Knepp Wildland is a Rewilded estate in Horsham, West Sussex. It spans 3,500 acres, encompasses a castle, supports a wide variety of endemic flora and fauna, offers safaris of the foot and automobile variety, produces wild bred organic produce, and is mainly self-sufficient.
The estate is highly animating and a relief for many, to hear that a farm this size and one not too distant from London has been successfully Rewilded. For those who are unaware, Rewilding refers to the act of making a space wild again. To achieve this, various species of organic matter have to be reintroduced to and stay established within an area; a practice which requires tactful execution, systematic planning, exceptional organisation, and balanced oversight.
The decision to Rewild the estate was incentivised by an amalgamation of necessity, insight, and luck. The area’s soil proved very difficult to farm throughout the year. Knepp describes it to have been like “concrete in summer and unfathomable porridge in winter”. Upon failing to compete successfully in the farming industry, valuable assets were sold to support finances.
In 2002, Knepp received funding to restore a 350-acre area within the estate. This event is described by Knepp to be a “moment of epiphany” as it would found the Rewilding initiative to which it remains faithful and develops until this day.
At current, a variety of flora and fauna, once prevalent in abundance throughout Europe, reside within the estate. These include red deer, purple emperor butterflies and peregrine falcons; a handful from a countless list. It is easy to be consumed, taken in, and feel a zoo inspired attraction to an area incorporating such fascinating animals. For those unaware, the peregrine falcon is the fastest land mammal, let alone bird, on earth. The red deer is one of the largest deer species in the world of which many are found within the wilds of Scotland in the United Kingdom.
At Knepp, such animals and remaining species are monitored rather than catered for, as would be the case in a zoo or animal/plant sanctuary. The Rewilded environment supports itself by maintaining a sophisticated balance between species of flora and fauna. Knepp’s task is to ensure that such an environment is always able to do this, sustainably and self-sufficiently.
Knepp offers experiences to the public, including overnight stays at one of its many enchanting residences, foot and jeep safaris, and wild-bred organic meat produce. Knepp has advised visitors to be careful not to disrupt the ground surfaces as they navigate themselves across the estate to avoid disruption to the environment; an advancement which serves as a testament to the organisation’s responsible and sustainable approach to conservation.
Knepp shines a light on what essential values should embody in the 21st Century. For many, during an age where one can purchase a replica of a replica, it is meaningful to find a space where originality is flourishing and not forcefully mutated. Can value lie in nothingness? It perhaps can, if that nothingness is left to make something out of itself.
Feel free to Support Knepp and acknowledge the significance of their efforts. Visit their website: https://knepp.co.uk/home .
They are currently looking to hire a “knowledgeable grower to work with on establishing a horticultural business on several acres in West Sussex” to help control the production of yields and help market the associated business – for those looking for a job.