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Land for sale

Moness Forest Estate, Aberfeldy

Sold STC £8,625,000
3,261.6 ac.

Property Description

Commercial information

  • 3,261.6 acres (1,319.9 hectares)

Full description


An outstanding forestry, sporting and amenity estate, with wind farm planning consent, located in the heart of Breadalbane in Highland Perthshire.

For full details please request a copy of the brochure.

For sale as a whole or in 3 lots

Moness Forest Estate is located in Highland Perthshire, lying between Strath Tay to the north, and Strath Braan to the south, within the historic heartland of Breadalbane. Renowned for its lochs, forests, shooting estates and some of the finest scenery which Scotland has to offer, Moness Forest reflects this heritage while embracing modern land use in the form of the neighbouring Calliachar Wind farm and featuring planning consent for a further six turbines on the property itself.

Just 3 miles south of Aberfeldy, it has direct access onto the A826 and is only 69 miles from Edinburgh, 68 miles from Glasgow and 27 miles from Perth. Its benefits from links south to the M90 or west to the M9.

This area of Highland Perthshire has a long cultural heritage associated with commercial conifer forestry stretching back to the historic "Planting Dukes of Atholl", the legacy of which has given rise to its modern name of "Big Tree Country". With its breathtaking scenery and extensive network of walking and riding routes the area is well loved by both locals and tourists. Moness Forest is located in a well-established timber production region, on the western edge of a wider forest complex encompassing neighbouring Griffin and Craigvinean Forests, stretching from Grandtully in the north to Dunkeld in the east and Trochry to the south, and is generally well located for local timber markets in Dunkeld and Stirling as well as major regional markets.

Background and Description
While Moness Forest Estate is known today for its extensive commercial forest established in the mid-1980s, the impressive areas of attractive heather moorland on the property and good annual bags of walked-up red grouse point to a history of land use where heather moorland management created a productive, diverse and attractive mosaic of grouse moor and woodland.

Taymouth Castle, some 5 miles to the west, was the seat of the Campbells of Breadalbane, whose vast estate reached its zenith in the mid-1800s when guests including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert came to enjoy the famous grouse shooting. By the turn of the century the Campbells' fortunes were waning, and on the death in 1922 of John Campbell of Glenfalloch the third Marquis of Breadalbane, the Estate was broken up and sold to tenant farmers and neighbouring Estates.

Following the Second World War, land use patterns shifted and there was a decline in mixed farming and moorland management, largely replaced with more intense lowland agriculture and commercial upland sheep farming. Moness typified these changes, and with falling demand for lamb, the opportunity to diversify into modern commercial forestry was taken when the land was sold for productive afforestation in the mid 1980's, at which time tree planting was undertaken over approximately two-thirds of the property.

The land was prepared for planting largely by means of "ripper screefer" (as opposed to the more conventional method of ploughing), the result of which is that the woodland floor being free of furrows makes the site very easy to work, but also made the original tree planting rather slow to establish. Current growth rates are therefore generally significantly higher than their age and top height alone might suggest, and the Moness Forest Estate has developed into an excellent example of mid rotation, first generation forest.

The property was purchased by the current owners in 2005, and during their period of ownership, the forest has been well maintained and a small area of crop has been thinned. Some moorland management work in the form of heather burning has been undertaken, which has encouraged a healthy assemblage of upland bird species including the iconic red grouse.

Continuing the trend of shifting land use, Moness is adjacent to the Calliachar Wind Farm to the south, and is being sold with the benefit of planning consent for a further wind farm development, known as North Calliachar which allows for six turbines of up to 3MW capacity on the property and a seventh to be located on a neighbouring estate (total consented installed capacity of 21MW).

The entire forest benefits from the existence of a recently approved Forest Plan. Please note the forest area is recorded as 1,319.9 hectares however the Title records the property area as 1,316 hectares and the property will be sold according to Title.

LOT 1 - OFFERS OVER £6,800,000
Moness Forest (coloured green on the attached plan) - 1,128.4 Hectares/2,788.3 Acres
A substantial area of productive, Sitka spruce dominated commercial woodland benefitting from direct access onto the A826 and including extensive tracts of heather moorland and excellent deer stalking.

There are three existing access points into Lot 1, these being located at A1, A2 and A4 on the sales plan. The main timber haulage and management access route is via A1 from where the majority of the property can be reached using the existing forest road and track network.

Access point A2 crosses a short section of land which is not within the ownership, but over which Moness enjoys a servitude right, before entering the property and continuing as far as a disused stone quarry. The final access to the north, at point A4, comprises approximately 1.5 kilometres of forest road, beyond which a pair of four-wheel drive tracks diverge, one continuing southwest along the property boundary, the other heading south; both then connecting to the main forest road network and thence to A1.

The northern boundary of Moness Forest runs northeast to southwest from the A826 adjoining the neighbouring Urlar Burn Forest before meeting the open hill ground forming part of Tay & Torridon Estates (The Lochan Estate) to the south and west. The eastern boundary is with the A826 and Loch na Creig.

The forest area predominantly consists of pure stands of Sitka spruce, with minor components of other conifers providing diversity and interest. After a relatively slow start to life as a result of the ripper screefer ground preparation technique employed, the majority of crops are now growing well and have benefitted from drainage and a relatively small scale thinning programme in recent years as well as having brashed inspection racks. Species composition and age profile of the crops in Lot 1 are summarised in the table and chart below, with full compartment plans and schedules available via an on line Data Room on request.

LOT 2 - OFFERS OVER £1,400,000
North Calliachar Forest (coloured yellow on the attached plan) - 154.8 Hectares/382.5 Acres
A good block of commercial forest with the benefit of existing planning consent (reference PPA-340-2087) for the construction of seven turbines, each of up to 3MW capacity, six of which are located within lot 2.

