The Wildwood Trust

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Conservation Grazing

Wildwood is committed to improving conditions for wildlife throughout the UK. We aim to establish large semi-natural nature reserves managed by large herbivores such as Deer, Konik horses and Highland cattle. The diversity of many British habitats is a direct result of the grazing habits of large herbivores that inhabited Britain after the last Ice Age. Before the introduction of domesticated livestock and modern forestry techniques, such herbivores were the main means of maintaining a balance of wild plants and animals in our woodlands, pastures and wetlands across Britain.

Konik Horse  |  Beaver  |  Wild Boar

Konik Horse

"Konik" is the Polish word for wild horse. These are hardy animals that live well on wetlands, helping to boost biodiversity through light grazing and natural fertilisation. This encourages a wider variety of plants and invertebrates.

Wildwood has collaborated with Kent Wildlife Trust, the Environmental Agency, South Swale Council, Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council and Natural England to bring in herds of Konik horses to manage the wetlands at Stodmarsh, South Swale, Hospital Down in Dover, and Gibbons Brook in a move to restore to Kent the big grazers which originally shaped the British countryside.

Conservation Grazing (PDF)

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Beavers

Beavers are second only to humans in their ability to change their environment to suit themselves; cutting down trees, building dams and making canals.

This behaviour can create wetlands, which are considered one of the most valuable ecosystems. Wildwood has brought beaver from Norway and Bavaria, to manage a wetland nature reserve in Kent. After spending their quarantine with us, the beavers are now living on a 130-acre wetland at Ham Fen, harvesting the trees and plants, raising the water table with dams and enriching the wetland habitat for other endangered species, including the otter, water vole, great crested newt and wetland birds. This five-year habitat management trial is being monitored by Oxford University and it is hoped that similar trials will take place on other sites in this one is successful. Almost every other country in Europe has reintroduced the beaver, after hunting it to extinction to use the fur for hats.

Conservation Grazing fact sheet (PDF)

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Wild Boar

Wild boar have started to become re-established in the wild, following escapes from farms and wildlife parks. Official figures suggest there are approximately 400 Wild Boar in Britain.

Wild Boar are woodland animals, and root around on the forest floor in search of food. This activity, alongside dunging, improves the quality of the soil and leads to an increase in the diversity of plant species.

Wild Boar have been successfully introduced to some areas in Europe, but Britain is still unwilling to undertake an official re-introduction of the species. A reintroduction would have a negative impact on agriculture, as some consumption and trampling of crops is inevitable. Wild Boar have been shown to prefer wild foods, so with proper management damage could be kept to a minimum.

Conservation Grazing fact sheet (PDF)

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Conservation Grazing Fact Sheet

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