September 13, 2023

Woodlands at Old Melrose

On the Old Melrose Estate we took the decision three years ago to move away from Commercial Forestry plantations and instead focus on managing our woodlands for nature, biodiversity, habitat improvement and maximum amenity value.


Visitors to our Tearoom and guests staying in the Old Melrose holiday cottages can enjoy the mature woodlands and specimen trees and marvel at the wildlife which in turn benefits from our habitat improvements.

We have over 70 acres of woodlands crossed by a network of riverside and woodland paths which extend to nearly 3 miles in length. Each area of woodland contains a mix of native hardwood and softwood trees which are managed to ensure that they remain healthy and provide the maximum habitat benefits possible.

As we move into Autumn we start to think about our planting schedule for the year. This year we are lucky to have received a grant as part of the Destination Tweed Designed Landscapes project administered by Tweed Forum and funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Fallago Environmental Fund, SOSE and Borderlands. Every tree that we plant is chosen specifically for a task and planted in a carefully chosen position and we are about to plant over 300 of them.

This year we are planting two small wild hedges which will contain, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Holly, Dog Rose and Buckthorn which we hope will grow into a beautiful uncut thicket. It will produce blossom in the spring, flowers in the summer and berries in the Autumn which will make it both a visual masterpiece as well as a safe home full of food and nourishment for wildlife.

We are also starting a planting scheme around our pond which will focus on six weeping willows as well as smaller trees clustered together to create cover for wildlife which might need to access the pond. We are also planting over sixty Oak, Beech, Lime, Scots Pine and Red Maple trees along our hedgerows and field boundaries. These trees will grow over the years to become fine specimens standing tall and proud around the edge of our fields and will provide everything from shade for our sheep to blossom for pollinators and shelter for our birdlife.

We started to plant apple trees around the farm a few years ago and this year we will plant a further 100 apple trees across the farm in hedgerows, in the middle of existing woodland and along the edge of fields. Fruit trees are lovely to look at with their wonderful blossom in the spring and lovely fruit that appears in the Autumn. The fallen fruit provides a source of nourishment over the winter months for everything from hedgehogs and voles to butterflies and other insects. Not forgetting our guests and visitors who will be apple to pick an apple whilst they are out exploring the Estate.