2015-08-24  

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Retirement Brings Borders Farm to the Market

Youngs RPS are delighted to announce the sale of Billerwell Farm near Hawick in the heart of the Scottish Borders.

A 343 acre mixed farm, Billerwell has the added attractions of a spectacular setting, a large farmhouse which has been converted to create a four star award winning Bed and Breakfast business and with recently developed equestrian facilities of a high standard. The farm is being offered in three lots at a guide price of 1.85 million GBP for the whole.

Billerwell Farm

Billerwell Farm

The farm comes to the market due to the retirement of current owners Richard and Marion Oates. Richard Oates remains well known amongst the farming community. One of the first farmers to import Limousin cattle into the UK, he went on to create the much celebrated Lumbylaw herd and was Chairman of the Limousin Society for several years. Equally well known was the Lumbylaw Texel flock, one of the oldest performance recorded Texel flocks in the country. Both have been dispersed gradually over the past few years.

The sale of his livestock left Richard with time to invest at Billerwell, resulting in the planting of around 4,000 metres of hedging, 15 acres of copse and improvement of the wildlife habitat on the farm with a series of ponds. The farm also benefits from fishing on the Rule Water and a recently installed wood pellet boiler produces income under the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

It is his wife Marion who runs the extremely successful Bed and Breakfast business. Her background as a tourism development officer in the Borders and in Northumberland has no doubt assisted in creating a business which regularly achieves occupancy rates of 65 to 70 per cent throughout the main tourist season. A former regional director for Scotland of Farm Stay, a key selling point of the Billerwell experience is her award winning breakfast, which features mainly local produce, mostly sourced from within a five mile radius of the farm.

Further on-farm diversification centres on the equestrian business where modern stabling for eight horses plus a steel portal framed shed, recently converted into an indoor arena, is rented to a local livery business.

The Bed & Breakfast they have created is top class. With a background in tourism development, both in the Borders and in Northumberland, Marion knew what she needed to do. Modelling her business on best business practice, and renovating the house to accommodate their plans, they have created a thriving enterprise which attracts visitors from around the globe.

"Our guests come from all over the world," says Marion.
"There are a lot of German and Dutch tourists who arrive on the ferry into Newcastle upon Tyne, as well as visitors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The Antipodeans seem to prefer farm B&Bs, and we find quite a few are researching ancestors who originally came from the Borders. You can walk or cycle from the farmhouse door here, as well as taking day trips to Edinburgh or the coast or visiting the wonderful Border's houses and gardens. This means we tend to get people staying for several days at a time and lots of repeat visits."

Occupancy rates at Billerwell regularly reach 70 per cent throughout the main tourist season. This is no doubt in part due to the award winning Billerwell breakfast. With most of the ingredients sourced from within a five mile radius of the farm, this scores highly with the visitors, warranting rave reviews on Trip Advisor.

"This farm could appeal to either a lifestyle buyer or a farmer," comments Tom Oates from the Youngs RPS Alnwick office, "so we have divided the land into three lots to offer buyers' flexibility. The farming has a good mix of grass and arable, plus some useful buildings. Although the other enterprises enhance the income stream, the farming can be run as a self supporting business. "There is also scope for further diversification," he suggests. "The traditional steading in particular has the potential for further development - subject to achieving planning."

Youngs RPS

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