The main education/visitor centre is shown in the centre, with the lab area and storage space in the buildings to the left. The renovation has managed to keep all the original stonework.
By Dave Parish, GWCT Head of Scottish Lowland Research
Readers may recall that just over a year ago Merlin Becker wrote a blog outlining the progress made on the work being carried out to renovate the old mill buildings at Auchnerran, which were to become the new education and visitor centre, incorporating new office space for the project team. Well, I’m delighted to say that this work has now been completed by Andrew Salvesen, our landlord at the farm, and his team. It has taken a tremendous effort to achieve, not helped at all by the covid-19 restrictions which slowed things down considerably of late, but the finished buildings are fantastic.
Part of the main meeting room.
The new facilities include a large meeting come lecture room, office space, a kitchen area and toilets in the main building, plus lab space and storage areas in the adjacent steading buildings. This means that the research and monitoring team will soon move the office from the Bridgefoot Cottage living room, so that this building will now be used solely as accommodation for our two placement students.
The new facilities now provide us with a space which is fit for purpose from which to run the project and allows us to properly host large groups of visitors in comfort instead of being squeezed into the small temporary container we’ve been using – which is definitely not conducive to current social distancing requirements!
The old meeting room in the temporary container outside Bridgefoot Cottage – full to bursting!
There are already moves afoot to increase our visitor numbers through 2021 to make full use of the new facilities, with plans to increase our engagement with local schools, colleges and universities, and practitioners and stakeholders. This is an ambitious educational programme that marks the start of an important new phase in the Game & Wildlife Scottish Demonstration Farm. As Merlin said at the end of his blog, watch this space!