I've just been reading Wilding by Isabella Tree, which is all about turning the 3500 acre Knepp estate over to nature, with the helping hand of a few free-range grazing animals. TBH, I was expecting to find it all incredibly annoying, it appeared like an attention seeking opportunity for farmer bashing. However, they are farmers, who struggled to make their weald clay pay and they went into the job with eyes wide open and an awful lot of research into rewilding projects around the world. The transformation of the estate in ten years has been remarkable, not just the invasions of keynote species like nightingales, purple emperors and turtle doves, but population explosions of every sort of animal, fungus and plant, all richly interacting with each other, with an absolute minimum of help from humans. One of the reasons that the project is so pleasing is the way information won here upsets so many of the idiotic 'single issue' options available under ELS/HLS, Countryside Stewardship etc. For instance they're finding that scrubby/shrubby landscapes are far more biodiverse and dynamic than closed canopy woodland, let alone bare pasture or arable land, yet whenever scrubland starts to form we are urged to get the flail/bulldozer out lest we lose some subsidy. Whatever, I think every farmer would get something out of reading this book. It has opened my eyes to all sorts of things that I'd half-noticed on the farm here and given me lots of ideas for farming better and cheaper whilst making the world a better place. Quite surprising really. Have I got it all wrong?