The National Trust should advertise around here

It’s got nearly 900 acres of land, 500 sheep and views to match any in Britain. And it could all be yours for just £1 a year.
The tenant would pay a lease of just £1 a year for 10 years to work Parc Farm, a 145 acre farm with grazing rights over a further 720, which would normally cost more than £1 million to purchase on the open market.

The National Trust will supply the sheep and any profit made by the farm’s new leaseholder would be theirs to keep.

Doubt it would take more than 20 minutes to find someone among the local shepherds here to take that deal. For there’s people scragging a living out of 20, 30 mixed sheep and goats and running them over the shared gazing (the land around here is truly awful and almost none of it is farmed any more). Actually, there’s two such small flocks within 500 metres of where I sit.

Wonder if the NT would pay a commission for me staffing that place for them?

True, the economics are a bit different down here: it’s the cheese which pays for things, not the fleece or the meat (so much).

12 thoughts on “The National Trust should advertise around here”

  1. If you don’t do it can I?

    I know I can come up with the £10 and a couple shepherds willing to work the land.

  2. It is a challenging plot of land. I visited a similarly situated farm overlooking the Salcombe estuary last week, and it’s a tough way to make a living.

  3. There has to be a catch – and I suspect it would be in the small print. They would undoubtedly be demanding all manner of conditions on how the farm was run (amount of sheep kept, when they can be grazing on certain bits of ground, allowing public access all over it, that sort of thing). There is no way that if they just wanted a tenant to graze the land with sheep they couldn’t find a local to pay them considerably more than £1 for the privilege, the reason they are having to offer it ‘for free’ is that what they really want is an employee to do their bidding, but without having to employ someone.

    In fact you could say its tax avoidance by the National Trust, because the alternative to this would be an employee on PAYE and NI contributions, which they won’t have to pay by installing a ‘tenant’. They are also avoiding their social responsibility to provide an employee with holiday and sick pay, pension rights etc.

    Has anyone alerted Ritchie to this egregious case of the tax gap and neoliberal contempt for the rights of workers?

  4. “(the land around here is truly awful and almost none of it is farmed any more)”

    I’ve always thought that one can make a living from the land quite well if you go back to peasant farming, with families working their land. There are signs of old irrigation in the Algarve, and I know from experience that crops (beans etc) can be grown under the almond and olive trees.

    Peasant farming is very productive, but I am not recommending it.

    In general, it’s not the land, it’s the farming economics that make land worthwhile or not I’d venture.

  5. There’s definitely good land around here. The river valley 1 km away has really gorgeous soil, hundreds of years of lovely silt. I’m thinking more of this particular hill I live upon. Even back when it was only almond trees. Soil is just too stony to be worth anything else. Left to themselves the fields grow thistles and not much else. Feed the occasional passing goat and no more. Almonds and oranges (there’s a grove 50 metres away) and nowt else up here.

  6. The Meissen Bison

    £1m would be peanuts if the land were viable.

    And who pockets the single farm payment?

    Presumably the NT want the closely-cropped ground that sheep can provide f.o.c. in order to promote butterflies and orchids that thrive in grazed pastures.

    Otherwise gorse.

  7. Well I would pocket the payments.

    I can think of a lot of people I could con into paying the costs.

    That said I agree that there might be restrictions that make it not worth the time. There is a reason I asked can, not may, I do it.

  8. Here’s the views of farmers (and local ones to boot):

    Basically you don’t touch anything to do with the NT, it’ll be like dealing with the worst sort of domineering landlord you could think of, except they won’t be wanting your £££ and to shag your daughter, they’ll be bullying you for all the ‘right reasons’, ie they are Guardian reading middle class types, and you’re just a peasant farmer with soil under your nails, and you need to be told the ‘right’ way to do everything.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    If this property is worth about a million pounds, it could expect a return of anywhere up to £100,000 a year.

    So what they are saying is that they are willing to give someone a house to live in, some spectacular views, in a lovely part of the country, plus a living worth onwards of six figures – all for putting up with the National Trust as the landlord.

    Which is to say they are a f**king awful landlord.

    No doubt they will be able to find some member of the hair shirt brigade to volunteer. I hope he is vegan.

  10. “If this property is worth about a million pounds, it could expect a return of anywhere up to £100,000 a year.”

    You don’t know a lot about farming do you?

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