THE commercial forestry sector has remained buoyant amid the COVID-19 pandemic, says forestry agency John Clegg & Co – as the firm launches 13 new woodlands across the UK.

Brought to the market at a time when there is accelerating interest in carbon trading and an increasing concentration on the benefits of natural capital, the forestry properties on offer range from £85,000 to £5,750,000 and from plantable ground to mature woodland. The forests amount to over 2,400 ha with a combined asking price of more than £10.7 million.

John Clegg & Co has just launched Badvoon Forest, a 728-ha commercial conifer forest near Ardgay in Sutherland, for offers over £5,750,000. An extremely attractive investment, it offers a substantial volume of maturing timber and benefits from a good internal road network as well as proximity to key timber processing facilities in the north of Scotland.

Jon Lambert, senior director at John Clegg & Co, said: “The commercial conifer market is particularly robust with demand originating from institutional (both UK-based and international), quasi-institutional, private investors, family offices and, to a lesser degree, end-users of timber.

“Many asset classes have seen at least a temporary devaluation during the COVID-19 pandemic but there has so far been no evidence of this in the prime forestry sector. Commercial conifer woodlands are attracting extremely strong interest with demand outstripping supply; prices are expected to continue to rise in the second half of 2020.

“Investors are looking for land-based assets with strong environmental credentials while an interest in natural capital and humanity’s essential need for nature is a major driving force in the market.

“There is significant interest in planting land opportunities, but they are few and far between and highly competitive. Potential sellers of marginal upland sites have a great opportunity to benefit from high prices and frothy demand.

“However, interest in amenity woodlands and broadleaves is quieter with significant regional variations.”

Mr Clegg noted that the last few months had presented challenges but that several woodlands and forests which hit the market prior to lockdown had gone under offer or had been sold in the last three months.

“Where sales had already been agreed – or those which have been agreed during lockdown – lawyers have managed to complete in a high percentage of cases, despite initial delays in Scotland due to the reduced capacity of Registers of Scotland.

“In terms of timber processing, sawmills are mostly back to operations with a big backlog of demand for timber building supplies which may lead to price inflation.”

He added: "The forestry market is in a position of relative strength. We are delighted to be bringing so much good quality woodland to the market this summer and fully expect competitive interest in these listings."

Coming soon

  • Ashton Woods and Land was once part of Duanas Castle grounds. Extending to 103.8 ha, it is for sale for offers over £250,000 and is described by as rare opportunity to acquire fertile farmland with potential for afforestation as well as established commercial woodlands with timber ready to fell. It also includes a ruined stone steading with planning permission to be converted into a house, available as an individual lot or as part of the whole.
  • The 31-ha Ewehill Wood, near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, is described as an attractive and well-located forestry investment opportunity which also offers development potential for a cabin or hut. It is for sale for offers over £160,000.
  • Gateside Wood, a 63-ha commercial conifer woodland with a large volume of high-yielding Sitka spruce near Keith in Moray, is available for offers over £850,000. It also includes two plots with development potential.
  • Rimsdale Forest is an extensive commercial forest set in Sutherland and extending along the shore of Loch Rimsdale. On the market for offers over £985,000, the 1,142-ha forest includes areas to be replanted as well as offering revenue from maturing timber. Sporting rights include challenging red and roe deer stalking and trout fishing on the loch.
  • In Ross-shire, a 113-ha forest is available for offers over £650,000. Ramsay Craighill, near Edderton, offers an opportunity to buy a compact commercial conifer forest with timber ready to harvest in the near future.
  • Newhall Wood, near Aberfeldy in Perthshire, is a 83-ha commercial forest with high yielding crops and a loch. Extending in part along the River Tay, it is for sale as a whole for offers over £995,000.
  • Tombuidhe Wood is a 20-ha second-rotation conifer woodland lying next to Strachur in Argyll. It is available for offers over £110,000.
  • At Stewarton in East Ayrshire, two young but well-established conifer plantations which extend to 43 hectares, West Glenouther and Whitelee, are available as a whole for offers over £270,000.
  • Dalegarth Woodland is a 42-hectare well-managed woodland set against the backdrop of the Cumbrian Hills with stunning views onto the fell. This woodland includes a lovely pond. Price to be confirmed.
  • In North Yorkshire, Loftus Wood is a broadleaved 24-ha woodland with upgraded access near Redcar. Marketed at offers over £160,000, it is said to provide sustainable firewood production possibilities in the medium to long term.
  • Breaches Wood is a 4-ha woodland on the edge of Little Missenden in the Chilterns. Established in 1963, the woodland comprises a mix of Norway spruce, Scots pine and beach. The woodland is available leasehold for offers over £106,000.
  • Walk Wood is a 3-ha mixed woodland around three miles from Amersham in Buckinghamshire. Classified as a Plantation on an Ancient Woodland Site with a mix of broadleaf and conifer species, it is also located in the Chilterns. It is available for offers in excess of £85,000.

For further information, please contact Jon Lambert at John Clegg & Co on 0131 2298800.

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