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The Farmland

Calanais Farm is known locally as Ard Chalanais since the highest point at its North end is called the Ard. (Gaelic for High). The area has recently been used for livestock grazings but some of its history is also available to us from old records which indicate the area was populated and cultivated in the not so distant past.

The farmland extends to 75ha and is bounded on the West by the Loch Roag coastline, on the East by the Callanish croft boundaries and to the South by the Callanish Stone Circle and Visitor centre campus.

The farmland can be seen to have had two types of land use shown by the greener inner area at the Pier end which is approx 12ha in size and is distinct from the remaining outer section which is a brown heathland / heather moorland.

The inner 12ha consists of three 4 ha parks divided by fencing / drystone dykes and along its entire Northern boundary by a 350m drystone wall. The 4ha park nearest the old farmhouse has approximately 1.5ha arable land and the other two 4ha sections are improved grassland with evidence of old lazy-beds and drystone butts.

This type of land management is consistent with the crofting pattern recognised as a landscape character type as described in “A Landscape Character Assessment for the Western Isles”, SNH, 1994.

A fairly diverse landscape within which cultural and built elements such as stone dykes, old stone dwellings, archaeological monuments and strong linear patterns of lazy bed cultivation makes a large contribution to the distinctiveness of the landscape character type .

References on page 31 state  ‘Visual diversity within this landscape is derived from a range of landforms,  landcover and built elements combining to produce a fairly diverse landscape character type.

Landcover is dominated by linear fields of improved and semi-improved grassland under different grazing regimes which contributes limited colour and textural diversity

Contrasts between croft inbye and outbye  are often sharp when this type rises to boggy moorland with a pronounced transition between managed grassland and peatlands

A rectangular field pattern overlies the irregular landform. The smaller scale of this field pattern, delineated by post and wire fences and occasional stone dykes, combined with different grazing regimes between croft strips and occasional fields of ridge and furrow cultivation, create linear patterns which are strong enough to dominate the landform.

Cultural elements are often prominent with stone dykes, old stone dwellings, archaeological monuments and strong linear patterns of lazy bed cultivations being present along with the dwellings and associated structures of today.