The Rewilding Training 2024: Learning How to Rewild Britain
Do you want to become a rewilder?
Do you dream of rewilding a piece of land but don’t know how to get there?
Do you already have a place to rewild, or know someone that manages land, and needs some support?
Do you wish to become a rewilding practitioner or advisor?
Introducing the UK’s first in-depth, blended rewilding training programme featuring experienced and knowledgeable rewilders as the teachers.
With Prof. Alastair Driver, Derek Gow, Cain Blythe, Ivan de Klee, Alan Watson Featherstone, Dominic Buscall, Mark Elliott, Robin Bowman, Laura Fairs, Jack Scuse, Ashleigh Brown, Alana Bloom, Kate Morley, Mike Cooke and Elliott Fairs
Introducing the UK’s first in-depth, blended Rewilding Training, known simply as, The Rewilding Training. This 8-month learning journey will take you from a curiosity about rewilding to having the confidence, knowledge, skills, ability and contacts to be able to rewild your own site, or another landowner’s.
Whether you want to learn how to rewild a garden, a farm, a smallholding, school grounds, a local park near your house, a patch of land in a city, or your life as a whole, this course covers it all.
Taught by some of the top thinkers and doers in the rewilding world, this course, both online and in person, exists to create a new community of rewilders, across the United Kingdom. It seeks to meet the need that landowners and everyday people have to take action to protect our ecosystems and all life against the worst impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity.
We’re seeking to make this knowledge and experience as accessible as possible, meaning you can pick and mix the modules that appeal to you, as well as make the most of the payment plans that are available. See the full curriculum here. Towards a wilder world!
Is this for you?
There has been a huge surge in interest in rewilding within the UK in the past 5 years. Citizens across the isles have been coming to terms with the degraded state of our landscape, and are filled with hope at the thought of it flourishing back to life.
Whilst interest in rewilding land is at an all time high, a comprehensive and thorough learning journey on how to make it happen has been missing. Until now. The Rewilding Training will take you on a 8 month journey where you’ll learn from some of the UK’s top rewilding experts and practitioners about:
- The state of the British landscape and how it became this way
- Key ecological principles
- Rewilding and restoration techniques
- The social challenges impeding rewilding
- How to acquire land and make an income from it
- How to create a plan for your own rewilding project
So if you want to be a part of the rewilding of the UK and don’t know how to get there, or are already rewilding and want to deepen your knowledge – this is the course for you.
What you can expect
This is a blended course, meaning it is taking place online and in person at Embercombe for several long weekends throughout the year.
|Introduction||19/02/2024||Monday||Intro||Online||Introduction to ‘How To Rewild’ programme. Meet the facilitators.|
Module 1 – The Context (UK Specific)
|26/02/2024||Monday||M1L1||Online||Power and the politics of historical British land use|
|04/03/2024||Monday||M1L2||Online||Palaeoecology of Britain: Extinct megafauna, ancient ecosystems and trophic rewilding|
|11/03/2024||Monday||M1L3||Online||The Business Models that have driven land use|
|18/03/2024||Monday||M1L4||Online||Overview of rewilding: busting the myths and making it happen.|
|25/03/2024||Monday||M1L5||Online||Module 1 consolidation and connecting session|
Module 2 – The State of the Land
|02/04/2024||Tuesday||M2L1||Online||Observing the land|
|08/04/2024||Monday||M2L2||Online||Mapping the land, techniques and uses|
|15/04/2024||Monday||M2L3||Online||Surveying + What to do with the data|
|22/04/2024||Monday||M2L4||Online||Assessing Causes of degradation|
|29/04/2024||Monday||M2L5||Online||Module 2 consolidation and connecting session|
Module 3 – Ecological cycles and principles
|09/05/2024||Thursay||M3L1||Residential||Traditional nature conservation versus rewilding principles. Agents of change and natural processes|
|10/05/2024||Friday||M3L2||Residential||The principles of keystone species, succession and dynamism in the landscape|
|11/05/2024||Saturday||M3L3||Residential||Principles of soil ecology and regeneration. Understanding the water, carbon, mineral, nutrient cycles. The mycelial network and the wood-wide web.|
|12/05/2024||Sunday||M3L4||Residential||Data Collection practical day. A toolkit for surveying.|
Module 4 – Rewilding/Restoration Techniques
|06/06/2024||Thursday||M4L1||Residential||The history and role of humans as keystone species. Can humans be regenerative?|
