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Eight farms and estates scoop coveted ‘Wildlife Estates Scotland’ accreditations

Eight farms and estates scoop coveted ‘Wildlife Estates Scotland’ accreditations

More than one million acres of Scottish land now WES accredited

Eight Scottish farms and estates have been awarded prestigious international accreditation to recognise their ongoing work in wildlife management and conservation.

The award of Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accreditation wasmade at the Scottish Game Fair, held at Scone Palace, and takes the total amount of accredited land over the one million acre mark.

WES is a national version of the EU Wildlife Estates (WE) initiative and is endorsed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Environment, whose objective is to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations.

The farms and estates awarded accreditation are:-

  • Torwoodlee (a mixed farming estate with woodland assets, letting properties, part of Torwoodlee Golf Course and fishing interests, all linked to a strong focus on conservation management)
  • Dunlossit (Located in Islay, Dunlossit comprises farming, forestry, deer management and fishing, as well as a keen commitment to community interests)
  • Aberchalder (lying at the heart of the Great Glen, the Estate encompasses some 30,000 acres of woodlands, upland, lochs and rivers. The estate manages a range of country sports and outdoor activities alongside the development of renewable energy) 
  • Mar Estate (in Upper Deeside, the Estate looks after upland sporting interests and maintains a strong commitment to moorland management, which was recognised in 2015 by winning the Golden Plover award)
  • Cassillis (on the Ayrshire coast, the Estate blends a large arable enterprise, which is a LEAF demonstration farm, with woodland management, renewables and conservation management of hedges, unharvested crops, wetland and water margins)
  • Strathmore (Set around the world famous Glamis Castle are 14,000 acres of rolling landscape of mixed agriculture, woodland and parkland. Farming, forestry and field sports sit comfortably beside a 5 star tourist attraction.)
  • Craiganour (Chiefly a deer stalking estate, with some walked-up grouse shooting, livestock farming and forestry. Particular emphasis has been placed on the creation of new native pinewoods and the regeneration of oak and birch woodlands.)
  • Glendoe (Close to Loch Ness and rising to the Monadhliaths, the Estate maintains livestock farming, deer management and country sports, as well as hosting a hydro-electric scheme.)

The recently accredited estates have all have undergone a rigorous independent assessment of their game, wildlife and habitat management, as well as their social and economic contribution to rural life. All properties are expected to maintain these standards throughout the lifetime of accreditation, with WES creatinga transparent benchmark system that helps to demonstrate how land managers can deliver multiple benefits to rural Scotland, supporting the Scottish Government’s Land Use and Biodiversity 2020 route map Strategies.

The total number of accredited farms and estates across Scotland now stands at 52, with best practice management covering just over 1.2 million acres.

Scottish Land & Estates chairman, David Johnstone, said: “Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation is a rigorous process that asks estates and farms to meet the finest standards across wildlife and conservation management and it is pleasing that another eight estates and farms have met this benchmark.

“The newly-accredited properties are very diverse in nature but they have all demonstrated the excellent work they are conducting on issues such as species and habitat management. We seek a broad range of information from estates, including data on 70 birds and animals, which helps to provide significant insight on what is working well and where our conservation efforts need to be targeted.

“The new accreditations takes the total of WES accredited land past the one million acre mark, a significant achievement with 52 farms and estates now qualified since the first award was made in 2013. Whilst challenges lie ahead for the future of the Wildlife Estates Scotland project, we should be proud that we have reached this important milestone in the scheme.”

WES was founded by Scottish Land & Estates with support from Scottish Natural Heritage, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park Authority.   It has been supported from the beginning by the Scottish Government.

 

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