Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing Prize 2019
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.
As recommended in the Slightly Foxed podcast, Episode 9: Well-Cultivated Words
. . . from the Trees
In Issue 75, I said some books help you grow. Others help you let go. Our son was 17 when he disappeared. I’ll call him R. We bought our place that was big enough to plant trees when he was 14....Read more
Seeing the Wood . . .
Some books grow on you. Others help you grow. In January 1990, aged 24 and not long out of drama school, I landed a job: six months touring an Alan Ayckbourn play round secondary schools in northern...Read more