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Saving Species - Series 3 - 15. Rewilding/Devonshire Beavers

Brett Westwood takes a look at what could happen if parts of the British countryside were returned to their natural state through a process known as rewilding.

Many conservationists say that the British countryside is too crowded and managed to be of real benefit to our native wildlife. For Saving Species this week Brett Westwood takes a close look at this premise and asks the question, can some areas of our managed landscape be returned to their former glory and therefore become hotspots to support our native wildlife?

Brett Westwood travels to Sussex to Knepp Castle Estate to find out how landowner Charlie Burrell is managing his land in a wilder way. Once a traditional arable and dairy farm, for the last 11 years the estate has been restoring and regenerating the land to boost biodiversity and allow less intensive meat production. The 1,400 hectares are grazed by roaming herds of Old English Longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies, pigs and deer as part of the estate's Wildland project. A stretch of the River Adur which flows through the estate is also being changed - having been canalised in the past, the path of the river is being more naturalised to restore meanders and to incorporate natural floodplains.

Chris Sperring returns to Devon a year on from his last visit to find out how some of nature's architects are managing their local patch in the second year of a three year experimental project run by the Devon Wildlife Trust. Fenced within a 2.8 hectare site, the 2 beavers, a male and female have continuing to create dams and large pools and manage the water flow across the site.

Also in the programme - News from around the world with our regular news reporter, Kelvin Boot. And we'll update you on the activities of the Open University's iSpot.

Presenter: Brett Westwood Producer: Sheena Duncan.

  • Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 9:00PM Thu, 13 Dec 2012
  • Available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099
  • First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 11:00AM Tue, 11 Dec 2012
  • Categories
  • Duration 28 minutes

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