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Sunday 19 February 2017

Estate fit for a wild life in Welsh hills

Holding twice size of Manhattan offers it all for prospective buyer

Published 12/10/2010 | 05:00

Lake Vyrnwy Estate, which includes 14 farms as part of lot two and rights to the lake
Lake Vyrnwy Estate, which includes 14 farms as part of lot two and rights to the lake

As trophy properties go, the Lake Vyrnwy Estate in Powys, Wales, would surely top the list for anyone with an interest in farming or wildlife.

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The biggest single tract of land to go on the market in either England or Wales in living memory, the property consists of a staggering 23,315ac of land.

To put that in context, it is the size of 13,000 football pitches, 1bn square feet, or twice the size of Manhattan, New York.

It includes the 1,229ac lake that gives the estate its name, 11,807ac of moorland and rough grazing in a nature reserve, 5,250ac of agricultural land let out to other farmers, 5,001ac of woodland and 31 residential and commercial properties.

The estate is currently owned by Severn Trent Water and, with a price tag of £11m (or €12.585m), it is unlikely to be bought by any ordinary Joe.

However, selling agents Knight Frank has described interest in property as "very good".

The first round of offers has already been submitted and is being assessed by Severn Trent Water.

Located in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains in Powys, the estate was built up over several years in the 1880s by the Liverpool Corporation, which bought land with the purpose of creating a dam and reservoir to provide water for Liverpool -- a function it still performs today.

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Most of the acreage bought was common land, and the remainder of the land required for the lake and catchment area belonged to local estate landowners.

When the dam was constructed and the reservoir completed in 1892, it became the biggest masonry dam in Europe and the reservoir is visible from space.

When the valley was flooded, the village of Llanwddyn was submerged and rebuilt nearby. The only remaining building from the old village is the chapel that can be seen at the lake's edge. However, other submerged ruins can still be seen when the water levels drop during dry summers.

The estate is being offered for sale, on a 125-year lease, in four lots:

Lot one includes almost 12,000ac of farmland, which is farmed jointly with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) on an organic basis with a strong emphasis on the environment. There is rough grazing and upland moor, predominantly covered by heather that is grazed by sheep, ponies and cattle. It also includes several derelict farmsteads that could be restored with the correct planning permission.

Lot two is a range of 14 farms and additional land that is currently rented out to farmers. The farms range in size from under two acres to almost 1,000ac and stock mainly sheep and cattle.

Lot three is just over 5,000ac of coniferous and beech woodland managed by the Forestry Commission Wales.

Lot four includes 31 residential and commercial properties, such as a lakeside café called Artisans, a gift shop and a housing development heated by biomass.

A 30-year lease for surface rights over Lake Vyrnwy is also being offered by separate negotiation.

Lake Vyrnwy and the surrounding land, which includes parking areas, boathouse, picnic areas and the Old Chapel, are encircled by the 11-mile perimeter road.

At a glance

Lake Vyrnwy Estate

? 23,315ac in total.

? 11,807ac of moorland and rough grazing currently farmed by Severn Trent Water in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

? 5,250ac of agricultural land let out to other farmers.

? 5,001ac of woodland.

? 31 residential and commercial properties.

? 90 species of birds on the estate.

? 31bn gallons of water in Lake Vyrnwy, supplied by 31 streams and six rivers.

? 11 miles – the circumference of the lake.

? 25 arches in the 1,171ft long stone dam.

Irish Independent