Estate Management

Leys Estate

Leys Estate

Leys Estate lies approximately 18km west of Aberdeen, between the River Dee and the southern slopes of the Hill of Fare. The western boundary of the estate borders the town of Banchory.

The majority of the estate comprises arable farmland and forest but the recent expansion of Banchory to the north (Hill of Banchory) has resulted in housing as well as commercial development.

The Leys Estate Countryside Ranger

The Countryside Ranger is a separate department on Leys Estate which operates alongside the traditional departments of Forestry and Game. The Leys Estate Ranger Service was established in June 2001 and consists of one full time Countryside Ranger, Thys Simpson who was appointed to this role in June 2001.

Before becoming the Leys Estate countryside ranger, Thys had worked locally for several years for the National Trust for Scotland including Mar Lodge Estate at Braemar. He worked for the Scottish Wildlife Trust and also spent time as a self employed mobile saw miller. Before gaining a formal qualification in forestry Thys grew up living and working in a rural farming environment.

The ranger’s work can best be described as “assisting with estate management” which covers many different aspects. In reality it means that the ranger is involved with practical work on the estate as well as office based work which covers a very wide variety of projects. For example, the ranger can be involved with Environmental education with local schools but equally he tries to resolve the occasional problem on the Estate such as fly tipping. Other examples of projects are repairing dry stane dykes and red squirrel conservation work but also the removal of redundant farm fences is part of

the job.

The ranger acts as a first contact for people living and visiting, in or near the Estate. Like any other ranger in Scotland there are times when the ranger’s communication skills are tested when there are conflicts of interest between people using the Estate land. As much of the estate is farmland as well as small and large forests and also being situated on the edge of the fast growing small town of Banchory the ranger is never without a job!

The Leys Estate ranger actively assists with the wide variety of practical work that is lead by the Game or forestry departments.

Countryside Ranger Projects include (to name but a few):

  • Red Squirrel conservation,
  • Water vole conservation,
  • Wildlife surveys,
  • Deeside way and various other access routes,
  • Planting and maintenance of trees and hedges for wildlife and landscape,
  • Dyke repair,
  • Loch of Leys management (not designated nature area),
  • Red moss management (not designated nature area),
  • Environmental Education with local school and guided walks,
  • Develop and maintain horse access routes,
  • Practical improvement to the Coy Burn with and without grants,
  • Wildlife meadow creation,
  • Assist Forestry department in particular tree felling,  Assist Game department,
  • Work with volunteers/students,
  • Anything else that comes up and cannot be placed at other departments.


You can contact the ranger via email


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