The Farm – A unique Island Heritage!
Heathcote Farm has remained within the McNeish family through successive generations for over 300 years.
Currently the farm is run by the present McNeish generation; Tom, Lynne & family. They farm around 77 Acres on this site which supports a small beef herd.
In May the cows and calves are turned out to grass. Some of the fields are shut off in order to make Silage crop (winter feed) which normally takes place around mid June – early July, weather dependent of course! After which the cows and calves graze the full scope of the farm land and are likely to be seen closer to the cottages.
In late autumn the calves are sold at market, some females are kept as replacement cows to move into the herd. From October/ November the cows and calves come indoors for the winter.
Since our farming practise is non-intensive, the farm also offers a great environment to support a variety of wildlife that can be viewed in and around the farm and surrounding area including, a variety of raptors such as hen harriers, buzzards, peregrine falcon, merlin, sparrow hawk, kestrel, barn owls and short eared owls additionally badgers, red squirrels, red deer, bats, butterflies, dragonflies and a huge diversity of resident and migratory birds can be observed.
The Farm Pond
For bird enthusiasts our farm pond of approx. 1 acre set in a hollow within a 25 acre field, is an oasis supporting a large population of bird life including Teal, Widgeon, Geese, Swans, Curlew, Snipe and many other wader species that leave the shores under the cover of darkness.
Ongoing work with local bird ringing specialists whose efforts inform the British Trust for Ornithology database, has previously yielded a pair of snipe, migrants from Iceland and a rare Jack Snipe, a first for Arran. A red neck phalarope also ringed on 31st July, last recorded in the 1980s. In 2018 a short eared owl was radio-tagged to assist BTO research on the habits of this reclusive bird.
Hedgerow birds including; chaffinches and yellowhammers. Current netting of the pond has continued with weather conditions being unfavourable for much of the winter season however, a few birds have been ringed, including further snipe, blackbird, robin and excitingly the return of the first Jack snipe on Arran ringed last winter!
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