|07/06/2024||Friday||M4L2||Residential||The role of species reintroductions in Rewilding. Site visit to a beaver enclosure|
|08/06/2024||Saturday||M4L3||Residential||Grazing herbivores/Proxy species and their (re)introduction|
|09/06/2024||Sunday||M4L4||Residential||Human cycles – living cyclically|
Module 5 – Permissions, human hurdles and social challenges (UK Specific)
|17/06/2024||Monday||M5L1||Online||Connecting with your neighbours and overcoming local opposition|
|24/06/2024||Monday||M5L2||Online||Rewilding and inclusivity: challenges and mindset|
|01/07/2024||Monday||M5L3||Online||Advocacy and the new systems needed|
|08/07/2024||Monday||M5L4||Online||Finding land to rewild|
|15/07/2024||Monday||M5L5||Online||Module 5 consolidation and connecting session|
Module 6 – Making an income from rewilding: Business Cases and Funding Streams
|09/09/2024||Monday||M6L1||Online||Subsidies and agri-environment schemes|
|16/09/2024||Monday||M6L2||Online||Making an income from rewilding|
|23/09/2024||Monday||M6L3||Online||Attracting Investment for Rewilding|
|30/09/2024||Monday||M6L4||Online||Other methods for funding rewilding|
|07/10/2024||Monday||M6L5||Online||Module 6 consolidation and connecting session|
Module 7 – Making a plan for your rewilding site
|14/10/2024||Monday||M7L1||Online||How to create a Rewilding Plan|
|21/10/2024||Monday||M7L2||Online||How to create a business and fundraising plan|
|26/10/2024||Saturday||M7L3||Residential||Creating Your Rewilding Plan|
|27/10/2024||Sunday||M7L4||Residential||Creating Your Business Plan|
What you will gain
Participants signing up to the full programme will benefit from:
- Receiving the full theoretical and practical training needed to become a rewilder, learning from a variety of experienced practitioners.
- Receiving the support of the programme coordinator in between sessions
- Having exclusive access to The Rewilding Training participants hub. In the online hub, participants will be able to discuss and exchange knowledge with other participants on all things rewilding they are interested in.
You will walk away with a thorough knowledge of how to rewild a site in the UK. As well as this knowledge you will have gained practical experience at the 3 in-person modules where you will have hands-on experiential learning at three residential weekends at Embercombe, meet with other rewilders and visit rewilding sites. You will be a part of a growing community of rewilders in the UK, be connected with a raft of experts in the field, practical and theoretical expertise on what is needed to rewild an ecosystem however big or small, and the confidence to raise the funds and find the land to make rewilding happen.
What I was really missing was feeling disconnected from other people on the same journey as me, and that’s something that I now really feel and that means so much to me.
I love the way that the programme is structured, with a mix of knowledge and practical application, learning so much more being on the ground than reading a book. It felt like a great kick in the ass to get out there and get involved
I’ve come away with a sense of hope about my own contribution about how to make things better
Before coming I really didn’t know that much about rewilding, and now I feel like how to rewild the land and community feels really embedded within me. It’s really helped me develop my understanding of rewilding.
Three residential modules at Embercombe + Online lessons
- Module 1 – The Context (UK Specific) – Online
- Module 2 – The State of the Land – Online
- Module 3 – Ecological cycles and principles – Residential at Embercombe
- Module 4 – Rewilding/Restoration Techniques – Residential at Embercombe
- Module 5 – Permissions, human hurdles and social challenges (UK Specific) – Online
- Module 6 – Making an income from rewilding: Business Cases and Funding Streams – Online
- Module 7 – Making a plan for your rewilding site – Online
Accommodation for in person modules is at Embercombe in shared or single occupancy or camping (bring your own tent)
£1,674 Regular Ticket
£2,028 Supporter Ticket
Limited bursary places are available on application. Apply by 31st December 2023.
Please consider purchasing a Supporter Ticket if your finances allow it, to subsidise participants who can’t afford the full price.
In order to increase accessibility to our Programmes, we are delighted to offer interest-free payment plans to allow you to spread the cost of a Balance Ticket over a number of months. If you would like to utilise this option, please purchase a Deposit Ticket for the programme and then click here to set up your personalised interest-free Payment Plan for the Balance Payment.
