Kinkell Byre’s Rewilding Mission Boosted by Second Nature Fund Grant

Kinkell Byre, the exclusive converted barn wedding venue, located on the coast just outside of St Andrews, has been awarded a further £55,314 from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot, providing a further boost in its mission to ‘rewild’ the farmland in which it is located.

Thanks to a grant of £27,150 received in 2021 from the Nature Restoration Fund and support received from the Woodland Trust, numerous volunteers and the Northwoods Rewilding Network, significant progress to ‘rewild’ the land has already been made, enhancing biodiversity, and enabling the business to positively respond to the climate emergency. The first stage of the project has seen 6,430 trees planted, 10 wetlands created, 127 fruit trees planted to encourage bees, insects, and other pollinators, and 981 metres of fencing erected to enable free roaming conservation grazing in future.

This second grant awarded by the Nature Restoration Fund will bring Kinkell Byre a step closer to achieving its vision of creating a large, connected network of rewilded land on the former arable and livestock farmland, which covers 100 acres, including 70 acres of grass fields and 30 acres of cliffs. The grant includes support for more trees, hedgerows, wetlands and for the conservation grazing, all of which will help protect and enhance the Site of Special Scientific Interest that runs along the coast at Kinkell and is part of the rewilding project. This grant also includes the creation of new wildflower meadows at Kinkell and the employment of a dedicated rewilding officer.

The rewilding of the land allows natural processes to take hold once again and will reverse the loss of biodiversity caused by intensive farming and will encourage the return of native plants, insects, bees, birds, and larger animals. At the same time, an increase in plantlife will also sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Rory Fyfe, project manager at Kinkell Byre, said: “We’re delighted with the progress we’ve been able to make to date, and this further grant from the Nature Restoration Fund will enable us to continue the good work we have started. The ‘Rewilding Kinkell’ project is already transforming our 100 acres of farmland, where biodiversity had been in decline for many years due to intensive farming. We’re now at a stage where nature is beginning to take its own course; we’ve created a richer ecology near St Andrews in which lost wildlife will return, biodiversity is improved and through an increase in plantlife and improved soil, more carbon is sequestered from the atmosphere. Our dream is to create an education centre where visitors can come and learn about rewilding and biodiversity here.”

The Scottish Government’s annual Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot, funds projects that help Scotland’s species, woodlands, rivers, and seas, as well as improving the health and wellbeing of local communities. These projects will take practical steps to help against the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss and restore Scotland’s natural environment.

‘Rewilding Kinkell’ is one of 46 successful projects across Scotland to benefit from the additional almost £5 million committed in this round of the Nature Restoration Fund. The projects will take practical steps to improve natural habitats, safeguard plant and animal species and improve biodiversity.

The 2022 Nature Restoration Fund adds to the many millions of pounds of Scottish Government funding granted through the Biodiversity Challenge Fund, Scottish Rural Development Programme, the 2021 Nature Restoration Fund and other sources to support biodiversity and help to deliver Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy.

Biodiversity Minister, Lorna Slater, said:

“We know that transformative change is needed in order to protect and restore terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity in Scotland. That’s why we established the £65 million Nature Restoration Fund for projects that help Scotland’s species, woodlands, rivers and seas. These diverse, innovative projects are already bringing benefits across the country – not only to the environment, but also to the health and wellbeing of local communities.

“The Nature Restoration Fund is just one of the ways we are demonstrating our commitment to tackling biodiversity loss and restoring nature for future generations. Later this year we will publish an ambitious new biodiversity strategy which aims to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and reverse it by 2045.”

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot CEO, said:

“We are all now more aware than ever before of the urgency of the climate change emergency. But there is hope. By restoring nature, protecting and enhancing habitats and safeguarding marine life, we can secure a better future for nature and for ourselves.

“Scotland is taking action now to meet the huge challenges and pressures that nature is facing; it is individual projects supported by the Nature Restoration Fund that will make the difference and set us on the road to recovery. Climate change needs nature-based solutions, not only to help us reach net zero by 2045 but also to create a healthier, more resilient Scotland.”