Scottish estate that inspired Sir Walter Scott on sale for offers over £12m

An estate that inspired writers including John Buchan and Sir Walter Scott has gone on sale for offers over £12 million – making it one of the most expensive properties to go on the market in Scotland.

Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 7:30 am
The Stobo Estate is centred on the Home Farm. It is a well-balanced and attractive agricultural, residential, sporting and forestry estate, in about 1,363 acres.
The Stobo Estate is centred on the Home Farm. It is a well-balanced and attractive agricultural, residential, sporting and forestry estate, in about 1,363 acres.

The Stobo Estate in the Upper Tweed Valley, in the Borders, comes with 3,884 acres of land including two six-bedroom farmhouses, 15 further houses and cottages, a “beautifully serene lake”, Edwardian Japanese-style Water Garden with a 60-foot waterfall and even its own herd of pure-bred Sika deer.

Owned by the Seymour family since the 1970s, it is being marketed by leading estate agents Knight Frank, who expect offers “in excess of £12m” for the estate as a whole, or in seven lots.

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The estate would be more than 65 times the average £182,357 price for a residential property north of the Border.

James Denne, a partner in Knight Frank, said the estate had already attracted “global interest”, with a closing date set for 30 September.

He added: “The Stobo Estate comprises a remarkable landscape filled with a diverse range of features that contribute firstly to its unique beauty and secondly to its assorted income streams.

“Its enviable location in one of the most sublime, unspoilt and coveted valleys in the UK and within an hour of Edinburgh make it one of the finest Scottish estates to be offered to the market in recent times.

“We have had a very wide diverse interest from within Scotland, the UK and globally.”

The estate is in the heart of the Upper Tweeddale National Scenic Area. Once attached to nearby Stobo Castle – now a popular health spa – over 500 years, the land has been owned by earls and the dukes, Jacobite baronets, Lord Advocates of Scotland and even a famed England cricketer who was also a passionate gardener.

John Buchan, author of classic adventure The Thirty-Nine Steps, wrote of the landscape: “Its ageless hills and waters laid a spell on me which has never been broken. I asked for nothing better than to spend my life by the Tweed”.

Owned by the Seymour family for more than 40 years, the estate was divided from the nearby Castle in 1972. It is now centred around the Georgian six bedroom Home Farmhouse -- built in 1805 as the factor’s dwelling -- and the land has been developed as a residential, sporting, farming and forestry enterprise.

The sale includes two principal houses, Home Farmhouse and six bedroom Easterknowe Farmhouse, and a portfolio of 15 houses and cottages spread throughout the estate and either let out on tenancies or occupied by staff. Among them, according to the sellers, “Stobo Mill and Power House present a wonderful opportunity to create a spectacular home”.

It also contains “an abundance of parkland, moorland, hills and farmland”, and promises “superb sporting opportunities” including Sika deer and roe deer stalking, a driven pheasant shoot, trout fishing on the estate’s lochs, duck flighting on outlying ponds and an extensive estate road network for walking and mountain biking.

At the heart of the estate lies the Castle Lake, stocked with rainbow trout, and the Japanese Water Gardens developed a century ago by cricketer Hylton Philipson who bought the castle in 1905. It also contains forestry and hill ground with “obvious rewilding potential”.

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