The Glen is a landscape molded by humans for centuries with recorded mention of settlements going back to the 12thc. Only Fethan Wood remains from the original Ettrick Forest, which covered the Border hills for millennia.
Anglo Saxon encampments can still be detected at strategic points, and there are fables about the Witches of Traquair living here. Scroll to more recent times around 1815, and it was William Allan who planted the beech shelter-belts and long avenue of silver firs, canalised parts of the Quair, and brought more of the low-lying lands into pasture. Sir Charles’ son Edward had a passion for trees and his Edwardian diaries are filled with accounts about new plantations, many created as part of the first World War effort for the country to be self-sufficient in timber.
The magnificent specimen trees, many at least 150 years old coincide with the fashion for New World planting, and the Giant Redwood near the Lodge is probably among the first specimens to be planted in Scotland.
The continuity of landscape stewardship inspires today’s efforts to manage the commercial forestry with sensitivity, continually enhancing the quality of this Designated Designed Landscape. A priority in new plantings is to add more native broadleaf woods and increase the number of paths so residents and visitors can enjoy the forests more.
The farm itself is renowned for its hefted blackface hill flock noted especially for the quality of its breeding stock. Our second-generation shepherd – a central part of our land management team and a consummate stockman – lives at Glen with his family. Our approach to our animals and farming is to be as humane and environmentally sensitive as we can be. The blackface breed is ideal for achieving this extensive approach.
The woods, pastures, and waters at Glen are here for all living things to enjoy. While our primary focus is to create and maintain a beautiful setting for the community of residents who call Glen home, we know that Glen is also much loved as a “surprise in the hills” and welcome everyone to enjoy and explore its many delights, asking that they also respect the place as a working farm and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code as well as nature’s rights to be undisturbed, for example in the spring nesting season.