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Woodland conservation at Crieff Hydro

Here at Crieff Hydro we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by aces of grounds and woodlands – 900 acres to be exact.

So that everyone can enjoy the area for years to come, we’re mindful of our actions and work hard to conserve the area – we’ve been around for over 150 years after all. Here’s just some of the work that our estates team have been working on:

The woodlands of Crieff Hydro are managed on the basis of supporting multiple functions in accordance with the modern forestry practise. Growing timber for harvesting is only one of many other objectives including supporting biodiversity, enhancing the landscape, conservation of valuable sites and species of fauna and flora and promoting recreation.  This balanced approach will ensure the current and future generations can enjoy all the benefits that woodlands and trees bring.

The top of the Knock harvested in 2018 is now replanted with new trees. The main species, Sitka spruce is the major element of Scottish commercial woodlands. A mixture of native broadleaf species has also been planted in tree shelters. The shelters are there to protect the deciduous trees from the damage caused by deer that would otherwise feed on the top buds, not allowing the trees to grow. The trees will need a few years to become established and grow tall enough to be out of the deer’s reach. The forest operations are now focused on replacing the trees that did not survive due to drought, weeds, or deer pressure.

Nearly 50 specimens of endangered conifers were also planted as a part of the International Conifer Conservation Programme (ICCP) programme run by the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust. These include Atlas cedar – Cedrus atlantica and Moroccan fir – Abies pinsapo ssp. Marocana. They are protected by individual mesh fences and will soon be equipped with name labels.

Crieff Hydro is also working on improving access and recreation facilities across the woodlands with focus on viewpoints, paths and new benches.

Safety is a priority within the amenity and commercial woodlands. Many trees within the ownership are very old which makes them precious for biodiversity but sometimes also unsafe. Crieff Hydro is regularly inspecting the trees for breakages and signs of decay, hanging limbs and other hazards to ensure people can access and enjoy the woodlands safely.

The woods provide a great environment for the wildlife. Red squirrels enjoy food and shelter provided by mature conifers. Many species of birds can be spotted along with bats that recently were provided a couple of new bat boxes withing the Crieff golf course.

So next time you’re visiting, take a trundle around some of the 900 acres and see what you can spot. From bats and red squirrels to the many different species of trees. You’re guaranteed to spot something new each visit as we continue to conserve and protect the stunning grounds.

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