Rewilding at Elmore
At Elmore we are fortunate to have a fair amount of land. We are now rewilding a 250-acre area of the estate, to allow nature to flourish. It will increase biodiversity, improve the soil and it will breathe colour and positivity back into our environment. Rewilding is a relatively new term that means returning things to the wild, to be feral again. At the Rewild Swim Club we are rewilding ourselves, swimming in nature and restoring our balance. With land it is something we're starting a process of. And it is a process. One where you allow nature to do its thing without us humans interfering...
Walk the Rewilded
In 2021 I trained as an Open Water Coach so that I could share wild swimming with others. My family and I love nothing more than bringing people together.
I learnt to swim in a lake at the age of three on my family estate in the remote northern hills at Wyresdale Park. We were in the water - day and night. My family and I swim there now. At Elmore Court I found Madam’s Pool. I slid down the muddy banks and found my place.
When the pandemic shut all the pools, friends began to ask to come with me and so the Rewild Women’s Swim Club was born. A sanctuary of calm and connection in the chaos.
And the love of saunas? That began at Glastonbury in 2003 and that is a whole other story…
Thousands of lakes and ponds like Madam’s Pool were scattered across the land by the River Severn. Spring fed, they were used to water the ancient orchards that were planted along the banks. As agriculture intensified and industrialised following the Second World War many orchards were cut down and the ponds filled in to allow for larger fields. Madam’s Pool is the only one which remains on the Estate and the along the river. As part of the rewilding we are working with Natural England to restore these ancient orchards. Many species can only exist in the bark of these trees.
We have worked with WWT (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge) to participate in a research project to monitor the health of the remaining lakes and ponds. The results confirmed that we have high water quality. The weed which blooms in the summer is Ceratophyllum and acts as good oxygenator as do the reeds on the shallow banks.
We measure Nitrate, Ammonia and Phosphate levels. All are well below the acceptable guidelines. The depth of the water also contributes to the health of the water.