Wilding, The Return of Nature to a British Farm
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife.
Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope. Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over.
Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.
Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.
Personal and inspirational, Reading Wilding was a revelation, for anyone concerned about he environment this book offers so much hope and good sense, it beautifully balances biography, natural history and science to give an uplifting new view of how we need to allow nature to take back control.
A remarkable book that shows how we can really change the natural world by giving it back the reins.
‘This must be the most inspirational nature book of the year . . . a narrative of conservation, courage, vision and miracles… The story of what happened is thrilling… the Knepp Conservation Project is world-famous: a beacon of hope… Read this book and marvel.’
‘The Year’s Best Books on Nature’
The Daily Mail