Embercombe – Your Stay
You will stay in one of our beautiful yurt villages. Each yurt is furnished with comfortable beds and gas heaters. Both yurt villages have a compost toilet and running water. Full bathroom facilities with hot showers are available in the main building.
All your meals are included. Organic, vegetarian food is lovingly prepared on site using produce from the Embercombe garden wherever possible. Special diets are adeptly catered for. Please indicate if you require this on your booking form.
- Visit a beaver enclosure and meet with experts who have experience of species reintroduction
- Practical data collection day giving you a toolkit that you can apply elsewhere on your own, or others, sites
- Development and creation of your own rewilding and business plan for use moving forward
Professor Alastair Driver
Prof Alastair Driver is one of the UK’s best known conservationists and is cited in “Who’s Who” for influence and distinction in the field of environmental conservation. In May 2022 he was included in the ENDS Power List of the top 100 UK environmental professionals who have made the greatest impact in the UK over the last two years. He is one of the country’s leading proponents of rewilding and is an expert naturalist and ecologist with 44 years’ professional experience and many hundreds of conservation projects under his belt. He became the first Conservation Officer for the Thames catchment in 1984 and went on to become the National Head of Conservation for the Environment Agency for England and Wales from 2002 – 2016.
Since Jan 2017, he has been the Director of Rewilding Britain and plays a key role in influencing government environmental policy at the highest level and establishing rewilding projects in England and Wales. Alastair was also the recipient of the world’s largest environmental award – the International Riverprize – on behalf of the Thames, in 2010 and a key member of the team which won Best in Show for their Rewilding Garden at the Royal Flower Show, Chelsea in 2022. Alastair also holds several pro bono roles, including Hon Prof at Univ of Exeter and Specialist Advisor for the National Trust. In Jan 2022 he was appointed to the inaugural Natural England Landscape Advisory Panel and is a member of the London Rewilding Task Force.
Derek Gow is a farmer, nature conservationist and the author of Bringing Back the Beaver and Birds, Beasts and Bedlam. Born in Dundee in 1965, he left school when he was 17 and worked in agriculture for five years. Inspired by the writing of Gerald Durrell, he jumped at the chance to manage a European wildlife park in central Scotland in the late 1990s before moving on to develop two nature centres in England. He now lives with his children, Maysie and Kyle, on a 300-acre farm on the Devon/Cornwall border, which he is in the process of rewilding. Derek has played a significant role in the reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver, the water vole and the white stork in England. He is currently working on a reintroduction project for the wildcat and a book on our lost wolves.
Cain is a Chartered Environmentalist and member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. He has over 30 years’ relevant and practical experience in relation to planning, designing and implementing nature recovery and rewilding projects throughout the UK. Together with Dr Paul Jepson, he has written the critically acclaimed book “Rewilding: the radical new science of ecological recovery (2020)”. He has been central to developing nature-based solutions and the role rewilding plays and is at the forefront of thought leadership on this topic. Cain is CEO of Ecosulis Ltd and has contributed to the planning and delivery of hundreds of habitat creation and rewilding projects, species reintroductions (e.g. beavers in England and Wales) and ecosystem scale management strategies, including the establishment and monitoring of saltmarsh beds, wetlands and woodlands. Cain is also CEO of CreditNature and he is currently developing a range of ecosystem metrics and financial vehicles that can fund the recovery of ecosystems on a global scale. Cain was recognised as one of the 100 most influential environmentalists in 2022, as well as a LinkedIn Top Green Voice, and is currently involved in the design of technologies that accelerate nature recovery. He is also helping to make rewilding an investable proposition at global scale. He spends his time partnering with tech developers, the investor community, landowners and policymakers, with the aim of delivering a wilder, more biodiverse and resilient planet.
Alan Watson Featherstone
Alan Watson Featherstone is an ecologist, nature photographer and inspirational public speaker. In 1986 he founded the award-winning Scottish conservation charity, Trees for Life, and was its executive director for almost 30 years. During that time it became the leading organisation working to restore the Caledonian Forest in Scotland and took on ownership of the 10,000 acre Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston as its flagship project for native woodland recovery. Through his work with Trees for Life, Alan helped to provide the inspiration for other ecological restoration projects in the Scottish Borders, on Dartmoor in England and for the creation of the Yendegaia National Park in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. He also founded the Restoring the Earth project, to promote the restoration of the planet’s degraded ecosystems as the most important task for humanity in the 21st century.
