The National Trust has acquired approximately 303 acres of land at Thorneythwaite Farm in Borrowdale, in the Lake District, following a successful bid at auction. This beautiful landscape will now be looked after for ever, for everyone.
We are passionate about conserving the beauty and uniqueness of the Lake District. We bid for this land because it offers such amazing places for wildlife including woodland featuring veteran trees, riverside fields, open craggy fell and wood pasture. It’s home to a wealth of important wildlife including redstarts and pied flycatchers.
The land was split into two plots by the auctioneers: the farm land and a farm house. The Trust used its charitable funds to bid for the land rather than the building.
We were aware that there was international interest in the lots, and that it had been marketed widely, so there was risk it could be bought up by a private owner from anywhere in the world, or a property investor. There were certainly no guarantees that a local farmer would have secured it. We simply don’t know who else was in the market for it and what their intentions would have been.
We bid above the guide price but we had an independent valuation which was significantly higher than that. We are confident that we paid the right price to secure this very important stretch of Lakeland landscape. We did not have the funds to buy both lots, the farm house and the land, and for us the land was more of a priority than the farmhouse.
We will continue to farm this land and we believe we can look after it in way which benefits nature, our visitors and the local community. We already manage much of the surrounding land in Borrowdale, which means we can take a ‘big picture’ view of how we look after the wider landscape. That allows us to continue farming and at the same time deliver healthy soil, natural water management, thriving natural habitats and continued public access.
We will also explore how we may be able to use the farm to slow the flow of the Upper River Derwent, thereby contributing to the prevention of flooding downstream in communities such as Keswick and Cockermouth.
The Trust has a long history of and is committed to the tradition of Herdwick farming. We have an existing stock of 21,000 Herdwick sheep and we own 54 farms in the Fells.
The land will be managed by a tenant, and we have already had several expressions of interest. It will be farmed with nature in mind but it will continue to support a flock of Herdwick sheep.