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Conservation award for Press Mains Cottages

Wild Scotland member, Press Mains Cottages, have won a major accolade for their achievements in conservation.

Emma and Peter Edmundson of Press Mains Farm, near Coldingham, have won a national compeititon run by NFU Scotland. The farming and conservation award was presented to the couple at a special ceremony last week at Dunblane Hydro Hotel where they were given a £500 cheque and a plaque for their “superb conservation”.

The Edmundson’s 493 hectare beef and arable farm has managed wildlife sites which include a badger set, red squirrel feeding station, a buzzard’s nest, otter habitat and many other bird nests. Live pictures of the sites are beamed into the four holiday cottages on the farm which opened in 2003. Fully booked for this summer, the cottages are becoming very popular with wildlife watchers because of the abundance of animals and birds encouraged by the Edmundsons.

“Farming sometimes gets a very bad press and we are very keen to show that intensive agriculture and wildlife can go together,” said Mr Edmundson.

The farm is part of the Green Tourism Business Scheme and active members of Wild Scotland and the Edmondsons are members of the environmental organisations LEAF and FWAG.

They beat off five other finalists from all over Scotland to win the award which is sponsored by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland (RSPB Scotland).

“It is a great honour to accept this award,” said Mr Edmondson. “We enjoy watching wildlife and obtain a great satisfaction from knowing that our farming practices are benefiting wildlife.
“We have tried to take a practical approach to agri-environment schemes to benefit the farm and its farming system and to enhance habitats.

“Our aim is to leave the land in better condition than that in which we found it and also to show to our visitors and to the wider public just how wildlife and modern or commercial farming can co-exist.”
RSPB Scotland Director Stuart Housden said: “Agriculture is the main force that shapes Scotland’s wildlife and habitats and farming that is done in sympathy with the needs of birds and biodiversity is essential if we are to protect and enhance the countryside.

“The winners have shown that they are willing to take that extra step by making big efforts to integrate conservation into their overall agricultural activities. As well as running successful working farms they have managed to provide a haven for a rich variety of wildlife – including priority species – and they deserve great praise for their efforts. Well done to both of them.”

From Press & Journal, 01 March 2007

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