Newhall Estate’s wildlife
6th January 2019
6th January 2019
Newhall Estate extends to some 140 acres (57 Ha) and is adjacent to Spittal Farm which covers just under 1000 acres (404 Ha).
Newhall is dominated by the steep wooded North Esk Glen.
The North Esk Glen has over a mile of delightful paths boasting a rich variety of trees and fauna as well as bird life. It is a site of special scientific interest.
The North Esk river at some time formed the border between Scotland and England.
The walled garden is a short distance from the main house and is described separately.
Spittal Farm is a working sheep farm carrying a flock of some 800 Black Face and Black Face Texel Cross ewes. Lambing normally starts in late April, with clipping of the wool happening around July. The fat lambs are sold off during the Autumn. The Shepherd (Sandy) is always busy with the sheep and has two sheep dogs, Don and Skye.
Spittal Farm is bounded on its west side by North Esk reservoir. There is a steep road down from Spittal to the reservoir which is only suitable for walking or four-wheel drive vehicles.
There is brown trout fishing available on the reservoir by arrangement which also has two boats on it. The reservoir was built in 1850 to supply waterpower for the paper mills in Penicuik. It is now decommissioned but covers about 17 acres. One of the mills was owned by the Cowans – Tricia’s great grandfather’s family. Her brother, Alastair, is our neighbour at Eastside and his 3000 acre sheep farm encompasses a number of notable hills, including Scald Law and East and West Kip, which offer some of the best walking in the region and enjoy spectacular views over Edinburgh. If you are lucky you will see the odd covey of Red Grouse.
There is a bird hide on one side of the reservoir to view the extensive spring and summer bird life of duck, geese, cormorants, herons, swans and seagulls.
Newhall offers a perfect backdrop for bird watching. Besides the more common birds, we have many lesser spotted wood peckers as well as nut hatches. You are also likely to spot pheasant and partridge around the area. The occasional fox and badger can be seen and if you are very attentive an otter. There is usually a family of roe deer running between Newhall and Spittal.