This year’s annual Dartmoor Society public debate is entitled ‘Return to the Wildwood? Is rewilding the future for Dartmoor?’ It will be held on Saturday 29 October 2016 10am-5pm at Melton Village Hall. Unfortunately I will be on the Isles of Scilly so am unable to attend. Nevertheless I would urge anyone interested in this topic to attend. I suspect that the debate at times will be rather heated as for some of the players there is a great deal at stake.
Matthew Kelly, Professor of History at Northumbria University, and author of Quartz and Feldspar: Dartmoor A British Landscape in Modern Times will chair the day and he has written about the topic here where he coined the phrase that I use a lot ‘soft rewilding’.
Other speakers include Robert Cook; Lecturer in Education for Sustainability, Plymouth University ‘Just How Wild Should We Be?’; Ann Willcocks; Dartmoor Farmer and Commoner ‘Why Bother?’; Miles King; Environmentalist “Rewilding: scary monsters and fairy tales? Or nature and people.” and Tom Greeves; Cultural Environmentalist ‘8000 years of culture in an upland environment the elephant in the room?’.
In our post Brexit world the fate of subsidies for Upland farmers is a huge topic for debate and a massive concern for many. I am attending a meeting of the Upland Alliance on this on Thursday and it will undoubtedly feature a great deal in my PhD research. There are huge opportunities and huge threats depending on where you are standing and this conference will no doubt unpick some of this.
Rewilding means many things to many different people and it is a very loaded expression. The conference on the 29th October is therefore an important contribution to the debate.