Set in the hills of upper Glendale overlooking the river Bowmont, Harelaw was originally built in 1593 in the reign of Elizabeth 1, when this part of Britain was a lawless frontier between England and Scotland. Harelaw (house) was rebuilt in 1996 and the cottages in 2004/5. Over the last few decades, the site has been transformed form a dead elm wood into a two acres of wildlife gardens.
We’ve managed to fit a surprising number of habitats into our two acres. There are species rich hedge rows surrounding the property, flower rich verges, veteran trees, wildflower meadow, ponds, orchards, a seasonal burn (stream) and some largely untouched little corners. This diversity of habitats in turn supports the vast array of wildlife here.
We encourage guests to explore the grounds. There’s lots for the kids to do. We have a network of paths, narrow bridges across the burn, tree swings, lots of places to make dens and a meadow which is perfect for a family picnic. We also have a pet turkey, ducks and hens and the Harelaw Fairies!
The gardens are home or feeding station to many mammals including bats, hedgehogs, rabbits, hares, weasels, stoats, wood and house mice, bank voles, pigmy and common shrews, brown rats, badgers, foxes, red and roe deer. Guests regularly report seeing bats, deer, weasels and stoats and a firm favourite, the Harelaw Hedgehogs.
The gardens are a bird watchers dream. We have numerous next boxes, nest holes built into the house and cottages and several bird box cameras. The list of birds either nesting here or feeding here or close by is long and includes Barn owl, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Greater spotted woodpecker, Treecreeper, Wood Pigeon, Wood Warbler, Garden warbler, Chiff-chaff, Black-cap, Red-legged partridge, Spotted flycatcher, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Yellowhammer, Siskin, Reed Bunting, Pied Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Goldcrest, Swallow, House Martin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Cole Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Sand Martin, Swift, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw.
We love our invertebrates here at Harelaw. We have been carrying out live moth traps for years and have a long list of species. We haven’t surveyed the rest but in spite of all the birds, bats and mammals it is rich in beetles, spiders, bees and numerous others.