Prime Sponsors of Scotland Big Picture Conference in Perth. 24th September 2022

Big Picture Conference in Perth

Real Wild Estates is delighted to be a prime sponsor of the forthcoming BIg Picture Scotland Conference. The Conference brings together a diverse group of people united by a shared commitment to nature recovery. Join us and an inspirational lineup of speakers for a fun and fulfilling day of presentations, learning opportunities and rewilding discussion. See you there.


Real Wild Estate partners with 750 acre farm in Cornwall

Real Wild Estate partners with 750 acre farm in Cornwall

The Real Wild Estates Company is delighted to announce that we are working with Yan and Camilla Swiderski on their farm, Hamatethy, beside Bodmin Moor in North Cornwall.

With both beavers and a white stork breeding programmes on their 750-acre landscape, and some precious and rare Atlantic rainforest along the Camel river, Yan and Camilla have now decided on a 15-year ecological restoration vision, developed in conjunction with myself, as Head of Nature Restoration for RWE. This includes creating mosaic wood-pastures, wetlands restoration, naturalistic grazing, a wild orchard and potential species reintroductions in the 5-10 year period. Plans to open up access to visitors and nature lovers are in the pipeline, with their local community’s support and help.

Real Wild Estates are privileged to have the opportunity to work with the visionaries owners of Hamatethy, and look forward to documenting the results over the coming months and years.

Groundswell Agricultural show Exhibit
Groundswell Agricultural show Exhibit
Real Wild Estate partners with 750 acre farm in Cornwall
Real Wild Estate partners with 750 acre farm in Cornwall
Real Wild Estate partners with 750 acre farm in Cornwall
Real Wild Estate partners with 750 acre farm in Cornwall
Real Wild Estate partners with 750 acre farm in Cornwall

The First 1000 Acres with Benedict MacDonald (Recorded Live at Global Birdfair)


This is the first episode recorded LIVE at Global Birdfair 2022 with 

There has been a lot of talk and action for nature restoration  (or wilding, whichever you prefer) over the last few years with many different models, but one thing Ryan Dalton on his influencial Podcast hasn’t spoken much about on his Into The Wild podcast is how to do this – as a viable land use model.

Benedict Macdonald is doing this as a field leading naturalist,best selling author and head of Nature Restoration at Real Wild Estates. Benedict dives in to tell us about how Real Wild Estates works and what the focuses are for landowners they work with and the local surrounding community.

If you’d like to keep up to date with Benedict, you can follow him on social media on his Linkedin here or twitter feed

Into The Wild is a weekly wildlife, nature & conservation podcast, bringing their audience chat from nature professionals about a huge variety of wild topics.

Visit Website

Download full recording

Listen to Our Founder, Julian Matthews

Julian Matthews on Green Finance Institute

In this week’s episode of Financing Nature, GFI Hive talks to long-time conservationist Julian Matthews of The Real Wild Estates Company about the business case for restoring nature. Julian’s business was recently invested in by the L’Oreal Fund for Nature Regeneration. Listen to the full episode here:

Making nature restoration a viable land use option

Making nature restoration a viable land use option.

Real Wild Estates has already worked out the metrics to make nature restoration a viable land use option, so this Savills ‘Business of Rewilding’ spotlight report published this January just confirms what we are already telling landowners and real estate investors. What it doesn’t highlight is that some other options and opportunities today can make restoring ecosystems even more viable and even more resilient. The research below highlights that it is now more profitable to convert to a rewilding land use system, than two other forms of land use; arable contract farming and tenancy farming.


Savills Research Jan 2022

Farm Business Tenancy
Arable contract farming agreement
REWILDING conversion
Income (£/ha/yr)
  • Arable rental income
  • Winter wheat, oil seed rape, spring barley (three crop rotation)
  • Sustainable Farming incentive (arable soil standard intermediate level)
  • WD6 – creation of wood pasture
  • SP9 – native breeds at risk supplement
  • OR1 – Organic conversion
  • Grazing licence fee
£263 £1491 £575
Costs (£/ha/yr)
  • None
  • Seeds
  • Fertiliser
  • Spray
  • Contractors costs and profit share
  • Grass seed, tree planting costs (100% grant funded)
  • Livestock handling (90% grant funded)
  • Fencing, water supply for livestock (60% grant funded)




