The process of rewilding is no quick fix. It’s a slow process. Rewilding is handing the reins back over to Mother Nature and entrusting in her natural ways of survival and growth. Our role as humans is simply to support and nurture this process. Allowing space and time for nature’s restoration to take place and protect its wild offerings whilst living in harmony alongside each other.
Our rewilding story…
Resting high above the Strathmore valley is our little patch of progress. We moved into Kirklandbank Farm (7 acres) back in 2008. Since then, we’ve shared many happy memories on the land including the creation of our botanical spirit distillery along with many cherished family moments. However, one change that has become increasingly important is that of our mission to rewild the surrounding landscape and the progress that we’ve made so far.
Beginning our venture into distilling botanical spirits gave us a whole new appreciation for our wild surrounds. Whilst learning foraging and shaping our ethical operations we’ve broadened our understanding of the incredible native botanical species right here on our doorstep. Some of which feature in our natural recipes such as birch, elderflower and more.
It seemed only courteous that whilst nature supports us and the development of our business, we should support its natural progression.
So far, we have created a wildlife pond which is thriving with aquatic and wetland plants and associated insects and animals including damsel-flies, dragonflies, newts and frogs. We’ve planted several wildflower meadow areas with local seeds sourced from Scotia Seeds in Angus to stay in keeping with our support of native species. Our new hedgerow areas now offer a habitat for common species such as blackthorn trees from which we will harvest sloe berries in the years to come. And of course, they will also provide a safe and welcoming place for local wildlife to call home all year round.
We regularly plant and tend to the land making it as easy as possible for nature to do its own rewilding.
Our apothecary garden has seen great progress over recent years. Throughout history, apothecary gardens served as a place to grow medicinal herbs and plants for traditional healing remedies. We’ve been planting a range of apothecary plants and native Scottish species, some well-known such as borage and sweet violet and some that are more rare in the wild. We will use these in our ongoing research and development of plant based flavours and products.
Let’s talk stats, shall we?
It’s all fine and well us telling you how wonderful our journey of rewilding Kirklandbank Farm is, but we’ll let the stats and figures do the talking for a moment. As you can see from the table below, over the last 12 years we’ve increased the tree population alone x5 to 613 trees. We’ve introduced more than double the original amount of tree species on the farm and re-introduced even further with native wild understory plant species.
|Total number of trees||121||613||407%|
|Total number of tree species||11||28||155%|
|Other plants number of species||43||134||212%|
|Total plant biodiversity||54||162||200%|
The increase in biodiverse wild plant areas under-pins the growth in biodiversity across a wider range of species including fungi, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Why rewilding is important to us and our planet.
Our passion for rewilding and nature conservation is fuelled by the endless benefits it has for our ecosystem. We live in times of catastrophic biodiversity loss across the globe as a result of habitat loss and climate change. For us as a small business and a family, our rewilding work is our contribution to protecting our local biodiversity, slowing down climate change and giving back to our environment.
We hope that our ethical farming ways shed a light on the botanical spirits industry which has long succeeded in Europe, whilst only breaking into Britain in recent years. Since the launch of Highland Boundary we’ve received amazing support from our customers. This only solidifies our belief that there is huge potential in Scotland for the food and drinks industry to incorporate an ethical wild food and drink sector. Farming and land management in balance with nature is achievable and sustainable no matter the scale.
We’ve done a lot of learning along the way. We are part of the Nature Friendly Farming Network and active members of the recently formed Scottish Rewilding Alliance a collaboration of like-minded organisations aiming to enable rewilding at a scale new to Scotland. We’re signatories to the Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth which is going forward for consideration as part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.
This is only the tale of our rewilding story so far but it just goes to show that small efforts can make a big impact. There’s no reason that you too can’t make a difference. Whether it’s supporting businesses or charities that encourage rewilding, or getting stuck in yourself and having a go at creating and planting wild areas in your garden. We can all play our own part in looking after and expanding our stunning Scottish wild places for generations to come.
If you think we can help you with rewilding then please get in touch. If you want to come and experience what we do yourself then you can stay with us at Kirklandbank Farm or join us and Daniele from Perthshire Wildlife on a combined guided wildlife walk and distillery tour.