There is no doubt about it, getting land is difficult. You need determination and the skills of a detective to pull it off.
It's pretty easy to subscribe to one of the websites that list all the plots of land that are available. Unfortunately, in the UK, there are over 100,000 people who also pay for this service and not that many suitable plots. Therefore it's a race and whoever pays the most gets the prize.
If the land has been advertised in any respect, even in a local newspaper or in the window of an estate agent, the chances are you will not be able to negotiate a good price. This is where the onus is on you to put in the research. It may involve a lot of groundwork but it is far more likely you'll find a better plot at a better price.
Firstly work out where you want to live. Broadly speaking the further you go from cities, the cheaper the land is and the more attractive it might be, too. For example, you can buy a plot of land in Northern Ireland for around £20,000 whereas you might spend upwards of £200,000 to find a decent plot within the M25. Also bear in mind that building materials, rates and labour may be cheaper in certain areas than others.
Once you have narrowed down your search to a few villages, a town or a few square miles, order a gigantic scale Ordnance Survey map which has got every single detail on it, right down to the fences and manhole covers. This will allow you to highlight areas that are worth investigating on foot. If you spot a row of houses that have very large gardens, walk past them to ascertain whether there might be any opportunities. If there's a garden that looks neglected or overgrown, perhaps the owner would be willing to sell off a section because it's clearly too much to manage and maintain.
There's no substitute for walking around, looking over fences and knocking on doors. They may politely say no, but occasionally they will like the idea. If it's an elderly couple with a big garden that they can't look after, then somebody knocking at the door and offering £100,000 for a portion might be the perfect solution. Do make sure that you understand the planning situation, as well, so that you get to grips with what is realistic and what isn't.
Using social media could be another interesting route to try. Put up a message on Facebook saying you're looking for a site in a certain area. Does anyone have parents, uncles, aunts or other relatives who might have a bit of land to sell?!