OUR CONSERVATION WORK SUPPORTS THE ESTATE’S NATIVE WILDLIFE
Craigengillan is a haven for the natural historian. The marvellous diversity of natural habitats here supports an equally marvellous biodiversity. Visit any time, and bring your camera – you never know what you might see. In fact, if you’d like to share your photos with us we’d love to add them to our gallery for everyone to enjoy – you can send them to us.
Our conservation work provides a lot of people – many of them local – with training, work placements and employment. It has involved working with primary schools and other local groups. The results have been fantastic.
Wildflowers like meadowsweet, orchids, valerian and ragged robin are flourishing. There are salmon, trout and pike in the waters, as well as newts, frogs and toads. Otters are quite often seen, and in places riverbanks have been stabilized to protect and nurture the estate’s water voles, one of the UK’s most endangered species.
Conservation work on the woodlands included removing spruce and replacing it with native hardwoods like rowan, hazel, Scots pine and alder. Planting has been designed to follow natural contours. The woods are full of animals like squirrels, rabbits and foxes. At dusk, you may see bats, roe deer and badgers and hear the hooting of the owls.
HILL PASTURE, MEADOWS AND MOORLAND
The birdlife of Craigengillan includes golden plovers, merlin, hen harriers and short- eared owls, warblers, skylarks, Whooper swans, swallows and sandpipers.
On the ground we’ve got hares, badgers, stoats, weasels and the rare pine marten.
In 2014 a pair of ospreys nested near the shores of Loch Doon and successfully reared two chicks, the first to do so in over 100 years and a good omen for the future.
The insect population includes the spectacular Emperor moth. It’s often mistaken for a butterfly, thanks to its habit of flying during the day and its beautifully-patterned wings.
In late summer, brilliantly coloured dragonflies frequent the water and wetlands.
The way we farm our land has contributed to the regeneration of native species and the estate’s natural habitats.
Our conversion to organic farming and control of grazing has led to an explosion of wild flowers. These attract bees, ladybirds, butterflies and other pollinating insect species. Those and their larvae support birdlife – and that provides prey for mammals like stoats, weasels and foxes.
Our ethos is to farm with nature, rather than in conflict with it. We’ve been amazed and delighted with the results. We hope you will be too.
“GOD GAVE ALL MEN ALL EARTH TO LOVE. BUT, SINCE OUR HEARTS ARE SMALL ORDAINED FOR EACH ONE SPOT SHOULD PROVE BELOVED OVER ALL; THAT, AS HE WATCHED CREATION’S BIRTH, SO WE, IN GODLIKE MOOD, MAY OF OUR LOVE CREATE OUREARTH AND SEE THAT IT IS GOOD.”