Farm for Sale - Dog Friendly Cottage in Wales

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Farm for Sale

Would you like to buy this farmhouse / cottage?


It is on the market at £500,000 with circa five acres.


More land up to a total of 23 acres is available separately.


Because it is a holiday let, you can even 'test drive' the farmhouse to see if you like it by booking it for a one week self-catering rental.


Check availability in 2018 here.


Holiday Lets - allow 6 months notice


Due to Holiday Lettings, especially in Summer, there's a 4-6 months lead time to 'complete', depending on holiday bookings (see bookings page). So if you have a place to sell now, we recommend an early viewing so you can tie in completion on your existing home once it sells, to fit in with occupying this property.


We'll need to cancel and refund any bookings more than 6 months ahead, but we wish to honour summer season rather than expect holiday makers to make short notice alternative arrangements.

Brecon Beacons Craig y Nos farmhouse surrounded by its own land
This tucked-away rural idyll, surrounded by its own land, yet within easy reach of the A4067 Swansea-Brecon Road, offers a rare opportunity with its numerous outbuildings for a canny buyer to create a £1m property, subject to the necessary consents.




Buying the farm - please send me a brochure
Staying at the farm to test-drive it, please confirm availability for dates below

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Wales farmhouse for sale,

Wales cottage for sale

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Why am I selling?

When I bought the farmhouse in 2007 (paying £630,000 for it, and it was in a very poor state at the time), I had intended to use it as a private family home. Then my plans changed and I continued to live in a bachelor’s flat at my business premises, Craig y Nos Castle. The farm has been let out as a four-star self-catering holiday house for ten years, currently earning around £25,000 a year.

In the early years a lot of work was done, repairing all the dry-stone walls, landscaping the garden area which was previously a dumping ground for old rusting farm machinery, and putting in an en-suite for the master bedroom. We also installed a borehole as there was no reliable water supply, and had several months hire of a mechanical digger to dig out all the boulders and buried farm machinery to create level lawned garden areas around the house.

In 2008 my circumstances changed, marriage and two boys came along, and the boys are now being educated at a day prep school in Dorset. Until last year I remained at the castle, extending my living accommodation into previously derelict areas of the castle as the family expanded.

I am currently living in temporary accommodation in Dorset during the school term and come back to Craig y Nos Castle in Wales in the holidays. So, I need now to sell the farmhouse to buy somewhere more permanent in Dorset for the school term times.




What are the key attractions of the farmhouse for a buyer?

Much the same as they were when I bought the place ten years ago:

1. It is remote and peaceful, no traffic noise (rare in this day and age) - silent and very peaceful, especially inside the house itself. Just sheep and countryside all around.

2. It has no neighbours, so you are entirely surrounded by your own land. For the price, this is rare, even for Wales, where property prices are reasonable. Also, good access to Swansea etc once off the single-track lane.

3. It has some very useful stone barns which are ripe for conversion, subject to the necessary consents.

4. The farmhouse internally offers two bedrooms, a large lounge with log burner, small galley kitchen and small breakfast room with fireplace, and a large main dining room currently used as a downstairs bedroom. So, it is ready to move in straightaway.

5. If I was keeping it and had the money, I would convert the attached barn into a very large open plan main kitchen and diner, with the upper floor being large enough to provide two large or three smaller en-suite bedrooms. If you look at the aerial photos, you will see the attached barn with a concrete area at one end. The roof was completely repaired/ rebuilt / new rafters etc put in, so all that is required is to convert the barn into additional living accommodation. You will need to source some old beams for the first-floor level, and will have a very attractive barn conversion at the end of it. My plan was to put a conservatory at the end of the barn, on the space where the concrete area is, to take advantage of the views over the valley.

6. The Gardens are currently laid to lawn, but are substantial and could be made very attractive with the addition of a summerhouse and planted out with tubs and flower beds (tall tubs would be better as there are many rabbits).

7. There is a separate non-attached barn which could, subject to the necessary planning consents, provide a very large granny annexe, or be converted into a second holiday cottage.

8. An income of around £50,000 could be achieved if the two barns were converted into accommodation as above, as you would then have the option of living in the main farmhouse, and using both the adjacent unattached barn and the attached barn for holiday lets, doubling the current income of £25,000 or so. Or you might move in to the attached barn once converted into kitchen / lounge with bedrooms above, and let out the main farmhouse and let out the adjacent, separate barn.



