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Our vision for the courtyard at the Wilding Kitchen & Shop

The ‘wilded’ courtyard at the Wilding Kitchen & Shop, designed by Knepp’s Head Gardener Charlie Harpur, is a testament to the beauty and ecological significance of rewilding. Charlie explains his vision for this unique space, where native plants, reclaimed materials, and thoughtful design come together to create a thriving habitat for both people and wildlife.

The ‘wilded’ courtyard at the Wilding Kitchen & Shop features a mix of native and more recognisable garden plants to mimic the wood pasture landscape that surrounds it. In the central domestic realm of the café, drought tolerant herbs form the ground layer within this ‘horticultural scrub’, planted beneath a canopy of field maple, and one central showy crab apple. These are interspersed with dead oak limbs recovered from the surrounding landscape, which provide deadwood structure – an important part of a functioning ecosystem. The wider landscape reflects the kind of habitat you’ll find in the rewilding project and has been sown with a species-rich native grassland seed mix. The difference in this experimental wood pasture is that the gardeners – and the visitors – are the keystone species!

Reclaimed brick desire lines, inspired by the animal trails that wind through the surrounding rewilding project, connect the shop to the café to the stone water trough at the heart of the courtyard. Recycled building waste aggregates from our site have been used to create habitat gabion walls, providing niches for a range of different species. We have also dug muddy scrapes to hopefully provide nest-building material for the swallows that give the old farm its name.

A smaller courtyard behind the café provides a calmer space for morning coffee. Flowering dogwood and cherries provide enclosure, above an understory palette of plants more adapted to shade.

We’re aiming to welcome back wildlife to the site, with swallow, swift and bat boxes in the eaves of the buildings, roofs angled to enable nesting birds, and stork nest platforms on telegraph poles. Find out more about the Wilding Kitchen & Shop.

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Our 12+ Policy

Knepp Wildland Safaris and campsite are all about the quiet and patient observation of nature.

Some of the species we are likely to encounter are shy or can be frightened by loud noises or sudden movements. Our campsite with open-air fire-pits, wood-burning stoves and an on-site pond is unsuitable for small children.

For this reason, our safaris, holiday cottages and campsite are suitable only for children of 12 and over.

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