Rewilding in 2024: how the UK is planning a Wilder future.
With funds increasingly set up for rewilding projects, and new wilded spaces popping up, its worth making a note of the future of rewilding in the UK.
For many years the work of rewilding has been a lonely practice in the United Kingdom, something we at LettsSafari know well launching one of the UK’s first smaller-scale rewilding projects. However, as we look to the future, there is exciting potential throughout the nation. The number of rewilding and nature restoration projects are increasing. We take a look at a few of them.
Rewilding Britain has set up hundreds of thousands in funding to offer rewilding initiatives through next year, London’s mayoral government has set up funds to expand rewilding projects in 2024, while we at LettsSafari are planning major projects in the new year, including funding our first thousand acre LettsSafari park and resort. As we bid 2023 goodbye, let’s consider the world we will be entering when the clock strikes midnight on January 31st.
Rewilding Britain’s funding efforts are bearing fruit with some exciting new initiatives, including studies to bring community based urban rewilding to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and a rewilding network in the North East aimed at connecting land and sea. These plans echo many that LettsSafari has taken part in, in particular our work across the Southwest, aiming at building out a key network of rewilding safari parks, helping to rebuild the lungs of Devon and Cornwall. The word is spreading and even the Duchy of Cornwall is starting one or two projects.
Beyond this, urban rewilding projects have started popping up, as has been highlighted the last few years by LettsSafari’s urban rewilding series, reflecting the best practices, particularly the importance of community participation as a central route to rebuilding our city habitats. At LettsSafari we have long valued this, contributing to projects in Exeter City, and setting up LettsSafari+, where all of your support is helping us to build out our rewilding efforts, and increase the influence of LettsSafari’s values, stories and frameworks across the nation.
The Mayor of London has pledged over £700,000 in the new year to rewilding efforts in the city, a brand new fund which will be essential to expanding London’s wildlife efforts. Funding from the mayor’s office has already supported over 116 hectares of rewilded land over the last two years - a number of which we have reported on at LettsSafari+. As part of those projects we’ve seen city parks transformed into rewilding centres, the reintroduction of the beaver to the nation’s capital, and the rejuvination of some of London’s few remaining brooks and creeks.
In 2024 then we might see even further developments in London, the city has already become a centre for wilded urban space, being technically defined as a forest according to the UN’s definition based on tree density, as well as the place of major projects like the WWT Wetlands Centre and Walthamstow’s Wetland reserve. London has long led the rest of the country in many aspects, and it’s leadership in urban rewilding is an exciting reflection of where Britain may be headed in 2024.
At LettsSafari we also have some big things planned for the next year. Our core rewilding safari parks at Dawlish Park and Sunrise Park will continue their journeys into full self-sufficiency. We will be continuing to plant numerous indigenous trees throughout, aiming to increase the copses and small wooded spaces across the parks. In Exeter City’s Capability Brown Gardens we are introducing even greater opportunities for diverse events in our rewilded space, with a new natural stage being finished, helping us to bring new audiences to the park to discover the potential of wild spaces as centres of community.
We will also start implementing our 3 point plan to expand our digital community (all of you reading this!), launching new community features to support this while we continue building out our growing network of private parks. We also plan to develop our first 1,000 acre park and resort, and build a small team of scientists working to develop new nature-based innovations, such as our Wildlife Biodome, which can become increasingly important to the growing number of rewilding projects beyond LettsSafari. We look forward to 2024 with excitement and hope, and we thank you for continuing to share this journey with us, as we join with the rest of the nation building out Britain’s green, wild, reimagined future.
LettsSafari is expanding rewilding safari parks and gardens across the UK and beyond. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a member today.