The price of UK agricultural land

This piece by Peter Hetherington was published on Wednesday (Sept 2) in the Guardian.  He outlines how it is that farmland in Britain has “become the safest investment for those with a few spare millions to offload. Prices are up by a staggering 277% in a decade, according to Savills market survey of UK agricultural land 2015. Prime London property has risen by a mere 127% in the same period. Taking a cue from Mark Twain – “buy land, they’re not making it anymore” – institutions and the rich are queueing up to get their hands on the country’s most basic resource.”

His new book, Whose Land is our Land published in August puts the case for policy reform backed by strong government action.

4 thoughts on “The price of UK agricultural land

  1. Please keep me informed about your activities/conferences. I read the article in ‘Resurgence’ and it makes an awful lot of sense. I loved the pictures too.

    Best wishes – Malcolm Baldwin.

  2. This is absolutely brilliant – I read about it this morning in Resurgence & Ecologist and have immediately looked up your website. My passion is Biomimicry – emulating the genius of Nature – and would suggest, perhaps, that a link be added to and the Biomimicry Institute. For example, a topical question might be: “How does Nature manage excess water?” and a whole host of ideas, inspired by Nature, would pop up.

    One small point in the magazine article that I venture to query: that of the use of the term “tiers” for summarising the Curriculum. As Nature operates in the round and we, at our peril, operate in a linear fashion (whether up/down or lengthwise!) completely at odds with Her, might you consider using, instead, the concept of, say, segments or interlocking circles?

    All blessings to the College. Trisha Comrie

  3. Our local CSA showed a short film made recently about models of land holding in other European countries, which enabled ecologically responsible cultivation. One farm which was mentioned was Terre de Liens in France. I believe this model, maybe crowd-funded by the very investors who might otherwise render land inaccessible to sustainable use, or the many members of CSAs and other environmental organisations who support your aims, could offer the purchasing power for a future land-based college. I would certainly donate, visit, share knowledge, learn and support in any way possible.

  4. Hello Colin, Ruth, Suzanne et al,

    I hope you’re well and your exciting projects are developing successfully. A friend pointed out to me that your college has a focus on metaphysics, morality and religion of agriculture.

    I’m currently a few years into a PhD looking at the deep relationships between philosophy and agriculture. I’ve been examining continental thinkers like Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida and Butler, as well as older European philosophers such as Descartes, Hume, Locke, and then going back to the Greeks – Socrates, Plato, and the pre-Socratics. This is building somewhat on an MSc project I did a few years ago which was centered around Barracks Lane community garden in Oxford.

    My approach has been to develop a method of ‘agricultural reading’ – looking through these writings with something of a fine-toothed comb, exploring how they have been explicitly or implicitly in a relationship with agriculture. I’m working from the hypothesis that the seeds of agri-culture have been sown throughout philosophy – that the two have always been in relationship – be it antagonistic or symbiotic.

    I come from a farming family going back forever, but I am a teacher – I teach philosophy at A-level and I’ve done a little teaching for undergraduates and postgraduates.

    My mother and I also have a medium to long term goal of establishing a ‘wellbeing’ farm in Oxfordshire, which will have a research leaning – she is a neuroscientist and psychologist who grew up on our family farm – where I also spent many years.

    So I thought I’d get in touch to suggest the possibility of meeting over a cup of tea and sharing some thoughts and ideas – it would be very enriching for me to meet with other people who are moving in a similar direction, and perhaps I can be of some help with your very worthwhile projects.

    Do drop me an email if this would be something of interest.

    Best wishes for everything in the future,


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