Llanbrynmair Forest, one of the largest privately-owned commercial forests in Wales, has been brought to the market by Savills. The 5,342ac forest is situated in the Montgomeryshire area of Powys, a region well-known for its timber production.
The forest provides a very rare opportunity to acquire a large-scale commercial forest complex that is effectively within a ring fence. It is made up of a number of individual plantations brought together under single ownership.
Discussing the UK market, James Adamson, head of forestry investment at Savills, said: “Due to the limited size of the UK market, finding a single commercial forest of this scale and productive capacity is very rare indeed.
This property therefore represents a significant investment opportunity with an excellent long-term revenue forecast from timber sales. This is effectively a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The upland areas of Wales are among the most important regions for commercial forestry in the UK and support a significant volume of forestry activity.
Regular supply of timber
The first commercial planting took place in 1960 and the forest was established over multiple-phases, with the most recent replanting taking place in 2019. The main species is Sitka spruce, which accounts for more than 70% of the total area of the forest.
Harvesting only started in the last five years, meaning that the forest will have a regular supply of timber at production age over the next 20 years.
This represents a key attribute of the site, as it will provide a sustained income from felling with the estimated volume of timber available over the first rotation in excess of 500,000t.
Research conducted by Savills into the UK forestry market - published in March - highlighted that the capital market for forestry and woodland is thriving, with a further rise in average values recorded in 2018, continuing a trend that began in the early 2000s.
Rising values are driven by a long-term interest in timber as a commodity, and the ability to purchase a large stock of timber effectively allows investors to ‘store value’, which is attractive in a low-interest rate environment.
The forest benefits from an excellent production forecast, located in a key timber growing area, with wind energy development potential.
Rhydian Scurlock-Jones, director, Savills Telford, said:
In the context of the local market, this forest is exceptional. The average woodland plot sale equates to around 37ac; therefore, there has been little scope for institutional investors to buy here over recent years.
“Furthermore, forests in Wales are known to achieve good timber prices and Llanbrynmair Forest is well-located in a renowned growing area.
"It boasts a very good internal road and track network, and is well-connected to the A458. With an excellent long-term production revenue forecast, as well as further growth potential, it is likely to generate a good deal of interest.”
The property also has wider appeal.
There is scope for wind energy development and there is an option agreement over the site with a wind energy developer.
There is also an opportunity to blend a commercial forestry investment with potential peatland and habitat restoration in areas where average timber growth is slower.
The Llanbrynmair Forest is being offered for sale as a whole for offers over £27.5 million. Further information can be found online.