Purchasing agricultural land

Laura Mather  08-01-2024

Have you decided you want to buy some agricultural land? Are you now thinking, what next?

There are a number of points that you should keep in mind both before you make an offer and during the conveyancing process, to ensure that the land meets your requirements. After all, what good is a parcel of land that you cannot utilise as you intended?

As well as considering what searches you wish to obtain and your intended land use, there are other aspects to land that need to be considered during a purchase. 

This helpful guide tells you what you need to know about buying agricultural land


Covenants and Restrictions on Agricultural Land

It is quite common for there to be restrictions or “covenants” binding agricultural land. These covenants may prevent you from using the land in a certain way, or from applying for planning permission.

Covenants affecting the land will be found in the title documents and will be reviewed by your conveyancer.

A restrictive covenant may be released by way of a deed of release however this must be agreed with those who  have the right to enforce the covenant (possibly the owner of adjacent land).

It is important to consider fully how any covenants or restrictions will affect your intended use of the land.


Rights of Way Over Agricultural Land

There are two types of rights of way which need to be considered when you are purchasing agricultural land:

  • Private rights of way should be noted in the title to the land and will be reviewed by your conveyancer.
  • Public rights of way should be revealed by your local authority search.

You need to consider whether any rights granted over the land will affect your use and enjoyment of the land.


Access to Agricultural Land

It is important to consider how the land is accessed.  Is there direct access from a public highway to the land or will you need to cross someone else’s property to access the land you are buying? Your conveyancer should recommend a local authority search to establish the status of the roads near the land you are buying and whether they are adopted highway (and so maintainable at public expense and accessible by the public) or not.

It might be the case that you are required to exercise a right of way over privately owned land in order to access your land. Such rights should be revealed in the title documentation and reviewed by your conveyancer, although it is important to be aware that there may be informal rights used by the current landowner, which will need to be formalised when you buy.

Private rights of way sometimes come with limitations such as the right only being exercisable on foot and very often come with requirements for the party exercising the right to contribute towards the cost of maintaining and repairing the access. You need to consider carefully how this will impact your use of the land in the future.


Boundaries on Agricultural Land

It is important to ensure that the boundaries shown on the title plan (or transfer plan if purchasing part of a larger parcel of land) accurately reflect the physical boundaries of the land you are purchasing.

You should consider whether the boundaries to the land you are purchasing are clear, with existing boundary structures in place. If so, it is important to establish who is responsible for the maintenance of those boundaries.

If you are purchasing a parcel of land that forms part of a much larger piece of land it might be that the boundaries are not yet clearly marked out. It is important to ensure that you and the seller are in agreement as to the position of the boundaries, what boundary structures there will be (if any) and who will maintain them going forward.


North Devon Experts in Purchasing Agricultural Land

At Samuels Solicitors, based in Barnstaple, we have been assisting clients purchasing and selling agricultural land for many decades. Our expert lawyers will be able to guide yo though every step of the process.

If you are considering a land purchase please do not hesitate to contact us for a free no obligation quote.

Devon agricultural land purchase solicitors lawyers