The purchase of Camp Farm, Maryport

“Every farm is unique, but some are more unique than others” certainly applies to Camp Farm, which is located on the north eastern edge of Maryport in Cumbria.

The farm had been acquired by the Hadrian’s Wall Trust (HWT), with the intention of developing it as a visitor attraction to bring Roman Maryport to life. With the demise of HWT, Camp Farm was acquired by North of England Civic Trust (NECT) in early 2015, with Paul Liddle (Partner) and Claire Morgan (Consultant) of Sintons acting on behalf of the purchaser. The acquisition forms part of the 50th anniversary programme for NECT.

Camp Farm extends to approximately 145 acres and includes a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the Roman fort of Alauna. It also contains other Roman buildings, tombs and a Roman Road which bisects the farm. Alauna is thought to have been an important defensive position on the coast to the south west of the western end of Hadrian’s Wall, with Maryport acting as an important supply point for the Wall.

More usually, the farm is a mixture of grass and arable and has a range of traditional buildings, which were once a model farm. It is farmed by local farmers under three separate agreements: a Farm Business Tenancy, a Grazing Agreement and a Cropping Licence, all of which had to be transferred to the new ownership.

The buildings remain in hand and NECT plans to develop the steading to increase its value to the local community as a resource for education and employment. It is also intended to assist the local economy by attracting more visitors to West Cumbria to celebrate the history of this frontier of the Roman Empire, a World Heritage Site. There are ongoing archaeological excavations hence the variety of farming agreements. As part of the agreement, NECT has agreed to take over the publishing of the archaeological report.

The number of agreements was not the only complexity of this case. The negotiations involved several public sector bodies who supported HWT’s proposals for the site and wished to see NECT become the future guardian of the site with responsibility for delivering a step-change in its presentation to the public. All the negotiations and related documents had to be completed in a tight timescale.

If you would like any further information or to discuss any rural related matter, please contact Tom Wills, head of the agriculture & estates department at Sintons.

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