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.
20th February 2024
The team won the 2024 Cambridge trophy and finished in 3rd place out of the 100 schools participating in the competition.
5th December 2023
The Sunday Times Parent Power Schools Guide has named Winchester College its Southeast Independent Secondary School of the Year 2024.
21st November 2023
Conservationist and presenter Megan McCubbin delivers the annual Cameron Bespolka Memorial Wildlife Talk and Lecture to over 900 local pupils
14th November 2023
The College held the finals of its public speaking competition, Recita, on Friday 10 November to a packed audience.
20th June 2023
On Wednesday 14 June, a group of Year 12 geographers from the College traveled to Herefordshire and the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park to undertake residential fieldwork.
9th June 2023
Dr Cullerne, Head of Faith Circles, delivered last Friday's address in Chapel inspired by a talk in Faith Circels given by a pupil, entitled 'Blind Faith'.