High­land cows that could move buy­ers to fresh fields

There’s no need to mowthe grass when you have some­thing cute, hairy and ginger to do it for you. Sharon Dale re­ports on homes with bovine extras.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

BUY­ING a coun­try home with land was top of the wish list when Christo­pher Turner re­lo­cated to York­shire.

“My fa­ther used to a farm in Kent and so the idea of hav­ing a few acres ap­pealed. When I saw the three pad­docks we have here I thought how lovely they looked not re­al­is­ing how rapidly the grass grew.”

When a friend of­fered him a cou­ple of High­land cat­tle he ac­cepted.

“We now have two cows and a calf and they are tame lawn mow­ers,” says Mr Turner, who is throw­ing Rona, Is­lay and Rhum in free of charge when he sells Low Pen­howe, a 17th cen­tury farm­house and two cot­tages with five acres at Bury­thorpe, near Mal­ton.

If the new own­ers want them he is also will­ing to leave his 30 chick­ens, four geese and a soli­tary turkey that was given a life­time re­prieve from the chop.

“He was one of four tur­keys but three of them suc­cumbed to the cold the year be­fore last and we de­cided that we would let him sur­vive all Christ­mases,” says Mr Turner.

Apart per­haps from the lucky turkey, the menagerie is a use­ful addition to the prop­erty, which the Turn­ers bought 27 years ago. They ren­o­vated the farm­house, which they run as a B&B, and later con­verted the gra­nary into two lu­cra­tive hol­i­day lets.

The grazed land at­tracts a sin­gle farm pay­ment of about £200 a year. The chick­ens and geese lay eggs for the ta­ble and, as well as keep­ing the grass low, the cows are a pop­u­lar at­trac­tion for guests.

“They love to look at the cows, which are very docile and low main­te­nance. They live out­side year round and eat grass for most of the time though we sup­ple­ment their diet in win­ter with stock pota­toes, which are about £20 a ton and some oat straw,” says Mr Turner.

“We are down­siz­ing and we’re very happy to leave the an­i­mals as part of the sale as long as we are cer­tain they will be well cared for.”

Ellis and Jane Thack­ray are ex­tend­ing the same favour to the buy­ers of New­big­gin High Farm, Ais­laby, near Whitby, which is home to two High­land cat­tle and 30 He­bridean sheep.

They bought the pretty prop­erty seven years ago and com­pletely ren­o­vated the house and two hol­i­day cot­tages.

Al­though Mr Thack­ray’s brother farmed the land ini­tially, they re­duced the acreage and it is now small­hold­ing size with 15 acres, which is per­fect for eques­trian use or hobby farm­ers.

“We would be happy to leave the cows and sheep not least be­cause we’d like them to have a good home. They are easy to keep and just re­quire in­jec­tions once a year. The cows usu­ally have a pedi­cure too,” says Mr Thack­ray, who is sell­ing to move to York.

Leav­ing the live­stock is a gen­er­ous of­fer, as the cat­tle are worth about £500 each and the sheep about £50 each, but it’s not un­usual, ac­cord­ing to Gra­ham Hain, of www. ru­ra­lan­d­e­ques­trian.com, which spe­cialises in small­hold­ings and prop­er­ties with land.

“It is not un­com­mon for small­hold­ers to leave stock and we find with a lot of ru­ral prop­er­ties that the new own­ers can in­herit cats, geese, ducks, chick­ens, goats or even a don­key.”

Though the “Good Life” is still ap­peal­ing to many buy­ers, re­al­ity has bit­ten for some, ac­cord­ing to Carter Jonas.

Petrol prices have put some peo­ple off liv­ing in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Louise Hirst, of Carter Jonas, York, who adds: “I think peo­ple are work­ing much harder and they are work­ing longer hours than and there is a gen­eral lack of en­ergy and per­sonal time, which is also an is­sue. How­ever, the nicer life­style prop­er­ties will al­ways have an ap­peal.

“There seems to be lit­tle ap­petite for prop­er­ties that re­quire work un­less they are re­ally cheap. How­ever, we may see the bal­ance tip in their favour again as peo­ple be­come tired of work­ing all hours and de­cide they want some space and a slower pace of life.”

STAND OUT FROM THE HERD: Highland cat­tle brighten up the coun­try­side with their ginger coats and they also make per­fect “lawn­mow­ers”.

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