European Rewilding Network

Dunsany Nature Reserve

Dunsany Nature Reserve is a safe haven for animals such as farrow hawks, kestrels, pheasants, pigeons, crows, swallows, jay birds, and barn owls.
In Dunsany Nature Reserve natural processes are left to reshape the landscape.
Rafal Kostrzewa
Every time a company uses the Dunsany estate film production facilities the contract stipulates that they donate a tree to the reserve.
Rafal Kostrzewa
In Dunsany, areas of grassland are left to be grazed by wild animals, such as deer.
RAFAL KOSTRZEWA

The Dunsany Estate, which dates back to the 11th century and is located around 35 kilometres northwest of Dublin, covers 1600 acres (650 hectares) – of this about 750 acres (300 hectares) is now being rewilded as the reserve. There is also around 550 acres (220 hectares) of forest, and there are several springs and streams flowing through marshy areas. The land not forested or being rewilded is used to grow crops. The soil here is very fertile, so the income from agriculture is enough to support the estate, along with the income from the film production facilities based here. There’s a lot of wildlife, from foxes, badgers and otters to owls, red deer and various birds of prey. The estate is home to a film production company called Dunsany Productions, every film that comes through the company has a mandatory donation of a tree to be planted on the estate. In 2014, all animal agriculture was abandoned and all fields and forests that once contained farm animals were left to rewild.

Project: Dunsany Nature Reserve
Region: Dunsany Co. Meath Ireland
Type of project: Creating space for wilder nature, Increasing interest in the wild through communications, Supporting wildlife comeback
Aim and vision: There is a very agricultural mindset in Ireland, which is resistant to change. The greening of agriculture is slowly taking place, but rewilding is still generally seen as a waste of good land. Rewilding of Dunsay Nature Reserve aims to make a meaningful contribution towards changing that mindset.
The reserve is pretty much left untouched, with natural processes left to reshape the landscape. There's no drainage, and areas of grassland are left to be grazed by wild animals, such as deer. At Dunsany we never mass cut anything, but will sometimes trim some of the weaker trees in new plantations to allow room for some of the stronger ones to grow better. Every time a company uses our film production facilities the contract stipulates that they donate a tree to the reserve, and I'm planning to plant five new areas of native forestry over the next five years.
Other activities: Research
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: The vision is wilderness! A mix of habitats with flourishing wild nature. Furthermore, in 10 years Dunsany Nature Reserve should become a true oasis for wildlife in Ireland and contribute to the maintenance of the country's natural heritage.
Results so far: A thirty five percent increase of birds. The Corncrake had returned several years ago and this year it was confirmed that the Woodpecker has returned to the area which hasn’t been seen in 100 years. We have also identified the return of the Red Kite and the Snipe to Dunsany. We have had an increase of insects, including bees and dragonflies, which has doubled in five years. There was a decrease of the non native grey squirrel and the return of the Pine Marten. Lots of wild flowers and various species of plants have also began to grow and we have also seen the return of the otter to our rivers. Most importantly , we have reduced illegal poaching a great deal.
Inspirational value: Showing, by example, that rewilding can make a difference.
Experience you would like to share: Experiance of rewilding the Dunsany Estate.
Experience you would like to gain: More knowledge of the natural habitat and rewilding practices.
Map
Country
Ireland
Start year
2014
Size (ha)
520
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic, Northern coniferous forest, Temperate deciduous forest, Wetlands
Natural process
Flooding, Natural grazing, Predation
Flagship species
Otter, Red deer
Dunsany Nature Reserve
Dunsany Nature Reserve is a safe haven for animals such as farrow hawks, kestrels, pheasants, pigeons, crows, swallows, jay birds, and barn owls.
In Dunsany Nature Reserve natural processes are left to reshape the landscape.
Rafal Kostrzewa
Every time a company uses the Dunsany estate film production facilities the contract stipulates that they donate a tree to the reserve.
Rafal Kostrzewa
In Dunsany, areas of grassland are left to be grazed by wild animals, such as deer.
RAFAL KOSTRZEWA

The Dunsany Estate, which dates back to the 11th century and is located around 35 kilometres northwest of Dublin, covers 1600 acres (650 hectares) – of this about 750 acres (300 hectares) is now being rewilded as the reserve. There is also around 550 acres (220 hectares) of forest, and there are several springs and streams flowing through marshy areas. The land not forested or being rewilded is used to grow crops. The soil here is very fertile, so the income from agriculture is enough to support the estate, along with the income from the film production facilities based here. There’s a lot of wildlife, from foxes, badgers and otters to owls, red deer and various birds of prey. The estate is home to a film production company called Dunsany Productions, every film that comes through the company has a mandatory donation of a tree to be planted on the estate. In 2014, all animal agriculture was abandoned and all fields and forests that once contained farm animals were left to rewild.

Map
Country
Ireland
Start year
2014
Size (ha)
520
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic, Northern coniferous forest, Temperate deciduous forest, Wetlands
Natural process
Flooding, Natural grazing, Predation
Flagship species
Otter, Red deer
Specification
Project: Dunsany Nature Reserve
Region: Dunsany Co. Meath Ireland
Description
Type of project: Creating space for wilder nature, Increasing interest in the wild through communications, Supporting wildlife comeback
Aim and vision: There is a very agricultural mindset in Ireland, which is resistant to change. The greening of agriculture is slowly taking place, but rewilding is still generally seen as a waste of good land. Rewilding of Dunsay Nature Reserve aims to make a meaningful contribution towards changing that mindset.
The reserve is pretty much left untouched, with natural processes left to reshape the landscape. There's no drainage, and areas of grassland are left to be grazed by wild animals, such as deer. At Dunsany we never mass cut anything, but will sometimes trim some of the weaker trees in new plantations to allow room for some of the stronger ones to grow better. Every time a company uses our film production facilities the contract stipulates that they donate a tree to the reserve, and I'm planning to plant five new areas of native forestry over the next five years.
Other activities: Research
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: The vision is wilderness! A mix of habitats with flourishing wild nature. Furthermore, in 10 years Dunsany Nature Reserve should become a true oasis for wildlife in Ireland and contribute to the maintenance of the country's natural heritage.
Results so far: A thirty five percent increase of birds. The Corncrake had returned several years ago and this year it was confirmed that the Woodpecker has returned to the area which hasn’t been seen in 100 years. We have also identified the return of the Red Kite and the Snipe to Dunsany. We have had an increase of insects, including bees and dragonflies, which has doubled in five years. There was a decrease of the non native grey squirrel and the return of the Pine Marten. Lots of wild flowers and various species of plants have also began to grow and we have also seen the return of the otter to our rivers. Most importantly , we have reduced illegal poaching a great deal.
Exchange
Inspirational value: Showing, by example, that rewilding can make a difference.
Experience you would like to share: Experiance of rewilding the Dunsany Estate.
Experience you would like to gain: More knowledge of the natural habitat and rewilding practices.
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