Best of the World: six places to rediscover nature for 2022 and beyond


6. Kent, UK

Bison in the Kent countryside and rewilding success tales nationwide

When Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust set out to rent the UK’s first bison rangers in early 2021, greater than 1,000 functions flooded in. Successful candidates Tom Gibbs and Donovan Wright have an thrilling job forward: in spring 2022, they’re managing the reintroduction of 4 European bison, bred by the European Endangered Species Programme, to Blean Woods close to Canterbury, an historic reserve of coppiced chestnut, birch and oak.

Hunted to extinction in Britain hundreds of years in the past, bison are forest architects: by rubbing towards trunks and consuming bark, they trigger weak timber to tumble, permitting a number of plant and animal species to thrive. Once the hefty foursome has settled in, Donovan — who beforehand led Big Five strolling safaris in Africa — will use his expertise to assist guests strategy them respectfully on foot. In the meantime, you possibly can assist the challenge by co-adopting a bison; in return, you’ll obtain a photograph, factsheet and cuddly toy.

Elsewhere in the UK, different rewilding tasks are gathering tempo. Besides the drama of Wales’ crimson kite feeding stations and the romance of Knepp Wildland in West Sussex — the place guests can watch storks, bats and deer, then snuggle down in cosy treehouses or tents — there are a number of beaver reintroduction websites to go to. Fans of BBC Two’s Springwatch will recognise Ladock’s Cornwall Beaver Project and Norfolk’s Wild Ken Hill, a mosaic of farmland and regenerated habitats. Both provide guided walks, and there are glamping safaris in the offing at Wild Ken Hill.

Meanwhile, in the Scottish Highlands, Dundreggan is taking form. Once a depleted, overgrazed panorama, this exceptional 10,000-acre reforestation challenge runs Discovery Weeks for guests wishing to research crops, wildlife tracks and birdsong. All-ability strolling trails are being created and in early 2023, the new Dundreggan Rewilding Centre will open. The world’s first devoted rewilding hub will host instructional occasions and present sustainable lodging for paying conservation volunteers, serving to revitalise a biodiversity-rich forest of juniper and pine.

From National Geographic Traveller UK (Emma Gregg)

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