‘Unique’ farm in coveted river setting hits market for first time in 60 years

A view of Hill Farm, Martlesham, which is being offered up for sale for the first time in 60 years

The 18th century farmhouse and pool at Hill Farm, Martlesham - Credit: Chris Rawlings

An organic farm with “breath-taking” views of the River Deben is being offered up for sale with a guide price of £7.5m.

Hill Farm at Martlesham, near Woodbridge, has a rich history and was once owned by former RAF Group Captain Edward P Wells, a New Zealander who fought alongside flying ace Sir Douglas Bader – who was the Second World War’s most decorated pilot despite having lost both legs in an accident in 1931.

The 340-acre property has been in the same family for almost 60 years and is currently farmed organically under tenancy.

A crop field at Hill Farm, Martlesham

Hill Farm at Martlesham is an organic farm - Credit: Chris Rawlings

It is believed to have been one of the first places in England to export sugar beet to the Netherlands and is described by selling agents Savills as “an exemplary residential farm in the rarest of coastal settings”.

It includes 18 acres of water and saltings — incorporating an ancient barge dock understood to have aided the passage of the very first crop of sugar beet in England from Hill Farm to the Netherlands.

Group Captain Wells – who served with 41 and 266 squadrons during the Battle of Britain – owned it from 1956 to 1963.

Selling agent William Hargreaves – who is based at Savills’ Ipswich office – described the property as “unique”.

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As well as its five-bedroomed 18th century farmhouse with Georgian modifications, the property provided “a wonderful opportunity for progressive farming”, he said.

“Hill Farm has a rich history that stretches back hundreds of years.

"At one time the property would have been the furthest extreme of the Orwell Park Estate but more recently it has been a treasured family home,” he said.

A view of the river from Hill Farm, Martlesham

Hill Farm at Martlesham has stunning views of the River Deben - Credit: Chris Rawlings

“Very rarely is somewhere offered for sale in a more coveted setting.

"Sitting in a wonderfully elevated position on the western bank of the River Deben, the main farmhouse enjoys breath-taking panoramic views from Kyson Point on Martlesham Creek, taking in Woodbridge to the north and spanning around to Methersgate and the eastern bank of the Deben with Sutton beyond.”

The property includes 224 acres of highly productive, organic, irrigated farmland that has typically supported crop rotations including French beans, butternut squash, potatoes, carrots, beetroot, onions and parsley as well as various break crops such as cereals and clover.

It also encompasses 86 acres of grazing marshes, meadow and woodland and a six million gallon reservoir.

Buildings include a three-bedroom cottage alongside a range of traditional farm buildings including workshops and machinery storage.

The gardens of the main farmhouse feature a tennis court and solar heated swimming pool in a secluded walled garden.

The farm has been classified as organic for more than 15 years, with the arable land is farmed under contract until the end of September 2022.

“There is every opportunity for that to continue should the new owners wish,” said Mr Hargreaves.

“However it also has hugely diverse environmental credentials in the form of grazing marshes, woodland, meadow and saltings – making it a haven for wildlife and perfect for the environmentally conscientious buyer or investor.”