At the end of January, Winchester College presented an evening with two of the most significant and influential figures involved in nature recovery in the UK. Sir Charles Burrell, (alongside his wife, author Isabella Tree) created Knepp Wildland, a 1,400 hectare estate in Sussex that is synonymous with rewilding and regenerative farming. The success of Knepp’s turtle dove, nightingale and purple emperor butterfly populations has inspired many to think differently about Britain’s wild spaces, and has earned Sir Charles the moniker 'King of Rewilding'. As he noted, “The biggest change that is going to happen in our landscape is regenerative agriculture”.
Derek Gow is an ecologist, reintroduction specialist, farmer, and author of the Bringing Back the Beaver. Mr Gow has reintroduced 25,000 water voles and dozens of beavers to British waterways; “Beavers are the creators of life - without beavers there is no life”. Gow’s determination to win over doubters and cut through bureaucratic red tape has built his reputation as a “rewilding maverick” and an especially inspiring writer and speaker.
Prior to the evening’s talks Burrell, Gow and I walked around the College’s nature reserve and the long, clear stretches of the River Itchen discussing the huge potential for a wilder Winchester College, and a wilder Britain overall. Both men are pioneers of wildlife restoration and both their sense of urgency and optimism is infectious.
New Hall was packed with pupils, staff, students from our partner schools, and Friends of Winchester College. The questions from the audience were well-informed and engaged, particularly in the economic viability of rewilding projects, and the scope for wider, ambitious projects on an international scale.
Talking to pupils after the talk was enlightening; a feeling of huge potential and hope was evident, which can often be crushed in frank discussions of climate, sustainability and biodiversity. They particularly engaged with Gow’s blunt, observant and determined plans, eschewing “cheap talk” and advocating “getting on and doing things” instead. The evening was a formidable, inspirational rallying cry for rewilding in Britain, and the perfect primer for the College’s field trip to Knepp Estate this summer.
14th March 2023
Professor Brian Cox delivered the annual Duncan Louis Stewart lecture in March 2023 focusing on cosmology and developments in the study of black holes.
12th March 2023
In early March, pupils from Winchester College attended the 2023 Tonbridge Science Conference where they took in talks from keynote speakers, and delivered their own presentations.
7th March 2023
Following a College best performance in the 2022 paper, pupils taking part in this year's exam reach new heights.
7th March 2023
In an evening that saw speeches on Kandinsky, Hockney and Euclid, a winner was crowned in this year's Kenneth Clark Prize Final, with guest adjudication from Dr. John Goodall of Country Life.
6th March 2023
The College Gardeners have begun a new approach in their care of the gardens, taking their lead from nature.
28th February 2023
A team of Sixth Form pupils has been selected as Earth Prize Finalists in the 2023 global competition.