05 May 2021
Tenders invited for long-term partnership
THE Blenheim Estate in Oxfordshire (UK) is inviting growers to tender for c.1,100 acres (445ha) of farmland.
Successful farmers will be offered 10-year agreements. Applications are open through Carter Jonas, with occupation from September 2021.
The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site set out plans to change the way it managed and farmed its 12,000 acres in 2019 as part of a wider land strategy which places value on its natural capital and recognises the role land has to play in becoming the first carbon negative estate in the country.
Estate Director Roy Cox said: “Finding the right partners for this land and enabling them to thrive, continues our clear direction set out two years ago as part of our ambitious land strategy. Put simply we cannot meet the needs of our area today if our land and those who farm it are not helping.”
The search for farmers comes at a time of immense change for agriculture, with landowners encouraged to identify and optimise their land’s natural capital, delivering public goods and outcomes which benefit the environment as well as producing food.
The Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford recently calculated the Estate’s natural capital to store nearly half a million tonnes of carbon, slow down 12,000 tonnes of flood water and provide £4.3m of health benefits each year over its 70km of footpaths and 30km of rivers and streams.
With that in mind, Roy said he would like to see tenders which blend sound economics with good land management by identifying opportunities to improve the local environment for all who benefit.
“We’re committed to working in partnership with our farm tenants to unlock the potential of produce from the land, improving our natural capital, encouraging techniques that lock in and hold carbon and measure the health of our soils with the intention of being the first generation to leave Blenheim in a better state than it was found,” he said.
The 1,100 acres on offer is split into three lots – two with bare Grade 3 farmland and one including buildings and a grain store.
The lots comprise varying field sizes and are located in and around the villages of Woodstock and Stonesfield.
Ross Kent, Partner at Carter Jonas, said rented land in Oxfordshire is always in high demand, and he expected interest from local farmers to be high, while the size and nature was also likely to appeal to those from further afield.
To request a tender pack email [email protected]. The deadline for applications is June 17th.