About the project
Our aims and ambitions…
We are changing.
Changing from a highly managed landscape to one where nature sets its own course.
Our farming has finished on 150 acres. A journey has begun that will give the land the opportunity to relax, to settle, to readjust.
Our ambition is that gradually, slowly, life will return. Not hemmed in by hedgerows or restricted to verges but fully and completely in every possible sense.
We have helpers.
Retained within a ring fence are breeding groups of creatures with special abilities…..
Heck cattle – Mimic Aurochsen created by the brothers Heck in the run up to World War 2. Their shape and colouration based on the cave paintings. In a mixed sex herd of bulls and cows their territorial behaviour produces crunched down trees and open, sandy wallows. Their insecticide free blood and dung provides a bounty for insects which in turn feed birds and bats. Their smashing of trails through the landscape they roam allows other creatures to move with ease.
Exmoor ponies – These the most primitive of ponies are considered to be very similar in type to the horses of the Iron Age. They are hardy top-grazers with sturdy teeth who can consume the toughest of herbs. They sand-wallow and bark trees opening up a range of different micro-habitats for smaller creatures.
Iron Age pigs – Natural ploughs. A cross between wild boar and Tamworth pigs these rooters turn pastures into complex landscapes with bankings, wallows and extensive areas of open soils. They release lost seed beds from dormancy and destroy the dominance of improved grasses. Wildflowers regenerate where they break the way.
Beavers – The water gardeners are present in our valley bottoms. Over a mile of pool systems extend downstream from our reserve. A myriad of dams and wetlands throb with life where none was before. Dragonflies, damsels and demoiselles live here in high numbers. Every season more moths and butterflies return. Frogs, toads and newts spawn in their depths. Kingfishers and otters hunt in peace. We have reintroduced water voles.
Mouflon – Although wild sheep are not known to be native saiga antelope once were and we are hoping that in mixed sexed flocks at low densities that these wild inhabitants of the Mediterranean will mimic their activity. Light grazers and browsers they move rapidly through the landscape feeding for short periods on grasses and herbs.
10,000 years ago we know from gathered flints that different bands of Neolithic hunters sat in circles preparing their hunting weapons. Although no large carnivores remain we are working to restore one long gone hunter – the wildcat. Come and sit by the largest breeding facility for this species in England where kittens are being bred for future reintroductions.
White storks were once a common bird in British wetlands. As the beavers were hunted to extinction and the landscapes they provided were destroyed a whole guild of wetland wildlife perished with them. It is likely that the white stork was one. Now as a result of an ambitious project we are hoping to restore them as a breeding bird in Britain.
What we can offer
- Shepherds huts in private pastures
- Beaver watching in tent hides on summer evenings
- Badger watching in a local forest
- Wildlife photography opportunities
- Meet the stork sessions
- Wildcat viewing from a forest hide
- Foot and ATV safaris with guides
- Ready to cook local food
- Viewing platforms overlooking the re-wilding zone