Wild Woodbury Appeal
Wild Woodbury: England's first community rewilding project
In an ambitious bid to tackle the ecological and climate crises, Dorset Wildlife Trust acquired 170 hectares of land in 2021 for a large-scale community rewilding project near Bere Regis.
Our plan is to rewild 150 hectares of the land – including 11 hectares of new naturally regenerated woodland, 30 hectares of new wetland and to extend access for the local community. Our first job was to carry out vital baseline monitoring, wildlife surveys and feasibility studies in order to measure the effects of letting nature take the lead over time. Rewilding and rewetting the site will help create a wilder Dorset by cleaning water, storing carbon and developing new wildlife habitats – and our aim is to share what we learn with others, making the site a model for future positive change in land use.
With your help, Wild Woodbury can make history in Dorset, and beyond.
The word rewilding can mean different things to different people, so what do we mean by it? Rewilding doesn’t mean abandoning the land and doing nothing. By restoring natural processes and grazing across a large area, we can minimise human intervention and create an incredibly sustainable and beneficial method of cleaning water, restoring soils and creating an ever-changing haven for people and wildlife. By getting the balance right we can create a dynamic, healthy ecosystem.
One of the most exciting things about Wild Woodbury is its location, on the doorstep of the vibrant community in Bere Regis. This presents a unique opportunity to involve the community at every stage of the project, from consultations on initial plans, to enlisting local volunteers to help achieve the collective vision, right through to enjoying the site’s facilities for exercise, play and food growing when the time comes.
Until now, this land has been intensively managed. By allowing nature to take the lead on site and through creating new wetlands, we expect to see a reduction in net nitrates entering the Poole Harbour catchment.
With an ambitious vision and a large site to transform, your support is vital. To understand the impact of planned rewilding and re-wetting on site, we need to understand the current state. Repeatable surveys need to take place, so that the impacts of future work can be fully understood and data shared to help inform more rewilding projects across Britain. We also need new tools, equipment and training for our dedicated volunteers. We must invest in site infrastructure to prepare for the change in land use and create better site access for all.
To uncover the Wild Woodbury’s secrets including which wildlife species are already present, the make-up of the soil and the quality and quantity of water there, experts need to get to work now.
This project provides our biggest ever opportunity to influence and inspire more sustainable land use, as well as creating a really special, environmentally significant space where people and wildlife can thrive. But we can’t do this without you. Your donation today will ensure we can move quickly to understand the site and start the exciting process of rewilding.