Dominic Buscall is the founder and director of Wild Ken Hill – a nationally-acclaimed land use project featuring regenerative farming, rewilding, and traditional conservation spread across a 4,000 acre Norfolk farm. Dominic also helped to start one of the UK's first agricultural soil carbon businesses, has advised various organisations on agricultural carbon strategy, and sits on the board of Wilder Carbon – a UK multi-habitat carbon credit intermediary. Prior to Wild Ken Hill, Dominic spent 5 years working in strategy consulting in the UK and abroad for L.E.K. Consulting.
I am a wildlife guide, rewilding consultant and researcher focusing on rewilding, reintroductions and large herbivores. I am interested in the study of Quaternary mammals and their environments and believe this is fundamental to restoring nature rich and complex ecosystems across Europe and beyond. I am currently undertaking a PhD research position at Centre for Quaternary Research, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London. My research is on rewilding with megaherbivores as keystone species with a focus on Elk and Bison and will include time spent in Denmark and other parts of Europe. This project aims to contribute to the fields of conservation palaeobiology, tropic rewilding and large herbivore ecology and will hopefully help underpin any plans for reintroductions in Britain and beyond. I have also run a consultancy business for the past six years, advising landowners and managers on their rewilding projects and taking commissions for research and writing, specialising in species reintroductions and large herbivores in rewilding. Additionally I am a wildlife guide at Knepp Wildland in Sussex, England and assist with management of their two Exmoor pony herds. I Co-Chair the Large Herbivore Working Group – a group of organisations and individuals looking to remove barriers and progress rewilding in Britain. I also sit on Sussex Mammal Group Committee, Sussex Beaver Partnership and the South East England Pine Marten Working Group. Prior to working in wildlife conservation and the environment I worked for 12 years in business management, marketing and communications. My background and current experience has given me a unique perspective to enabling nature’s recovery and I hope to make an impact with my research, talks, fieldwork and writing. I enjoy trail running, kayaking, horse riding, hiking, spending time in nature and exploring wild places.
Mark’s love of wildlife began in childhood in Sussex – initially through a fascination with amphibians. He started his career in the 1990s as a wetland ecologist for the Environment Agency (and NRA), before becoming the Senior Natural Resources Officer for West Sussex County Council, advising on climate change and water policy.
Following a period overseas he moved to Devon, where he began working for the Wildlife Trust here in 2010. His early work with the Trust included establishing a beaver enclosure, and it was here that his interest and enthusiasm for beavers began in earnest. This meant he was well placed to manage the River Otter Beaver Trial which ran from 2015 to 2020 – England’s first licenced wild-release of beavers. Following the success of this trial, the government announced that beavers would be recognised as a native resident species again after an absence of 400 years, and be given full legal protection. Throughout his life, Mark has been fascinated by the way species benefit from natural process such as flooding and geomorphology. The philosophy behind rewilding is based on this, with the reintroduction of beavers bringing all these different strands together, and potentially providing huge benefits to many other species, as well as humans.
Laura Fairs – Embercombe’s Rewilder!
Leading on all aspects of rewilding at Devon’s leading eco-retreat she has 25 years of experience of working in nature conservation, rewilding, nature connection and engaging people in projects by building trust and finding solutions. Laura is also co-founder of the Devon Wildland initiative, a coming together of people and land across the Haldon Hills, Teign Valley and surrounding area, who are making more space for nature. The initiative is to create a network of wilder sites connected in both the physical landscape but also through people who will share experience, resources and ideas.
Jack is a Director of Ambios and is responsible for Lower Sharpham Farm, the Devon base of Ambios’ domestic training, rewilding and nature conservation programmes. He manages the land that Sharpham that is either rewilding and or used for nature friendly farming. He also manages three month trainee programmes for post graduates and career changers interested in working in nature conservation. He is also currently working on a project to reach out to landowners in the Dart Valley to encourage them and support them to rewild and restore their land.
