We are three generations of the Ramsay family, now led by mother and daughter team Louise and Sophie, and our wonderful advisors. Bamff is an upland farm on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. From the 1980s, we have been doing pioneering environmental restoration including, since 2002, the successful re-introduction of beavers.
Please check out our website.
Video and photos, of Bamff and its inhabitants, by Dave Maric
We are now determined to go further and are re-wilding over 450 acres, in the style of the renowned Knepp Wildland in Sussex. 12 fields, 6 woods and some of the UK’s most impressive beaver territories will be transformed into a contiguous area of self-willed land, with conservation grazing from a small number of free-roaming cattle, pigs and ponies. Our project is the first of its kind in Scotland.
Rewilding is essential for addressing our planet’s ecological and climate crises. It is the only solution that fully addresses our disastrous loss of biodiversity – putting nature back, or actively allowing it to come back, rather than just conserving what remains – and it has huge potential to sequester carbon and mitigate impacts of climate change like flood and drought. We can act now. We need to act now.
We have already stopped all conventional agriculture on the 12 fields and, after a fallow year we will, in January 2022, start to introduce native breeds of pigs, cattle and ponies in very low numbers as agents of rewilding. The animals will, in time, be able to roam freely across the whole area following an approach that has been shown to be critical for nature to thrive. The tension between growing and grazing and the way that these species will disrupt the ground with hoofs and mouths, snouts and dung, will help to create a dynamic mosaic of microhabitats out of grassy monoculture. It will work because the ancestors of these species are native to Britain and co-evolved in symbiosis with our flora.
YOU! WHY CROWDFUNDING?
While we have been able to begin something and to release our land and some of our own funds for this, we will not be able to achieve this vision without your support.
Your interest in us and your donation, whatever its size, is vital to our success. There is currently no public funding in Scotland for our holistic approach, though we continue to lobby hard and are very grateful to the Woodland Trust which, combined with our own financial contribution and further trust grants will, we hope, provide 70% of what we need for the first phase of the project. We need your help for the next 30%.
We believe passionately that the creation of Bamff Wildland is a public good beyond borders and that there is a community of supporters who will be inspired by what we are trying to do and who will want to help us raise the rest of the money. This way, together, we can show to a wider world what can be done elsewhere and in future with this model. The greater our community and the greater the support we can attract, the greater our influence to bring about significant change both locally and globally.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? CAN YOU SEE BAMFF WILDLAND FOR YOURSELF?
This is a real opportunity to be a part of something vital and new and, for the moment, very rare in Scotland. Bamff has a history of commitment to access. We are already on the Cateran Trail, a popular public walking route and, recently, we have teamed up with Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust and the Alyth Development Trust (awarded funding from the Drumderg Windfarm Fund) to create a path network on our hill land. If you are in the area, or if you choose to stay in any of our accommodation, you will be able to enjoy the land in all of its complex and ever-changing beauty. Of course, this will be true whether or not you contribute but, if you do, you can be proud that your donation will bring about change and give you a stake in the future flourishing of Bamff Wildland.
WHAT ARE YOU PAYING FOR?
INITIAL TARGET £24,000 – for our first phase of work
- Tamworth pigs and Native breeds of ponies
- Perimeter fence and cattle grids – to enclose the wildland, create a
contiguous zone (by the eventual removal of internal fences) between the different habitats and keep in our stock.
- Wildlife gates – for the free movement of wildlife, especially badgers and foxes
- Monitoring – it is essential that we monitor this project closely, in order to
produce clear data on the impact of rewilding. We are very lucky to have had
a lot of pro-bono help so far and to be hosting some important scientific
research from MSc and PhD students, but we will need to pay for some
targeted ecological surveys.
STRETCH TARGET £35,000 – will help to kick-start second phase “catalysing rewilding”.
Meeting our initial crowd funding target of £24,000 will enable us to undertake the first, necessary steps to enclose and stock the new Bamff Wildland but, if we exceed the first target, your support will then help us to move forward with a second, very important set of projects. Whilst our guiding philosophy is to let nature take its course, there are some accepted interventions that are genuinely worthwhile, especially for reversing certain negative human impacts more quickly. We are calling it ‘catalysed rewilding’. Below is a list of desirable interventions we hope to undertake.
- Ponds and scrapes – described by one of our environmental advisors as the ‘best biodiversity for bucks’, we will excavate shallow pools that are ideal for wading birds like curlews, oyster catchers and lapwings all of which have declined very noticeably in a few short years.
- Small scale planting – this is already underway in partnership with the Woodland Trust and Alyth Development Trust (and Dave also now has a routine of cutting willow coppice and sticking it in the ground at every opportunity!) but we need to do more. We have a lot of non-native trees, and although we have to accept them as part of the mix, we need to re-balance where possible. We aim to plant species like hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, crab apple, and hazel which provide wonderful, dense habitat and plentiful food for birds and mammals like warblers, wrens, chiffchaffs, dunnocks and hedgehogs. Scrub containing hawthorn and blackthorn is also a ‘nurse crop’ offering protection to young trees with their thorns.
- Osprey Platforms – in collaboration with Roy Dennis and Northwoods Rewilding Network, we plan to erect one or two osprey platforms, which can also be used by kites.
- Native flowering wetland plants (plug plants) – these would be planted along the waterways that have until recently been heavily grazed by sheep.
- Native wildflower seeds – these would be sown on some fields, to diversify the number of species and support the survival of bees and other invertebrates.
- Amphibian reintroduction – we are interested in introducing rare or locally extinct species like the agile frog, pool frog, moor frog and great crested newt.
- We would like to build nesting boxes for species that need a helping hand, like the tree sparrow
- Hibernacula – bee hotels, hedgehog homes
- Wildcat projects like captive breeding or soft release are something we aspire to do but they are very expensive.
- Equipment – our commitment to thorough monitoring of the Wildland requires us to invest in camera lenses, trail cameras, a drone, sweep nets, binoculars, night vision equipment.