As the leaves begin to change in colour and fall, so the progression into Autumn starts.
At Press Mains we have been enjoying the daily migration of birds overhead and the unmistakable honking of migratory geese, flying in formation over the farm land, as they head south for Winter.
Some unlikely characters have been stopping off en-route and feasting on the crops and a less common white tailed eagle has been spotted several times in the last few weeks, hunting for prey over the farmland.
It makes a pleasant change to see the low crops and the annual and spectacular deer rut, another event which clearly marks the changing seasons in Scotland.
Evenings bring the comforting hoot of our tawny owls; which can sometimes be caught on the cctv cameras from the cottages, much to the delight of our guests; and gorgeous log fires, fending of the chillier nights.
Further up the coast at Fast Castle, grey seal pups have been spotted coming ashore for the pupping season – another remarkable site and fabulous photo opportunity.
Thoughts will soon turn to Christmas (limited availability now, so be quick) and the placing of our estate grown Christmas Trees in each of our cosy cottages, in celebration. There is still plenty going on in the area over the Festive period with the Coldingham Village Christmas Fair, the weekly St Abbs Market and of course the annual, traditional dip in the sea at Coldingham on New Year’s Day – not to be missed, even from a spectator’s viewpoint!
Guests through Autumn and Winter have the benefit of a much quieter coastline to explore and no less wildlife spotting opportunities. Please remember also that Press Mains Cottages are dog friendly, so if you don’t want to leave your four-legged friend at home, he shall be made more than welcome too!
As the leaves begin to change in colour and fall, so the progression into Autumn starts.
Global economists have forecast a continued international tourism growth; the amount of which is dependent on the geographical location.
Additionally, tourism destinations and businesses are increasingly following responsible tourism policies and aiming for a goal of sustainable tourism, taking responsibility for the impact of their development within their chosen sector; endorsing environmental integrity and thus appealing to a wider audience in an increasingly aware and informed society.
Sustainable tourism involves making conscious decisions in an attempt to make as low an impact on the environment as possible. Seeking to protect destinations at the same time, protecting tourism as an industry, sustainable tourism is the recognised pathway to follow and vital to protect our environment.
Press Mains, as a working farm, have witnessed the effects of global warming at first hand and have adapted their policies and agenda to incorporate an environmentally friendly approach to protect their Estate and surrounding countryside and wildlife.
Our aim is simple; reduce impact and costs, increase quality and profit. This may sound idealistic, however success has been good and the schemes we have adopted are proving to be a success and contributing towards our ongoing goals and maintaining and improving our guests’ experience.
Our success in achieving a Gold Award within the Green Tourism business scheme (www.green-business.co.uk) several years ago, spurred us on with a plan which began with simple changes such as low energy lighting, increased insulation, improved and facilitated recycling and composting, etc.
Since then, many of our plans have been implemented and we now plant a tree for each one felled for use in our wood fuelled boilers in addition to one planted for each guest visiting Press Mains. This presents new wildlife habitats and is additionally appealing to guests with specially installed cctv cameras, allowing them the opportunity to watch the animals and birds from the comfort of eco-friendly cottages.
A more recent addition is the building of the vergnet windmill at Press Mains, commissioned in 2012 and now supplying electricity to the Estate.
In recognition of our environmental efforts, we are the proud recipients of several awards which are displayed within our website.
The RSPB regularly engage with followers and undertake an annual “Big Garden Birdwatch”, where our feathered friends, visiting gardens around the UK are logged and reported, with results appearing on the RSPB website.
Here at Press Mains, we actively promote the wildlife surrounding our cottages and encourage visitors to enjoy the peace, relaxation and the chance of a brush with nature.
From the luxury of the cottages, guests are able to watch wildlife in action, via dedicated wildlife cameras, posted around the Estate, and register the results in our little log books. Every year produces interesting results and a fascinating insight into the birds and other animals which have made Press Mains their home.
We offer guides of what to watch out for on our website and in information packs within the cottage and additionally, the RSPB assist with their typical birds to look out for in UK gardens, with accompanying images:
Our surrounding countryside also offers fabulous wildlife watching opportunities, with “Sea Bird City” at St Abbs Head Nature Reserve, home to Kittiwakes and Guillemots and the delights of off-shore marine wildlife from our friends at the Seabird Centre in North Berwick.
Our aim is to provide a luxurious, relaxed and environmentally friendly environment from which visitors can enjoy the delights of our cottage facilities and the surrounding beautiful countryside.
Our wildlife cameras are proving to be a source of endless fascination in the cottages with guest reports in the diary growing ever more interesting. A sweet little Blue Tit has laid her first egg, just in the last few days, which is comparatively late in the season, as most of nature seems to be this year!
