Biodiversity highlights:Area conserved – 70ha.
Eikenhof has established 3ha of mature, indigenous forest where more than 50 species of trees have been planted. Some of the yellow wood trees are now over 7m tall. The property also has 55ha of pristine fynbos directly adjacent to the Groenlandberg Nature Reserve, and they are members of the Groenlandberg Conservancy and Green Mountain Eco-Route.
Eikenhof farm, part of the Melsetter group, famous for their apples, fruit and Eikenhof poultry, is situated just outside the town of Grabouw on the Villiersdorp road. Grapes from the 15ha of vines on the 350ha property are supplied to Elgin Vintners. The farm has been a member of the Groenlandberg Conservancy for a number of years and has recently joined the Green Mountain Eco-Route, the world’s first biodiversity route. Eikenhof is unique in that it has 3 small kloofs on its south eastern boundary where more than 50 species of indigenous trees have been planted, covering an area of about 3ha. Some of these, especially the yellow wood trees are now over 7 m high! In addition, further plantings have been carried out along a perennial stream running along the entire length of the farm. Perhaps what is the greatest natural asset on this property is the approximate 55ha Fynbos Reserve which borders directly onto the Groenlandberg Nature Reserve in places. Approximately 2000 protea seedlings were planted back into the fynbos area after a fire in 1984.
Contour paths enable visitors to ramble through this area to enjoy this natural beauty spot, and the high diversity of fauna and flora found there. Conservation measures undertaken on a regular basis include the removal of alien trees, which has already entailed the cutting down of 5 long gum tree windbreaks as well as the clearing of about 8ha of gums growing elsewhere on the property. In collaboration with the Working for Water project, there is an ongoing project to remove aliens along the banks of the Palmiet River and Eikenhof Dam, which runs along the western boundary. Farm roads are all well maintained to avoid soil erosion and 2km of roadway have a permanent surface. So far Eikenhof have produced a basic conservation management plan, an alien plant removal plan, a pollution prevention policy and emergency &, fire reaction procedure.
The person who was mainly responsible for driving the conservation plan, the planting of indigenous trees and generally beautifying the property, was the previous owner, the late Harry William Blackburn (1884-1970). The wonderful lead he gave to posterity enabled his successors, Douglas Moodie &, his son Alastair, to carry on in this tradition of caring for the environment, which is also reflected in Melsetter’s Mission Statement.