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Graham Lawton.jpg

13 Oct 2018

Graham Lawton - New Scientist

The call of rewilding - The idea of letting nature reclaim land has swept the West. But does it work?

IT WAS a picture postcard of how the English countryside is meant to look,” Isabella Tree tells me. “It was a working farm. We had green fields, manicured hedgerows and ditches, land that was constantly active with maize, barley, rye and grazing cattle. We didn’t realise it at the time, but it was virtually a biological desert. Now it looks much more like Africa.”


BBC Countryfile: Adam is in West Sussex on the Knepp estate where rather than traditional field margins the entire farm is returned to the "wild"....... Adam is finding out out more............

2 july 2017

patrick barkham - The guardian

'It is strange to see the British struggling with the beaver': why is rewilding so controversial?

Just down the road from Gatwick, the neatly hedged English countryside gives way to an exuberant, utterly alien-looking landscape. Arable fields are obliterated by dense thickets of sallow. Eight metre-wide blackthorn hedges spill into flowery meadows. Wild pigs and red deer run rampant through ragwort, thistles and other weeds. The air is alive with birdsong rarely heard in Britain today – spectacular bursts of nightingale and the purring of turtle doves.

In barely a decade, rewilded nature has conquered Knepp Castle in West Sussex... 


summer 2017

elisabeth garton - woodland trust broadleaf magazine

Run wild

As I point my binoculars through the treetops from my canopy lookout, a herd of deer lope into view, pausing to drink at a greenish watering hole hemmed by unruly grass. In its centre is an island thick with basking birds, and the tussocky landscape all around thrums with invertebrate life. We could easily be in Kenya, but this is England - the England our forebears knew. I'm exploring Knepp in West Sussex.....

Matthew Oates.jpg

27 august 2016

matthew oates - the times

The little emperor who turned into an empress

This was a relatively poor year for the purple emperor butterfly but in natural history, quality often outscores quantity. On September 1 last year a tiny purple emperor caterpillar was discovered on a sallow bush on the rewilding project lands at Knepp, West Sussex.....


June 2016

peter marren - British wildlife

"From Nightingales to Turtle doves, Violet Dor Beetles to Purple Emperors, there are surprises galore at the estate of Knepp Castle."

The author visits the site to see this long-term rewilding experiment in action. 

june 2016

james fair - bbc wildlife magazine

Pole position

Driving through northern Spain earlier this year, Charlie Burrell - a rewilding enthusiast and owner of the 1,400ha Knepp Castle estate in Sussex - noticed clusters of unusual, artificial structures places at regular intervals along the side of the autoroute. "They were pretty ugly metal posts with baskets on top, every mile or so, and if there wasn't a white stork in every single one, they were in a hell of a lot of them"......

12 july 2016

Patrick barkham - the guardian

Rewilding could be the way to save Britain’s farms

It’s English countryside as you’ve never seen it before. Taking a walk through Knepp Castle Estate in the leafy Sussex countryside is bewildering, challenging and utterly thrilling.

A fallow deer hurtles from a blackthorn thicket. Buzzards rise from every copse. A purple emperor butterfly glides around an oak. A shrew scuttles between stunted hawthorns, shaped into topiary by free-ranging cattle. It feels like the land has been set free – and in 2001, these 3,500 acres were....

20 may 2016

bbc countryfile magazine

Sussex safari: how rewilding has transformed a fledgling farm

At the end of a warm day in June, in sticky-sweet air laced with threats of thunderstorms, a bone-rattling safari drive in the back of an Austrian Pinzgauer troop carrier comes to a halt under a twilight sky, turning inky blue... 

april 2016

michael wale - home farmer magazine

Say 'no' to intensive farming

Charlie Burrell inherited the 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in the Sussex Weald when just 21 years old, having been trained as a conventional farmer at the Royal College in Cirencester. Consequently, it was a shock for his farming neighbours when, after 15 years, he decided to change direction and let the entire estate go wild....

april 2016

gordon eaglesham - birdwatching magazine

Go wild in the country

The term 'rewilding' is a relatively new one, having only existed in dictionaries since 2011. However, the movement that it represents has existed much longer, and has been gradually gathering momentum over the past few years, especially in Britain, and across Europe and North America.....

april 2016

matt merritt - birdwatching magazine

Living landscape

It's been said before, but perhaps what makes the Nightingale's song so memorable is not the notes themselves, but the silences between them. The frequent pauses punctuating the rich, liquid piping can crackle with astonishing tension. That thought occurs to me as I look out across the Sussex countryside on a chilly evening at the end of April.....

30 march 2016

kate green - country life 

Is it time to run wild?

Twenty years ago, a balloonist floating over Knepp Castle in West Sussex would have looked down on conventional yellow and green squares bordered by tidy, dark-green lines. The view today is almost foreign in its differentness, as random blotches of scrub intersperse, like the African bush, with free-moving herds of grazing animals.

26 september 2015

Julia llewellyn smith - the daily telegraph

Go wild in the country

It’s just gone noon at the Knepp estate in West Sussex and from a platform attached to an oak tree, Sir Charles Burrell and I are admiring his 3,500 acres.

Beyond its boundaries are the manicured, sprayed fields of the South Downs, but here we could be in Africa, looking down over endless scrub, criss-crossed with animal tracks...

30 may 2015

Simon Barnes - The Spectator

The farm that went wild

It was the nightingale I liked best. Or maybe the auroch. The nightingale sang strong and marvellously sweet when all the other singers had given up, his voice filling the night. Each nightingale has a personal repertoire of 250 phrases made from 600 individual sound units...

26 may 2015

michael McCarthy - the independent

The decline and fall of the nightingale, poetry’s most famous bird

There was no moon, only the great array of the stars, with Jupiter outshining them all like a lantern hung in the dark sky; and in the stillness, the nightingale singing. It was deep in a hedge beyond a small lake, and the water surface seemed to reflect back its notes so they were not only crystal clear but startlingly loud; our small group was spellbound...

15 november 2007

sandy mitchell - country life

Tear down the barricades

It was a passion for collecting insects that earned Charlie Burrell the nickname Bug from his school friends, but even so, no one could have had an inkling back then that his fascination would see him one day turn his estate in West Sussex into what is, in effect, a giant jam jar for his beloved creepy crawlies....


peter taylor - ecos 27 (3/4)

Home counties wildland - the new nature at Knepp

I knew it was possible, even sensible, but I had never actually seen it happening - fields upon fields of once arable land becoming wild again. Each field was different - some had been intensive rye grass for dairy production, others for winter wheat, and the pasture was wilding up slowly, with bird-sown sloe and dogrose, and sprouting jay-stashed acorns....