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Potential
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The potential for this farmhouse is huge, but my resources are now entirely consumed with the ongoing re-furbishment and restoration of Craig y Nos Castle, and the costs of living in Dorset, private school fees etc.

When I originally bought the castle and farm, I had another business that was generating sufficient profits to cover the costs of both projects. However, that business has contracted to a shadow of its former self, leaving the castle wedding and hotel business as the primary source of income. This means the castle has to fund its own restoration and maintenance, out of its own income, leaving nothing over for the redevelopment of the farm. This is why the farm is not being treated to the full painting routine and regular maintenance it merits.

It is a great shame for me but an opportunity for you. It is exceptionally rare you can find a project with such massive potential for improvement and expansion. The farm is in such a peaceful and private location it's hard to beat.

What I always saw in the farm was the potential to turn the empty buildings into income generating holiday lets, while still allowing private occupation of a substantial part of the property. In my personal opinion, subject to the vagaries of the local property market, the farm could easily become a £1m plus property once it is fully developed.





What are the negatives?

There are always some negatives to any opportunity and you should go into this project with your eyes wide open. You need to be ready to do it justice and need to consider some of the obstacles you will face. The property is a bargain but to make the most of it, it needs you to commit to a long term project.

Of course you could just live in it as it is, but really the whole idea is to double the value of the place, as I envisaged doing, so you end up with a £1m property in 5 - 10 years time.

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1. Drive-way and access improvements: While you will not need to do this if you are the only family at the property, if you wish to create a separate dwelling out of one of the barns, you will need to alter the route of the farm's drive up to the single track lane, to gain correct right angle alignment with the single-track lane. This will be required if you wish to create a separate dwelling. Highways require this if they feel there is going to be any increase in traffic on to the lane. It would therefore be inadvisable to apply for any separate dwellings, in the first instance, and instead merely apply to convert the attached barn as suggested above, so it forms an extension to the main house (i.e. you have no planned increase in number of occupants).

2. The dirt track to the farm is steep - and not suitable for large lorries, horseboxes etc. This makes the farm very private of course and the drive has withstood a lot of traffic without needing much maintenance. However you may wish to level it out and improve it a bit.

3. There is always a fair amount of maintenance to do on the dry-stone walls. We had them all looking beautiful but keeping them looking good is a labour of love.

4. Brecon Beacons National Park will not allow any New Build within the National Park Boundaries. Accordingly, you can only build, convert, or change the use of an existing structure.

5. The farm has a number of outbuildings. You must not pull any of these down, no matter how tumble-down they become, as once they are gone, you cannot get planning to re-develop them. As long as there is something standing, you can simply reinstate the structure to what it was (without planning if all you are doing is repairing what was there), once you have funds available.

6. Hence you will note a number of dilapidated barns and outbuildings which if removed would make the place look prettier. They should however be left standing as they represent future expansion opportunities.

7. To obtain planning to convert a barn, the Authorities in this area (I am not sure if this applies to all of Wales) will levy a once off taxation fee to give you planning to convert a barn into a separate residence. I am not sure if this also applies when you simply expand the existing residence into the attached barn (which has in any event been commenced years ago by a previous owner), or if it is just a form of tax that applies if you are improving the property's value by creating two residences where there was one residence before.

8. Highways however will not approve planning for a second residence until (1) above is resolved. So, you should instead convert the attached barn with a view to making it an extra space for the main residence, just for your own use.

9. My personal strategy would simply be to convert the attached barn into a kitchen diner / long large lounge on the lower level, all one room, with a conservatory at the end, and two or three en-suites on the upper level, with a balconied area over the conservatory at the end. The attached barn would then be absorbed as part of the main farm residence, with no mention made of any longer term ideas of a separate dwelling or holiday let use.

10. The falling down tin barn should simply be reinstated and made into a car port with two levels, so you have ample storage above.

11. There are costs to all this, so the project would suit someone able to work on some of the projects themselves, or someone with a good income, to do the work over an extended period of time.

12. The owner before us or maybe even the previous owner before him, had commenced an expansion into the attached barn, creating a small annexe - see the white 'french window' area in the picture below left. This is the annexe between the rest of the attached barn and the house itself. Sufficient time has now elapsed for this to become part of the main house and you could extend this into the rest of the barn over time.

