Wilding Weekend at Hooke Farm, Dorset 17-18 June, 2023

On 17th and 18th June, 2023, Julia Hailes MBE and her husband Jamie Macdonald will be hosting the second Wilding Weekend at their home in West Dorset.

Julia Hailes started her environmental career over 35 years ago and has now transformed the 9 acres around her home into a wildlife haven. “Come and see what we’ve done and see what you can do too!”

“What we do in our gardens has a significant impact on wildlife and climate change – and everyone has a part to play, however big or small your garden. Why is this so important? Because there has been a massive decline in almost all types of animals, insects, birds, amphibians, and reptiles – as well as plants and fungi. And, so many of the things we’re doing in our gardens contribute to this problem.”


What’s On over the Wilding Weekend?

During the weekend there will be guided tours, talks, exhibitors and stalls with information and advice about wilding, as well as things to buy.

Guided Tours:
Conservation experts will show you the wildflower meadows, ponds, and grasslands identifying the insects, birds reptiles, and amphibians that they find.

This will include:
– The Dorset Bat Group will be leading a bat and moth tour on the Saturday night.
– The Bumblebee Conservation Trust: bee tour, helping identify the different types of been found on-site
– Amphibian and Reptile Conservation: Taking people to visit the pond and wetland area to see what they can find.

Julia will be telling visitors about the challenges and successes of wilding at Hooke. She will be joined by other experts covering a variety of topics, including the following:

– Clipper Teas: Our Wilding Weekend sponsor will be talking about what they’re doing to support biodiversity.
– Real Wild Estates: CEO Julian Matthews will talk about what they’re doing to help large landowners embrace wilding
– Operation Future Hope: Lesley Malplas will be talking about rewilding schools and the nature & rewilding course she has just launched
– Sizzle: Trewin Restorick has been a sustainability leader for over 30 years. His focus is on making green choices easier and he’ll be talking about why we must all stop using peat.
– The Great Big Dorset Hedge: Julie Leah will be explaining the Dorset Climate Action Network’s initiative to promote hedgerows as a vital habitat for wildlife
– Dorset Wildlife Trust: Daisy Meadowcroft will be talking about what the DWT is doing to protect wildlife and make Dorset wilder
– West Dorset Wilding: Tom Brereton will be talking about how Mapperton Estate have launched a new landowner and farmer-led charity to restore eco-systems through
rewilding and regenerative agriculture.

As well as talks and tours there will be stands with information about conservation, wildlife and wilding, displays and things for sale too. Many of the organisations talking at the event will be here, as well as:

– Butterfly Conservation: Moths trapped the previous night will be on display before they are released and there will be lots of information on butterflies too.
– Dorset Mammal Group: Suzie and Colin Varndell will exhibiting Colin’s wildlife photography and telling people about what they’re doing to preserve mammals in Dorset.
– Bee Happy Plants & Seeds: Sarah Holdsworth is the fount of all knowledge on bee-happy plants as well as why we should avoid cultivars – and you’ll be able to buy her plants and seeds.

Other things for sale will include books, bird boxes, wood products and local produce.


The weekend will support two charities. Ticket sales will be donated to the National Garden Scheme and money raised from food, drink and other sales will be donated to Operation Future Hope, who promote wilding in schools and provide online environmental and ecological training courses for young students.


The event is being kindly sponsored by Clipper Tea 

For more about Hooke Farm and opening times click here


You can download the full flyer for the weekend here Wilding Weekend Flyer


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Our donations in 2023

Donor 1
Donor 2 £450,000
Donor 3 £450,000
Donor 4 £450,000
Donor 5 £425,000
Donor 6 £350,000
Donor 7 £350,000
Donor 8
Donor 9 £100,000
Donor 10 £90,000
Donor 11 £80,000
Donor 12 £281,000
Donor 13 £260,000