New entrants’ opportunity

TWO rarely available farms in the Borders have been let.

Roxburghe Estates let the Yett, near Hownam, Kelso and Swinside Townfoot near Oxnam to new entrants at the end of last month. Roxburghe Estates factor Roddy Jackson said farms only occasionally come up to rent and that it was unusual for two to be let in the same year.

“Opportunities like the Yett and Swinside Townfoot are quite rare. It just so happened that two farm tenants chose to retire at the same time, releasing these farms to let. They were particularly suited to new entrants. Both have had experience in sheep management and this gave us confidence that they would make every success of running the farms.”

Derek and Ann Redpath from Stow took over the 1,210-acre hill farm, the Yett, in the Cheviot hills on a 15-year limited duration tenancy last week.

Mr Redpath, 40, has worked as a shepherd since leaving agricultural college and has been looking for a suitable opportunity to farm on his own for five years.

He said: “We are delighted to have been successful in securing the tenancy of the Yett. It’s a great opportunity for us and with a flock of 625 Blackface ewes we can manage the farm ourselves and run the ewe flock which has been bred on the farm and therefore suitably acclimatised to the conditions of the hill.”

The 415-acre stock farm, Swinside Townfoot farm is on a limited duration tenancy of two years initially to Peter and Vicki Hedley from Otterburn, Northumberland. Mr Hedley, 29, was farming in partnership with his father, but has been looking to farm on his own account for two years.

He said: “This is an ideal opportunity for us to get started on our own. With the benefit of the experience of a similar sized farming operation at Overacres, Otterburn, we will be able to run a Cheviot ewe flock and cattle enterprise at Swinside.

“Roxburghe Estates has helped many young entrants get on to the farming ladder and we are really excited to have been given this chance”.

The rental arrangements started on November 28.