Rugged Wester Ross Peninsula estate becomes the latest Wildlife Estate Accredited property.

10 May 2023

A prestigious international wildlife accreditation has been awarded to the Trust that cares for one of Scotland’s most beautiful and remote peninsulas.

The Applecross Trust, which manages the Applecross Estate in Wester Ross, has achieved Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accreditation recognising the extensive environmental and conservation work it undertakes whilst managing its land.

Stretching across 26,000 hectares of stunningly beautiful mountains, beaches, woodlands, lochs and rivers, from Loch Torridon in the north to Loch Kishorn in the south, over the past five years the trust has successfully delivered £2.3million of conservation work across 40 projects which has ranged from invasive species removal, native woodland re-forestation and connection of fragmented habitat to facilitating natural regeneration and protection of existing healthy ecosystems.

Activities on the estate include agriculture, forestry, stalking, fishing and tourism and as part of a community plan compiled five years ago, the Trust established a community forum to receive input from local people.

Through the Estate’s small and sympathetic agricultural operation, they have further improved habitat through the creation of wildflower meadows, hedgerow repair and conservation grazing using their native-breed cattle. Their current work monitoring Atlantic Salmon and restocking the Applecross river, in partnership with Bob Kindness, Wester Ross Fisheries Trust, is an wonderful example of science leading the way in conservation.

WES is part of the international Wildlife Estates best practice accreditation scheme, made up of 19 national delegations across Europe. Since the first pilot estates were WES accredited in 2013, Scotland has accredited 70 landholdings and sits just behind Spain in terms of land area accredited. [CP1]

Archie MacLellan, from the Applecross Trust, said: “The trust first approached Wildlife Estates Scotland around two years ago to begin the accreditation process as we were keen to see the extensive conservation work carried out on the estate endorsed whilst also seeking to learn more about the best practices followed by other farms and estates who were part of WES.

“It is pleasing that the trust has achieved this recognition through what has been an intensive process of collating data and engagement with the accreditation team. The Applecross peninsula is well known for its beautiful and rugged landscape and the challenges we have in managing land can be very different from other regions of Scotland. What is similar to other WES members is the desire we have to do our best for wildlife, the environment and the community we are part of.”

Caroline Pringle, Project Manager at Wildlife Estates Scotland, said: “It is a fantastic achievement to attain Wildlife Estates Scotland accreditation and our congratulations go to the Applecross Trust and local people who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

“The trust has taken a holistic approach to its land management, integrating all its activities to co-exist and contribute positively together towards the landscape, environment and community. The trust takes care of a huge expanse of land in a remote area but that has not dampened their tireless commitment to maintain and enhance biodiversity.”