The crofting landscape

The crofting system is directly responsible for the distinctive and varied cultural landscape of Balmacara Estate. This landscape, while underpinned by the natural topography and climate, has been shaped by human activities over the centuries. Our Crofting Cultural Landscape is entirely dependent upon the ongoing activities of the crofters and is characterised by three key elements:

  1. The in-bye croft land, usually the more fertile land defined by intricate field patterns, boundaries and crop lines
  2. The common grazings, made up of a mosaic of heather moorland, wet acid grassland, rock and bog, as well as extensive areas of native semi-natural woodland, which is often managed as wood pasture
  3. Small, isolated settlements, with a mix of modest houses (typically white-washed) and barns and byres, usually made of stone with corrugated tin roofs

This landscape supports a rich and diverse range of habitats and species, many of which are declining nationally and globally, and may even be absent without this unique system of land use.

At the very heart of the system are the crofters, the people who have lived on and worked this land for generations and have shaped its form throughout the ages. They will be just as critical to the process of shaping its future.