Net margin (£/ha/yr) £263 £363 £562

*all models exclude Basic Payment scheme income. Rewilding model assumes a 200ha project and capital costs are depreciated over 10 years.   Firstly, these figures are wholly government funded Stewardship conversions (from just 3 of the 130 stewardship options available!), and one of the things that any landowner will tell you, is that being too dependent on government subsidies is not a good business plan. The key to the future is diverse income streams that decrease the various risks that land managers have always faced. Secondly these figures do not include any of the new payment options that are coming down the line, collectively known as natural capital, including carbon sequestration from the huge market for offsets and net zero commitments by corporates and the financial community; water catchment payments from water utilities, biodiversity net gain possibilities, or those payments still in their infancy but we believe will figure prominently in the future including soil carbon (i.e. soil health) and biodiversity credits. Our own WildnCat yield modelling tool can help landowners and investors calculate these into the future. Being realistic, not all natural capital options will be applicable or viable to all landowners  and the problem of economies of scale will always beset the application of natural capital payments to many, particularly smallholders, but it does highlight the extraordinary turnaround in both our collective public attitude to this form of future land use, but also the government’s desire, post Brexit and the EU’s Common Agricultural policy, to restore the UK biodiversity from its present position at the very bottom of the rankings of the least biodiverse countries on our fragile planet.

The Tigress who saved an Indian wilderness

Collarwali and her five cub litter in Pench 2012 c Karun Verma

Collarwali with her ‘famous five’ sub adult cubs in 2012. Copyright Karun Verma

I knew the tigress Collarwali or ‘Mataram’,Respected Mother’ in Hindi, who died 2 days ago. She is a legend in the Pench Tiger Reserve, a wildland that straddles the Madhya Pradesh and Maharashta borders of India. This is not just because she was a great matriarch who lived in the core of the park, where nature tourism was allowed, and where she was comfortable around the many excited visitors and their vehicles in her guarded territory. This was not just because she was happy to show her extraordinary 8 litters, 29 boisterous cubs, to all who found her, including her ‘famous five’ cubs she nurtured to adulthood. This was not simply because so many of her cubs survived to adulthood that she repopulated a denuded landscape with her offspring. This was not only because a BBC film was made of her, countless articles written and scientists studied her every move. It was more than that.

It was because over the last 16 years of her life, she has created a viable, expanding and intact wilderness in which she and her family could survive and prosper. She literally saved her wilderness.

How did she do this, almost single handedly?  Simple. Nature based economics.

Pench was a forgotten park in 2000 – it had been an artillery practice range in the Second World War and had been stripped bare of commercial wood decades before. Then poaching and extraction were rife, guards poorly paid and respected scientists were surprised that such a large herbivore population failed to sustain tigers. Then one naturalist and brave entrepreneur who loved the park, set up a small lodge in early 2004. Most people thought he was mad. Why here, when better parks were nearby that you could see tigers in?  ‘Visitors and tigers will come’ he said. He was right.

The small Turia village besides the park entrance slowly began to see the benefits and the jobs created. The visitors began to come, the park attracted more interest from media and politicians. There was money to be made after all. Soon many visitors, more jobs, more lodges, and other bordering villages began to see the benefits of this new nature based economy. The park director’s job became more important and his staff now saw the benefits of increasingly park fee revenues. The local park guides from the bordering villages now stopped being the victims of conservation and became some of the beneficiaries, encouraging support for the park and its precious wildlife once again. Bollywood celebrities, politicians and even prime ministers started visiting to see what the fuss was about. Pench had gone from unknown, unloved and uncared for, to known, cherished and better funded – in a single decade.

For my small part, I found a 10,000 acre neglected patch of forest adjoining Pench in 2009 called Rukkad and Kurai, and asked to set up a community based conservancy here, to expand the park size by a third. Here was a perfect opportunity to expand the present park and protect critical and contiguous forest landscape to an adjoining park; the better known Kanha Tiger reserve. My proposal was agreed by the Madhya Pradesh government at the time, but rejected by the federal government sadly in April 2010. Today I am delighted this forest is now part and parcel of Pench Tiger Reserve and many of Collarwali’s offspring have benefited from this restored and protected patch of forest in the last decade.

In 2010, my charity TOFTigers had calculated and published that a single tigress in Rajasthan was worth $110million over her lifetime to the local economy. Collarwali was probably worth the same to Madhya Pradesh.

Thank you and rest in peace Collarwali.