Allestree Park, the largest open space in Derby, has been given the green light by Derby City Council this week to become what Rewilding Britain believes to be the UK’s largest urban rewilding project.

Derby City Council will work with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and University of Derby on a rewilding project for the park. A consultation will take place with the community to develop the plans for what would be the first large-scale urban rewilding project in the UK.

Rewilding Allestree Park could bring the city wide-ranging benefits. Nature’s recovery in Derby would be supported by providing more space for wildlife-rich habitats and potential species reintroductions. It would also help the Council meet its carbon reduction targets by increasing Derby’s carbon storage capacity. Rewilding would also give Derby a “Natural Health Service” providing more opportunities for residents to improve their wellbeing by connecting with nature-rich greenspace.

Rewilding is restoring ecosystems, and sometimes reintroducing species, so that they work together over time to manage habitats and whole landscapes themselves. It is nature taking care of itself. Allowing this can provide so many opportunities for communities, nature-based economies and provides important wild spaces for people to enjoy.

Subject to the proposed consultation, steps to rewild Allestree Park could include the creation of new habitats through minimal intervention such as woodlands, grasslands, wetland and scrubland, the creation of community orchards and community growing and looking at reintroducing key species, such as water vole, and harvest mouse.