Look at some of the options here.

Living in the countryside can be rewarding and deliver an excellent quality of life. Many are tempted by the prospect of buying a country home with land and it can be very satisfying to look over paddocks or land in your ownership. Land does however need managing, even for conservation purposes, and that could lead to a scratching of the head on how to do that.

Here we look at how you can let out your pasture fields to ensure they are kept trimmed or grazed as well as possibly generating additional income.

Are my fields easily let?

The number of farmers is falling rapidly and farms are growing in size as a consequence with machinery becoming huge as well. Larger commercial farmers tend to be more interested in taking on large, flat fields that can be integrated into their farming operations rather than smaller paddocks which are steep and difficult to access. There are however smallholders, sheep farmers and horse owners who farm in a smaller way and may be willing to graze or mow the paddocks. So many factors come into play in determining the attractiveness of land to rent but location, topography, access, the quality of fencing and the availability of reliable water supplies can be key.

Letting fields to a farmer

This is probably the easiest arrangement to put in place. You can have the pleasure of owning the land and being able to walk around it whilst allowing someone else to take the strain in managing it.

There are various forms of agreement that can be put in place and it is always worth taking professional advice on the one that is most appropriate for you. The most common are letting the land on a Farm Business Tenancy or on a grazing licence.

  • Farm Business Tenancy – a tenancy grants the occupier exclusive use of the land for a set period.
  • Grazing licence – this allows the occupier’s animals onto your land for the “grazing season” normally between April and October after which the licence ends (and the animals are removed from the land), avoiding the risk of a tenancy being created.

Which option you take can create pitfalls for the unweary on matters such as the inheritance tax implications or the level of control that is retained so do seek advice. In the south west, you can typically earn £70 - 120 per acre for grassland dependent upon quality but possibly more if your land is in the right place.

Letting out land to graze horses

If you are letting out land to graze horses then you can earn much more depending upon location and facilities. Horse owners can be more willing to take on smaller parcels of land and it is normal to let under a grazing licence or common law tenancy. A tenancy is probably best in placing management obligations on the tenant and you’ll also need to stipulate that but care needs to be taken in stipulating that the land won’t be used for business use (as this can inadvertently create a secure tenancy) and that the occupier takes out proper insurance. Letting for business use needn’t be an issue but a different form of tenancy is required.

Other options

  • If you don’t want to let your land out then other management options include:
  • To let it grow wild
  • To manage it under a environmental management scheme with funding from Natural England
  • To plant trees, possibly with funding support; or
  • Establish a new enterprise such as glamping or camping, educational visits, weddings, solar projects or growing fruit.

How can Killens help

At Killens, our specialist staff have hand on experience of letting and managing land and can assist in:

  • Finding a suitable tenant
  • Agreeing terms for a letting
  • Preparing and formalising tenancy agreements
  • Claiming grant assistance
  • Preparing and submitting planning applications

For assistance, your contacts are:

Tom Killen

t. 01761 241127; e.tom@killens.org.uk

Jack Piercy

t. 01761 241127; e.jack@killens.org.uk

Gemma Bluck

t. 01761 241127; e.gemma@killens.org.uk