Burncastle Estate near the Lammermuir Hills is the latest landholding to have been recognised for its outstanding conservation work.

Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accreditation was presented to the estate at the Border Union Show at Kelso.

The estate spans more than 9,000 acres and is mixed-use with integrated farming, forestry and country sports operations.

The estate has collaborated with the Butterfly Conservation Trust and, through their monitoring, recorded an increase of 20 moth species identified between 2020 and 2022.

With a total list comprising 220 species, the long-term monitoring taking place is crucial for understanding species resilience in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather conditions and climate change.

Recently, the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project announced that Burncastle Estate was the first to host two new artificial eyries on its land.

It is hoped the eyries will help support the restoration of golden eagles in the region, allowing the birds to nest and raise chicks in the future.

WES is a national version of the Wildlife Estates (WE) initiative and is endorsed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Environment, whose objective is to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations.

All types of landholdings, farms and estates can apply for accreditation and Scotland currently sits second in the league table of Wildlife Estates accredited land on 1.25 million acres, with only Spain ahead on approximately 1.6 million acres.

Craig Dickman, Head Gamekeeper at Burncastle Estate, said: “Burncastle is incredibly committed to enhancing wildlife and habitat to ensure that nature can flourish.

“For many years, we have been undertaking native species tree planting and drain blocking to allow for rewetting alongside moorland restoration projects and the long-term monitoring of moth species.

“The estate is gradually establishing a network of continuous woodland cover and working with others so that the challenges of land management can be addressed collaboratively.

“We’re pleased to retain Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation as it is recognition of the best practice we are striving to follow.”

Caroline Pringle, Project Manager at Wildlife Estates Scotland, added: “It is a pleasure to see Burncastle Estate retain their Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation.

“The effort they are employing to integrate and enhance biodiversity is worthy of recognition, as is their commitment to knowledge exchange.

“Burncastle is part of a group of accredited farms and estates that have followed a meticulous process to demonstrate their exemplary standards of land management – an achievement that hopefully others may replicate.

“Such work often comes at considerable private cost to businesses but such is their commitment to the environment, properties like Burncastle are willing to undertake this vital role.

“It is only correct that accreditation such as WES exists to acknowledge the work the estates are accomplishing.”