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Rewilding debates at Big Nature Weekend

Last week was Big Nature weekend in the Cairngorms, with over 60 events held in the area to celebrate nature and the outdoors.  We took part in two rewilding debates one at Balmoral and the other at Boat of Garten. 

Both of the debates attracted a fairly large audience of around 60 or so.  Wildlife photographer and rewilding proponent, Pete Cairns, gave a broad ranging and mainly well balanced talk for about an hour.  This was followed by a panel discussion which went on for another hour.  Scottish Land & Estates were asked to be on the panel, with Richard Cooke kindly covering the Boat of Garten event for us, and Senior Policy Officer, Anne Gray doing the Balmoral event. 

The debates which followed the talk were intelligent and balanced, with some good, big questions being asked, such as the long-term impact of Brexit on how the countryside looks and what we consider it to be for.  Whether and what the distinction is between natural and cultural landscapes.  What visitors to Scotland want to see from the landscape, and whether for example a more tree-filled landscape would remove some of the uniqueness and attractiveness of Scotland, as a heather-clad country.  There was also recognition of the value of estate businesses, as diversified, in it for the long-term, local employers and economic generators.


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