Lord Max Percy puts 9,500 acre Rothbury Estate up for sale for £35m

The 9,500 acre Rothbury Estate includes the Simonside hills. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

An aristocrat has put up his 9,500 acre estate up for sale for £35m.

The vast Rothbury Estate, which includes some of Northumberland's most beautiful landscape, has been in the Percy family for about 700 years.

Offering a grouse moor, opportunities to shoot pheasants and partridges and salmon and sea trout fishing, the sale is the largest single block of land to come to the market in England in the last 30 years.

It is currently owned by the Duke of Northumberland's youngest son, Lord Max Percy, and is not part of the core Ducal Estate.

It has been branded “the single largest ringfenced carbon offsetting opportunity to come to the open market in England”.

According to the estate’s brochure, published by Newcastle-based Knight Frank, the estate contains 12 farms, more than 1,800 acres of woodland, salmon and sea trout fishing opportunities, a grouse moor, opportunities to shoot pheasants and partridges, as well as 23 residential properties, a caravan park with 10 plots and the Crown and Thistle Inn Pub.

The view towards the Simonside hills, in Northumberland, which are part of the Rothbury Estate. Credit: NCJ Media

While elements of the land are managed by Northumberland Estates, the company has stressed the sale is private and Rothbury Estates has not been part of the Duccal Estate for more than 30 years.

A spokesman for the company said: “After much consideration, Lord Max has decided to sell an area of land forming part of the Rothbury Estate to the south of the town.

"All tenants and staff affected by the potential sale have been informed and engagement is being undertaken with all stakeholders to ensure that the sale process is managed appropriately.”

The land belonged to the monarch for a century from 1095 after the rebellion of Earl Robert Mowbray, and was passed to the second Henry Percy of Alnwick in 1328, and officially confirmed in 1331.

The Simonside Hills, which is popular with walkers and tourists, is also located on the estate.

It includes numerous sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) and moorland on the property supports several endangered species, including merlin and cuckoo.

Other known wildlife in the Simonside hills are curlew, red grouse, mountain bumblebee, emperor moth and red squirrels.

Wildlife on the estate includes red squirrels, as well as curlew and endangered species like merlin and cuckoo. Credit: PA

Councillor Steven Bridgett, who represents the Rothbury ward on Northumberland County Council, bemoaned the fact that England does not have laws in place that would allow the community to explore the purchase of the land.

Cllr Bridgett said: “It is a great shame that we do not have the same laws and grants available to us in England as they do in Scotland.

"That would have enabled the local Rothbury community to take ownership of this estate and enhance and preserve this beautiful landscape for future generations.

“Instead, my fear is that we may see this estate go the same way we have seen many other estates in the south of England and in Wales go – bought up by a business or corporation for tax purposes or by someone with more money than sense, parts of it developed and much of it planted up with trees as a result of government funding priorities.

“Because, by the looks of it, we are all going to be eating bark in the future. There will be no opportunity for the next generation to work the land or help improve the landscape and environment.”

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, contains a Community Right to Buy for Sustainable Development, which allows Scottish ministers to approve the purchase of privately owned land by a community body with a registered interest.

The act does not require a willing seller, but allows ministers to compel landowners to sell if they decide that the sale will further sustainable development in the area. Community bodies can also register an interest in allowing a third party to purchase land on the same basis.

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