Rottal Estates, in Glen Clova, scooped the Conservation Award in this year’s Helping It Happen Awards 2021, which recognise the role of businesses, organisations and community groups who are helping rural Scotland tio thrive
The awards are managed by rural business organisation, Scottish Land & Estates and sponsored by GLM.
The independent judging panel was impressed with the estate’s holistic approach to land management, which had resulted in strong results in biodiversity and conservation.
It beat stiff competition in the category from two other finalists - ‘Cairngorms Capercaillie Project’ in the Cairngorms National Park and ‘The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh International Conifer Conservation Project’.
Rottal, owned and manged by Dee Ward, focuses on improving wildlife, biodiversity and habitats through restoring and re-naturalising rivers including the South Esk, burns, water margins, riparian planting, natural regeneration, native tree planting, wetland improvements, and flood mitigation and water quality improvements.
It also uses renewable energy, with sheep farming, holiday lets, events, shooting and stalking.
Last year they restored 30 hectares of peatland as part of a scheme to restore 300 hectares over the next five years to ensure that carbon remains stored in the peatland and additional carbon is captured from the improved vegetation.
The project arose from a realisation that, among other work, to really have an impact on flood mitigation and water quality as well as improving moorland health for ground-nesting moorland birds, they needed to start at the top of the hill with the peatland.
Sarah-Jane Laing, Scottish Land & Estates chief executive, said: “The awards quite rightly celebrate those farms, organisations and estates going the extra mile to make a positive contribution to their local community and wider Scotland whether that’s through climate action, providing jobs and training or building affordable housing. This contribution is crucial to ensure that Scotland has a successful green recovery from the Covid pandemic.”