Tomorrow is World Rewilding Day, and it's something we're passionate about here on the farm. Don't worry, we're not talking about re-introducing apex predators at Loddington (although I'm sure the kids would think that was great fun), but more about rebuilding ecosystems with natural processes by inviting nature back onto our farm.
Historically, the aim for farmers has always been to keep nature out to protect crops, but we're now realising that under the right conditions, nature knows best, and if left alone, will heal your farm by restoring the biodiversity that's essential to healthy soil and plants. Essentially, farming and conservation need not be exclusive of each other, as was previously believed.
At Loddington, we have various initiatives in place to rewild, including planting woodland trees and creating wildlife corridors throughout the farm by planting and widening existing hedges. We're also letting some of our more challenging ground go back to scrub and woodland by letting saplings grow. But this land is not unproductive - it will be mob-grazed by our sheep and provide a range of ecological services.
Even though we've only been actively working on this for the past couple of years, our orchards are already covered in wild flowers, and the bird song and buzzing of insects is louder than ever.
“We forget, in a world completely transformed by man, that what we’re looking at is not necessarily the environment wildlife prefer, but the depleted remnant that wildlife is having to cope with: what it has is not necessarily what it wants.” - Isabella Tree