Paddock Rewilding: An Agri-wilding Scenario for a Regenerative Rural Heritage Landscape in Post-productivist Cambrian Mountains, Wales

Student: CHU Shing Chun Paul

Supervisor: Xiaoxuan Lu
Thesis section: Border Landscape / le voisinage
Programme: Master of Landscape Architecture
Date: June 2020


In the recent past millennia, the process of anthropocentric way of living and the perpetual ecology orchestrated by human have led to significant damages to the biosphere, and paved the way to a novel response to mend the impairment. “Rewilding” is an eco-centric land management alternative, to introduce pristine wilderness back into humanity, and allow an open-ended natural processes to regain dominance in landscape to restore eco-dynamic with minimal human control. This approach has become a growing phenomenon as a result of marginal farmland abandonment across Europe, where the overarching policies and conservation strategies are historically embracing active land management. Cambrian Mountains in Wales, United Kingdom was studied as a miniature – The landscape has been maintained for production since WWI, Brexit intensified the drive for rewilding by conservationists to envision a policy-led humanless ‘wildland’ in an unprecedented scale. The ambition bluntly sweeps across uneconomical sheep farms that are still in operation, which sparked debate with farmers who live off the culture-saturated land through traditional management. A pilot community in Cambrian Mountains is selected to demonstrate the landscape intervention ‘Paddock Rewilding’- a middle ground to mediate and create synergy in two conceptually polarised value systems of heritage landscape and rewilding. Inspired by the indigenous pathway of ‘Shifting Cultivation’, this project examines the larger territory can be elaborated into a ‘permanently impermanent’ rotational scenario between ‘Rewilding’ and ‘Dewilding’. Timescale, traditional movement of livestock and the historical right of ‘Common’ are deployed to unlatch the potential land rhythm and hybridise farm management methods in post-Brexit era.

Keywords: rewilding; heritage landscape; non-anthropocentric conservation; land use conflict; Brexit

Enlarge Photo: Sheep Pasture and Overall Soil Grading Classification in Wales, United Kingdom. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: The Shifting Vision from Productivism to Enviromentalism. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: Methodologies and Baselines in Rewilding and its Ecological Results. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: Mainstream Projections and Speculations in Rural Landscape post-Brexit. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: Vanishing Heritage in Cambrian Mountains. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: The conflicts of 'Sheepology' and 'Rewilding'. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: The Upcoming Transformation of Pontarfynach, Cambrian Mountains. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: Landscape in the making: Paddock Rewilding and the Shifting Provision of Resources. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: Connecting the Disconnected: a Virtual Management Application. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.Enlarge Photo: The Agri-wilding Scenario: The Permanent Construction in the Common Landscape of Rewilding & Dewilding. By CHU Shing Chun Paul.