Cornwall Wildlife Trust has announced that its largest ever nature recovery project is entering the next phase. 

In the summer of 2023, Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) introduced three pigs to part of a reserve at Helman Tor, near Bodmin.  

The pigs, a native breed of Oxford Sandy and Blacks, were loaned by a local farmer as part of a ‘rewilding’ trial to create germinating opportunities for plants and to knock back the dominant ones, like bracken, to help wildlife flourish. 

With the success of the project so far, CWT are introducing more wildlife to the area. In November, 15 native breed longhorn cattle were welcomed to the Cornish moor. The hope for the animals is that they will shape the landscape through habitual grazing.  

However, this is not the end of the rewilding efforts. This month, Cornwall Wildlife Trust will introduce three further pigs — Tamworths — to the new farmland which they recently took over ownership of.  

This new land — more than 97 acres — was previously farmed intensively, so the charity are working hard to bring it back into a more natural state. This involves removing nutrients and reversing the drainage which has taken place over the years. 

It is hoped that the pigs’ activities will bring many positive benefits.  

Andy Collins, mid-Cornwall reserves manager, said: “Pigs are nature’s plough. They rootle around in the ground — turning over sods of earth with their strong necks — as wild boar would have done in Britain hundreds of years ago.” 

A spokesperson from CWT added: “Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s use of rewilding principles takes inspiration from past landscapes in which wildlife thrived, enabling a wide area to become more biodiverse and more resilient.  

“The activities of the pigs and cattle are an ancient and sustainable alternative to the use of heavy machinery.”