50 sites join Northwoods Rewilding Network

FIFTY sites have joined the Northwoods Rewilding Network during its first 18 months.

The network was set up in April 2021 by rewilding charity Scotland: The Big Picture.

Its aim was to attract 20 sites within its first two years.

Now, Glassie Farm at Aberfeldy has signed up as its 50th member.

Northwoods now covers more than 13,000 acres, with its sites varying in size from 50 to 1,000 acres.

Project lead James Nairne said: “The thread that runs through the Northwoods Rewilding Network is a determination to be part of the solution to climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

“What’s taken us by surprise is the strength of the appetite.

“From Sutherland to the Solway Firth, and from the East Neuk of Fife to the Ross of Mull, this is a landowner-driven aspiration – they’ve come to us more than the other way round.”

Nairne added: Rewilding is ultimately about restoring dynamic natural processes, and Northwoods was established to help remove the barriers to taking action.

“We support our land partners with ecological knowledge, practical advice, and funding opportunities.”

Meet some of the members

Gavin Drummond and Laura Hay, who own Harestone Moss, just north of Aberdeen, joined the Northwoods Rewilding Network in May.

They plan to remove 1950s drainage from their 70-acre former farm.

“We have an opportunity to create something amazing – a site where visitors can appreciate the restored landscape and the return of wildlife, and where we can earn a living in a way that doesn’t harm the land,” said Hay.

The biggest site in the network is Tireragan on Mull.

Cared for by volunteers from the Tireragan Trust, the site has been rewilding since 1997 when intensive grazing was stopped.

Judy Gibson, one of Tireragan’s trustee, said: “We are committed to enhancing the biodiversity of this special place but doing so in a way that maintains a human connection through recreation and education.

“Being part of Northwoods helps us drive our ambition forwards, to share our experiences and learn from others.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, don’t miss Keith Kingland’s Arctic tern article in the October’s luxury issue of Scottish Field magazine.