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Rewilding in Devon

  • by JW

Projects – from beavers and wildcats to glowworms and wildflowers


Congratulations to the DWT:

Devon Wildlife is the proud new custodian of Ideford Common, near Teignmouth. Its 40 hectares are principally heathland, with some woodland. The nature reserve occupies an enviable spot on the gentle slopes of the Haldon Hills. From it, visitors get tremendous views of the Teign Valley and beyond to Dartmoor. 

Devon Wildlife Trust gets new reserve – Radio Exe


They are indeed a very active wildlife trust – and the reintroduction of the beaver has been reported worldwide:

“This is the most groundbreaking government decision for England’s wildlife for a generation,” Peter Burgess, director of conservation at Wildlife Trust, told Reuters news agency. “Beavers are nature’s engineers and have the unrivalled ability to breathe new life into our rivers and wetlands.”

Beavers, bison and returning beasts: Rewilding the UK | Features News | Al Jazeera


Closer to home, the DWT is getting blooming wild:

Devon Wildlife Trust has launched a Blooming Wild Devon Crowdfunder scheme to create more wildflower meadows across the county. By restoring wildflower meadows, and working with landowners to manage them to benefit wildlife, Devon Wildlife Trust is looking to bring back colour and life to Devon’s countryside.

Make Exeter bloom brighter by backing wildflower scheme

Which is also happening in East Devon:

East Devon goes wild for flowers – Radio Exe


And this week, Peter Burgess will be talking about ‘rewidling’ across the county:

We are now at a turning point in history, one where we need to reinvigorate natural processes, enabling wildlife to thrive and create new wilder landscapes.

Rewilding Devon Tickets, Thu 5 Nov 2020 at 18:00 | Eventbrite


And there are lots of ‘rewilding’ projects happening in Devon…


It can be controversial, if not ‘maverick’:

I met Britain’s most notorious and successful introductionist in a Devon pub at the start of the year. That morning, Derek Gow had released a pair of beavers into a large enclosure on the National Trust’s Holnicote estate, as part of an officially approved conservation scheme. Gow, who is widely known as Mr Beaver, had transported the animals from Scotland.

How maverick rewilders are trying to turn back the tide of extinction | Conservation | The Guardian

‘It’s going to be our way now’: the guerrilla rewilder shaking up British farming | Farming | The Guardian

It can be rather ‘mainstream’ too:

The Prime Minister and his siblings clubbed together to get a licence to allow their father to have beavers in the river of his Exmoor estate. The Prime Minister met with the UK’s top rewilder, Derek Gow, to ensure the paperwork was arranged and the land suitably converted into a good beaver habitat. Stanley Johnson was said to be ‘delighted’ at the gift.

Boris Johnson gives his father Stanley BEAVERS as a present for his 80th birthday | Daily Mail Online


Some rewilding projects can be very adventurous:

Return of England’s wildcats: animals to be reintroduced after being declared extinct in 19th century | The Independent

Others less so, but just as important:

Endangered glow worms to be released into countryside for first time | (paywall)


Finally, we need to be careful about ‘rewilding’ projects:

Re-wilding of cemeteries – ‘an emotive subject’ | Sidmouth Herald