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.
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:
“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.