Water company to sell Welsh haven for birds

A 23,000-acre haven for birds such as black grouse and curlews has been put up for sale by utility firm Severn Trent in one of the biggest land sales in living memory.

The Vyrnwy Estate in the Cambrian mountains of Wales surrounds Lake Vyrnwy, a reservoir built in 1892 by the Liverpool Corporation to supply water to the city.

The land – a popular tourist destination which includes several sites of special scientific interest, conservation areas and a nature reserve – is being split into four lots by property consultant Knight Frank, which hopes to fetch 11m. The biggest of these includes 12,000 acres of land farmed jointly with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

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The Lake Vyrnwy reservoir itself was the largest in Europe when it was built.

Clive Hopkins, Knight Frank's head of farm and estate sales, said: "Never before has a property of this size come to the open market in one block under a single ownership, not in my lifetime anyway."