ABOUT BAMFF – Bamff Ecotourism

ABOUT BAMFF

Bamff is an eco estate on the edge of the highlands

Bamff is a small estate in the uplands of North East Perthshire on the highland boundary fault-line.  It consists of 1300 acres of farmland, woodland, wetland and hill.  It has been owned by the Ramsay family since the year 1232 after being given to an ancestor by King Alexander II of Scotland as a reward for saving his life. Bamff has its own little hills, Hilton, and Balduff.

Paul and Louise Ramsay and their daughter Sophie and her partner Dave and baby Flora, live here, along with several other families in flats and cottages. Sophie’s three brothers visit regularly and take a close interest in the estate. The farming, carried out by neighbour Andrew Mitchell, and his son Peter, is organic –  mainly sheep and cattle.

Bamff has become known for its fascinating beaver project and abundant wildlife and attracts many wildlife enthusiasts and experts throughout the year. Around one third of the estate is woodland and the beavers have created a large area of wetland and pools. The beaver demonstration project at Bamff was the first of its kind in the UK.   The European beaver, hunted to extinction in the UK in the 16th century is now reintroduced to Scotland and since May 1st, 2019, has become a protected species.

Philosophy

We face a crisis unprecedented in the history of human civilisation, with climate change and biodiversity loss accelerating around the globe. The biodiversity crisis in the UK is happening at one of the fastest rates in the world.

At Bamff, we are doing all we can to create wildlife habitat – to restore nature’s abundance and to sequester carbon.

We offer accommodation to guests not just to fund our work and share the joy of staying in a place of abundant wildlife, but also to show how the restoration of the land for wildlife can also create opportunities for people.

Rewilding Plans

Having introduced beavers in 2002 and seen what an astonishing and positive transformation they have made to former agricultural ditches and artificial ponds, we are planning to expand the rewilding of Bamff to an area of 450 acres of fields and woods. We are working hard to bring this about as soon as possible.

Climate Action

Bamff House (or castle), its flats and holiday apartment are heated by a wood-chip district heating scheme. The main house is supplied with electricity by our own wind turbine.  Many of the houses on the estate have wood-burning stoves and some have heating systems supplemented by wood from a back boiler. Through a combination of renewable energy use and carbon sequestration through woodlands and wetlands, Bamff estate is contributing to climate change mitigation.

Flourishing wildlife

Visitors to Bamff will find  much wildlife flourishing on the estate. Planted and naturally regenerated native woodlands on the low ground are full of birds and small mammals, and on the hill the establishment of new native pinewoods is underway. This approach is being integrated with an eighteenth century planned landscape whose fine old trees give great beauty to the surroundings of the house.

There are many species of bird seen at Bamff. There are also a lot of wild mammals including roe deer, occasional fallow and red deer, hares, rabbits, foxes, badgers, stoats, weasels, pole cats, pine martens, red squirrels, otters, water voles, beavers,  hedgehogs, mice, shrews, voles and possibly wild cats.

Some of these animals are very illusive, but you are very likely to see roe deer, and quite likely to see squirrels and rabbits, but less likely to catch a glimpse of a pine marten.   Otters are not an uncommon sight, especially for beaver watchers.  You may be lucky and see a water vole.

Walks

You can walk anywhere on the Estate and there are two or three lovely walks that take from 20-40 minutes. The Cateran Trail is feted in Observer Magazine’s 10 best long-distance walks in UK, One of our holiday lets, The Hideaway, is situated on the Trail and is featured in the article. You can walk to Alyth via the Hill of Alyth and return by the Den o’ Alyth (or vice versa). Its around 3 miles each way. Alyth has a hotel, pubs, cafes, a local butcher, traditional grocer, and a wee museum. Kirkton of Glenisla is a 9 mile walk and Bridge of Cally around 6 miles. Both have pubs.

Community

Several of the people who live here also do some work on the estate. Aileen runs the office and handles the holiday letting.  She is also a qualified yoga and meditation teacher.  Chris is the handyman and gardener and an excellent naturalist and birder.  Nick is a musician and music technologist and helps with the sound whenever there is a big party. Dick has managed teams of volunteers to build the hide and yurt platforms and install the yurts. Sophie helps to run the estate.  Robin and Matt (Aileen’s son and Chris’s grandson) do a range of jobs about the place.   At Scottish Woodland Skills Centre at the edge of the Bamff estate, Dick runs courses in wood skills. Alice Warren, a Forest Schools Teacher, who used to live in our lower flat, runs a forest holiday play scheme, Wildsparks,  in the Bamff woods. Malcolm and Rachel in the top flat specialise in guided walks and showing people how to enjoy the simple pleasures of the countryside. Their business is called All Five Senses. Kelly and Steven clean the Yurts and cottages and help Bamff tidy and welcoming for our guests. Peter is a very fine dry stone dyker and stonemason.