On the other side of the South Downs, approximately 20 miles from Brighton University, something unique has been unfolding over the last twenty years, at Knepp Castle Estate. I had the pleasure of attending Isabella Tree’s talk on 19th November in which, she passionately shared the results of the project thus far.
In 1999, Tree and her husband, Charlie Burrell, decided to stop intensive farming and begin the Knepp Wildland project. Catalysed by the growing economic afflicting farmers and a new found understanding of the decreasing quality of soil and the consequences on the estate’s ancient oaks, Burrell and Tree decided to return the estate to nature and reintroduce ancient native grazers to the land. Acting as their ancient ancestors, Old English long horn cattle, Exmoor ponies, roe deer, fallow deer, red deer and Tamworth pigs were introduced to Knepp. By doing so, natural succession process has gradually created a diverse range of niches and habitats. They are also in the process of receiving permission to introduce European Bison and European beavers to the estate.
Choosing to study at Brighton was easy. For me the most important thing when choosing a university was whether I’d actually enjoy living in the city where the university was based, Brighton is easily one of the most fun and vibrant places in the country! That combined with the fact that Brighton offered abiomedical science course accreditedby the Institute of Biomedical Scientists meant it was an obvious choice.
MPs have helped launch a year-long celebration of biodiversity within the Brighton and Lewes Downs UNESCO World Biosphere Region.
The calendar of events marks the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity, with the University of Brighton leading on the area’s involvement in the 5th global City Nature Challenge in April. The Nature2020 programme aims to raise awareness of – and connect people to – the environment we live and work in.
Local MPs Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle joined the deputy Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Alan Robins, at a packed programme on Friday 31 January, which included speeches and a Healthwalk led by the University’s Becky Walton and Dr Rachel White to observe bird and plant species which make their home along the Undercliff walk.