Lying on the southern fringe of the Scottish Highlands, a few miles from Callander, famously known as the Gateway to the Highlands and close to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, is Muir Estate. Here, within the estates 188 acres, you will find privacy, peace and tranquillity.
Wildlife on Muir Estate
Muir Estate is home to a healthy population of resident roe deer that like to hang about down in wooded area, towards the loch, and also in the Christmas tree plantations. Until we patched up week parts of the deer fences, we used to find them prancing about in the commercial Christmas tree plantation, as they like to nibble on the young tips of the trees, which is the pointy top of the tree you sit your Angel or Star on. A tree with no point is no good! The roe deer particularly like the woodland part of the estate as they are native to the woods and the trees provide fantastic shelter and protection for them. You are unlikely to see them in the fields, so head to the trees. They are the smaller of the species and have white fluffy tails but look quick as they disappear like magic!
If you’re up early enough in the morning you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of our wild red deer which is the much larger of the species, and is the breed you tend to find in the supermarkets. The red deer tend to linger in the fields as they like the grass and although like trees for shelter, they are not so afraid to be in the open.
There is an abundance of brown hares, particularly in the Christmas Tree plantations. Also foxes, badgers and the super elusive pine martin who’s presence is only betrayed by his tracks in the fresh snow.
The bird life includes all the typical woodland and farmland species such the robin, thrush, and wren, pheasants and pigeons.
The loch attracts several species of ducks and geese including Canada’s. The secretive woodcock is a common sight during the winter months, and although a largely nocturnal bird we have seen it’s presence many times during the day. Other common sightings can be made of buzzards, herons, and a nocturnal chorus of the resident owls can be heard every night.
Farmed Animals on Muir Estate
Our deer are new to the estate but have settled in nicely. Alick has a great deal of experience managing wild and farmed deer so we decided that a deer farm would be a great addition to the estate and we hope that guests will love that these majestic beasts are here to be seen. It's a small herd to start with but fingers crossed, and with Alick’s passion, our herd will grow strong and healthy and reproduce.
The sheep on the estate have the sole job at the minute of munching the rough grass down, to get it in better condition. Then we would like have store lambs and eventually breed what lamb we need. This will be largely dependent on when we put up an agricultural shed. We have no cows or pigs yet but we hope to add these to the estate at a later date.
Plant life and foliage on Muir Estate
There are various different Christmas tree plantations on the estate, the smallest of the trees that you will see in neat little rows are commercial and will be harvested over the next 2-7 years, thinned out every year.
These are Noble Nordman and are the popular trees you will probably have in your home for the festive period. After the final harvest these fields will be turned back into pasture so that we can grow our deer herd.
This is the section that the wild deer and our farmed deer have been prohibited from entering by putting up high fences for the red and lower fencing for the roe. Deer are very good at jumping. The other plantations are more mature and there is one plantation I like to call the ‘wonky’ Christmas trees. The plantations are fantastic to walk through as they are all different shapes and sizes and you will see many of the wildlife we’ve mentioned.
There are various other types of trees such as conifers, birch. There is a section of the wood that has the very large spongy balls of Sphagnum moss. It is quite amazing, like walking on clouds. These areas are notoriously wet and wellington boots are a must.