Situated near Elgin, Fochabers is the most northerly of our rural estates. Primarily an agricultural holding, it is also an important environmental asset. It has three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), plus local designations under the Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve and European designations.
The estate was originally purchased from the Duke of Richmond and Gordon in 1937, with recent additions in the 1990s, and now stands at a total of around 4,800 hectares (11,900 acres).
There are 90 agricultural tenancies, 40 of which are principal farming units. Farming is principally of the mixed arable livestock type, including beef and sheep. There are also some pig and dairy units.
Alongside the agricultural tenancies, there are about 40 residential properties, several sporting and commercial tenancies, including salmon fishing rights on the River Spey, and Spey Bay golf course.
There are three SSSI associated with the Spey: the Lower River Spey, Spey Bay and River Spey SSSIs. The latter two areas are also designated as candidate SAC.
The Lower River Spey SSSI contains the closest environment Britain has to a natural floodplain forest. The course of the river has changed significantly over the years – and as it changes course it gives rise to alluvial floodplain which is colonised by alder.
This dynamism however gives rise to significant erosion, as is currently the case at Quarry Pool where the western bank is receding, with a consequent loss of land and the release of significant quantities of silt into the river. It is estimated that more than an acre of land has been lost in the last five years. We are liaising with Scottish Natural Heritage to consider how this may best be addressed in order to protect the land whilst also working within the limitations of the environmental designations on the site.
The Spey Bay SSSI has the finest active shingle ridges in Scotland, with the mouth of the Spey showing more mobility than almost any other section of the coastline of Britain, and over the last two centuries the position of the river mouth has been known to fluctuate radically.
The Whole River Spey SSSI is notable for its aquatic wildlife. This includes such species as Atlantic salmon, sea lamprey, otter, and Arctic charr, a species categorised as ‘threatened or declining in range’ under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
Reserve Herd of Chillingham Cattle
Fochabers also plays host to a reserve herd of Chillingham Cattle, established at Orbliston Farm in 1972 to safeguard the future of the main herd following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 1967.
Chillingham Cattle are the purest surviving native wild white cattle in Britain, and are thought to be descended from the British wild ox. Part funding for accommodating and supervising the cattle is supplied by the Chillingham Society, with the balance being paid to the farm tenant by The Crown Estate.
Moray Firth Wildlife Centre
The Wildlife Centre at Tugnet is let to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and used as a site for research, education and promotion of the conservation of marine wildlife. This is the only centre of its type that WDCS operates in the UK.
Over the coming years it is anticipated that WDCS will seek to expand the range of facilities and services at Tugnet and this is an opportunity for The Crown Estate to be involved in an unusual environmental project and to forge links with the marine interest in the Moray Firth.
Mineral activity on the Fochabers estate is currently centred at Nether Dallachy where a sand and gravel quarry has been in operation for some time. Part of the adjacent previously worked area is leased to Moray Council for their landfill site which makes use of some of the aggregate extracted in its waste containment process.
For further information on the Fochabers estate, please contact our managing agent:
7 The Square
telephone 01343 823 000
fax 01343 823 030
Wardell Armstrong LLP
Sir Henry Doulton House
Stoke on Trent
telephone 0845 111 7777
fax 0845 111 8888
Further information on other local agents can be found on the Agents page.
For further information on our Scottish holdings, please visit our Scotland page.