Rewinding 100 years: the Devon neighbours who united to rewild on a grand scale

A forester, a farmer and a child psychologist have formed a pioneering group to bring even more nature back to their valley

Dorette Engi, a child psychotherapist from north London, moved to rural Devon in 2020 during lockdown. Motivated by doing something practical about the climate and wildlife crises, she bought a 92-hectare (230-acre) farm and started a process of “creative destruction”.

Within 15 minutes of my arrival at her house in Tiverton, Engi, 69, has spoken about animals she wants to reintroduce, including beavers, pine marten, storks and – perhaps sometime in the future – lynx. She has already put 15 explosive devices in trees to create cavities for bats, and sought a quote for setting off a cannon in her overgrown plantation of Sitka spruce to create more diversity.

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