The Blythburgh Estate, Walberswick, Suffolk

06 June 2016

The 2,550 acre Blythburgh Estate, which stretches along the Suffolk Heritage Coastland from Blythburgh to Walberswick is located in a popular and important coastal setting. It has a rich heritage including part of the Walberswick Nature Reserve, a designated nature reserve that includes one of the largest reedbeds in Britain and is part of the larger Suffolk Coast National Nature Reserve. The whole estate sits within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and much of the nature reserve is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a designation for the finest sites for wildlife and natural features in England.

The land
A little over 1,034 acres of land is farmed on an arable rotation growing a variety of cereal and root crops with some land currently used for outdoor pigs. Most of it is farmed in hand with some crops grown under specialist annual cropping licences including seed potatoes and maize. There is currently no irrigation but with the benefit of water, the soil is suited to growing high value vegetable and salad crops. An application has been submitted for a large irrigation water abstraction licence and is presently being considered by the Environment Agency.

There are around 75 acres of upland grass which is mainly permanent pasture for grazing and some 427 acres of heathland is largely grazed under an arrangement with Natural England. The marsh grassland includes 193 acres, part of which can be grazed.  The main areas of reed marshes next to the southern boundary of the estate form part of the largest continuous stand of reedbed in England and Wales. This site is acknowledged by the international Ramsar Convention, which is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The total acreage of reedbed and salt marshland on the estate is around 482 acres.

Across the estate is a variety of woodland ranging from areas planted for timber, amenity and sporting, through to the ungrazed heathland areas with varying tree densities. The main stocking is broad leaf with some evergreens. In all the woodland includes 299 acres.

A separate block of over 546 acres, currently farmed on an arable rotation, together with a range of farm buildings with grain storage, is available under separate farming arrangement.

There is a portfolio of residential properties occupied on a variety of tenancies, which generate an annual rental income of around £30,240.

The estate has a long history of extensive pheasant and partridge shooting which continues to be run on a commercial basis with the sporting rights are currently let to a third party until early 2022. The extensive network of tracks and free draining soils ensures there is good vehicular access to all of the drives.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries the marshland areas of the reserve were drained providing grazing land and during the Second World War, those around Walberswick were flooded to act as invasion defences. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s the marshes reverted to reedbeds creating a variety of habitats for wildlife including Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Water Rail and Bittern which are now preserved in the reserve.

A derelict Grade II listed windmill built in the late 18th century stands on the marshes and provides an important landscape feature as one of only two remaining drainage mills on the east Suffolk marshes.

Near to a pair of cottages on the estate is the site where it is understood that Joe Kennedy Jr, eldest brother to US President John F Kennedy, died during World War II when his aeroplane exploded, when he was working on the secret mission, Project Anvil.

Peter Start, Director of Savills in Ipswich, “The Blythburgh Estate is a rare proposition for a buyer offering a large farmable acreage combined with a significant nature reserve, a residential portfolio and some excellent sporting. Its diversity and popular location and not inconsiderable non-agricultural income in the region of £280,000 pa is likely to attract a range of buyers.”

The Blythburgh Estate is now for sale through Savills at a guide price of £18 million for the whole.


General Enquiries

Head Office London


Key Contacts

Peter Start

Peter Start



+44 (0) 1473 234 810


Will Hargreaves

Will Hargreaves

Associate Director


+44 (0) 1473 234 822