Letters to landowners

It was a long shot but I sent the following letter to the owner of some of the land along the river near to the Flogas site in Witney. Needless to say they haven’t replied! I’ll now write similar letters to the two organisations that own the rest.


I am interested in buying, leasing or managing land within the marked area on the map (attached) preferably closest to the river,  in order to set up a community owned, or run area to enhance wildlife. 

I feel very strongly that the UK needs to allow wildlife to flourish since it has one of the very lowest biodiversity levels in the world. Improving our natural areas and soils will not only boost wildlife but will in turn benefit farmland (as farmers, I’m sure you already know this having much more experience and knowledge of the land than me!.) I hope to set up a system of natural flood management on riverside land. Reconnecting the Windrush River to its floodplains would have huge and far reaching benefits for the town through providing a sink for flood water and a valuable wildlife wetland area, such as has been achieved at Chimney Meadows.

There are quite a lot of rewilding projects going on around the UK. Many farmers are becoming involved due to the positive effects on growing and animal rearing. The Knepp Estate in Surrey is a rewilding project that has been in place for the last 25 years or so and, having been opposed at first, many farmers in the surrounding land have seen the benefits both in terms of the health of the land and of economic gain and in recent years have also rewilded large areas of private farmland. The Knepp estate is now a very successful eco tourist destination running safaris and also selling wild meat and other products.. Having been a struggling large scale working farm making a loss over many years, the owners are now at the forefront of a movement which is literally taking off. Wild Ken Farm in Norfolk is another example of a successful business combining rewilding with regenerative agriculture and eco tourism. 

I have set up a group called Wild Witney and we are in the process of getting access to a parcel of council land to manage. This is fantastic as it is in a central riverside area and will help flood management, however I am also very eager to have access to the land by the river and including the river between the Crawley road and Flo Gas. I have already started crowdfunding and with a large community effort, helped by Rewilding Britain, Heal and other funding organisations that I have sourced, could buy land. This has been done on a large scale in Scotland recently. Of course we would need time to get the funds together but other than this we would be the same as any other prospective buyer. The government recently also encouraged land owners that are selling, to allow community projects time to raise funds for rewilding projects on green field sites in order to increase biodiversity and help mitigate against climate change. I’m hoping they will soon also provide monetary help.

Please contact me at the email above, or by post or phone or in person about this if it appeals to you. I’d really be keen to talk to you about it and would be willing to meet and explain if it would help. You have a parcel of land that could have untold benefits for nature and the community for many years to come- what a fantastic legacy this could be.