Category Archives: Land Management

Access

The Ballindalloch Estate covers some 7,000 hectares of mature woodland and heather clad moorland. At the heart of the Estate stands 16th Century Ballindalloch Castle, set within over a mile-and-a-half of formal gardens, woodlands and riverside meadows. To the north and east the grounds are bordered by the River Spey and the rising gradients of Cairn Guish, whilst to the west lies the River Avon, its source on the summit of Ben Muich Dhui.

We employ a number of schemes to ensure the general public can gain safe access to the grounds and wider countryside of the Ballindalloch Estate.

A series of marked walks have been created in the Castle Grounds to give visitors easy access to the delights of the local flora and fauna. These walks provide an opportunity to explore the Gardens, the nearby rivers Spey and Avon and to see the Ballindalloch Aberdeen Angus herd. At harvest time, hay and silage-making will be underway in the grass rich pastures close to the Castle, adding the chance to see life on this working Estate.

For those who wish to venture further afield, the Riverside Walk wends its way along the banks of the River Avon, affording the chance to spot salmon and fresh water trout leaping in the summer months.

The Speyside Way, one of Scotland’s famous long-distance footpaths, also runs through the Ballindalloch Estate, which was an early supporter of the route. It follows the course of the old Great North of Scotland Railway line, once a vital artery connecting Speyside to the wider world. About a mile west of the Castle can be found Ballindalloch Station, beautifully preserved, and a little further on, Cragganmore Distillery, founded by the 4th Baronet, Sir George Macpherson-Grant, along with the distiller John Smith, in 1869.

We are always happy to show visitors around the Ballindalloch Estate. Please contact us for further information.

Forestry at Ballindalloch: © Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Forestry

Ballindalloch Estate forestry operations encompass native broadleaf woodlands, stands of Scots Pine and commercial forestry blocks. Management of all forestry on the Estate is conducted in accordance with an adopted and approved Forest Plan and utilises local contractors wherever possible.

The careful management of our resident deer population, which is essential to preserve the right balance between our commercial interests and habitat diversity, is an important element of this Forest Plan.

Trees on the Estate

One of the recent challenging elements to management of the trees at Ballindalloch has been the rapid onset of Dutch Elm Disease.  As a result, a huge proportion of the elms on the Estate have died and this means that a large number of trees need to be felled.  This has meant that some difficult decisions have had to be made for the long term health of the woods.  A variety of trees, including the dead elms, have been felled to make way for sensible re-planting for future generations.

This has involved some expert tree felling by local tree surgeons who have kindly shared some of the experience on YouTube.  Warning: not to be viewed by those scared of heights!

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

If you would more information about forestry operations at ballindalloch please contact us here.

Wildlife

The variety of wildlife to be seen here at the Ballindalloch Estate is thrilling and at times unexpected.

Thanks to the conservation work of our ghillies and gamekeepers, the heather bound moorlands of Ballindalloch are once again home to healthy populations of indigenous Red and Black Grouse, Partridge, Capercaillie and wild Pheasant. On our sections of the Rivers Spey and Avon Atlantic Salmon, Wild Brown and Sea Trout continue to prosper.

The mature woodlands of the Ballindalloch Estate are carefully managed to maintain a sustainable population of both Roe and Red Deer. From time-to-time the patient observer will spot a Pine Marten, a rare species that thrives in the Scottish Highlands, and the elusive Scottish Wildcat. We are also pleased to say that the endangered Red Squirrel does very well on the Estate and numbers continue to grow, especially in and around the Castle Gardens.

Raptors fare well here too. Long-eared and barn owls can be heard (more often than seen) amongst the dense foliage and grasslands of the Ballindalloch Estate. Whilst up on the moorlands the keen twitcher can spot sparrowhawks, buzzards and kestrels, hanging on the wind and wheeling in an open empty sky, and of course ospreys – the symbol of Speyside.


Red-Sq-cc-Bob-MacInnes

Red Squirrel

The red squirrel is native to Britain, but its future is increasingly uncertain in parts of the country as the introduced American grey squirrel expands its range across the mainland. There are estimated to be only 140,000 red squirrels left in Britain, with over 2.5 million greys. However, they are prolific in this part of scotland with reports that they are in fact pushing back against the non-native grey squirrel population.

Photo credit: Bob MacInnes



Capercaillie

The capercaillie is one of Scotland’s most iconic birds, but also one of the most endangered. There are thought to be only around 1000 birds left in the wild and the north east of Scotland is a major stronghold for the species with at least 80% of the national population.

Photo credit: Cairngorms Nature



Oyster Catchers

You can’t mistake an oystercatcher. They are distinctive and vocal birds. Both sexes of this wading bird are similar, having predominantly black plumage with a white underbelly. In flight you also see a white bar along the upper wing. It has a very distinctive red beak, red around eyelids and red legs; with a loud piping alarm call on the ground and in flight. The nest is usually a depression in stony ground.

Photo credit: John Haslam



Black Game

Better know as the Black Grouse, the all-black males have distinctive red wattle over the eye and show a striking white stripe along each wing in flight. They have a lyre-shaped tail which is fanned out and raised to show white under-tail feathers when displaying. The smaller grey-brown females have a slightly notched tail.

Photo credit: Francesco Veronesi



Raptors

There are 14 species of raptor that make their home here (18 if you include owls).  Some are resident here all year, while others, like the osprey, fly thousands of miles to breed or winter in this part of Scotland. A great deal of work is being done in the area of land management to help protect the species.

Photo credit: Jacob Spinks