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Event: Rewilding the Sharpham Estate with Ambios


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August 3, 2022

Ambios, a not-for-profit nature training organisation, has been a tenant on Sharpham Estate near Totnes for a decade. On their site they host trainees and volunteers, form part of a wellbeing service for adults with learning disabilities, and manage the holding for wildlife. In the last two years Ambios has taken on an additional 50 acres to share their rewilding vision with a wider audience.

Their ranger, Philip Wilson, took a Sustainable South Hams group out on 16th June 2022 for a tour of the rewilding area and a talk on Ambios’ work. He led our group down through the meadows and along the path through the rewilded land, allowing us to see how much growth and change has occurred in just two years.

We were introduced to the few animals grazing the land - four Belted Galloway cows and two Mangalitsa pigs - whose presence helps to create ecologically important habitats like standing deadwood and areas of bare ground, crucial for invertebrates.

Ambios Ranger Philip Wilson with the Mangalitsa pigs

Philip discussed the (sometimes complex) concept of rewilding, noting that “if just 5% of the non-built environment was rewilded, this would help reverse the decline in biodiversity that species on the brink of extinction need.”

He explained how Ambios has gone about their strategy of letting nature take its path, observing the changes and then working from those observations to find a balance between succession and disruption. The organisation’s trainees carry out surveys during their 12-week residential stays, looking at bats, birds, earthworms and more.

The day offered a chance for some great discussion amongst the group on the possibilities and practicalities of rewilding, the evolution of farming practices in light of the climate and biodiversity crises (including the role of rewilding in “farming” pollinators for agriculture), and the need for thoughtful cooperation between the various groups invested in our rural areas.

Would your local group enjoy a chance to spend time together and learn about rewilding in this beautiful setting? Email Philip Wilson on to organise a visit, and find out more on the Ambios project page.

If you would like to join a SSH field trip or event, you can find out more here. You can also sign up to our mailing list to learn about what’s coming up from groups in the South Hams.