Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm

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Pan Macmillan, May 3, 2018 - Nature - 320 pages
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‘A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope’ – Chris Packham

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.


Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize.

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, Wilding is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible.

Highly Commended by the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breic - LibraryThing

Interesting and a bit inspirational. But it can also be long-winded, and especially in the second half Tree uncritically presents a lot of poorly supported research. I did appreciate, though, her ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - emmakendon - LibraryThing

At a smaller scale than Oostvaardersplassen, Knepp stirs wonder and frustration in me. Ditto the book. The tone of superiority and privilege is irritating, but bushwack through it with your head down ... Read full review

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About the author (2018)

Isabella Tree is an award-winning author, travel writer, and owner of the the Knepp Wildland Project, together with her husband the conservationist Charlie Burrell. She is the author of several books, including Wilding, The Living Goddess and The Bird Man.

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