Our Green Story
The Dunbar family have managed Duffus Estate since the 1600’s. Moving with the times, Sir Edward Dunbar and Lady Caroline Dunbar are keen to minimise the Estate’s environmental impact and manage the land to encourage the local flora and fauna to thrive. The Estate is a haven for birds and animals, from the noisy Woodpeckers, to the famous Red Squirrels and new nesting boxes and squirrel feeders are put up each season to support their ongoing presence. As much of the woodland is mature, the squirrels use the tree-tops as a corridor across the Estate.
It is home to a wide diversity of both local plants and others from around the world, which the Dunbar family are keen to sustain through an ongoing programme of planting native species of trees and bulb planting, resulting in an amazing show in Spring! They have recently taken back in-hand a 26-acre field and are looking into options to ‘re-wild’ this area, inspired by photographs of this field in the past.
Earthtime for All Outdoor Nursery and Forest School is a childcare provider which connects children and young people with the natural environment; using creative and woodland based activities to improve self-esteem, health and well-being. They have been based on Duffus Estate since the nursery was established, and together with the Dunbar family, have worked in partnership to make the most of the natural environment Duffus Estate offers in the area which they use. Their hard work was recognised in 2019 when they were awarded The Crown Estate Scotland Schools Trophy for school-based projects, by Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.
You can read more about this at Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards
As with any mature woodland, there are occasions when the tree surgeon comes to visit – although it is sad when diseased or dying trees are felled, Duffus Estate ensure they live on by re-purposing usable wood to make indoor and outdoor furniture which is then used in the Estate holiday properties. The remaining felled wood is cut to provide the holiday properties with fuel for the wood burners and fire-pits.
There has been a real focus in recent years to manage the holiday properties to reduce the environmental impact. Caroline uses locally sourced, environmentally friendly cleaning products (Dew), and locally sourced, organic and natural bath and body products (Highland Soap Co.) and ensures that the amazing local larder in Moray is used for food and drinks. The holiday cottages have had new boilers and thermostats installed to manage energy usage more effectively and the benefits of these investments have already been seen.
An opportunity arose to develop a small site on the Estate overlooking Duffus Castle and Ed and Caroline were keen to develop this in a sustainable manner. They sourced an architecturally designed eco-cabin, manufactured locally by Carbon Dynamic and invested in solar panels for heat and light and solar-thermal panels for heating the water. This has been very successful and has given the chance for guests from around the country to immerse themselves in a natural environment.
Their latest plan is for a coffee hut, in the style of a shepherd’s hut, which will be based at Duffus Castle – a perfect place for a cuppa with a view! ‘Kula’ will be a place to come together and share coffee and cake! Kula is the name which truly reflects Caroline and Ed’s aim; Kula is used in many languages including Swahili and Sanskrit and translates as coming together as a community and sharing sustenance. They have used local suppliers for coffee, tea and soft drinks, are using compostable cups and are exploring ways to recycle the used coffee grounds.