A Berwickshire farm has become the latest rural business to be awarded coveted accreditation recognising its outstanding work on wildlife, habitat and conservation management.
Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation has been presented to Peter Leggate of Greenlawdean Farm, near Greenlaw.
Demonstrating very impressive mixed farming, sporting and environmental management credentials, Greenlawdean Farm is one of 34 farms and estates across Scotland to be formally accredited since 2013.
WES is a national version of the EU Wildlife Estates (WE) label, and was developed by Scottish Land & Estates with advice from Scottish Natural Heritage, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Cairngorms National Park Authority. It has also received the support of the Scottish Government since its launch.
A traditional Borders arable farm, Greenlawdean undertook substantial conifer plantings in the 1970s. In recent times, the current owners have implemented extensive woodland management work to create new corridors for grazing, wild flower areas and fruiting trees to be planted.
The work has been carried out whilst avoiding sensitive breeding and nesting seasons. With a good network of access tracks and rides around the Greenlawdean woods, logs can be extracted with little need to create any new tracks, helping to minimise timber forwarding journey time and fuel costs.
A novel approach to shoot management has also been adopted, mixing the release of game birds in one year with wild bird shooting in the following year. A wide variety of bird species have been recorded on the farm, including Hen Harriers, Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels, Curlew, Lapwing and smaller species such as Linnets and Yellowhammers.
With its close proximity to the village of Greenlaw, the farm has a number of tracks that the local community is encouraged to use. Open days are held on the farm, with particular emphasis on support for disabled children. Owners Peter and Jenny Leggate are dedicated supporters of Riding for the Disabled, with regular events held on Greenlawdean.
Ross Macleod of Wildlife Estates Scotland said: “The award to Peter, Jenny and the team at Greenlawdean is thoroughly deserved in recognition of the outstanding work they do to balance the needs of a working farm with fantastic efforts on forestry, wildlife, habitat conservation, sporting management and community engagement.
“It is clear from the assessment process that it is a labour of love for the owners to create a landscape that allows wildlife to flourish, which we can all benefit from. What had been a large block of conifer at the north end of the farm has been opened up with numerous corridors, some for grazing, while others have wild flower areas, including Borage planting to encourage pollinators. Woodland margins have been fenced off and native trees planted, with hedgerows managed to form wildlife corridors.
“This is significant conservation work that has been undertaken and I’m delighted that Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation can help recognise the efforts that have been made at Greenlawdean.”
Commenting on the award of accreditation to Greenlawdean, Peter Leggate acknowledged the extraordinary effort made by everyone involved in the management of the farm.
Peter said: “The award of WES certification is a great thrill for all of the team who have brought these plans to life. Equally, we are determined to continue the good work and very much hope that our award at Greenlawdean will encourage other land managers to take part. We’d certainly welcome a visit from anyone who’s considering applying for WES accreditation.”