Wemyss and March are a large Estate based in Southern Scotland and are determined to lead the way in environmentally focused land management. The estate aim to enhance the natural process of the land, to increase the ecosystem benefits provided. Wemyss and March have recently undergone extensive works to restore a degrading peatland site at Winterhopeburn which sought to reprofile exposed peat hags preventing any additional release of Carbon into the atmosphere while reducing soil erosion and improving water quality. The Estate also has an ambitious tree planting program underway and is implementing re-generative agriculture on its upland livestock units.
The project has re-meandered over 1000m of degraded river channel which was straightened over 150 years ago to create grassland for domestic stock. The re-meandering has created 270m of new river channel and has reopened a 12ha floodplain. The floodplain area has already reverted to soft rush and before our work, provided very little in terms of agriculture productivity.
The hydrological change has created a complex river and floodplain system with greater habitat diversity which is better able to support a range of freshwater and wetland species including Atlantic salmon, European otter, and brook Lamprey (all qualifying features of the River Tweed SAC). The Tweed Foundation radio tagging has shown that the Yarrow is important for the early running spring stock component of the fishery which is fragile. Scrapes and ponds and backwaters have been created to provide habitat for amphibians (frogs, toads and common newts), and birds such as dipper, sandpiper and kingfisher will quickly colonise the river.