Rewilding Tolworth Court Farm After
Categories: Rewilding, Fundraising742 words2.8 min read

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Show your support for Tolworth Court Farm

Tolworth Court Farm (TCF) is the unpolished jewel in Kingston’s crown when it comes to natural spaces. At over 50ha its size and location along the Hogsmill River mean it is an important place for nature. Despite being a haven for brown hairstreak butterflies and other butterfly species, due to years of relative neglect & minimal use by locals, the site is far from reaching its ecological & social value. In fact, in a recent survey of Tolworth residents, only 5% stated they had ever visited TCF and is often the victim of anti-social behaviour.

Tolworth Court Farm Today - Ancient Hedgerows and Meadows

TCF today boasts an incredible butterfly population and wonderful rows of ancient hedgerows, but is far from reaching its ecological and social potential.

However, it has the potential to be a pioneering nature reserve to showcase the power of rewilding to transform the landscape & reconnect people with the natural world. Adopting techniques used in rural projects, we will develop a pioneering rewilding vision for the site that stands to be the first of its kind in an urban environment. This will primarily come in the form of free-roaming livestock and wild animals, that through their natural grazing and browsing habits will drive habitat creation and form an ecologically complex landscape where wildlife can thrive.

Rural projects adopting these methods, such as the Knepp Estate in Sussex, have seen incredible results and are now home to rare species like turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies. Other similar projects include Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk, who are embarking on a similarly bold mission to showcase how a rewilding approach can be used for environmental benefits and reinvigorate farming businesses. 

As with these projects, our vision for TCF is of a process led method of conservation, where wildlife is given the freedom to flourish, whilst not losing sight of the reserves farming history and traditional practices. What excites us most about this is the possibilities of natural regeneration and the unknown of what species may return when the right conditions are created.

Rewilding Tolworth Court Farm After

Our vision for the site includes free-roaming livestock and wild animals that can shape and restore the landscape and allow wildlife to thrive.

Putting the community at the heart of the project

As with all our projects, the community will be at the heart of the project from the get-go. Our initial application for funding from the Greater London Authority will be used for a series of education and engagement events, and most importantly community consultations to help us understand local people’s hopes and aspirations for the site. These consultations will be run in partnership with The Community Brain and will span those who have never visited the site, right through to those who use and work on the site currently. It is essential to ensure the project is inclusive and is shaped by the aspirations of local people.

Once complete, we hope to create a roadmap for the project that will detail our long term goals and how we achieve them. This will be supported by a virtual reality experience to showcase our ultimate vision and drive the project forward.

One day we hope for the site to be a thriving nature reserve, filled with wildlife, and easily accessible to both locals and Londoners alike. By raising its profile and increasing the number of people using it regularly, we hope to stem the flow of anti-social behaviour and make it a true haven for people to visit. Our dream of free-roaming livestock shaping the landscape will be monitored by volunteer livestock rangers, and regular education days, nature walks and conservation days will be ongoing throughout the year. Having received backing for the project from the local council, who own the site, we are excited about the next phase, but we need your help!

You can support our application to the Greater London Authority

Having recently submitted our application to the Greater London Authority for seed funding, we need your help to support our application. Running in parallel to the application is a Crowdfunder campaign. Any donations, likes, shares or comments we get on the project page will strengthen our application and help to make our dream project become a reality.

We would really appreciate it if you would take the time to like, share or comment on the project page, or if you were able to do so, a donation would also strengthen our application!

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