Thanks to rewilding projects, many enchanting strokes of colour are being repainted into British landscapes. Evergreen forests are spreading over Highland mountainsides, Lynx will likely soon be prowling the undergrowth of East Anglia, and white-tailed eagles are set to soar once more in the skies above the Isle of Wight.
By repairing damaged eco-systems and rekindling extinguished wildlife populations, these projects are slowly turning the tide against environmental degradation and healing the scars it has left on the environment. And in doing so, rewilding is creating many enticing new holiday destinations.
If you are considering buying or opening a holiday park, locations close to rewilding projects are likely to increase in popularity with holidaymakers in the near future. If you already own a park, we’ve got advice for how rewilding can benefit your business too.
The Caledonian Forest
A vast pine forest once kilted the Highlands from Scotland’s Atlantic coast all the way to the Great Glen. But after millennia of logging and livestock grazing, it now stands decimated. Today, what remains of the Caledonian Forest is little more than a handful of isolated fragments – scraggly last refuge thickets holed up in inaccessible areas where they cling to survival.
But that is about to change.
One of the many rewilding projects the Cairngorms Connect Partnership is undertaking aims to re-cover many bare Highland slopes with their ancient evergreen garb. The resurrected Caledonian Forest will be a magical place to visit and a mighty haven for wildlife.
The stated aim of Wild East is to make East Anglia ‘one of the world’s great nature reserves.’ The project’s organisers are encouraging everyone in the region – including farms, supermarkets, schools, and homeowners – to dedicate 20% of their land to nature. The hope is that this will halt, then reverse the drastic decline in mammal, bird and insect life that the area has witnessed over the past few decades. The project also hopes to reintroduce lost species. Beavers, bison and the Eurasian lynx may return to East Anglian forests, meadows, and wetlands in the not-so-distant future.
One example of the big rewilding projects taking place in East Anglia is the rewilding of the Dingle Marshes. Formerly drained and used as cattle grazing land, this area on the North Sea coast of Suffolk has been re-flooded and relinquished to nature. Much of it is now Britain’s largest freshwater reedbed and home to flocks of magnificent rare birds including marsh harriers and the elusive bittern. The biodiversity of the Dingle Marshes is expected to become steadily more vibrant as nature slowly reasserts its influence over the area.
Coetir Anian (Cambrian Wildwood)
Founded by a group of eco-enthusiasts, Coetir Anian is working to return wild woodlands to the Welsh countryside. Their first project saw the restoration of 750 acres of moorland in the hills overlooking the River Dyfi, and they hope that is just the beginning. Their ambition is to increase the size of this new wild area ten-fold to create a huge, spectacular reserve where visitors can discover the wonders of true wilderness.
Pine Marten Recovery Project
Not all rewilding projects take geographical areas as their primary focus. The Vincent Wildlife Trust is dedicated to studying and conserving wildlife. Specifically, mammals. One of their current projects is the reintroduction of pine martins to Welsh forests. So far, they have released 20 of these slinky, brown and yellow coated mammals to form the first new Welsh population. More are planned.
The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation
Another exiled species is about the make a return to a different part of the country. White-tailed eagles were once common in Southern England, but eighteenth-century hunters erased the sight of their magnificent feathered silhouettes from English skies. The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation has taken up the task of returning them. Fledglings raised in Scotland will be transferred to their ancestral nesting places in Forestry England owned woodland on the Isle of Wight, where it is hoped they will breed, and that a new population will grace the island’s skies once more.
How Rewilding can Benefit You
These are just a few of the many beautiful places and spectacles rewilding projects are creating up and down the country: enchanting woodlands, pristine wetlands, havens for rare and long unseen wildlife, all as nature intends them to be. All are huge draws for outdoor enthusiasts, animal lovers, and for that matter, anyone simply looking for a peaceful, pretty retreat from urban life.
If you are considering building a holiday park, a location near a rewilding project is odds on to make for a good investment. Bear in mind that many who choose to visit rewilded areas will be ‘green-minded’, and you’ll do well to ensure that more than your park’s location appeals to this demographic. One way you can do that is by offering stylish eco-accommodation.
If you already own a park – even one that’s nowhere near a rewilding area – you’ll be happy to know that rewilding can still benefit you. Take inspiration from Wild East and give over an area of your premises to nature. Doing this will attract wildlife and create an intriguing leafy spot for guests to explore. It will also boost your green credentials, which are becoming an ever more important determining factor for prospective holidaymakers. You’ll be helping the environment too.
We hope this guide has given you a sense of the scale and breadth of the rewilding projects taking place across the country and how rewilding can benefit your business.