Pluscarden Estate sits in a highly picturesque and desirable setting in the Vale of Pluscarden, an area of great landscape value in the County of Moray and with the world famous Pluscarden Abbey located closeby. The County town of …
Pluscarden Estate sits in a highly picturesque and desirable setting in the Vale of Pluscarden, an area of great landscape value in the County of Moray and with the world famous Pluscarden Abbey located closeby. The County town of Elgin (about 6 miles) and Forres (about 11 miles) both provide comprehensive range of shops and amenities; whilst Inverness lies about 37 miles to the west offering all the facilities of a modern city including its airport with regular flights to the south and summer flights to parts of Europe. Aberdeen is some 70 miles south east with extensive city amenities to hand including an airport and university.
The County of Moray, is famous for its mild climate, beautiful and varied countryside with rich agricultural land, prosperous fishing villages and wide open beaches. The upland areas to the south are sparsely populated and provide dramatic scenery, some of which forms part of the Cairngorm National Park. This unspoilt landscape provides a wide range of leisure and sporting opportunities including fishing on the world famous Spey and Findhorn Rivers, skiing at the Lecht in the Cairngorm range, sailing and walking. Located about 11 miles to the north west is the “jewel” of the Moray coastline the historic village of Findhorn with its sheltered bay providing excellent sailing, water sports and highly regarded inns. The Culbin Forest is a short drive away with its marked walks and cycle trails and offering excellent opportunities for a wide range of outdoor pursuits.
Pluscarden (old forms Ploschardin and Pluscardyn, locally often Pluscarty) is a district measuring some 4 miles by 2 miles and forms the south-western portion of the historic parish of Elgin. Pluscarden forms a long valley with wooded sides and rich alluvial soils drained by the Black Burn, a tributary of the River Lossie. Regarded locally for its natural beauty, Pluscarden is better known for the Abbey nearby, a Catholic Benedictine monastery which was founded in 1230 by Alexander II for the Valliscaulian Order.
Pluscarden is a most delightful and diverse low ground estate providing farming, forestry, sporting and conservation interests. Extending to some 547.81 ha (1353.64 acres) it is centred on the principal house, Westerton House, with 2 further cottages and a farmhouse, completing the residential elements of the subjects. In addition, there are a small number of estate buildings with the land including arable, permanent pasture, rough grazing and both commercial and broadleaf woodlands.
Currently, the farming enterprise is principally arable with the grassland fields leased on an annual basis for both sheep and cattle grazing.
The sport is currently restricted principally to roe deer stalking but until very recently also had an excellent and very well regarded low ground pheasant shoot. Forming part of the policies of Westerton House, is the beautiful walled garden and pair of ponds, complementing the grounds of this charming estate.
Pluscarden Estate offers opportunities for natural capital, conservation and bio-diversity enhancement projects be it further woodland creation, hedgerow establishment complementing existing native, ancient and commercial woodland and shrub heathland together with ponds and water courses.
It is an estate that offers a wealth of native wildlife including red squirrel, pine marten, roe deer, a variety of resident and migratory bird species and sightings of wildcats.
Pluscarden is available for sale either as a whole or in 2 lots as follows:
LOT 1 – WESTERTON HOUSE, EAST LODGE AND POLICIES - ABOUT 12.39 HA (30.62 AC)
The subjects of Lot 1 extend to about 12.39 hectares (30.62 acres) and are centred on Westerton House, the principal house of Pluscarden Estate. Dating back to around 1990 it sits on the site of the original Scots Baronial Mansion House which was demolished in the 1960’s. Approached by a tree lined drive with East Lodge at its entrance, Westerton House enjoys a most private position, benefiting from a southerly aspect looking out over the mature and well tended gardens and grounds. Designed in a traditional style, Westerton House has a harled exterior with coin stone detailing lying under a pitched slated roof with timber windows and complemented with a timber and painted conservatory. On entering the traditional detailing continues with panelled doors, period style fireplaces, wooden floors and a sweeping staircase.
