Agriculture and estates in North

Cartmell Shepherd

The ‘friendly, approachable and understanding' Cartmell Shepherd specialises in agriculture and property. The firm provides a practical agricultural background and a particular expertise in tenancy matters. Director Jonathan Carroll leads the team, and has notable experience in contentious and non-contentious matters, including tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act. The team includes director Mark Jackson, who specialises in the sale and acquisition of farms, estates and forestry, and solicitor Katherine Pretswell-Walker, who deals with a range of agricultural law and tenancy matters.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Carroll


‘Experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic advisors, who deliver consistently high-quality advice in a clear and concise manner.’

‘A long established farming practice that has a great reputation in agriculture, not only in Cumbria but the length of Britain.’

‘New partners young, dynamic and accessible.’

‘Jonathan Carroll, Mark Jackson and Katherine Pretswell-Walker stand out for their friendly no nonsense approach.’

‘Good understanding of the farming community.’

‘Mark Jackson understands client’s needs.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Carlisle Diocese

Durham Diocese

Persimmon Plc

Work highlights

  • Represented a family trust in connection with a significant acquisition of commercial forestry.
  • Purchase of significant and historic lake district agricultural holding.
  • Advising on ongoing property and private client matters in relation to a significant and complex estate in the Lake District.
  • Ongoing representation for a landlord in a contested agricultural succession case involving complex and novel points of law.  The matter will be decided by the tribunal at a final hearing in spring 2019.
  • Represented a land owing family on the complex disposal of land for the construction of a new school site involving various option arrangements, s.106 issues and complex negotiation with multiple parties.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP specialises in advising private estate owners and other landowning organisations. The ‘breadth of practice areas covered marks it out’ as well as its advice to a number of public authorities and quasi-public bodies. Simon Kirkup leads the practice and his clients include private landowners as well as major landowning charities and PLCs. Also notable in the team is managing associate Charlotte Patterson-Ryan, who ‘combines strong technical knowledge in the areas of landlords and tenants, with excellent professional skills,’ which makes her ‘stand out as a go-to adviser’.

Practice head(s):

Simon Kirkup

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Patterson-Ryan


‘Sound, swift advice and service.’

‘The firm has such a wide variety of expertise all under one roof , including legal advice on farming, property management and family trust law.’

‘Very solid breadth of practice and strong professionalism.’

‘Extremely client focused.’ 

‘Simon Kirkup provides well-reasoned thoughtful advice.’

‘Despite having a heavy work load, Simon Kirkup is always accessible for advic.e’

‘Charlotte Patterson-Ryan is always efficient and speedy.’

‘Charlotte Patterson-Ryan’s capacity to turn around work is phenomenal, and she is extremely straightforward to work with.’

Key clients

National Trust

Grainger PLC

Church Commissioners

English Heritage


Burnetts has a broad range of specialisms in the sector, including banking work, sale and purchase of farms, agricultural tenancies, strategic planning and dispute resolution. The practice provides ‘specific farming knowledge and farming backgrounds’. Richard Miller is head of the property team, and leading the agri-business team is Joanne McKenzie, who is a specialist in agricultural tenancy matters and the implications of the Agricultural Holdings Act.

Practice head(s):

Joanne McKenzie; Richard Miller


‘The members of the team respond promptly.’

‘All work and advice was clear and appropriately described.’

‘A friendly and proactive approach.’

‘The team works well together.’

‘The speed of response is excellent.’

‘A stand out member of staff was the very prompt and very reliable Joanne McKenzie.’


Key clients

Lloyds Bank PLC

Thomas Armstrong (Aggregates) Limited

Mitchell’s Auction Company

H&H Group PLC

Clydesdale Bank PLC

Hopes Auction Company Limited

Warrendale Farms Limited

InvestAcc Pension Trustees Limited

Friends of the Lake District

The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC

Work highlights

  • Provided advice to The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC on complex deals. Involved ownership structures with trust arrangements, Settled Land Act tenants, company borrowers and non-UK entities where legal opinions are required.
  • Completed numerous refinancing matters for Lloyds Bank PLC in the agriculture sector with a wide range of financial values.
  • Purchase of agricultural land by the SIPP and the related tenancy back to the seller; Acting for InvestAcc and its members on sales and purchases of agricultural land and properties across England with associated tenancy and other matters.
  • This was a complicated matter involving the reorganisation of both agricultural and commercial property, a partnership agreement over two generations and a re-mortgaging exercise.
  • The accurate registration of a land holding and associated litigation issues and dealing with all succession matters, including the putting in place of the client’s will and LPA.

Hay & Kilner

A member firm of the Country Landowners Association, Hay & Kilner is known for acting in the surrender of AHA tenancies and the grant of new farm business tenancies, as well as drafting contract farming agreements for modern farming practices. The practice is also experienced in the sale and purchase of land and advising in respect of mineral rights. Alison Hall, head of the rural team, has particular expertise in agricultural matters and landed estates. Martin Soloman specialises in commercial disputes, notably in representing landowning and farming clients in property and land disputes. Richard Freeman-Wallace focuses on commercial property and regularly acts for landowners and developers.

