European Rewilding Network

Knepp Wildland

A pioneering rewilding project comprising 1400 ha of former arable and dairy farm land in SE England using herds of free-roaming ungulates to drive habitat generation. Focusing on restoring dynamic natural processes, in just 14 years the project has seen a spontaneous revival of many rare species.

Project: Knepp Wildland
Region: West Sussex
Type of protection: Privately owned land with no designation
Habitat types: Ancient woodland and wood pasture through to emerging scrub and grassland, including lakes, rivers and water meadows.
Keystone species: Nightingale, purple emperor butterfly, turtle dove, Bechstein and barbastelle bats, lesser spotted woodpecker, cuckoo, phellinus robustus, and beetles such as hedobia imperialis, korynetes caeruleus, calambus bipustulatus, corticeus unicolor, dromius agilis, phellinus populicola, agathidium nigripenne
Fauna (mega) species present: Old English longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies, Tamworth pigs, red deer, fallow deer and roe deer
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Methods and experiences to allow natural numbers and densities of native, wild or rewilded species, Projects based on a stewardship anchored in respect for land, water, and all living things, with a management striving to support natural processes and utilize nature’s own mechanism, Successful agreements with water management entities about changing water management methods to allow for natural processes, Successful examples of enterprises that are based on economic values of the wild and that contribute to rewilding through generating revenues, business, jobs and income
Aim and vision: To study and monitor the natural processes and results of a non-goal orientated rewilding project (including affects arising from the absence of apex predators), and to provide a working model that can influence and inform other similar conservation projects both in public and private hands.
Knepp as a major hotspot of biodiversity to seed connected areas of conservation within a living landscape; and as a means to provide ecosystems services like carbon sequestration, ethical, organic, pasture-fed meat, clean water and flood mitigation, and an uplifting experience for the public.
Uniqueness of the project: Knepp is the first lowland re-wilding project of significant scale in England. Using five species of grazing megafauna to demonstrable effect the Knepp system provides a new tool to the conservation box. Privately owned and free-willed it is in a strong position to influence other private landowners
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: To have secured government support to continue our process-led, open-ended project; to have become a flagship for similar free-willed projects; to have provided inspiration to the pasture-fed movement; furthering knowledge on the habitat and behaviour of threatened species.
Results so far: Our process-led approach has already given rise to remarkable new observations made by scientists studying at Knepp of the behaviour and habitat preferences of species like the UK nightingale and purple emperor butterfly. This is changing the way we can mitigate for the loss of habitat for these species. We have now become a national or regional hotspot for numerous threatened species of birds, reptiles, bats, insects and fungi.
Inspirational value: Unique, pioneering and successful after fourteen years Knepp Wildland provides a model for like-minded NGOs and private landowners, as well as an uplifting and eye-opening experience for visitors. Reversing a trend in species decline inspires and thrills all those who come in contact with it.
Experience you would like to share: Watching our de-domesticated Tamworth pigs submerged in the water like hippos, seeking out swan mussels at the bottom of the lake - just one in numerous unexpected happenings.
Experience you would like to gain: What would it be like to have lynx roaming around, eating our rabbits and adding that missing predatory dynamism?
Map
Country
UK, England
Start year
2000
Size (ha)
1400
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic
Natural process
Natural grazing
Flagship species
Feral cattle

A pioneering rewilding project comprising 1400 ha of former arable and dairy farm land in SE England using herds of free-roaming ungulates to drive habitat generation. Focusing on restoring dynamic natural processes, in just 14 years the project has seen a spontaneous revival of many rare species.

Map
Country
UK, England
Start year
2000
Size (ha)
1400
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic
Natural process
Natural grazing
Flagship species
Feral cattle
Specification
Project: Knepp Wildland
Region: West Sussex
Type of protection: Privately owned land with no designation
Habitat types: Ancient woodland and wood pasture through to emerging scrub and grassland, including lakes, rivers and water meadows.
Keystone species: Nightingale, purple emperor butterfly, turtle dove, Bechstein and barbastelle bats, lesser spotted woodpecker, cuckoo, phellinus robustus, and beetles such as hedobia imperialis, korynetes caeruleus, calambus bipustulatus, corticeus unicolor, dromius agilis, phellinus populicola, agathidium nigripenne
Fauna (mega) species present: Old English longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies, Tamworth pigs, red deer, fallow deer and roe deer
Description
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Methods and experiences to allow natural numbers and densities of native, wild or rewilded species, Projects based on a stewardship anchored in respect for land, water, and all living things, with a management striving to support natural processes and utilize nature’s own mechanism, Successful agreements with water management entities about changing water management methods to allow for natural processes, Successful examples of enterprises that are based on economic values of the wild and that contribute to rewilding through generating revenues, business, jobs and income
Aim and vision: To study and monitor the natural processes and results of a non-goal orientated rewilding project (including affects arising from the absence of apex predators), and to provide a working model that can influence and inform other similar conservation projects both in public and private hands.
Knepp as a major hotspot of biodiversity to seed connected areas of conservation within a living landscape; and as a means to provide ecosystems services like carbon sequestration, ethical, organic, pasture-fed meat, clean water and flood mitigation, and an uplifting experience for the public.
Uniqueness of the project: Knepp is the first lowland re-wilding project of significant scale in England. Using five species of grazing megafauna to demonstrable effect the Knepp system provides a new tool to the conservation box. Privately owned and free-willed it is in a strong position to influence other private landowners
Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: To have secured government support to continue our process-led, open-ended project; to have become a flagship for similar free-willed projects; to have provided inspiration to the pasture-fed movement; furthering knowledge on the habitat and behaviour of threatened species.
Results so far: Our process-led approach has already given rise to remarkable new observations made by scientists studying at Knepp of the behaviour and habitat preferences of species like the UK nightingale and purple emperor butterfly. This is changing the way we can mitigate for the loss of habitat for these species. We have now become a national or regional hotspot for numerous threatened species of birds, reptiles, bats, insects and fungi.
Exchange
Inspirational value: Unique, pioneering and successful after fourteen years Knepp Wildland provides a model for like-minded NGOs and private landowners, as well as an uplifting and eye-opening experience for visitors. Reversing a trend in species decline inspires and thrills all those who come in contact with it.
Experience you would like to share: Watching our de-domesticated Tamworth pigs submerged in the water like hippos, seeking out swan mussels at the bottom of the lake - just one in numerous unexpected happenings.
Experience you would like to gain: What would it be like to have lynx roaming around, eating our rabbits and adding that missing predatory dynamism?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.