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Rewilding v Regenerative?

A third of the 900 acre Nunwell Estate is managed as a rewilding project by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. We work closely with them, using our cattle and pigs to manage the regeneration of the site. Therefore driving forward ecological processes but also growing nutrient dense Beef and Pork for sale to our customers.

But what is rewilding? Rewilding Britain define Rewilding as:

‘The large-scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature is allowed to take care of itself. Rewilding seeks to reinstate natural processes and, where appropriate, missing species – allowing them to shape the landscape and the habitats within. It’s focused firmly on the future although we can learn from the past.’ (See their website for more information on rewilding!)

Some people see this type of land management as ‘wasteful’ and ‘messy’. Personally we see it as part of a matrix of land uses. Britain is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, and we are facing biodiversity collapse. This cannot continue and rewilding is an important part of how we can address this.

Working and living alongside the rewilding project on the Estate for the last 2 years it is already clear to see that this space is a haven for a huge diversity of wildlife. Standing with one side bounded by conventional arable fields, devoid for much of the year of much life at all, and the other looking towards the rewilding land - it is magical to see the huge clouds of birds and insects and to look through the fields at the diversity underfoot.

But where does our farm fit into this? Generally rewilding is seen as ‘land sparing’; taking land out of production with its primary aim being to provide habitats for wildlife. On the land we manage we aim to follow the processes of ‘land sharing’. This means managing for food production but with a focus on nature and biodiversity.

For us it’s not about one or the other. We believe there is space for both and we are excited to see how the whole Estate develops along with its varied land uses as a test bed for the brave new world of farming in the UK.

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