Getting the right land for your smallholding
No matter the size of the smallholding you’re looking to buy in the South West, choosing a property that has suitable land is essential to ensuring your farm and rural dream has the best possible start to life.
We take a look at why you should always bear in mind what it is you want to do on the land and whether the land you’re viewing is completely suited to allowing you to do it.
Whilst property may all be about ‘location, location, location’, if you’re buying a smallholding or farm then there’s an added layer of complexity and it comes in the form of terra firma. Coastal areas will have completely different soil qualities to the foothills of the moors, and soil conditions can sometimes differ significantly within a 20-mile radius of a location.
The start of every search should always begin with what you want to do with the land; you’ll not only focus your mind on how much land you’ll need, you’ll also be steered toward the areas most suited to fulfill your dreams.
You know what you want to do, so you should know how much you need. Or that’s the logic anyway!
When it comes to acreage, budget and availability may also come into play.
Land prices across the country have stayed relatively stable in recent years, and in the medium to long term have seen a decent rise in value across the board.
It may therefore be tempting to dive in for lower quality land to get more for your money. If you’re thinking about doing this then make sure that your productivity is going to be as high as it would be with a smaller acreage of higher quality land, and indeed that this lower quality land is still suited to your purpose.
Whilst sheep may be happy to graze on such land, it’s probably not going to cut the mustard if you’re looking to grow crops and alike.
If you’re planning to grow crops, fruit or vegetables, you’ll want soil that’s relatively fertile and can be easily cultivated. Although there’s no easy way of determining the perfect soil for your smallholding, soil testing is commonly used to work out the acidity level of fields and which fertilisers will be needed.
Testing kits can be bought from most agricultural stores, so there’s no need to get the men in white coats out to do it!
If you’re new to the agricultural world then following in the footsteps of the current land usage is a good way of ensuring you know exactly what you’re getting!
If you’re wanting to grow crops or keep a large dairy heard, you’ll need land that’s relatively dry with good drainage. Although the South West is made up of wet clay loam, the majority of smallholdings will have drainage techniques in place to manage surface run off.
Poor farmland drainage and soil levels can influence the yields you get from both crops and cattle and the last thing you want, is to be stuck in a muddy bog!
Remember there’s something for everyone!
Devon and Cornwall is home to land of varying levels, from the rolling hills of Dartmoor and Exmoor to rugged the North Cornish cliff lines, with low lying patches in between.
Whether you plan to keep a few hill sheep or need a paddock for ponies, thanks to the South West’s variety of terrain, it allows all types of farming to take place; great news if you’re looking at smallholdings in the West Country.
Searching for a smallholding?
If you’re looking to buy a smallholding in Devon or Cornwall and want a stress-free solution, West Country Dream can carry out a land and property search on your behalf.
For more information email Helen at Helen@westcountrydream.co.uk or call her on 07816 514667.