Robin is the founder of Moor Barton Wilding project on Dartmoor; a beautiful 120 acre site of wood pasture, wetlands, woodland and glades where the land and people have been rewilding for over a decade. Added to the cuckoos, nightjars and goshawks the project has now reintroduced beavers, the first on Dartmoor for hundreds of years. Woodsman, tracker, and birder, Robin has 20 years experience of rewilding people through running nature connection, wilderness skills and bushcraft programs and courses. Through his organisation ‘Tracking the Kalahari’ he runs expeditions to the deep Kalahari desert in Africa to work with and support the remote San Ju/Hoansi Bushman communities. As the co-founder of The Old Way program Robin offers a dive into human rewilding. He has taught courses on subjects such as ecology, tracking, trees and bird language on numerous courses at Embercombe and Schumacher College over the past 10 years, often bringing an indigenous mindset and emphasising our role as keystone species role in ‘Tending the Wild’. When he’s not teaching tracking cheetahs in Namibia he may be mentoring teenagers whilst running his Hunger Games camps , a Trojan Horse of nature connection for teens he founded with WildWise. But you’re more likely to find him behind a chainsaw or with a pair of binoculars in hand as ecological restoration is his bread and butter. In his spare time (ha ha ha) he lives on Dartmoor on a smallholding with his family foraging, fishing and doing the school run!
Passionate about helping people awaken to their connection with the natural world, Alana is an artist, facilitator and activist with an approach deeply rooted in animism. Her work is focused on stewarding eco-centric cultures of wholeness through inner-led change and rewilding of the self. With her background and interests in deep nature connection, regeneration and cyclical living she supports people to remember their innate wildness through many practices inspired by her theatre & dance training. She has also spent years learning the cultural healing map of 8 shields through the UK’s Bringing it Home courses and Nature Culture network. Alana currently works with Ecosystem Restoration Camps and Dr Elaine’s Soil Food Web School on the creation of courses on ecosystem restoration. She is a member of the steering group of The Living Projects, a community led organisation regenerating 4 acres of land in Dartington, Devon and is co-founder of True Nature an events platform centred on the empowerment of women through inner rewilding where she offers women’s retreats and courses.
Kate is a nature based facilitator who owns and manages Rewilding Hillcrest with her husband Richard. Rewilding Hillcrest is a project to ‘rewild’ a Devon family farm with a long and interesting history. In 2011, Hill Crest was sheep-grazed fields with a small wooded stream and mature hedgerows. Now it is a jumble of planted and naturally-regenerating native trees, encroaching thorny scrub and brambles, grass and wildflowers, buzzing with bees, butterflies and other insect life, full of birdsong, and home to mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Kate is also co-founder of the Devon Wildland initiative, a coming together of people and land along the Haldon ridge and surrounding area who are making space for nature to create a network of sites connected in both the physical landscape but also through people who will share experience, resources and ideas. As well as working as a nature based facilitator, Kate is currently studying part-time with the University of Exeter for a PhD: ‘Locating disability within wilder urban greenspace’; researching elements of disability justice and environmental justice.
Ashleigh Brown is a Co-Founder and the Education Coordinator for Ecosystem Restoration Camps, a global grassroots movement of bottom up community restoration projects. Her role as Education Coordinator involves helping to create ways in which everyday people can learn how to restore, regenerate and rewild ecosystems around the world. Embercombe is one of the projects within the ERC network.
Mike’s career in conservation spans 30 years with specialism in wildlife surveys, habitat assessment and ecological evaluation. He has worked at Ambios since 2005 and has played a central role in the development of its programmes over the last 10 years, including nature conservation and rewilding training.His training specialities include species identification, wildlife monitoring techniques, field ecology and ecological restoration approaches.
Elliott Fairs is an ecologist, mycologist, land manager, smallholder and hedgelayer! Elliott has spent 20 years working for the Wildlife Trusts and National Trust before moving to Devon where he now focuses his time on improving his local landscape for wildlife. He gives farm advice to help local farmers and landowners get into environmental stewardship agreements, loves laying hedges to improve hedgerow biodiversity as well as leads walks and talks on climate action, fungi and wildlife. Elliott still oversees the conservation wildlife management of part of the Thames Basin Heaths SPA, is a wildlife warden and founding member of the Teign Climate Hub.
Ivan de Klee
Ivan is an experienced rewilding conservationist and natural capital expert. Having started his career in India and Africa, Ivan returned to the UK and ran the natural capital programme at the Knepp Wildland project, the Knepp consultancy and was the facilitator for the local farm cluster. He also brought together the Weald to Waves project, connecting Knepp with the sea by wildlife corridors. Now, he works for Nattergal – ‘delivering nature recovery at scale’. Establishing new projects across the UK, working with local communities and landowners to ensure long term success.