Planting something for the planet.

Through the expansion of forestry, the supply of clean energy and peatland restoration, rural areas in Scotland are key to the country’s response to the climate emergency. For many years, we have been planting and maintaining trees across Blackhills Estate in our mixed woodlands and protecting our heather-clad peat moorland upland. At the heart of our ongoing maintenance program is sustainability and biodiversity. Thoughtful stewardship underpins healthy habitats for a diverse range of species of both flora and fauna.

A Working Estate

Moray Speyside is famous for its single malt distilleries, from global brands to small batch boutique creations. The distilling process is embedded in our culture from the barley in our fields to the water of the Spey and the dram in your glass. Our guests, therefore, may be interested to know that Blackhills not only has extensive gardens, woodland and moorland for you to explore, but it is also a sizeable working farm supplying wheat and barley to be used in the malting process. 

If you don’t feel like getting in your car, Blackhills guests can enjoy the excellent walking opportunities without even having to leave the estate. As you glance behind you, heading up to the moorland where the old drovers’ trail weaves through the landscape, passing through the gardens and woodland, White Cottage can just be seen at the edge of the woodland, peeking out.

Productive low-lying arable farmland rises to atmospheric heather-covered peat moorlands of Brown Muir to the south, revealing yet more glorious views and places to explore on foot or mountain bike. Stop and take time to enjoy the slower pace of life, breathe the air, contemplate outer and inner life, or just be.

Whether Moray Speyside is your home or your destination, we respectfully ask all our visitors to Blackhills to make a few simple commitments that will ensure that our community is cared for and our extraordinary landscape remains wonderful and unique for all to enjoy. At Blackhills, we fully support the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. Our access rights in Scotland’s countryside are dependant on responsible behaviour by us all, including dog walkers keeping pets under control. Please take the lead by taking a moment to familiarise yourself with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC).

Nature based solutions as the primary tool to absorb some of the atmosphere’s carbon

As guardians of wildlife and habitat, we maintain the essential elements of the varied habitats including the garden, mixed woodlands and woodland corridors, ponds and wetlands, open pasture and moorland but strive, where possible, to leave nature to assume its rightful place.

Blackhills farms are managed in such a way to encourage birds and other wildlife, with numerous hedges, proper hedge and ditch margins and wild bird cover established annually. Areas of grassland are left untopped to encourage small vertebrates and insects. Our ecological focus areas of fallow grass and general fallow are rotated to maximise ecological diversity.  The farms are adopting gentler, organic methods and low carbon agriculture, whenever and wherever possible, to provide space for nature and the community’s well-being.

We continue to support an exciting programme of silviculture that started in 1999. Working with the Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change with an area of land forestry research on Blackhills, an experimental silver birch plantation has been created, which contains a number of projects looking at sustainable Scottish forestry.

We remain focussed on our Blackhills commitment to planting and maintaining mixed woodlands with native species and the regeneration of native woodland.

Although there are no natural heritage designations, Blackhills flora and fauna provide high conservation value and, as such, has received a ‘High’ in the Nature Conservation category of Historic Environment Scotland’s Inventory Garden and Designed Landscape listings. Further information about Blackhills can be found on the Historic Environment Scotland website.

The Estate Gallery

Please click on an image to see a larger image and to start the slideshow

Drone footage courtesy of The Brave Ones