If you've ever hankered after combining a part-time farming enterprise with doing your bit for the environment, then a newly listed property in northern NSW could be for you.
Nutrien Harcourts Scone is marketing the Blackville grazing property Fernleigh on behalf of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, which acquired it late last year from previous owner, Troy Palmer.
The trust was established in 2016 within the portfolio of the NSW Minister for Energy and Environment to promote the protection of natural environments of biodiversity value.
It enters into co-operative agreements with landholders to provide for the management and protection of lands deemed to have conservation significance.
The trust has more than 900 private land conservation agreements with landholders, covering nearly 250 000 hectares of land across NSW.
In the case of Fernleigh, a freehold property of 1164ha (2875ac), the agreement with the trust will involve the reservation of about 760ha - or two-thirds of the total area - as a biodiversity conservation zone.
That leaves just over 400ha as productive farmland, about 240ha of which is described as arable, and currently unstocked, awash with feed, and estimated capable of running 150 cows and followers.
Situated 10 kilometres south of Blackville in the foothills of the Liverpool Ranges, Fernleigh rises from creek flats to gentle, cleared slopes of rich black basalt soils and steeper timbered hills.
The natural pastures have been topdressed, and in earlier times supported sheep as well as cattle.
Timber is predominantly white and yellow box, with a sprinkling of shade and shelter trees retained throughout the pasture paddocks.
Under the agreement with the trust, the new owner will receive an annual payment of $17 000 (indexed to the CPI) as consideration for the land set aside.
A stockproof fence will be erected along the boundary of the reserved portion prior to delivery, and the new owner will have the right to graze stock on the reserved land for three months a year.
Average rainfall is about 660mm and the property is watered by three bores reticulating to tanks and troughs, six dams and seasonal creeks.
The property is subdivided into 16 main paddocks, with replacement now under way of some of the internal fencing.
Although there is no homestead as such, there is an accommodation complex based around the former Blackville school building, a weatherboard structure dating from the 1890s that was moved to the property 20 years ago.
The school building itself is one large room, with a kitchenette. It is flanked by a three-room annexe with en-suite, and a one-bedroom cottage with kitchenette, bathroom and slow-combustion heater.
Other potential home sites abound, some offering panoramic views over the surrounding country.
Working improvements consist of a set of steel cattle yards with crush and loading ramp, a timber-framed three-stand (unequipped) shearing shed with steel sheepyards, a timber-framed machinery shed and two silos.
Fernleigh is for private sale with a price tag of $2.3 million.
By PETER AUSTIN.