Practice head(s):

Alison Hall; Richard Freeman-Wallace; Martin Soloman

Work highlights

  • Acting for a variety of land owners in the North East on the recommendation of a long established and highly respected firm of chartered surveyors and land agents in the North East. The matter involves grants of options and conditional sales.

Latimer Hinks Solicitors

Traditionally farming focused, Latimer Hinks Solicitors has experience in areas ranging from advice to landed estate owners and succession planning, to leasing of mineral rights and sales and purchases of farms and agricultural land. Agricultural law specialist Anne Elliott leads the team that includes Elizabeth Armstrong, who focuses on the private client side, notably estate planning, and the administration of estates and trusts where agricultural land is involved with complex claims.

Practice head(s):

Anne Elliott

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Armstrong

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway acts for private landowners, farmers, rural businesses, banks and rural-based organisations. The team has a broad range of expertise. Neil Robson has experience of land use and planning aspects of agriculture; Stefan Bainbridge advises clients in all aspects of rural property, as well as in relation to the exploitation of mineral reserves; Alex Cox specialises in property transactional work, with a particular focus on mines and minerals; and Andrew Facer deals with trust and asset protection issues for landowners.

Practice head(s):

Neil Robson; Stefan Bainbridge; Alex Cox; Andrew Facer

Key clients

Northumberland National Park Authority

University of Newcastle

Barclays Bank plc

The Banks Group

Woodland Trust

Welbeck Estates

Canal & River Trust

Land Trust

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd's traditional client base is prominent local landed estates, in matters including sales, purchases, manorial and mineral rights, and commercial property work. Expert in residential and commercial conveyancing Tony Gibson leads the practice. The team includes Harry Chrisp, who is particularly experienced in the acquisition and sale of farms and estates, as welll as farmers Michael Macgregor and Derwent Gibson, who provide insight into the issues facing farmers and landowners. In addition, Kath Monteith joined from Kidd & Spoor Harper in 2019 and specialises in private client work, with a notable interest in intestate estates and looking after elderly clients.

Practice head(s):

Tony Gibson

Other key lawyers:

Harry Chrisp; Kath Monteith


‘A very long established firm with old fashioned values and practices. Their law is sound and innovative.’

‘Good regional firm with a breadth of team and skill sets. Partners have a real understanding of the rural matters and how to get things over the line.’

‘Very affordable and reasonable charges makes the skills of this team stand out.’

‘Chris Sheppard is innovative and open to a client’s interested opinion.’

‘Harry Chrisp is a practical and sensible person who gets to know the detail and is focused on getting things done and completed.’

Key clients

The Church Commissioners of England & Wales

Sunderland Association Football Club

Shoreswood Farms Ltd

J Bradburn & Co Ltd

Sir Richard & Lady Renwick

Sir Christopher & Lady Bland

Hexham and Northern Marts Limited

Hyslop family

Work highlights

  • Advised Hexham and Northern Marts on the urchase of land on the environs of Hexham and a farm near Riding Mill.

Sintons LLP

The agriculture and estates team at Sintons LLP works with a range of clients in the sector. Work includes acting on the acquisition and disposal of large farming ventures, agricultural holdings and the registration of portfolios of mines and minerals, as well as advising offshore trusts holding UK farms. Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, Tom Wills leads the practice that includes Paul Liddle, who has particular experience acting for developers and landowners in the energy, waste and renewables sectors.

Practice head(s):

Tom Wills

Other key lawyers:

Paul Liddle


‘The range of expertise within Sintons gives great and expectations are usually exceeded.’

‘A pleasure to deal with.’

‘Tom Wills always has a full grasp of the issues and hence is able to do what is required with minimal fuss. He always comes across as extremely competent and confident.’

‘Sophie Robinson demonstrates great diplomacy in complicated matters.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank

Ken Beattie/Morpeth Town Football Club

Willie Richardson

Dinning Farms Limited

Michael Tweedie

Ravensworth Estate

Cussins North East Limited

Ashbourne Trust

Tony and Carolyn Brookes

Lord Ravensworth

Work highlights

  • Represented Lloyds Bank in the taking of security over a working farm for £2.5 million.
  • Acted on the Lease of Craik Park, Morpeth Football Club’s home stadium.
  • Represented significant Cumbrian landowners, Willie Richardson, on family, probate matters, development, land acquisition and estate management.
  • Acting for Dinning Farms Limited in farm purchases and development infrastructure options and general farm and family legal advisors.
  • Advised Michael Tweedie on significant complex farm purchase for circa £2.5 million with additional sales of arable land and paddocks.