It is a highly practical house with a well proportioned dining kitchen with seating area forming the heart of the house, with a superb dining hall leading directly into the drawing room and from where the conservatory is reached and links to the kitchen. There is a good sized study or fifth bedroom with cloakroom completing the ground floor accommodation whilst on the first floor is the south facing principal bedroom suite, 3 further bedrooms all with en-suite bathrooms and a practically positioned laundry room.
The accommodation, over 2 floors can be summarised as follows:
Dining hall, drawing room, breakfasting kitchen, vestibule, rear hall, cloakroom, bedroom 5/study and conservatory.
Principal bedroom with en-suite bathroom and dressing room, 3 further bedrooms (en-suite) and laundry room.
The immediate gardens and grounds of Westerton House are a particular and notable feature of the subjects. A tree lined drive leads to an extensive gravelled sweep to the north, flanked by a detached double garage. The extensive lawn lies to the south, east and west of the house and leads down to the pair of ponds to the south, bounded by a fine collection of specimen trees. To the east of the grounds is a parkland field which is down to grass whilst to the west is the original and very well kept traditional walled garden which is reached by a grass path. It was designed and created over the lifetime of the owners of Westerton House from the early 1990s and with its lawned areas, well stocked herbaceous border, manicured hedging, specimen trees, glasshouse and summerhouse, it is very much the “secret garden” of the estate. Immediately to the
north of the walled garden are a range of useful outbuildings.
East Lodge lies to the north-east of Westerton House and lies just to the south of the entrance to the principal drive. It is a traditional cottage of principally stone construction under a tiled roof with a small timber clad and flat roof extension to the rear. East Lodge offers well presented accommodation over two floors comprising:
Hall, cloakroom, dining kitchen, sitting room, staircase hall, bedroom 1
2 further bedrooms and family bathroom East Lodge sits within a good sized garden, principally down to lawn, enclosed by hedging with a timber garage to the rear.
LOT 2 – LANDS OF PLUSCARDEN ESTATE, NETHERBYRE FARM & WESTERTON COTTAGE ABOUT 535.42 HA (1323.02 AC)
Lot 2 extends to about 535.42 hectares (1323.02 acres) and comprises the principal lands of Pluscarden Estate, Netherbyre Farm with farmhouse and buildings together with Westerton Cottage and further estate buildings. The lands include arable, permanent pasture, temporary grass, rough grazings, woodland grazings and both commercial and broadleaf woodlands.
Westerton Cottage lies to the north of Westerton House and is believed to have been built in 1989. It is of a traditional cottage style with a harled exterior under a pitched slated roof and provides a well laid out and flexible room layout over a single storey. The accommodation of Westerton Cottage comprises:
Vestibule, hall, dining kitchen, drawing room, sun room, utility room, w.c. bathroom, principal bedroom with en-suite, 2 further bedrooms.
The house has a bright and airy feel and enjoys a wonderful outlook over the extensive garden and countryside beyond. It is double glazed and heated using oil central heating.
Lying immediately to the rear of Westeron Cottage is a useful range of traditional and timber outbuildings including an excellent stone built barn and the former estate shoot room.
Westerton Cottage sits within a well-established, extensive and pretty garden, which is principally down to lawn with a gravelled parking area to the north and east and a fine collection of specimen shrubs and trees giving wonderful structure to the grounds.
Netherbyre Farmhouse sits to the south of the Netherbyre Farm buildings. It is a category C listed traditional farmhouse of stone construction under a pitched slated roof. It enjoys a southerly aspect with a good sized garden to the front and rear. The accommodation, over 2 floors, comprises:
Porch, scullery, kitchen, reception hall, sitting room, study 1, living room, study 2, bedroom
Bathroom, 3 bedrooms
Netherbyre Farmhouse would be considered dated by modern standards and would benefit from a degree of modernisation and upgrading. The property is occupied under a life rent and further details are available from the Selling Agents.
