‘Prestigious’ wildlife accreditation secured by family farm

A FAMILY farm on the outskirts of Edinburgh has become what’s believed to be the smallest landholding in Scotland to be awarded prestigious international wildlife accreditation.

The farm – the 193-hectare Easter Bavelaw Farm, nestled to the south of Threipmuir Reservoir in the Pentland Hills – has gained Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) certification following what’s being described as “a rigorous accreditation process”.

The WES certification is issued by the land and estates representative body, Scottish Land & Estates.

Says a media announcement on behalf of SL&E: after purchasing the farm in 2016, the owners “have operated the farm as a low-input, low-output, low-impact sheep farm with a modest flock of Easycare ewes”. 

Adds the announcement: “In doing so, [the relatively new owners] have implemented a holistic approach to land management and food production, ranking the enhancement of biodiversity with equal priority to creating and maintaining an economically viable business.

“In the last six years, they have planted nearly 50ha of mixed commercial and non-commercial woodland, planted 200m of hedgerow and implemented minimum tillage techniques in forage crop production and grassland management – beneficial for wildlife and in particular, wading birds.”

Three years ago, the farm teamed up with neighbouring farms to form “a collaborative cluster of local land managers in order to further their ambition of improving the environment through landscape-scale habitat management”. 

Together, they have had to compile a mandatory five-year Habitat Management Plan as part of their WES assessment.

Just two months ago, the cluster worked with WES and the invertebrate conservation trust, Buglife, to host a pollinator workshop to understand how to survey and monitor pollinator life. It has also proposed establishing an outreach plan for Pentland Regional Park users to help protect wildlife in the area.

Pictured: Nearby Glencorse reservoir, Picture credit: Scottish Land & Estates