Farmhouse for Sale Craig y Nos Brecon Beacons Wales
Farmhouse for Sale in Brecon Beacons South Wales

Bargain basement prices on Wales Properties:

If you are familiar with the Property Market in Wales you will know that prices have dropped since 2007. Bargains for buyers abound. You can get a lot for around £500k now.

So the farm if I wish to sell it, has to be realisitically priced. I would accept £500k.

A bit of background about the Wales property market may be of interest to you, so here goes:

Wales has a curious history with property prices. When I first bought in Wales, in 2000, there were little bungalows you could buy for £20,000. By 2007 these had gone up to £110,000. They've probably dropped by 30% since. What this shows is that Wales can experience significant shifts in prices both up and down. Currently they are definitely low and should one day go up. This therefore is a good time to buy, at the bottom of the market.

It was in 2007 that I decided, unwisely in hindsight, to sell one house and two flats in London. This was to raise cash for some restoration works at Craig y Nos Castle, a sister property, and to fully convert the remaining London houses into HMO's in order to comply with new HMO planning regulations. A developer in London had been interested in buying three of my London properties for years and as I had some cash left over from the sale to 'roll over', I bought the farmhouse as a potential future personal residence. My idea was to use it for overflow accommodation for the castle either for B&B or as self-catering lets.

Back in 2007 the farmhouse cost £630,000, with 23 acres. This was at the 'top' of the market in Wales. In hindsight the purchase was a bad decision as prices in London jumped 50% since 2007 while prices in Wales dropped 20%. The house in London that I sold to buy the farm is now more than double what the farm is worth. Very disappointing.

The farm was in a pretty bad condition - it was a place 'with potential' for improvement and needing it. Now it is in a sound condition though it needs a lick of paint inside and out.

I am selling it with less land - 5 acres - since most people do not want 23 acres. The rest of the land is available by separate negotiation.

Prices in Wales should recover in a few years. You can certainly buy plenty of places already 'done up' for the same money, but what you cannot do once a place is fully done up, is gain the potential for any increase in value.


With this farmhouse you have an opportunity to steadily improve the accommodation and extend into the barns, or use the barns for some other activity.


There is a vast amount of under-developed and unused space. There can be few places where you have 4 star holiday accommodation you can move into straightaway, AND a 'do up' opportunity right on your doorstep that could potentially double the value of the property, more than repaying the cost of conversion, over the longer term.


In Dorset I am looking for similar opportunities and they just do not exist. The farmhouse offers a unique opportunity to be developed. It is a great place for the right person to make something much more of it than what you see now.

What might you do with the farm?

Well, you could live in it, or you use it as a holiday base and continue the self-catering lettings business.

It has a handy little website. I've not really 'optimised' the site to get it found on page one of google organically, but all I (and therefore you) need to do to increase bookings is put a small adwords campaign on the farm website. Google puts the advert on page one and it gets booked up quite fast.

Either I can continue to let it out for you in return for a commission, Or you can put it with a Brecon Beacons holiday cottage agency who will let it and fully manage it for you for a 20% commission.

If you considered it as a small business, you could make around £25k  - equivalent to the interest on a 5% mortgage. Plus you would have 15-20 weeks of the year
to live in it yourself. If the Castle continued to manage the bookings and website for you, we'd charge you a 15% commission on bookings plus 5% for cleaning and organising the lets.

So this means the farm can be an attractive proposition when taken in conjunction with the established holiday letting business.

Longer term its value can only increase. And when economic circumstances justify the capital outlay, you have huge potential in the two stone barns to do more with it.

You could for example convert the separate barn into self catering accommodation, to double your holiday rental income, or keep the main house for personal occupancy and instead let out the barn to self-catering or B&B (which I had thought of doing myself).

If you are interested in this farmhouse, why not book a week's holiday in it, and see what you think of the position, the location and the area generally.

The peace and quiet is probably one of its greatest attributes. The stillness and silence all around you. There are not many houses left where you can enjoy the complete absence of noise.

Yet it is within easy reach of a number of good restaurant pubs in Penycae and Abercrave, plus there are some big supermarkets 7 miles down the road. It has a good flow of referral business from Craig y Nos Castle.

