Pocklington Probus Club members enjoy rewilding talk
At the latest meeting of the Pocklington Probus Club members were privileged to see an onward transmission of a talk given to 300 members of the South Downs Society.
The subject covered the first major rewilding project in the UK currently underway at the Knepp Castle Estate, near Horsham, Sussex
The owner of the estate, Sir Charles Burrell, explained that at the end of the 20th Century he had decided to abandon his loss-making milk production and winter wheat farming and devote his available 1,400 hectares to a major rewilding project involving the introduction ofTamworth pigs, red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, Exmoor ponies and English Longhorn cattle. The project’s driving principle has been to establish a functioning ecosystem where nature is given as much freedom as possible. Within 15 years the free-roaming activities of these animals have created a new habitat for birds, animals and insects.
Extremely rare species such as turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies are now breeding there and populations of more common species are rocketing.
More than 3,000 species have been identified and recorded within the Estate. Sir Charles stressed the importance of natural corridors to allow continuous movement of wildlife across rural area.
He deplored the virtual absence of ‘green bridges’ in this country compared with their widespread use across major roads in France and Spain.
The Knepp Castle Estate is able to compensate for its loss of farming revenue by such activities as tourism, camping and glamping and by converting certain land to office, workshop and warehousing usage. More details of the project are to be found on http://knepp.co.uk.
It is hoped that next month’s Probus Club meeting with be a ‘live event’ at a new venue in Pocklington.