Introducing Maple Farm: our new project
We're very excited to announce a new project we're working on with Charity Buddy. Together, we're wilding 30 acres of former grazing land on the Surrey-Sussex boundary. Since October last year, the land has been left to its own devices while we worked with Charity Buddy’s founder Colleen Long to work out the best way to rewild the plot of land. Working on the early stages of this project during the various covid-19 lockdowns proved an immense source of inspiration and excitement and through a combination of documentation and collaboration we hope to be able to share this experience and stir these feelings in as many people as we can.
At the project’s heart is a desire to engage and involve people, specifically young people, in the process of rewilding. Our plan is to post regularly on our blog and Charity Buddy's blog by sharing what we learn and advertising opportunities to get involved - we hope you’ll follow along!
Maple farm is a 30-acre rewilding project on former grazing land on the Surrey-Sussex boundary. Previously used as a retirement livery for horses, we’re now using the land to demonstrate the principles of rewilding on a small scale, mimicking natural processes to encourage the return of a healthy, balanced ecosystem that benefits native species. From regenerating native woodland in open areas to enhancing habitats for rare species such as nightingales, Charity Buddy and Youngwilders are hoping to use Maple Farm as an experimental site looking into the various ways nature can return and flourish on a small plot of land.
Although Youngwilders will generally use a hands-off approach to encourage, observe and record natural processes returning, smaller rewilding projects do differ from the approach that can be taken at large sites like Knepp and Wild Ken Hill. In essence, we’ll need to intervene a bit more to kickstart and mimic the processes on a smaller site that would occur naturally at a landscape scale. Although we’re still early in our rewilding journey, we’ve had advice from some amazingly knowledgeable people working on projects across the country, which will help ensure Maple Farm’s development into a thriving and robust ecosystem.
With Youngwilders’ mission at its heart, the project will aim to involve young people where possible, including young ecologists, volunteers and researchers - aiming to inspire a new generation of environmental stewards. The strength of the project will come in collaboration - working with local research institutions, partnering with youth engagement groups and co-ordinating habitat connectivity with surrounding landowners are integral parts of our project vision.
If you’re a young person (in age or spirit!) and would like to get involved in the project, please email us at email@example.com to register your interest. Although we can’t promise immediate involvement as it is early days in the project, we will do our best to provide meaningful opportunities for people to visit the site and engage with the rewilding process. We can’t wait to hear from you!