Scotland leading the way in rewilding with new funding recognition
Over half of projects awarded up to £15,000 from Rewilding Britain’s Rewilding Innovation Fund are based in Scotland. All projects highlight rewilding’s positive effects on health and community as well as landscape recovery. Research shows stronger connections with nature benefits the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.
New rewilding projects to be funded in Scotland
Rewilding Britain is highlighting the importance of community-based rewilding projects and those that benefit people’s health and wellbeing through the UK’s first Rewilding Innovation Fund. Seven projects around Britain have been awarded up to £15,000 each, four of which are in Scotland.
The new fund awards financial backing to locally led land and marine rewilding projects countrywide. Its first official round follows a successful pilot launch earlier this year, and focuses on rewilding projects that have a strong community element or are working towards improving people’s health and wellbeing.
Sara King, Rewilding Britain’s Rewilding Manager, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many innovative and exciting rewilding projects taking place in Scotland. We’re delighted to be able to use this latest round of funding to highlight rewilding projects that recognise the tangible benefits rewilding has on both individual mental and physical health, and also the wellbeing of our communities.”
The Rewilding Innovation Fund supports rewilding projects across Britain’s lands and seas, and two of the seven successful projects are working towards marine rewilding in Scotland.
The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) charity is one of the leading marine rewilding projects in Britain, whose work has resulted in a stunning recovery of marine habitats around Arran and the Clyde. The backing from the Rewilding Innovation Fund will help the charity further develop its community engagement work.
Áine Purcell-Milton, Executive Director at COAST, said: “The actions to achieve rewilding the ocean need to be fully supported and driven by the local community. This dedicated funding allows us to involve Arran residents in discussions and decisions about the seas that surround their island home, deciding on what’s important now and what to prioritise for the future.”
The Rewilding Innovation Fund is also supporting a feasibility study to assess the potential for seagrass restoration at Knoydart, a community-owned and managed estate. Habitats like seagrass are an amazing carbon store, the rewilding of which is a vital natural solution to help in the fight against the climate emergency.
The Knoydart Climate Action Group will be using the funding to support training and survey equipment for volunteers, encouraging the community to discover an amazing rewilding project right on their doorstep.
Scotland-based projects also receiving funding are the Talla-Hartfell Wild Land Area project, led by the Southern Uplands Partnership, and the Rewilding Ardura Community Forest project, led by Mull and Iona Community Trust. Covering 47,215 hectares in the central Southern Uplands, the Talla-Hartfell Wild Land Area project aims to increase rewilding and nature restoration in the area through working with local communities. This funding will support development of a circular walk, an eco-museum, community talks and ongoing advisory and engagement visits.
The Ardura Community Forest, located on the east side of the Isle of Mull, was bought by community charity Mull and Iona Community Trust in 2019. The Trust is now in the process of developing its rewilding action plan, which seeks to protect, expand, connect and diversify the forest – making it accessible to the whole community through amenity opportunities including improving sustainable access, particularly for people with mobility impairments. Ardura Community Forest is also part of the Northwoods Rewilding Network, a Scotland-wide chain of landholdings committed to nature recovery.
Three further projects based in England have been awarded funding in this round. Spains Hall Estate in West Essex is working with local charity Wilderness Foundation to support social prescribing and community outreach development as part of its near 500 hectare rewilding project. The charity Yorkshire Rewilding Network will be using its funding for further community outreach, including hosting a Rewilding Festival in Yorkshire next spring.
A new landowner-led charity West Dorset Wilding has been awarded funding to further develop the charity’s rewilding aims and increase public understanding of rewilding and its wider benefits to nature, the environment and wellbeing.
Rewilding Britain’s Rewilding Innovation Fund has been made possible through funding from Evolution Education Trust, Charles Langdale, The Vintry and Dormywood Trust. Rewilding Britain opens the fund for several rounds per year, and the next opportunity to apply will be in early spring 2023.
Projects anywhere in Scotland, Wales and England working to apply the principles of rewilding to benefit nature, climate and people can apply, and just need to be part of Rewilding Britain’s growing Rewilding Network. Land-based projects need to be at least 40 hectares in size, while marine projects can be of any size.
For more details, visit rewildingbritain.org.uk/the-rewilding-network/rewilding-innovation-fund.
(CIO) registered in England and Wales (Charity no. 1159373) and Scotland (Charity no. SC045685)
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