lets
• Retail e.g. setting up a farm shop using local produce
• Catering; do you have skills in the hospitality sector? Combine them by setting up a café or B&B

Grow your own food

More and more people are becoming aware of where their food comes from and what’s in it. According to the Soil Association, sales of organic products rose by 4% last year, despite food prices falling by 1.95%.

One of the biggest benefits of having your own smallholding or farm, is the opportunity to grow your own food, and selling it to those around you! You know exactly what’s been used in the products you’re eating and it’s great educational fun for children too!

Looking at moving to Devon or Cornwall, to buy a farm or property with land, get in touch with West Country Dream, on 07816 514667 or visit our contact page.