A wildlife trust has hailed its first rewilding conference a resounding success.

The Northumberland Wildlife Trust charity gathered together over 100 academics, farmers, businesses, ecologists and conservationists for its Wilding Networks for the North Conference.

The conference was sponsored by the Reece Foundation and chaired by BBC Look North’s Adrian Pitches.

It was held over two days at The Common Room of the Great North in the centre of Newcastle and its West Chevington site in Northumberland.

The first day of the conference saw eight speakers highlighting topics and projects such as farming practices on estates in the region, climate change, projects at Hadrian’s Wall and Wallington reserve together with host Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s rewilding plans for its West Chevington site and an update on its rewilding projects at Kielder and Benshaw Moor in Northumberland.

The second day of the conference was a visit to the wildlife charity’s West Chevington site at Druridge Bay. 

Sitting atop a former opencast coalmine, like a number of the Trust’s other reserves in the area, West Chevington is already showcasing how nature can recover in a manufactured landscape and was the inspiration for the two day event.

The 327-hectare piece of land was purchased at the start of 2021 thanks to a £2million donation from the Reece Foundation. There are big plans for the site including the installation of new ponds, conservation grazing of farm land, the new technique of drone mapping and the possible reintroduction of beavers, water voles and harvest mice.