Our trustees

Rewilding Britain is a charity governed by a board of trustees. Our trustees delegate responsibilities to ensure that the organisation is well run and that we’re making the best use of funds towards achieving our charitable objective of making rewilding a reality across Britain.

Yellowhammer BP

Rewilding Britain Board of Trustees

The board delegates day-to-day responsibilities of the Chief Executive and staff. They meet on a quarterly basis to discuss and approve strategy, review finances and ensure legal compliance.

The present board comprises of:

Charlie Burrell

Charlie studied Advanced Farm Management at Cirencester Agricultural College. 

Upon inheriting Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex from his grandparents in 1987 he threw his energy into the farm business yet despite intensifying and diversifying, farming on the heavy Sussex clay remained unprofitable. His damascene conversion to rewilding began after meeting the visionary Dutch ecologist Frans Vera.

All 3,500 acres of the Knepp Estate are now devoted to a process-led rewilding project involving free-roaming herds of cattle, horses, pigs and deer as the drivers of habitat creation. The results have been spectacular. Since its inception in 2001, numerous Red Data species like lesser spotted woodpeckers, long-eared owls and ravens have returned to Knepp and populations of common species are rocketing. 

Knepp Wildland is now a breeding hotspot for endangered turtle doves, nightingales and purple emperor butterflies. Knepp Wildland’s Advisory Board comprises 22 eminent ecologists and conservationists, including Frans Vera.

David Tudor

David has worked in marine management for over twenty years. His experience includes running environmental campaigns on the beaches of Australia, researching marine plastic pollution in the Pacific, leading on policy advice at a pivotal time for the UK’s marine legislation, and working on the world’s largest offshore renewable energy programme. 

His range of knowledge and skills has been gained within a diverse range of organisations – including NGOs, industry, universities and government agencies. David has held numerous senior posts in the marine management sector, including as Head of Marine Planning and Coastal Management at the Crown Estate and as Marine Policy Manager for the Environment Agency. He is currently the Projects Director for the Blue Marine Foundation, leading a global suite of ocean conservation projects. David has a marine science doctorate and is a Fellow of the IMarEST. 

His ambition is to see our degraded coastal and marine environment return to its former flourishing state for the benefit of people and nature.

Elaine Gilligan

Elaine is Head of Programmes at Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and NI). 

I’ve grown up with Friends of the Earth. Starting out as a volunteer at University to now sitting on the Board of Friends of the Earth International, I’ve been on an amazing local to global journey with Friends of the Earth. My passion and roots are in grassroots campaigning having led our activism work for many years. I have set up and led major programmes of work on climate, nature and resources. Currently I am leading our nature, food and framing work and looking at what the implications of Brexit mean for our future. I have a wealth of experience and insights to offer and am looking forward to supporting Rewilding Britain in pioneering a new approach to nature restoration.

George Levvy (Chair)

George joined the board of Rewilding Britain to apply the skills he has acquired in over thirty years in management, leadership and consultancy to the cause about which he cares most.

Originally from Aberdeen, his career has spanned the public, commercial and voluntary sectors. Having begun working life as a doctor, he changed course to go into management. After six years in commercial companies in Japan and the UK, he joined the voluntary sector as Head of Marketing & Communications at the British Red Cross.

For ten years from 1995 George was chief executive of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, leading it through a period of rapid growth and change, since when he has consulted on strategy, leadership, governance and change for organisations in all sectors.

Joanne Smithson

Joanne is currently Director of Resources at Girlguiding UK with responsibility for People, Technology Governance & Risk. She has held a number of senior roles in the not for profit sector, including Director of Resources at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising; CEO of an international youth volunteering charity and Director of Services at a large multi-national education services charity. 

Jo has particular expertise and interest in organisational design and change management, governance and compliance, and people development and is also a Trustee of her local multi academy trust.

Julian Purvis (Treasurer)

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant Julian was entrusted with the Woodland Trust’s finances in his mid 20s, where he went on to spend most of his career as Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Services before taking a career break in 2011.

Julian was Finance Director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (201318) before retiring and doing more voluntary work. He is currently Treasurer of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Lincoln City Foundation.

He has been involved in habitat conservation work in the UK since 1984.Two trips to the Białowieża Forest in Poland awakened a passion for woodland with an accumulation of deadwood and the much wider range of species this supports. The natural lifecycle of a woodland that can be experienced there is something that he would love to see emulated in the UK.

Julian lives in what he describes as a green oasis in an arable desert”, on the edge of the Lincolnshire fens.

Rachel Evatt

Rachel has 16 years of experience in business and high growth start-ups, both as a founder and executive leader, and is currently actively rewilding 120+ acres of land in the High Peak, Derbyshire.

Rachel’s expertise lies in high growth internet start-ups, as a hands-on founder and senior leader in product development, growth and operations. Her first start-up was sold to a growing organisation, which later became one of the UK’s technology unicorns’ when it was sold in 2016. There, Rachel held the role of Product Director and later Director of Business Operations, being part of and growing the team that navigated 40-fold growth in valuation during her tenure.

Together with her husband, she now owns and is actively managing a rewilding project to convert 120+ acres of dairy farm land in the High Peak, Derbyshire, into an area rich in biodiversity and providing a sustainable model for upland land management. This project connects into the Wild Peak landscape scale rewilding initiative.

Toby Aykroyd

Toby coordinates the Wild Europe initiative, is Vice Chairman of the Wilderness Foundation and Trustee of the European Nature Trust and Fundatia Conservation Carpathia (Romania).

With a background in economics, business management, forestry and political lobbying, Toby has been fully involved in conservation work since 2002

Other roles have included: Trustee and Chairman of the Funding Support Group for the BBC Wildlife Fund, which financed 87 conservation projects worldwide. Co-founder of the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative, under contract to the UK government to develop national standards for SME business management. Director of the Association of Independence Businesses. Initially with the United Nations Development Programme in Central America.

Toby undertook the Wild Britain consultation and promotion exercise on rewilding in 2004-06, with initiatives including a report on wild area socio-economic benefits through Scottish Natural Heritage, and a forum for beaver reintroduction in Wales.


Main image: Yellowhammer — Ben Porter