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Environmentally friendly farm holidays
For the benefit of our self catering visitors, and to show that our commitment to sound environmental practices extends beyond farm holidays. Blackpark farm is also eco friendly and is part of RSS.

The aim of the Rural Stewardship Scheme (RSS) is to encourage farmers and crofters to adopt environmentally friendly practices and to maintain and enhance particular habitats and landscape features.

Aspects of the scheme we have taken part in are:

1 Extensive Management of Mown Grassland for Birds.
The aim is to encourage the management of hay and silage fields for the protection of ground nesting birds, their eggs and fledglings. When mowing the field the aim is to cut from the centre of the field to allow birds etc to move towards the field edges.

2 Creation and Management of Species Rich Grassland.
The aim is to convert an area from arable / improved grassland to species diverse grassland by restricting the agricultural. The existing grassland is ploughed down and a new sward with low productivity grass and herb mix is sown which will provide food and shelter for invertebrates, which will attract birds etc. 3 Management of Wetland areas.

The aim is to enhance bird life and to encourage botanical diversity that will in turn benefit invertebrates. The designated area must not have any fertilizer applied and will not be grazed for the summer months.

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Fenced off Hedges.
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Fenced off new hedges.

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Conservation Headland.

3 Management of Wetland areas.
The aim is to enhance bird life and to encourage botanical diversity that will in turn benefit invertebrates. The designated area must not have any fertilizer applied and will not be grazed for the summer months.

4 Conservation Headlands.
The aim is to leave the headlands of arable fields free from herbicides, nitrogen fertilizers or insecticides. This will allow the natural development of varied flora within the headland, which will become a feeding ground and habitat for insects, birds and small mammals.

5 Grass margin or Beetlebank in Arable Fields.
The aim is to create strips around a field on which insects can over-winter and breed early in the season. This allows them to effect a useful form of biological control by attacking aphid populations in adjacent crops. The strips also provide food and cover for birds.

6 Extended Hedges.
To create hedges that are wider and taller than normal which along with the adjacent undisturbed areas will support a diverse range of plants as well as habitats for invertebrates, birds and small mammals.

7 Extensive Cropping.
The aim is to increase the conservation value of arable land by supporting traditional cropping rotation that will provide cover and feeding areas for birds.

8 Unharvested Crops.
The aim is to encourage the practice of leaving areas of crop unharvested in order to provide cover and areas for birds. We have planted a mix of barley and turnips, which the birds etc will feed on the broken down barley in the first winter. The turnips will then take over in the second year and provide a food source for the following winter. The area is then ploughed down and the process repeats again.

   

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Photography by Hamish Campbell | Panorama Courtesy of Iain MacDiarmid