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Elie

Woodland

Elie Estate incorporates the land surrounding the Royal Burgh of Elie and Earlsferry with the village forming its southern boundary and Kilconquhar Loch forming its boundary to the north.

Elie House

At the centre of Elie Estate sits Elie House, built by Sir William Anstruther in 1697 on the site of an earlier mansion house built by Sir William Scott in the late 16th century. It is believed that a number of the windows on the south elevation of Elie House were retained and date back to that period.

Elie House was acquired by William Baird in 1853 who subsequently sold it to Sir Michael Nairn (2nd Bt) in 1928.  Sir Michael lived at Elie House from 1928 until he died in 1953. On Sir Michael’s death, his son, Sir George Nairn (3rd Bt) decided that Elie House was too large to be occupied as a private residence in post-war Britain. The house and gardens were sold to the Marie Reparatrice order of nuns to be used as a Retreat. Sir George also gifted Elie Harbour, formerly part of Elie Estate, to the village of Elie and a plaque remains on the harbour wall commemorating this gift.

In 2000, Elie House was sold to a property developer who obtained planning consent to convert the mansion house into 13 apartments. Conversion and restoration of Elie House was completed in 2012. 

Elie Estate with the exception of Elie House is owned and managed by the Trustees of the Elie Estate Trust under the stewardship of Sir Michael Nairn (4th Bt) and his son Alex Nairn who now lives on the Estate with his wife and two young children.

Elie Estate

Elie Estate comprises some 1,500 acres of prime agricultural lowland and mixed conifer and broadleaf woodland.  The majority of the agricultural land is leased to three long-standing farm tenants who manage the farms of Ardross, Broomlees and St Ford.  The farms use traditional crop rotation techniques and are encouraged to adopt wildlife conservation and preservation practices wherever possible.

With the mechanisation of agriculture changing labour requirements has meant that cottages once occupied by farm workers are no longer required. Elie Estate has a number of such properties which are now let to local people on a long term basis.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, a major program of felling and re-planting of mature hardwoods was undertaken. Those re-established trees are becoming fine woodlands again today.  Also in the 1960s on the western side of the estate at Shell Bay, a large area of sandy soil formerly used as an army rifle range, was planted with Scots Pine. Today visitors can enjoy a quiet walk around the many paths through this wood which were developed with funding from the Forestry Commission.

Today forestry is the Estate’s primary enterprise with a full-time forester employed to manage the Estate’s 400 acres of woodland.  Labour intensive techniques such as early formation and high pruning are adopted to encourage a high quality timber end-product.  Where possible, clear felling of the trees is avoided with the preferred method being continuous cover forestry where young trees are planted beneath older ones, avoiding the ugly sight of clear fell.  Recent initiatives have included the introduction of black walnut (Juglans nigra) and tests in planting young disease resistant varieties of elm.

In conjunction with Fife Council and the Forestry Commission, a ‘Forest Plan’ has been prepared to provide a long-term strategy for the management of the woodlands within the Estate.  As well as providing an attractive landscape setting, the objective of the forestry operation is to produce high quality hardwoods for the local market as well as a wonderful natural wildlife habitat. A by-product of the forestry operation is firewood, which is made available for sale locally.

Kilconquhar Loch

Kilconquhar Loch is jointly owned and managed with the neighbouring Kilconquhar Estate.   The loch is an important site for both breeding and wintering water foul including the rare little grebe which rears its chicks in the reed beds around the loch. Given the importance of the loch for bird life Scottish Natural Heritage designated the loch and surrounding area a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In 2009 Elie Estate and its neighbour, Kilconquhar entered into a Management Agreement with Scottish Natural Heritage to ensure the loch continues to be managed for the benefit of the environment. The water level is regulated by a complex drainage system known as the 'loch run' which runs south, largely in a deep underground culvert and finally out to sea through the Elie Harbour wall.

Greatest care is taken to preserve the peace and quiet of the natural surroundings of the loch and the use of watercraft is strictly controlled by Fife Council and SNH.  Please click here for a list of the actiities controlled by SNH.

Please click the following link for a study of Kilconquhar Loch by St Andrews University (click here)

Ardross Farm Shop

Ardross Farm Shop was set up in the spring of 2005 by the Pollock family who farm Ardross Farm. Their aim to sell all of the beef produced on the farm has been very successful.   They also produce over 40 varieties of vegetables which are all marketed through the shop.  Their vision is to provide everything you need for a fantastic local meal, find out more at www.ardrossfarm.co.uk

"…techniques such as early formation and high pruning are adopted to encourage a high quality timber product"

Currently available at Elie

Shooting Elie Estate has temporarily suspended its pheasant shooting activities but continues to offer world class roe deer stalking and opportunities for pigeon shooting, wild fowling and informal mixed bag days.