… fascinating and thought provoking …

wilding wildlife rewilding ecology green nature

This is a fascinating and engaging account of turning a 1400 hectare West Sussex estate into a wild nature reserve.

Passionate, detailed and thought provoking, Isabella argues that most of Ancient Britain was not covered entirely with trees, but rather a mixture of woods, scrub and grassland – and Isabella and her husband, Charlie, try to recreate this “mess” with the most extraordinary success. They battle against government bodies and disapproving neighbours to create a home for many vanishing and very rare species such as Turtle Doves, Purple Emperor Butterflies and Beckstein’s Bat.

I can sympathise as the last old orchard in our town has just been attacked for being “the most neglected area …. Most of the trees broken and disfigured … If the land were properly landscaped, including trees, it could be used both as a medical centre and a car park …” A suggestion we are strongly opposing.

Isabella‘s contention is that leaving nature alone – after re-introducing key native (or near native) grazing animals – is the best way to nurture endangered species. You can learn more about the Knepp Project here.

Isabella Wilding is an author and travel journalist. She is the owner of the Knepp Wildland Project along with her husband, the conservationist, Charlie Burrell.

Cover design moment : The cover design is by Neil Lang in the Picador Art Department. It’s a wonderfully rich hyper-realistic William Morris type design featuring the iconic Turtle Dove Isabella writes about. I last name checked Neil for his wonderful designs for Genevieve Cogman and her Invisible Library series. You can see more of his work here.

Wilding was published on 3 May 2018 by Picador, a division of Pan Macmillan. I learnt of the book because Isabella will be coming to the 10th Chipping Campden Literature Festival in May this year. For further details of the Festival click here.