Visitors in the cottages over the last couple of weeks have been entertained by a couple of Blackbirds busying themselves bringing worms for their young in the nest; all caught on our in-house CCTV – a precious aspect of any stay in our self-catering cottages.
Saying that, our Buzzard cam was extremely difficult to erect this year; the nesting pair chose the highest Scots Pine on the estate to build their nest; but job completed without any major disasters and the nest and it’s contents are being carefully cared for currently.
Returning visitors of a human variety include a welcome return of lovely visitors from Holland, who have come back to East Berwickshire for the Diving opportunities, bringing with them a very kind gift of Dutch beer!
Also nice to see a few four legged friends staying at Press Mains this week – the cottages are dog friendly, so no need to leave your pet at home whilst holidaying here and the walking opportunities are endless!
We are looking forward to next month too when we welcome back a couple who were married last year at the Gunsgreen House Bothy – a favoured wedding / honeymoon site, along the coast in Eyemouth. They return to the area, bringing with them baby Elizabeth, to stay at Press Mains.
The cameras in the cottages have great viewing.The Buzzard has hatched one chick so far.
The Blue Tit has started to lay her eggs.
The Black bird chicks have hatched and the parents are very busy bringing in worms to feed them.
Stay at Press Mains this week 18th May and have a 15% discount.
The glorious Easter weekend saw our guests otter watching as our resident friend munched his favourite frogs on the pond! Some were fortunate enough to get some rather excellent close-ups, so watch this space for fabulous wildlife photographs.
The recent Border Tourism Fair at Springwood Park in Kelso has proved invaluable in making contact with other local tourism businesses, allowing Press Mains to further recommend a wonderful variety of activities, attractions and products within the Scottish Borders to our visitors.
The Sea Bird Centre, just along the coast at North Berwick is a great favourite of ours and they are kind enough to send us weekly updates on sealife sightings on and in the water as well as the surrounding coastline. This is a fabulous addition to offer our guests who quite often take the short drive from Press Mains, to the centre, for wonderful wildlife photographic opportunities.
As Spring has well and truly sprung, we look forward to welcoming our regular guests and new faces to Press Mains Cottages over the coming weeks to share with us the beauty of the Scottish Borders.
The Press Mains badgers have been extremely active on the CCTV; much to our guests’ delight; with a lot of bedding material being bundled down in their setts – visitors in the coming period shall hopefully see the fruits of their labour when the babies arrive.
We still have some availability for self catering in our luxurious cottages over the Easter period, when our Berwickshire wildlife is in full flourish, so please do call or email to enquire.
To take full advantage of our beautiful surroundings and the abundance of wildlife, we work with Ron McCombe, a local photographer, who takes wonderfully inspiring images around Press Mains. He also runs photographic workshops and his images can be purchased through us or via his website:
We look forward to welcoming you and your family to Press Mains Cottages, where you can experience the closeness of nature and watch badgers from your cottage.
The weather has been mainly dry, sunny and remarkably mild until last night when we had a light covering of snow, which just serves to make our surrounding countryside even more beautiful, although spare a thought for the poor daffodils and snowdrops which had already put in an appearance beneath the hedgerows and lining the estate driveway.
Farm work has been as busy and productive as always with the spraying of our arable crops to keep the weeds down and planting of new wheat has now taken place in some of our fields, marking a new season dawning.
Our guests in recent weeks have very much enjoyed taking part in our red squirrel/grey squirrel Press Mains challenge! We are aiming to monitor the visiting of our squirrel feeders, to establish if visited by reds or greys or a mixture of both, from the fur they leave behind on small sticky pads on the feed box.
Children just love the challenge and joining in our hunt for our now elusive red squirrels which used to be present in abundance at Press Mains but populations seem to have dwindled in recent years….perhaps the greys are chasing them away?
Will leave with our amateur detectives to establish! Come and join in the fun – we still have some availability in our luxurious cottages over the Easter break, which is a gorgeous time to visit us here at Press Mains.
The numerous nesting boxes around the Estate have been emptied in preparation for the breeding season – hopefully they shall all be home once again to the great variety of bird life we have on and around the farm and cottages.
Our popular feeders at the house and beside the cottages have been proving a busy attraction for Gold Finches, Siskins and a Greater Spotted Wood Pecker, this week – all regular visitors, taking advantage of the tasty treats inside!
Another common sight this week has been our buzzards, fling low over the farmland, no doubt in search of lunch. These large birds are instantly recognisable and a popular sighting from the windows of the cottages.
Should you happen to be visiting or staying on one of our cottages this week, you may also catch a glimpse of the heron which fish for their food on the farm pond – makes a fantastic photo as they are very photogenic!