CONSERVATION

WE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT PROTECTING OUR PRECIOUS LANDSCAPE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Craigengillan lies within the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere. This outstandingly beautiful landscape is home to a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna, and also Within our boundaries are two Sites of Special Scientific interest (SSSI) – Ness Glen and Bogton Loch.

It is our mission to protect it for generations to come.

Our conservation work provides a lot of people – many of them local – with training, work placements and employment. We work with our Secondary and Primary schools and other local groups in order to build a sense of stewardship. The results have been fantastic and the task we have set ourselves has the definite sense of a shared project.

CONSERVATION MILESTONES

  • Three miles of drystone dykes have been meticulously repaired using a system developed by the McAdams in the 18th century.
  • Over 18 miles of new footpaths have been created and are now walked by over 100,000 people each year.
  • We’ve planted over 17 miles of new hedgerows, providing shelter for lambs, nesting for birds and linking parts of the landscape together following natural contours. The hedges act as wildlife corridors between woodland, wetland, hill pasture and species rich meadows. These hedgerows are now being laid in the traditional way and our hedge layers have also won national awards.
  • We created a new loch below Craigengillan House in 2001 and a further 3 have been added since.
  • By planting over 1 million native hardwoods wildlife has been encouraged and within the eighteenth century designed landscape we have felled inappropriate spruce plantations and planted giant redwoods, chestnuts, Atlantic and other cedars, noble and grand firs, oak, beech and lime.
  • Craigengillan was selected as one of 60 sites in Britain to plant a Diamond Wood of at least 60 acres to mark the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012. A further 535 acres of broadleaved trees have been planted. They were be dedicated to the Woodland Trust project to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. The woods are carefully designed to enhance the landscape and bring back the mosaic of woodland moor and hill pasture that would have existed up to medieval times.
  • Importantly, trees sequester carbon and so contribute to climate change mitigation. We are registered under the Woodland Carbon Code and the qualifying woods will sequester over 80,000 tonnes of CO2. These ‘carbon units’ are purchased by companies wishing to demonstrate their environmental responsibility.
  • In 2007, Craigengillan won The Georgian Group Award for ‘Best Restoration of a Georgian Landscape in Britain’.
  • In 2014, Craigengillan was the winner of Scotland’s Finest Woods Award for the new native woodlands created here during the last 15 years. Trees help reduce the impact of climate change by sequestering carbon as they grow. The woods are registered under the Woodland Carbon Code and we welcome individuals or organizations interested in purchasing credits and becoming involved.
  • We have worked informally and to great effect with the local community and schools and the task we have set ourselves has the definite sense of a shared project.
  • The best way to bring about long-term care for the environment is through education and by encouraging the active involvement of young people in conservation projects, art in nature and creative writing. If you can instil a sense of wonder and appreciation, care and a sense of stewardship follow naturally.

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.

WETLANDS

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.

WOODLANDS

The woods are full of animals like squirrels, hedgehogs and foxes. Red squirrels are returning and sightings of pine martins are becoming frequent. 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, sandpipers and kingfishers sandpipers.

The magical hares are numerous and are carefully protected.

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 FARM

The way we farm our land has contributed to the regeneration of native species and the estate’s natural habitats.

Our conversion to organic status and seasonal 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 higher up the food chain.

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 OUR EARTH AND SEE THAT IT IS GOOD.” – Kipling 1905

CRAIGENGILLAN AND THE UNESCO BIOSPHERE RESERVE

The Designation of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has been an extremely exciting development that promises to unite all the strands of regeneration and create a new sustainable future.

There are only some 400 Biospheres in the world and the designation puts us on par with places such as Yellowstone National Park, Ayers Rock, Niagara Falls and a significant part of the Amazon rainforest. The underlying ethos of Biospheres is the neutral between between man and nature that comes from us caring for natural habitats and wild landscapes – creating the sure foundation for long term sustainable development. We have followed this principle and found that it works.

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation will, we hope, be further strengthened if we are successful in achieving National Park status for a huge swathe of Galloway, together with the lands of Craigengillan and Loch Doon. A great deal of work towards this end has been completed and a formal submission delivered to the Scottish Government.

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – www.gsabiosphere.org.uk/

Galloway National Park Assosiation – www.gallowaynationalpark.org/