The Knepp Safari

After reading Wilding by Isabella Tree at the start of the year, I was excited about going on a safari on the Knepp Castle Estate, the subject of the book. I doubt I’ll ever go on a safari in Africa, so I was intrigued about how one would pan out in the English countryside. And of course, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about in West Sussex.

In the event, considering the rewilding going on almost outside my front door (see my previous post Not the African savanna), I realised what a special place I live in. Perhaps it would have been easier to appreciate the Knepp project if I had been on foot, though the company was most definitely pleasing on the safari vehicle. And at least I now know what it’s like to be in one.

In other words, for £40 per person the safari was worth it. As you may have found, the anticipation is sometimes the nicest part but the trip did also help me join some dots.

Stairs up to treehouse from where we could look over the estate. With binoculars we saw a stork feeding its young on top of a tree in the distance.

In the treehouse – to think the land was once fields of wheat and other traditionally farmed crops.

Tamworth pigs

A slow worm, which is actually a legless lizard.

Irises. We were trying to spot kingfishers – we didn’t get to see any but we did get to hear them at least.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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17 Responses to The Knepp Safari

  1. Clare Pooley says:

    I would like to visit Knepp one day though I think I’d prefer to walk rather than drive round.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, walking would be very interesting. They do have a car park for walkers and we saw quite a few people out, including probably locals.
      One thing that surprised me was the lack of flowers (in comparison with the wild area near me). We did actually only see a portion of the site, though, so it could be that particular soil or ground cover stopping self-seeders for example.
      They were doing an experiment to see which areas had the least ‘polluted’ soil by enclosing small sections (just a few metres square) to keep grazing animals out. In one of these sections the biodiversity as lower than another, possibly because of the way the land had been treated when it was being farmed.

  2. That sounds really interesting. I sowed wild flower seeds on part of my garden and hardly any came up. I am told it is because turmoil is too good there! It was the veg patch many years ago (before we lived here) so probably had lots of manure dig in. I imagine grazing land would have been given fertiliser too. I must see if the library has the book.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I understand if soil is too fertile wildflowers won’t come up. I was surprised not to see blossom on any trees – so presumably in the part we saw, there weren’t many elder and such. However, along the roads in Surrey and West Sussex the elder was definitely out.

  3. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    I have just read about Knepp Estate in Dave Goulson book “Bee Quest”. It looks like a fascinating place.

  4. An interesting trip. We keep wondering whether a bus ride around the New Forest would be worth doing

  5. Looks like a really nice rewilding project! One for the UK visit bucket list.

  6. Carol Anne says:

    That sounds nice! I am glad you had a fun time!

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