A few of us met up last week to discuss what we could do to help return to a more natural state some of the land around us currently over-managed and degraded by humans.

This concept, known as rewilding, is a positive, hopeful idea that can be of benefit in many different and practical ways: to alleviate flood risk, increase the resilience of natural systems through greater biodiversity, and mitigate against climate change by locking in carbon. But it also provides us with spiritual uplift and a boost to our mental and physical well-being that comes from being present in truly wild places – real food for the soul.

Whilst rewilding’s main current protagonist George Monbiot’s romantic vision involves reinstating Britain’s extinct megafauna – wolves, lynx, even elephants – there is much that can be done that is more easily achievable in the near future (not to mention less controversial).

A lot is already happening in the region, for example the restoration of clough woodland (areas of steep sided woods next to moorland), rewilding near to Snake Pass and even encouraging New Mills’ own Mousley Bottom to be wilder, more natural and increasingly biodiverse.

What can we do?

The main ideas we discussed at the meeting are as follows.

  • Organise working visits to local rewilding projects to educate ourselves, to see what’s going on and also help make them happen. Likely destinations are: Mousley Bottom, Kinder Scout and Alport Valley.
  • Increase awareness and action for rewilding through a public meeting in New Mills. It may be good to time this to coincide with the launch of George Monbiot’s rewilding organisation, which is expected to happen sometime soon.

If you want to know more about rewilding, take a look at Jane’s eloquent blog that kicked off Transition New Mills Rewilding Group. Watch this space to get involved and don’t forget the upcoming visit to Rollins Wood, Marple.

We’d also recommend watching the following three short but informative and entertaining videos that we watched at the meeting:

The meeting was called, organised and chaired by Jane Ayres and attended by Paul Finn (a local ranger and member of Sustainable Hayfield), Sally Mitchell (who’s involved in a number of conservation efforts, including Rollins Wood in Marple), Chris (a biologist), Jill Hulme (very green-fingered) and me. It was held on 7 August 2014 at Spring Bank Arts.

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