Sir Charles Burrell’s presentation at our Grass Fed Meat Revolution seminar about his rewilding project at Knepp Castle in Sussex went down a storm and received a standing ovation. The once arable farm estate has been allowed to return to a wild untamed landscape where herds of cattle, Exmoor ponies and fallow deer live year round in natural groups.
We have already written about this most ecological form of food production (Rewilding our food) and praised the excellence of the meat produced from this system (Very Slow Cooked Rewilded Pasture-Fed Longhorn Beef Shin).
However, this post is to tell you about the ‘safaris’ that are now being offered, enabling members of the public to experience the amazing wildlife and ecology that can be found across the Knepp estate first hand. Not only that, but experts in bats, beetles, wildflowers and fungi are there to share their expertise and make your visit a truly educational one.
You can enjoy a variety of glamping options, including yurts, tipis, bell tents and shepherds huts – all kitted out with comfortable beds – or bring your own tent. There are also half day and dawn or dusk safaris if you want a shorter visit. All options are very reasonably priced. It’s all off-grid with hurricane lamps, candle-lights and wood provided for cooking on open fires. You can even purchase Knepp meat for the barbecue from Garlic Wood Farm a short drive away. Personally, I can’t wait to go – this sounds like the perfect stress-busting summer break to me.
The Guardian newspaper has written a lovely article about the dusk safari, which gives a good feel of what’s on offer.
It’s close to midnight. I am down in the woods in the middle of the West Sussex countryside, listening to a man who is wearing a white glove. We are staring intently at the teeth of a small furry creature. Could this be the elusive alcathoe bat?
We are here on a new and unique type of safari, in the grounds of Knepp Castle, where an abundance of native British animals roam freely. Owned by Charles Burrell’s family for more than 200 years, the land was farmed intensively until the late 90s when Charles decided to do things differently. The 1,400 hectares are now Europe’s largest “rewilding” project.
On Knepp’s safaris, experts impart their knowledge on everything from nightingales to purple emperor butterflies, ancient trees to rutting deer, while visitors study wildlife in its natural habitat. There are certainly no sad monkeys jumping on cars here…