Wilding is the amazing story of the most daring wildlife and farming experiment in Britain for years: the rewilding of the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, the restoration of nature, and the stunning recovery of flora and fauna.
Forced to accept that intensive farming on their heavy clay soil 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 in little over a decade. Rare species, like turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of common species are rocketing.
The wilding project not only gives hope to British conservation but shows how an agricultural revolution can be achieved, one where we might regain that wilder, richer country. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.