Bossington Estate is about 350 acres of permanent pasture, 580 acres of arable, a large fishery along the River Test, woodland, an airstrip and other smaller areas.
When Will Buckley and his wife Sarah Jane Fairey took over the estate four years ago, the pasture was in a poor state with pernicious weeds because the grazing had been let on an ongoing basis. “The pasture had not been properly managed,” Mr Buckley explained. “Cattle and sheep were set stocked – so there has been a significant improvement in the quality of grass there.”
Previously, the estate had a 600 sow weaner operation, which brought some benefits. “When you take on an estate, you are taking on four or five different businesses which you have never run before,” Mr Buckley explained. “So it was quite a learning curve for us and we just wanted to transition slowly. We had agents who helped us with managing and letting the properties. Agents came in and did the arable area. Livestock was the area that we were both quite interested in and so we focused on that ourselves.” Although grazing was still rented out, it was slowly brought back in hand. The fishery was taken on straight away, and radical changes were begun.