Region rides high as horse enthusiasts home in on properties
IT will probably not come as a surprise that in a recent Horse and Hound survey, Gloucestershire and Hampshire were rated the top two “horsiest” counties in Britain. What might intrigue some, but perhaps not those in the know, was North Yorkshire was third and ahead of notable locations such as Devon, Oxfordshire and Sussex.
However, when one looks at the evidence, the facts and figures are very compelling. North Yorkshire has more racecourses than any other county (five to be precise) with Horse and Hound rating the York Ebor Meeting and Bramham Horse Trials as two of the nation’s iconic equestrian events.
To many, Middleham, near Leyburn, is a delightful picturesque village in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.
It’s also home to 13 racehorse trainers including Mark Johnston among others.
But it’s not all about high profile events or individuals. North Yorkshire has the second highest number of point-to-points and pony club branches in the country and the most riding clubs. Furthermore, according to Horse and Hound, North Yorkshire ranks joint second for affiliated events and showing qualifiers. There is also very practical evidence of the county’s popularity on a day-to-day basis. The number of farriers has increased from 41 in 2003 to 87 in 2010 with world farrier champion, Stephen Bean, hailing from this region.
So what does this all mean for those with equestrian interests who may be buying or selling property across Yorkshire? Well, there is no doubt that the old estate agents’ cliché, “location, location, location”, remains as important as ever, especially if you are boxing to an event.
For many, access to the A1 corridor running north-south through the county is a strong attraction, witness the early morning procession of horseboxes and trailers, especially at weekends.
A nice country house with two or three acres and a couple of loose boxes might be sufficient for those who simply want to keep a couple of ponies. At the other end of the spectrum, specialist facilities can include an all-weather ménage, purpose-built yard and anything from 10 to 50 acres of good watered grassland, ideally undulating.
We have some clients who have incorporated their own cross country course and, in one instance, a purpose-built 5.5 furlong gallop.
Specialist facilities do enhance the capital value of a country property, although the more specific the facility and the more specialist the property, can, some believe, restrict the range of potential purchasers.
However, those seeking country property with buildings simply for amenity/privacy would be well advised to consider houses with equestrian facilities, especially where the outbuildings might be capable of adaptation for alternative use, providing this does not fall foul of local planning policies.
Also, those contemplating the sale of equestrian property should not ignore the residential element. It has to be equally well presented and equipped. The horses may be well cared for but the family home might want similar attention.
For those buying, consider the overall “package”. How well does the house sit? Are the buildings and equestrian facilities in the right position?
Does the whole set-up actually work from a day-to-day point of view? If it’s what you want and you can afford it, do remember equestrian properties are finite in number and, as is ever the case, it’s worth paying for quality.
Forgive the obvious plug, but we are currently marketing an interesting selection of properties in North Yorkshire with equestrian facilities of varying size and standard. So do have a look at our website, www.knightfrank.co.uk which has a specialist equestrian section as well.
Tim Waring is a partner of Knight Frank and heads their estate agency team in the North of England.
MAKING A SPLASH: Bramham Horse Trials.