Farmhouse for sale in Brecon Beacons South Wales
Farmhouse for sale in Brecon Beacons National Park near Penycae South Wales

Improvements made to the farm 2008-9:

I had a couple of labourers living on the site for about 18 months. During this time it was used for occasional B&B at weekends while the weekdays were spent doing it up. The works done included:

1. Leveling all the surrounding grounds which had become a junkyard of old metal, rocks, concrete and rusting farm equipment and general rubbish including old cars etc.

2. Re-building all the dry stone walls which had mostly fallen down.

3. Landscaping and laying to lawns most of what is now the back garden, which was all overgrown and strewn with rubbish.

4. Raising the level of a boggy area ready for a garden and patio area at the back of the 'unattached' barn.

5. Re-roofing and repairing the barns which had begun to collapse at the gable ends. They have now been stabilised and repaired.


Builders employed at Craig y Nos Castle have also done some work including:

1. Putting in an en-suite to master bedroom.

2. Replacing the non-existent water supply (a tin tank in a field drawing water off a stream which ran dry in the summer) with a £10,000 borehole.

3. Improving the sewage system which previously was so archaic you could not even put loo paper down the loo.

4. Starting work on a galleried loft conversion to create a mezzanine level above the master bedroom, sitting above the second bedroom.

This would give a new owner a huge amount of extra space or another bedroom, which does not appear on the sales particulars, and which would not cost a huge amount to add (maybe £15k as part of the work is already done).

5. Third bedroom created on ground floor from the former dining room. This could be reinstated as a dining room or second reception room. It has nice orangey quarry tiles under the current bedroom carpet. The tiles are in perfect condition but not suitable for the room's current use as a bedroom.

6. Some work (not completed) done on annexe to create a second kitchen / diner area as part of a longer term expansion into the attached barn.

All-up, I've invested about £780k into the farmhouse, including its purchase price.

Not my best investment, but good for any buyer as I take the hit on the drop in price and the initial restoration improvement works.

What else could you do with the farm?

Longer term I had intended to convert the barns into further accommodation, though I never got around to it as I am forever building en-suites within the loads of empty derelict rooms at the castle.

There is also an ugly tin barn that needs repairing, and which we had planned to use as a carport with accommodation over. There are plenty of drawings you can look at to see some of the ideas we had.

At the time I bought the farm, my main business, Craig y Nos Castle, was losing a lot of potential income through not having enough bedrooms converted into en-suites. Business was booming, our events business was growing fast, and I felt I needed more rooms.

My plan had been to continue converting more of the derelict rooms at the castle into en-suites, and simultaneously adding more rooms at the farm using those barns as overflow accommodation.

Then the recession came along, the events business slowed down, and since 2007 I've continued slowly to add extra en-suite rooms at the castle to meet the current level of demand.


Be advised that getting planning permission to use the barns for B&B or self-catering will be slow. We are in the Brecon Beacons National Park so new-build is out of the question. But you do eventually get permission for change of use, on existinng buildings, and tourism businesses are looked on favourably as a source of income in to the area.

One problem we had was our access on to the road. It is at a curious angle. Highways will want you to improve the access on to the lane. Your next problem would be getting change of use on the barns. A common development in the National Park that I have seen is where barns are used for some local tourism / activity / mixed farm use. A good example would be Cantref Adventure Farm near Brecon, plus there is an outdoor activity centre near the farm. Or you may simply prefer the farm for use as a private dwelling.

Back in 2008, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority were keen on getting more people to stay overnight in the area, to increase tourism spending. A problem for the Park is that tourists 'drive through', visiting only for day trips which does not support the local economy. This indicates B&B and self-catering applications will be looked on favourably.

The two barns offer fantastic potential either as an extension to your existing living accommodation, or for a hobby business, or tourism / outward bound activity use. Take a long-term view, and over a few years you may realise the full earning potential of this farmhouse-cum-business opportunity, just as I had planned to do back in 2007.

Farmhouse for sale in Brecon Beacons National Park near Penycae in South Wales - lounge
Farmhouse for sale in Brecon Beacons National Park between Swansea and Brecon

Please use the form on the right -;

(1) if you would like to buy the farm yourself and receive a brochure on it, or

(2) if you would like to stay at the farm, you can use this form to enquire about availability





Buying the farm - please send me a brochure
Staying at the farm to test-drive it, please confirm availability for dates below

Aerial View of the farm surrounded by woodland and fields



 
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