Conservation & Wildlife
Conservation comes naturally.
Conservation has always been present on estates and it forms a fundamental part of our management philosophy at Winton. Whether we are dealing with buildings or bog land, furniture or fine art, they are all worth conserving and require specialist care and attention. We have to manage and adjust the balance between nature, forestry, farming and estate management to ensure that different species of plant, bird and animal life can thrive at Winton.
The buildings on Winton Estate date back to the work of the Setons in the fifteenth century and the Tower which is at the core of Winton House. Most of the houses and farm steadings date from the nineteenth century with some more recent additions, especially on the farms. Skilled tradesmen and craftsmen were employed in their construction and we aim to use similar skilled people in their maintenance. This can be a challenge when faced with the famous and unique stone twisted chimneys of Winton House or its plaster ceilings! Assistance in pursuing a maintenance programme comes from the Architects East Lothian and Building team at Chalmers & Co.
Works of art
The Winton House collections of furniture and artwork have been gathered mainly from around Europe since the eighteenth century by the three families of Hamiltons, Nisbets and Ogilvys. Restoration, usually carried out locally, is an ongoing process, often revealing the item's original glory.
We cannot control wildlife but we can influence it and marvel daily at the creativity, adaptability and intimacy of it all. At Winton, we strive to enhance the wildlife to enable species to colonise and grow, whether plants, birds, insects or mammals. We have identified the main wildlife corridors which link the primary habitats, and we strive to conserve and develop these.
Sometimes this work is prompted by a specific conservation scheme. Our partners in this work include government and wildlife agencies such as the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD), the Forestry Commission, East Lothian Council, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), the RSPB, the Game Conservancy Trust and the farmers' organisation Linking the Environment and Farming (LEAF) of which we are members.
The habitats which have benefited from projects in recent years have been watercourses, wetlands, species rich grassland, ponds, miles of hedgerows, open farmland and woodland. Indicator species such as barn owl and the grey partridge give a good picture of the health of the countryside.
The measures taken to help encourage wildlife include creating and managing:
- · Corridors for wildlife using strips around field boundaries (conservation headlands).
- · Waterside margins.
- · Unharvested crops for winter cover.
- · Ponds and wetlands.
- · Species rich grasslands and hedgerows for insects, butterflies, plant and bird life.
Below are some of the forms of wildlife which are happy to call Winton home, or which we hope will soon return:
- · Wildlife in watercourses, ponds and wetlands
- · Wildlife in woods
- · Wildlife in farmland, parkland, buildings, fields and hedgerows