Habitat Management

Dumfries and Galloway is a region blessed with some of the most outstanding natural landscapes in the UK, and we are keenly aware of our place within that landscape. 

Farming has played a very important role in shaping that landscape.  Through centuries of working the land, people have created new habitats and environments which are every bit as important for our native wildlife as uncultivated wilderness can be.  From hedgerows and dry stane dykes to open, unimproved pastureland; traditional farming practices can provide outstanding breeding sites for many species of birds and mammals, as well as threatened meadow flowers. 

Over the past twenty years on Rainton Farm we have worked hard to achieve a balance between the practicalities of farming, and the creation of valuable habitat for native wildlife.  We have set aside 10% of the farm and planted it down to conjoined, mixed broadleaf woodland, while increasing the productivity of the remaining 90% farmland by at least 10%.  We estimate that this woodland will carry 100 times the number of wildlife species of fertilized and sprayed Ryegrass grassland found on an average UK dairy farm.

Our conversion to organic saw the return of farming practices which benefit wildlife rather than threaten it.  Our planted hedgerows and well maintained dykes provide a haven for wildlife.  We no longer use pesticides or herbicides so wildflowers thrive in our pastures and offer safe refuge to countless bumblebees, dragonflies and butterflies, and our native woodland provides safe haven for the endangered and iconic red squirrel. 

Since 1995 we have planted more than 40,000 native broadleaf trees around our nature trails and cycle tracks.  These trees are now developing into fully-fledged young woodlands, extending their range by naturally re-seeding themselves and providing nesting places for around 60 species of native and migrant birds. 

Watching these woodlands develop and the seeing the richness return to the landscape we’re shaping through our farming practices is one of the great joys of working at Rainton Farm and Cream o' Galloway, and our passion for enhancing the landscape we are custodians of is something we're very keen to share with our visitors.