Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize
Highly Commended by the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize
'A passionately personal, robustly argued and uplifting book . . . One of the landmark ecological books of the decade.' Sunday Times 'Books of the Year'
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.
Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.
Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.
Personal and inspirational, Wilding is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible.
This must be the most inspirational nature book of the year . . . a narrative of conservation, courage, vision and miracles... The story of what happened is thrilling . . . the Knepp Conservation Project is world-famous: a beacon of hope . . . Read this book and marvel.
Bel Mooney, 'The Year's Best Books on Nature', Daily Mail
Particularly timely . . . an excellent primer, and anyone who is interested in how we share the planet — what it looks like, what we eat, and what nature can teach us — should read this book.
A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope.
Chris Packham, presenter of The Really Wild Show