BHP Law specialises in acting for farming and landowning clients in high-value matters. Practice head Peter Blackett has particular experience in the commercial area, advising rural and farming clients on a range of matters, including commercial property transactions for major land owners and property developers across the region.

Practice head(s):

Peter Blackett

Iain Nicholson & Co

The ‘fast and always competentIain Nicholson & Co specialises in private client work and agriculture for clients in the North East and other parts of the UK. Iain Nicholson leads the experienced team that includes 'extremely quickVictoria Stevenson, who has significant private client and agricultural property experience, and 'reliablePeter Dakin, who has particular expertise in property transactions.

Practice head(s):

Iain Nicholson

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Stevenson; Peter Dakin


‘Excellent knowledge and experience of trust work.’

‘Excellent personal service, it gives us peace of mind.’

‘Iain and all his Staff are always so helpful and so well informed and they respond at once.’

‘Long standing senior staff with wide breadth of knowledge and expertise across a wide spectrum of legal issues, both company and family.’

‘Iain Nicholson is an outstanding lawyer and businessman.’

‘Ian Nicholson is approachable and contactable he always returns calls very quickly.’

‘Peter Dakin is reliable for property transactions, private and company and his diligence is of the highest standard.’

‘Victoria Stevenson has followed the company’s ethos and is always extremely quick in her responses to any queries.’

Jacksons Law

Jacksons Law acts for farmers, growers and distributors, dealing with a range of commercial and personal matters. Adrienne Patterson specialises in agricultural law and employment matters, including agricultural tenancies, farming subsidies and the Agricultural Wages Order. Also notable in the team is Simon Catterall, who provides advice to the northern farming community and is well-regarded in National Farmers Union. Nicola Neilson recently joined the firm as head of agricultural property.

Practice head(s):

Adrienne Patterson

Other key lawyers:

Simon Catterall

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP's practice works across a range of matters in the agricultural and estates area, including acting for landed estates in their rural portfolio management, dealing with historic property ownership issues and agricultural property disputes. David Towns leads the team and has a particular focus on landed estate management, sporting rights and minerals rights. His team includes senior associate Elizabeth Earle, who has experience acting for a range of private individuals, trusts and charities, notably in estate management and rural property work.

Practice head(s):

David Towns

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Earle


‘A genuine specialism and expertise in agriculture and manorial rights, as well as mines and minerals.’

‘Client-focused and solution-oriented people in the agricultural team, with a strong regional profile for minerals knowledge.’

‘Background knowledge, clear thinking, accurate analysis and clear advice.’

‘David Towns is a go-to partner for minerals advice, and knowledge surrounding manorial rights.’

‘Elizabeth Earle is a highly competent practitioner in non-contentious landlord and tenant matters, who is able to find the straightforward and effective solution to a legal problem.’

Key clients

Lonsdale Settled Estates

The Boughton Estates

Muncaster Castle Estate

Northumberland Estates

Allendale Estates

O’Brien Aggregate Marsden

Viscount Lowther’s Trust

Work highlights

  • Private ownership of minerals in respect of a proposed, new deep coal mine site in Cumbria. The firm acts for a local landed estate in respect of arrangements with the mine operator.
  • Acting for the Allendale Estate U Fund in respect of its manorial rights and minerals interests in Northumberland and Yorkshire.
  • Acting for a local farmer in a nuisance to property dispute caused by deliberate channelling of water.
  • Advising a landowner farmer on documentation relating to an underground conveyor system for a proposed new deep coal mine.
  • Advising a freehold quarry owner in North East England. Part of the title was unregistered due to missing or never completed documents.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine

Tilly Bailey & Irvine specialises in the administration of estates, as well as advising on in-hand farming and forestry, agricultural tenancies and mineral extraction. Practice head Helen Dexter is experienced in the administration of estates, trusts and succession planning for farming clients. Her team includes associate Andrew Beattie, who is an agricultural property specialist, and solicitor Jessica Morton, who arrived from Sintons LLP in 2018, and has expertise in succession and inheritance tax planning, as well as complex estate administration, for farmers and landowners.

Practice head(s):

Helen Dexter

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Beattie; Jessica Morton

Key clients

Ian Brewis

Mark Shotton

Andrew Thompson

Philip Hodgson

John Brydon

John & Geoff Suddes

Work highlights

  • Advising the Hodgson Family on the sale of an 80 acre strategic development site to facilitate residential and leisure development to the west of Darlington in County Durham.
  • Advisinf John and Geoffrey Suddes on the sale of Hill House Farm, Middleton on Leven, Yarm which was a mixed-use arable and poultry farm.
  • Advising JO Brewis & Sons Limited on the sale of development land for various different residential developments.
  • Advising Michael Andrew Thompson on the acquisition of East Murton Farm, Wingate, County Durham. The purchase of an arable farm including agricultural buildings and a residential property.
  • Advising Joanna Farrell on the sale of the East Whitton Lodge Farm, East Witton, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, which was a  sheep farm with agricultural buildings and residential premises.