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We are West Dorset Wilding

In 2020, a small group landowners / farmers and a conservationist decided to take a stand and see whether, collectively, and working in collaboration with other organisations, they can start to make a difference for nature in West Dorset.  They want to see improvements in the biodiversity, water, air and soil quality, carbon capture, and flood and drought alleviation.   In short they wanted to make space for nature, and give it a chance, and do it on a locally meaningful scale.

At the very end of 2021, the organisation was formally constituted as a charity. In technical terms, we are a Charitable Incorporated Organisation by Association, which means we have a constitution (download here) and voting members other than just the Trustees.  You can see our charity number and registered address in the website footer.

As of today, we are still very new, with only one person working for the charity, one day a week, but we are hoping to grow and make a real difference to the area.  We have to make a difference else there will be very little nature to leave to our children and grandchildren, so please help us do that.

Please do feel free to drop us a line, anytime and will do our best to get back to you.

Sam Rose,  Exec Director p/t

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Mapperton Photos white park cattle Copyright Sam Rose 7056 -28.jpg

Photo (c) Sam Rose 2021, Mapperton White Park.

Our vision and mission

Our vision is for a West Dorset with more wildlife and biodiversity, improved water, air and soil quality, better natural flood management and through natural processes, is tackling the impacts of climate change.  We want to reconnect people with nature, enabling them to as enjoy its wildlife and habitats in all its beauty and diversity.

Our mission is to improve the natural environment and its resilience by collaborating with landowners and managers, regional partners and the local community on projects and approaches which meet our vision.  These will include rewilding schemes, such as reintroductions of native species, regenerative agriculture projects and delivery of education and public awareness projects.  

Our Team

Luke Montagu, Founding trustee and Chair 

Luke Montagu is an entrepreneur who now spends most of his time managing his family’s estate at Mapperton in West Dorset. After graduating from Columbia University, Luke founded a series of technology, education and media businesses. In 2003 he co-founded the Met Film School, which he led as CEO until 2009.  Luke is the founding member of Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence as well as a committee member of the NICE guideline on Safe Prescribing and Withdrawal Management. 

Nick Gray, Founding trustee


Nick Gray has been working amongst wildlife for over 25 years, enjoying spells as an island nature reserve warden, environmental education instructor, bird surveyor on the West coast of Ireland and Living Landscapes conservation officer with two Wildlife Trusts in the Southwest. Working in the wider countryside, relishing conversations with farmers and landowners about balancing food production and the needs of wildlife, Nick is delighted to be part of West Dorset Wilding, discussing, devising and delivering habitat restoration and species recovery.

Philip Colfox, Founding Trustee

Philip Colfox, owns Symondsbury Estate which has been on a journey over the last 40 years how to migrate from a traditional farming business to a highly diversified lifestyle brand trying to share with everyone the good life, good health, good ambiance and being kind.  Currently converting to regenerative farming with ambitions to “wind the clock right back” on food production, while making farming enjoyable and profitable and trying to develop a new tourism landscape for the 21st and 22nd centuries full of bugs, bees, butterflies, beasts, bushes, bogs and blooms.

Dr Tarsha Finney, Trustee 


grew up on Wombramurra, her family’s 35,000 acre cattle property, which was an early innovator in Australian regenerative farming practices.  Tarsha is a trained architect and urban designer, with an expertise in city building via large scale housing projects.  She was Visiting Professor in the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art  where she also led the MA City Design undertaking research work in Sydney, Hong Kong and London into new models of intergenerational housing. Over 25 years of teaching, research and practice her work has been driven by questions of shared resources, collective agency, and social and ecological solidarity in the face of climate change and biodiversity collapse.

Dr Sam Rose, Exec Director (P/T)

After completing a PhD about Tropical Forest Biodiversity in 1996, Sam Rose worked on diverse projects in Chilean Patagonia, the Peruvian Amazon, and places as diverse as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea.  In 2004 he joined the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in Dorset and East Devon, managing the Site for almost fifteen years and becoming the first CEO of the Jurassic Coast Trust in 2017. Leaving this in 2019 to renew his focus on nature and photography, he finished an MA at the Arts University Bournemouth, in 2021 with a distinction with his nationally recognised photography in rewilding.  This can be seen at

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