A TRADITIONAL Cumbrian dairy farm sold at what is believed could be the first post-lockdown on-farm auction in the UK.

Dove House Farm, near Kirkby Lonsdale, fetched £1 million, around 20 percent more than the guide price.

Instead of filling a packed auction room, H&H Land & Estates, based in Carlisle, took the decision to hold it on the farm, but putting in place Government guidelines to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus.

Mark Barrow, Head of Land Agency of H&H Land & Estates based in Kendal, said: “There is a first time for everything and this definitely was a new experience for us here at H&H. But we knew the sale had to go ahead, so we had to innovate and get out and do business differently. The success of the sale proves that on-farm auctions are now possible and could be the future path forward as we recover from Covid-19. The farm was extremely conveniently located and being elevated offered people the chance to admire the exceptional views over the surrounding landscape."

With five lots on offer, each went to a different buyer, with the average price per acre reaching: £10,726.

Dove House Farm is a high quality former dairy farm comprising a four-bedroom farmhouse and a range of modern buildings with surrounding land. It was an ideal small holding for equine enthusiasts and hobby-farmers. Lot 1, the farmhouse, buildings and circa 15 acres of pastureland sold for more than £100k over the asking price at £660,000.

The other individual ring-fenced lots included productive meadow and pasture land, ranging from 2.64 acres to 12.67 acres, which generated particularly keen interest from potential buyers with bids accepted that exceeded their guide price in all cases.

Successful bidders were a range of buyers including neighbouring farmers looking to extend their acreage. The highest sale price achieved was at £17,045 per acre for the smallest plot.

Mark added: “With both lots of meadowland and pasture of around 12 acres going for £130,000 and £120,000 respectively, it shows that agricultural opportunities in this area continue to be keenly contested. The sale worked well, and we look forward to more on-farm and in-field auctions over the summer months.”

Looking ahead, Mark expects strong competition for rural properties with accompanying land or agricultural assets.