Future of Barbury Castle Estate: sale now being advertised with guide price of £20 million

Written by Tony Millett on .

This week's edition of Country Life (September 28) features a two-page advertisement for the Barbury Castle Estate.  We reported last week that its owner, Nigel Bunter, has put it up for sale.

The sale is being handled by Knight Frank and has a guide price of £20 million.  Their advertisement does not name the estate or carry the guide price, but it does give an accurate number for the estate's acreage - usually put at 2,000.  Its text reads:

"One of Wiltshire's finest estates set in 1,799 acres...A stunning Estate combining beautiful countryside, outstanding amenity, commercial farming and income producing assets. 6 bedroom principal house, secondary house, 7 cottages, extensive modern farm buildings, training yard, further equestrian facilities including gallops.  Extensive arable, pasture, downland and woodland, pheasant and partridge shoot."

The six pictures on the two-page spread include fields with morphine poppies in flower.  

In this issue Country Life writer Penny Churchill features the Estate as one of three major "Estates à la Carte" in her Property Market column.  This is where the guide price is published.  And she gives details of the Estate's training yard leased since 2002 by Alan King.

The yard has three-bedroom farmhouse, three flats and three staff houses,  The 11-acre training facility has 87 American barn-style loose boxes, a two-furlong all-weather exercise circle, a 1.5-furlong exercise strip, a manège and paddocks. Alan King also has access to the estate's gallops.

Without naming any estates, Country Life has another feature headed "The estate buyers...with a clutch of interesting estates coming to the market this autumn, who will be the likely buyers?" Arabella Youens finds few definite answers.  

But one agent, Mark Lawson, head of rural estate at The Buying Solution states: "It's largely a domestic market.  Yes, we're currently seeing interest from Middle Eastern, American and a few Russian buyers, but, in our experience, the buyer would typically be a very successful Englishman with a young family."

Andrew NicholsonAndrew NicholsonThe Barbury International website has no dates for a 2017 renewal of the famous horse trials. And Knight Frank's 30-page brochure states: "There is no contractual obligation for Barbury International Horse Trials to continue with a new owner, but it is a great opportunity."

Lockeridge based New Zealand eventer Andrew Nicholson, who has won the premier class at Barbury five years running, told Marlborough.News that 'full credit' goes to Penny and Nigel Bunter for developing the trials so successfully:

"Barbury is a very, very important for us eventers.  It comes at a very good time of the year when we're preparing the major competitions in the autumn season.  It's always well supported and it's a beautiful venue.  It's the best cross country course for spectators to view."

"The whole area round Marlborough benefits from the trials - especially restaurants and hotels.  It would be sadly missed if the new people weren't really interested in equestrian events."

Winter 2016 : a Barbury Racecourse point-to-point...Winter 2016 : a Barbury Racecourse point-to-point......this is what they're betting on!...this is what they're betting on!The point-to-point fixture list for 2016-2017 has four meetings at Barbury Racecourse - the first on December 4.  They include a new fixture on 14 January 2017 that is being advertised by the Point-to-Point Company.  

Organised "by the newly-formed Barbury International Racing Club", this point-to-point will for the first time in England include pointers trained in Ireland.

The organisers of one of those four fixtures told Marlborough.News that the racecourse is a great place to run a successful point-to-point: "We love it and we want it to continue."