Rewilding charity Heal, which launched in March 2020, has acquired its first landholding of 460 acres near Bruton in Somerset.
Heal Somerset aims to tackle the nature and climate crises while creating new jobs and work for local people and businesses, with projects to be co-designed and delivered with the local community.
The site is ex-pastureland, mostly on heavy clay, with three small tributaries of the River Frome crossing it, and several ponds. The site includes miles of hedgerows, with mature oaks and numerous other trees scattered across the undulating landscape. There are a number of traditional stone farm buildings, which the charity plans to restore and renovate.
There will be public access across much of the land so people can see rewilding in action. Heal expects the early benefits of rewilding to include an increase in invertebrate numbers, the regeneration of trees, and a greater abundance and diversity of animal and plant species.
NATURE BASED ENTERPRISE
Although plans for nature-based enterprises are still being developed, if the charity is granted planning permission for a modest number of annual visitors, it plans to create new local jobs and provide work for local people and businesses.
Plans are still being developed with input from the local community, however the project is likely to use rare breed cattle, pigs and ponies in small numbers to help re-establish natural processes on the land. These animals will be ‘ecosystem engineers’ and not farmed produce.
Natural regeneration of trees, improved soil health and other plant growth will help fight climate change by capturing carbon. A mosaic of habitats – including grassland, scrub, woodland and wetlands – will ensure the greatest diversity of plant and animal species.
- Baseline monitoring of the project area
- Engagement with local communities and stakeholders to develop the strategy for the project
The Rewilding Network
Heal Somerset is part of our Rewilding Network, the go-to place for projects across Britain to connect, share and make rewilding happen on land and sea.
More about Heal Somerset
Find out more about Heal Somerset on their website.