We have worked with the Borders Forest Trust over the past year to remove the non native species like rhododendron which have become well established on the land. The main culprit is actually one species of rhododendron: rhododendron ponticum, the most common in UK gardens. DEFRA estimates that invasive, non-native species cost the British economy some £2bn a year through the threat they pose to native plants, animals and local environments.
Although this will be an ongoing project, it is hoped that the land will be fertile again and allow regeneration and the planting of native trees. Assisted regeneration is a phrase that sums up the processes needed to help nature to rewild itself and for us to assist by planting native species. These planted trees are then the future seed parents for natural regeneration. We must restore the seed parents if we want natural regeneration on a landscape scale in the future.
Further to these efforts we have employed two natural farmers, who reside on the land ploughing and adding natural compost. They are called Cookie and George and are our pet Gloucester Old Spot pigs. They are sociable characters who are also very hard workers!