Donside estate wins gold for top forestry project

By Gemma Reynolds Photography
By Gemma Reynolds Photography

A 5000-acre moor in Donside has been announced as the joint winner of the 2014 Purdey Awards for Game & Conservation.

Neil Brown, moor keeper on Donside’s Allargue Estate, was presented with the coveted Purdey Awards shield and a cheque for £4000 at the annual awards ceremony held in Purdey’s historic Long Room in London’s Mayfair on November 19.

Mr Brown received the Gold Award in recognition of his work on Allargue’s long-term project to restore 500 acres of mature conifers on ex Forestry Commission land to heather.

Two thirds of the areas restored there have already demonstrated remarkable improvements to wildlife habitats. Judges noted how Black Grouse numbers had increased substantially since the project began, and the removal of trees had allowed the water to return on the ground, with wildfowl and biodiversity as a whole reaping the benefits of new wetland.

The project is a long-term commitment and Mr Brown hopes that, over time, the restructured woodland will provide an ideal habitat for all kinds of wildlife and species.

The estate has been owned by the same Farquharson and Forbes families for the past 400 years and Mr Brown feels he has a heritable responsibility to maintain the estate and the environment. It was one of the first fully accredited members of Wildlife Estates Scotland and works tirelessly to uphold the WES’ high standards of wildlife management.