An ambitious rewilding project at a sprawling Perthshire estate is about to become more accessible to the public, delivering a shot in the arm to the local tourism sector.
More than 400 acres of farmland is being transformed as part of a “citizen science” scheme at the Bamff Estate, near Alyth.
It is part of a plan to tackle climate change and address a global biodiversity crisis by “restoring nature’s abundance”.
Members of the public will get greater access to the site, thanks to a £13,000 award from SSE Renewable’s Drumberg Community Fund.
The money will be used to develop a path network around the estate, including the installation of self-closing gates and way-markers. An illustrated map is also being developed for a future visitor guide leaflet.
The paths project will be managed by the Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, working in partnership with estate owners and the Alyth Development Trust.
Ecological restoration at Bamff began in the early 1990s with the recreation of wetlands through reverse drainage schemes and the planting of various native woodlands – from farm woodland schemes on the low ground to native pinewoods on the hill.
This was followed in 2002 by the introduction of beavers.
Now there are plans to undertake a rewilding project to create a richly biodiverse area of wild land out of 166 hectares of marginal farmland and plantations.
Andrew Barrie, Strategic Officer for PKCT, said: “Tourism and recreation are key aspects of the rural economy, so we are looking to develop this project with the local community to create exciting new infrastructure to capitalise on stay-cation and local visitor numbers.
“Also, on the biodiversity side of things, many local people benefit from the opportunities for wildlife watching and photography, and many local groups have benefitted from free guided tours of the rewilding project.”
He said: “Drumderg’s funding for better countryside access will give the wider community a great opportunity to learn about rewilding and explore parts of Bamff Estate that have had no previous history of public access.”
Sophie Ramsay of the Bamff Estate said: “Bamff, along with the Alyth Development Trust, has aspirations to lead Scotland on climate and biodiversity action and along with rewilding, sees public access as an essential aspect: offering healthy, enjoyable alternatives to driving and flying abroad for recreation.
“We are confident that these paths will add to the amenity for locals and attract more low impact tourism into the area, also benefitting the local economy.”