Changing Places tells stories about greening Britain - intiatives by individuals, local communities, government or multi-national corporations that contribute to a sustainable future.
Friday 29 April
Dylan Winter meets Paul Lister, owner of Alladale Estate in Sutherland, Scotland. Paul has a dream to bring back the wolves and bears that once roamed the area.
Alladale Estate, Sutherland
Much of the highlands of Scotland has traditionally been privately owned and managed as sporting estates for deerstalking, grouse-shooting and salmon fishing. One new owner, Paul Lister of the Alladale Estate in Sutherland, spent 7 years waiting for the right property to come on the market as he has plans to do something very different.
On his 23,000 acre estate, Paul hopes to abandon deerstalking as a method of managing deer numbers and reintroduce self-sustaining populations of predators. He hopes to have wolves, lynx, bear and other wild animals on the land and turn it into a "wilderness reserve". Although he will be providing upmarket accommodation and visitors will have to pay for guided tours with a ranger, he doesn't want to run a type of safari park. Instead, it is modelled on African game reserves.
His amibitions are to restore both the landscape of the highlands and the native wildlife that would have once lived there. But there are concerns about these animals escaping and killing sheep on neighbouring farms.
Paul also needs more land to establish a big enough territory for the animals to live in. Also, these animals can not be released into the wild, so the estate would have to be fenced. However, Paul's plans for "managed access" run into difficulty because the Land Reform (Scotland) Act of 2003 secures public access.
Despite these obstacles, some people feel strongly that the time is right for these native animals to return and Paul hopes to be a catalyst in the process of transforming the highland landscape to its former wildness.