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Award for Bowhill Estate recognising its farming partnership


Bowhill Estate has won an award recognising its work in creating sustainable farming units and partnerships.

The estate, at Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, has received Scottish Land & Estates’ South East region’s ‘Helping It Happen’ award after establishing a new farm partnership enabling a tenant to succeed his parents’ farm despite challenging economic conditions.

At Drinkstone Farm on the estate, Buccleuch has worked closely with John Park and his family to enable them to succeed John’s parents’ tenancy.

In 2014 John’s parent decided to retire - whilst John wished to continue farming the 1,254 acre unit with his wife and two children. The farm was running 1,215 breeding ewes along with 70 suckler cows. The sheep included high performance pedigree Suffolk and Texel flocks; however a shortfall of capital meant John was unable to fully stock the farm. Working with the assistance of SAC consulting, John developed a comprehensive business plan, and based on this Buccleuch and the Park family were able to enter into partnership.

John provided 50 percent of the capital alongside his own knowledge and expertise for the day to day running of the farm. Buccleuch provided the other half of the capital together with a farm tenancy for five years and management expertise in agriculture, finance and health & safety.

Increased capital has allowed the farm to be stocked at 920 ewes with the aim to increase to 1,120 ewes. Keeping investment between the estate and John has minimised third party involvement to ensure stability within the business to the benefit of both parties. The partnership has resulted in a stronger, more stable and sustainable business, while achieving operational excellence allowing a win-win situation. Running an efficient business will ensure John and his family achieve financial gains, thereby delivering the joint vision of buying out the estate share of capital over the five-year period.

The Helping It Happen awards are part of an initiative run by Scottish Land & Estates to highlight how landowners and rural businesses across Scotland play a key role in enabling and supporting success in rural areas.

Nominations open in March for the national Helping It Happen awards, and members of the public will be invited to propose their local estate where it has done something to help their community. An awards ceremony will be held in late-May and more details on the campaign, and the awards, can be found at

Tony Stevenson, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates’ South East region, said the Bowhill Estate award was fitting recognition for an estate enabling other businesses to succeed – especially within the often-challenging tenant farming sector.

Mr Stevenson said: “Bowhill recognised the challenges that existed when John Park wanted to assume control of Drinkstone Farm and demonstrated that with cooperation on both sides, a fruitful partnership could be created that delivered for both parties.

“Buccleuch is to be commended for its willingness to engage time and money in giving John the platform to succeed with his business. It is a fitting example of landowners working to create opportunities for other.”

John Park, said:“The partnership we enjoy with Bowhill Estate demonstrates what can be achieved by working together to a common goal. Both parties want to ensure Drinkstone is a thriving, profitable business, and Bowhill has been willing to put knowledge and resources forward to make this happen. Together we’ve tried to map out the best future for the farm and I’m appreciative of the role the estate continues to play in this.”

Ed Morris, estate manager at Bowhill Estate, said: “Everyone at Bowhill Estate is delighted to be receive the Helping it Happen award to promote what can be achieved by an estate working in partnership with other businesses and the community. John and his family had the necessary skills so Bowhill’s role was to ensure the unit was viable in the medium to long-term and that the capital was available to allow the farm to prosper.

“At a time when farming businesses have experienced significant challenge, John and Bowhill have worked together to ensure Drinkstone Farm can flourish.”


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