In addition to the traditional buildings at Westerton Cottage, there are further farm buildings forming Lot 2 comprising:
Redavie Cattle Court
Lying on the southern side of the estate is the Redavie Cattle Court with yard area adjacent. It is concrete built under a cement fibre roof, with timber trusses with two external silage clamps. It is serviced with both water and electricity.
The agricultural shed lies immediately to the south of the minor public road running between Elgin and Forres. A steel portal frame shed with two lean to workshops/stores.
The Western section has been leased for over 20 years to JK Engineering who undertake a wide range of repairs for the estate. The owner of the business would be willing to discuss a continuation of the let with any prospective purchasers but has also indicated agreement to leave by the end of November should vacant possession be required. There is a yard area immediately surrounding the shed and has provided useful storage to the tenants. Further details are available from the Selling Agents.
Netherbyre Farm Buildings
There is a range of farm buildings lying to the north of Netherbyre Farmhouse. These include a Dutch Barn and a stone built traditional steading which is in a poor state of repair.
Lot 2 extends to about 535.42 hectares (1323.02 acres) and is classified as Grade 3.2 and Grade 4.1 by the James Hutton Institute. It sits from about 55 metres above sea level at its lowest point rising to about 181 metres at its highest point. The land has very good access both from the public road and via a network of internal estate tracks. The farmland is designated as being in payment Region 1.
Pluscarden benefits from a number of woodland blocks situated throughout the estate and include both native broadleaf and commercial coniferous woodlands. They lie principally to the west side of Lot 2 with further woodland areas to the north east of the subjects by Netherbyre Farm. The woodland blocks principally benefit from an excellent network of internal tracks and roads which will be a great asset for the extraction of timber in the future. The coniferous woodlands include Douglas fir, larch, Norway spruce, Sitka spruce and Scots pine and extend in total to about 76 hectares. Several areas are due for harvesting within the next 5 years. Approximately 16ha has been restocked within the last 5-10 years, these areas are establishing well. The broadleaf woodlands extend to approximately 110ha, they are a good quality mix of native upland birch, oak and beech with some special specimen/policy trees. 58ha are recorded within the Ancient Woodland Inventory Further, there are areas of birch scrub within the subjects. The woodland is currently managed under a Long Term Forest Plan Case ref. 4454403. The plan is due for renewal in 2023.
An initial walkover survey and desktop assessment has indicated potential for approximately a further 261 ha of woodland creation within Lot 2 of Pluscarden Estate. A full site survey, including bird, archaeology and ground investigations, would be required to identify the potential and constraints more accurately for any projects. The Hutton Institute land capability for forestry shows the potential planting ground as being a mix of F1 and F6, with soils varying between podzols and gleys, providing a suitable mix for both native and commercial woodlands. Funding remains available through the Scottish Government’s Forestry Grant Scheme. Based on the current 11 grant rates,
such a planting proposal could achieve a grant income in the region of £730,000.
Newly planted woodlands are also eligible to enter into the Woodland Carbon Code. This allows the owner to sell carbon credits accrued during the lifetime of the woodland. An average native woodland can sequester approximately 350 tonnes of CO2/Ha. A scheme such as this over its lifetime could generate very considerable carbon capture income. An initial assessment of the amount of carbon that could be sequestered by a native woodland creation scheme at Pluscarden Estate indicates that approximately 83,000 tonnes of carbon could be sequestered over 100 years. The market is evolving rapidly however at current market prices of £10-15/t of carbon sequestered the scheme over its lifetime could provide a net income of between £830,000-£1,250,000.
The Galbraith Forestry Team are on hand to discuss the potential in more detail with interested parties.
Pluscarden Estate previously ran a successful, highly regarded pheasant shoot but this has recently been wound up. It could however be readily re-established with a number of strategically placed release pens still in place, the former shoot room being located at Westerton Cottage and with the topography of the estate, some very good and at times challenging drives.
Roe deer stalking can be enjoyed on the estate with an informal arrangement currently in place with a local resident for this stalking.
Further information and game records are available upon request from the selling agents.