Yorkshire Rewilding Network Launches The Region's First Rewilding Festival

Series of inspirational events to champion allowing nature to 'take the lead'
Mag North
June 5, 2023

The Yorkshire Rewilding Network (YRN) connects, inspires and enables rewilding across Yorkshire. This summer the charity is holding the first Yorkshire Rewilding Festival to create an opportunity for a wider audience to explore rewilding through the arts, through debate and discussion, and through community gatherings.

There are a variety of events planned this summer, including: the creation of a live, collaborative artwork which reimagines a Yorkshire city with a wilder future; a day of learning and connection for rewilders; a specially commissioned story and musical performance set in beautiful woodland; and a day of wild family fun in a forest park. Plus, the festival also goes out on tour, with Wild Workshops taking place in some of Yorkshire’s most inspiring rewilding sites.

Samantha Mennell, Yorkshire Rewilding Festival Director, said: “We’re so excited to be launching our first festival, and for us, it’s all about connection. Rewilding is always at it strongest when links are being made, whether that’s within landscapes or between people. This festival is only possible because of the new partnerships we’ve made around the region and we’re excited about the amazing chance it gives us to reach out to more diverse audiences and get more people rewilding!”

There really is something for everyone – Yorkshire is about to get very excited about rewilding!

The Festival Programme:

Yorkshire Rewilding Festival kicks off in York on Tuesday 13th June. The opening event will be a collaboration with the York Festival of Ideas 2023Reimagining a Rewilded York; an evening of open discussion and artistic creation where a panel of experts encourage the audience to imagine how urban rewilding could transform York. Artist James McKay will interpret the ideas and suggestions, capturing them in a unique painting – an alternative future vision of the city.


The Festival then presents 'WildSong' at Farnley Hall, Otley, on the 23rd of June. Their aim is for the audience to leave inspired, uplifted and feeling a deep connection to the natural world and the part they can play in its recovery.

The night starts with drinks from the bar in a beautiful wildflower meadow before the audience enters the woods for a magical night of spoken word and music. Leeds based story-teller Matthew Bellwood's performance will be woven through with musical accompaniment from Georgina Buchanan, singer and harpist on the contemporary folk scene; Emma Coleman, singer, cellist, and vocal workshop facilitator; and Seb Munday, guitarist and music therapist. They will be performing compositions and pre-composed songs in folk and classical styles.

There are two performances at 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Please CLICK on your preferred time for tickets.

This event is supported with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council.

Georgie Buchanan

An inspiring and practical day connecting rewilders, Yorkshire Rewilders Day, follows at Farnley Hall on Saturday 24 June in partnership with nature charity, Wildlife Friendly Otley. This is a day for connection with fellow rewilders, to share knowledge and experience, inspire each other, and learn something new. There will be panel discussions, walks and activities (both creative and practical), and plenty of time to chat, ask questions and make new connections.

And on Sunday 25 June, Yorkshire Rewilding Festival joins Otley Nature Network's Chevin Discovery Day – a free, family-friendly event hosted by Friends of Chevin Forest Park. YRN will collaborate with SunUp Festival to provide an immersive workshop concentrating on our connection with nature. A local artist will encourage people of all ages to help ‘rewild’ and transform a blank piece of canvas into a wild and abundant landscape, and there will be an interactive ‘rewilding world’ specially designed to inspire young minds and hands!‍

Over the summer Yorkshire Rewilding Network will be taking the Festival on Tour with Wild Workshops at a range of rewilding sites They will be hosting workshops and activities from natural mindfulness and forest bathing to art and drawing, to forest school and family nature connection days.

Sara King, Rewilding Manager at Rewilding Britain, said of the Festival: "We are delighted to be supporting Yorkshire's first ever Rewilding Festival through our Rewilding Innovation Fund. The Yorkshire Rewilding Network does amazing work educating and inspiring people across Yorkshire on the myriad of benefits of rewilding, and this Festival will be a brilliant way to share the joy of rewilding to new audiences in Yorkshire."

Rewilding is a growing movement which aims to let nature take the lead to restore natural processes. It can help to create a range of different habitats, tackle climate change, reduce flooding, increase biodiversity and allow wildlife to thrive. It can also create new opportunities for employment and improve health and wellbeing.

The Yorkshire Rewilding Network is a small but fast-growing charity, established in August 2020 to connect, inspire and enable rewilding throughout Yorkshire. Everyone is welcome. To get involved go to www.yorkshirerewildingnetwork.org.uk.

For further information on all the events, please CLICK HERE