Bamff is an ancient family estate, an experiment in restoration ecology, and a place of outstanding wildness and natural beauty. It also has a small but beautifully formed - and growing - ecotourism business, with glamping and cottage accommodation and ecotours. Guests come for a unique experience – sleeping inside what is almost a nature reserve.
The Ramsay family have lived at Bamff for nearly 800 years. Their home, at the centre of the estate is an ancestral castle. Historically physicians, professors, musicians and politicians, the current generation are passionate about nature, and have devoted swathes of the land to re-wilding, while other parts are organic sheep farm.
Beavers, extinct in the UK for roughly 400 years, were brought to Bamff in 2001 and have since modified the landscape in thrilling and ever-changing ways, building cascading dams that create glimmering pools, busy with life: the most spectacular beaver lands in the UK. On a spring or summer evening, around dusk, you have a good chance of spotting a beaver, swimming in a pool, or grooming itself by the water’s edge. As you linger in the half-light, ducks land in the water, herons fly overhead, song thrushes, blackbirds and finches settle down for the night and bats come out. Trout jump to catch mayflies, frogs lurk in the water. You might even glimpse an otter or water vole. As the dark comes, tawny owls call out to claim territory; stars appear in millions.
Our accommodation caters for a variety of needs and preferences. Two Mongolian yurts sit in grassy ground, surrounded by mature trees behind the castle. The Hideaway – an off-grid wood cabin with composting loo and solar lighting and shower – overlooks a beaver dam beside a wood. The Gate Lodge and the Old Brewhouse are delightful 2 bedroom cottages. All are well equipped, with wood-burning stoves, cosy décor and comfortable beds. The yurts have access to rooms in the ground floor of the castle, where there is Wi-Fi, a wet room shower, and a small kitchen. In good weather you can light a bonfire and barbecue.
Bamff lies on the fault line that divides the highlands and lowlands: go north and you are in the hills, with panoramic views from Strathmore to the Cairngorms; south and you are in natural woodland full of roe deer and red squirrels; or open fields. The Cateran Trail comes through the estate, cyclists enjoy quiet nearby roads and tracks on the adjacent Alyth hill. Courses are available on the estate, in woodwork and bushcraft and there is a forest playscheme in one of the woods. Under two hours from Edinburgh and Glasgow, and just 45 minutes from Dundee and Perth Bamff is a surprisingly accessible piece of rural wilderness.