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Gillespies working on “landmark” conservation visitor attraction

by | 01 Mar 24 | Landscape Architecture, Nature & Biodiversity, News

Wild Rutland

Planning permission is being sought for an ‘immersive’ new visitor attraction by the owners of a farming estate in the market town of Oakham.

International landscape architecture practice Gillespies has been brought on board to restore an area of parkland landscaped by Humphry Repton in the 18th century and to create a nature and wildlife reserve for indigenous species.

The 1,200-acre reserve will be known as Wild Rutland. A planning application is expected to be delivered to Rutland County Council later this year by the Gillespies team, led by principal Mathew Cockburn and partner Tom Walker. It will set out how the project aims to improve the biodiversity of Burley Wood and the surrounding fields. Pre-application was already submitted last December.

Cockburn says Wild Rutland is a “landmark project in the UK” and a “pioneering conservation project,” with design plans for a visitor centre, staff facilities, and animal hides as part of the proposals.

“Like many farms in the UK, Burley needs to diversify to protect the legacy of this landscape for generations to come,” says James Hanbury, whose family have lived and farmed on the Burley Estate for centuries. “We sincerely hope that Wild Rutland will enhance the county and be something that Rutland can be proud of.”

A public exhibition for local communities to review the plans and speak to those involved will take place on 13 March. Hugh Vere Nicoll, CEO of Wild Rutland, says he hopes “that this style of collaborative approach will ensure that the final proposal delivers the maximum benefits to the local environment, landscape, community and economy.”

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