Charity seeks donations after borrowing £5 million to buy a 460 acre site in Somerset for rewilding

A  rewilding charity with an annual income of around £200,000 has borrowed more than £5m to buy land in Somerset on which it plans to build a nature reserve and is now fundraising to repay the loan.

Heal Rewilding has just announced that it has purchased 460 acres in Somerset as part of its plans to establish a major nature recovery site in every English county by 2050. 

The charity, which registered 3 years ago and is committed to being the UK’s first rewilding landowner, is launching a “major public fundraising appeal” to pay back the loans as well as looking for support from major donors.

It is running a scheme whereby people can pay £20 to sponsor a 3m x 3m patch of land at the site, with the charity allocating squares to donors from early spring 2023.

The charity aims to address both nature and climate crises and create local jobs at its £5.25m Heal Somerset site.

Most of the financial support for the purchase was provided by Direct Line Group and Triodos Bank UK through commercial loan facilities, which were agreed in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

In addition to the loans, the charity will be using a “six-figure land fund” made up of donations from private individuals and companies. 

The reserve will serve as a blueprint for the 48 other sites the charity intends to open in the country by 2050, which will cover nearly 25,000 acres.

Projects, which could include areas for food growing among other things, will be co-designed and delivered with the local community. They will be eco-friendly and ensure the greatest diversity of plant and animal species. 

The charity said it will restore and renovate the traditional stone farm buildings located on site as well as seeking permission to receive a number of annual visitors.

For further information about Heal Rewilding and details of how to sponsor a 3 metre by 3 metre square of land for rewilding, please visit the charity’s website.