MORE THAN 7,000 acres of land in Taunton could be sold off - including land at a treasured beauty spot.

The Crown Estate has revealed that it is looking into selling its 7,000 acres of agricultural land that runs from Neroche to Cheddon Fitzpaine.

The land includes some of the grounds surrounding, but not including, Hestercombe House as welll as a series of farms.

The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch, it is neither Government property nor part of the monarch’s private estate.

It is accountable to Parliament and must provide an annual report to the House of Commons.

The Crown Estate says it is considering sales to existing tenants. Hestercombe Gardens Trust has confirmed that some land on the estate will be up for sale, but has not stated it is one of the tenants in discussions.

Somerset County Gazette:

Hestercombe House by Simon Holliday.

Malcolm Burns, head of rural at The Crown Estate said: “In line with our investment strategy, The Crown Estate is considering plans for its holdings in Taunton, including Hestercombe Gardens, and is currently discussing potential sales with tenants.

“Sales such as this play an important role in raising capital for reinvestment across our portfolio, in sectors where we have the scale and expertise to outperform the market.

“We will continue to work closely with our tenants and local stakeholders as plans for the estate progress.”

In 1944, Hestercombe was sold to the Crown Estate who continue to hold the land, apart from Hestercombe House itself and the formal garden. These were sold to the Somerset County Council in 1978, which transferred the freehold of the house, formal garden and visitor centre to the Hestercombe Gardens Trust.

Oliver White, Hestercombe project manager said: “Hestercombe is aware that The Crown Estate is considering the sale of areas of land across Taunton, including land within the Hestercombe estate.

“We understand that discussions are taking place between The Crown Estate and potential interested parties but we cannot provide any further details at the present time.”