North Calliachar Forest will benefit from the same rights of access as detailed for lot 1, Moness Forest, if the property is sold as a whole. If sold separately, servitude rights of access will be provided over the primary access route from point A1 on the sales plan. A full servitude right of access for all purposes will be granted over the forest road route leading to the north of the property, while a conditional servitude right of access associated with the wind farm will be granted over the route A1-A5-A6, the details of which can be found in the Data Room.

On March 30th 2015, planning permission for North Calliachar Wind Farm was granted for the construction of seven turbines of up to 21 Megawatt installed capacity, six of which are located on North Calliachar Forest. To the north and east, North Calliachar Forest is bounded by Lot 1, Moness Forest, while the western and southern boundaries are with the Lochan Estate, on which the adjoining operational Calliachar Wind Farm is located.

The majority of the current crop was planted in 1984, predominantly with pure Sitka spruce but with minor areas of Sitka spruce in mixture with Lodgepole pine. The crop is relatively productive, with the high proportion of Sitka spruce making this a good long term commercial investment prospect. Species composition and age of the crops in Lot 2 are summarised in the table and chart below, with full details available in the Data Room.

LOT 3 - OFFERS OVER £425,000
Gatehouse Wood (coloured pink on the attached plan) - 36.7 Hectares/90.7 Acres
An attractive and accessible parcel of commercial forestry located to the east of the A826, with a diverse mixture of conifer species and intimate open ground, while retaining a good productive core of Sitka spruce.

Gatehouse Wood is accessed directly off the A826 public road via an existing gate, shown at point A7 on the sales plan, from where access may be taken on foot to the property. With the necessary consents, this access, or indeed a new access along the considerable public road frontage could be created to accommodate future forest management and harvesting requirements.

Lot 3 is an attractive and diverse woodland that will appeal to both the commercial investor as well as those with amenity and sporting interests, having a variety of conifer species, watercourses and intimate rides and glades. While there is no existing internal forest road infrastructure, the property is bounded to the south and west by the public road, to the east by the extensive Griffin Forest and to the north with woodlands and open ground.
The woodland was planted in 1984 and benefits from being located on some of the lowest lying land within Moness Forest, with the quality of conifer tree growth reflecting this favoured position. Species composition and age of the crops in Gatehouse Wood are summarised in the table and chart below with further detail being available in the Data Room.

Moness Forest offers considerable sporting appeal, with excellent opportunities for red & roe stalking and walked-up grouse shooting, all set within this stunning Highland Perthshire scenery. Sporting rights are in-hand and are un-let.

As a commercial forest, active deer management at Moness will continue to be required in order to provide crop protection.

No statutory designated sites or features have been identified which are associated with Moness Forest Estate.

Wayleaves & Third Party Rights
The property will be sold with the benefit of, and subject to, all existing rights and burdens with the Titles, notably:
• Right of access over the route A1 - A5 in favour of the neighbouring Lochan Estate.
• Right of access in favour of the owners of Urlar Forest from point A4 to the point where the forest road enters that property.
• There is a one off development gain payment to be made to the estate of a former owner in the event that a wind farm is constructed on the property.
• A pylon line servitude in favour of North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board, with associated rights of access, servitudes, wayleaves and burdens, relating to the pylons to the north of the property crossing lots 1 and 3, with Scottish and Southern benefitting from a similar servitude along the same route.
• Servitude right with respect to water supply for Gatehouse and Croftness Sheep Fank near Allt Loch Nam Meall.
• Errichel, Croftness and Margmore and proprietors of Aberfeldy Distillery take water from the Pitlie Burn which has its source in the forest. Rights of access for maintenance and repairs subject to making payment for damage caused.
• Access and power cable rights over the route shown A1 - A5 through Moness Forest relating to the operational Calliachar Wind Farm in favour of the wind farm operators, Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables.

In the event that Lots 1 and 2 are sold separately, a full servitude right of access for all purposes will be set in place from access A1 via the northern route to lot 2 with a separate agreement being set in place in relation to wind farm development in Lot 2 over route A1-A5-A6.

Mineral Rights
Mineral rights are included in the sale so far as the Seller has rights thereto.

Woodland Grants
Moness Forest benefits from the existence of a Long Term Forest Plan (ref. no. 4892207) recently approved by Forestry Commission Scotland, providing felling permissions, replanting conditions and access to a range of forest management grants. A restocking obligation exists for felling licence CB09546 in relation to felling to accommodate a construction compound and borrow pit for Calliachar Wind Farm, the obligation remaining with the wind farm developer, SSE Renewables.

For further information on current grants available, please visit the Forestry Commission and Scottish Government websites:

Data Room
Detailed information on aspects, such as: title deeds; forest plan; compartment schedule; planning documentation, will be available via an online data room. Details on how to access this are available from the selling agents.

Promotional Video
A short promotional video of the property is available on the selling agents' websites or by either link below:

Due to the possibility of deer management activity on site, viewers are asked to provide the Selling Agents with at least 24 hours' notice of their visit. Interested parties should also note that the entrance gates are locked and details of how to obtain vehicular access are available from the Selling Agents.

Potential purchasers are advised to formally register their interest, in order that they may be informed if a closing date for offers is set.

Forestry Commission Scotland
Perth & Argyll Conservancy
Upper Battleby
Perth PH1 3EN
Tel: 0300 067 600
Perth and Kinross Council
Pullar House
35 Kinnoull Street
Tel: 01738 475 000

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Listing History

Added on Rightmove:
19 September 2016

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