FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INVERNESS, SCOTLAND — 5 December 2023 — The Boleskine House Foundation SCIO has been selected to receive funding from the Highland Council Nature Restoration Fund to restore a historic freshwater pond at the Boleskine Estate. The decision to award the registered Scottish charity £9,400 for the project was announced by the Highland Council on 5 December 2023.
The pond, which is situated behind the B-listed Boleskine House and was once stocked with fish, is part of the Loch Ness and Duntelchaig Special Landscape Area. Special Landscape Areas are designated by the Highland Council as regionally valuable landscapes identified to protect and enhance landscape qualities and promote their enjoyment. The origins of the pond can be traced back to at least the 19th century, and possibly further. After decades of neglect, the pond is now overgrown and in need of full restoration.
The pond also lies adjacent to the semi-ancient Farigaig Forest, which is currently being reviewed by Forestry Land Scotland for the South Loch Ness Land Management plan that is due for revision in 2024. Proposals for the felling of hundreds of acres of trees surrounding the Boleskine Estate, which is open to the public, may form part of the new plan, an effort that has been challenged by The Boleskine House Foundation. The charity has called for a public meeting to discuss the proposals. It is understood that more than 100 objections to the felling have already been lodged with Forestry Scotland.
“We are thrilled and thankful to the Highland Council for their decision to fund this important restoration project,” said Keith Readdy, Chairman of The Boleskine House Foundation. “Given that the revised land management is exploring the possibility of logging in the forests surrounding the estate, it is more important than ever to protect and restore as much of the natural landscape as possible. We hope that this decision for funding by the Highland Council will reinforce the importance of the preservation and enhancement of nature at the estate.”
The freshwater restoration project is planned to begin in the spring of 2024 and will include clearing back decades of overgrowth, including the eradication of the non-native rhododendrons around the pond. Pathways around the pond will be restored for public access, and new plantings of native wetland pond plants will support biodiversity and provide a nesting space for newts, frogs, and dragonflies.
Freshwater ponds can make a significant contribution to local biodiversity. Two thirds of freshwater species in Scotland are found in ponds, and yet 50% of all UK ponds have been lost in the 20th century, with 80% of remaining ponds, like the one at the Boleskine Estate, estimated to be in a poor state. Restoring freshwater ponds like these is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect freshwater wildlife.
Information and updates will be available as the project progresses on the Boleskine House Foundation’s official social media accounts at https://www.facebook.com/boleskine.house.foundation and https://www.instagram.com/boleskine.house.
The Boleskine House Foundation
The Boleskine House Foundation SCIO is a Scottish Registered charity whose mission is to restore and preserve the historical legacy and heritage of the Boleskine House estate for the greater benefit of the public. In addition to our conservation-led approach to sympathetically restore Boleskine House, we aim to educate the public on the heritage of the house and lands, to welcome the enjoyment of its structure and surrounding gardens, and to facilitate learning, growth and well-being. For more information, please visit www.boleskinehouse.org.