Northwoods is a Scotland-wide chain of landholdings committed to nature recovery. Its partners share a vision for an ecologically-restored landscape, where habitats are better connected and species can recover, expand and disperse.

The network is underpinned by an agreed set of core principles, but Northwoods seeks to demonstrate how rewilding can be applied across different scales and settings, and the range of benefits it can drive, for nature, climate and people.

More about Northwoods

Click on the links below for more information about the aims and principles of the network, and what makes Northwoods different from other rewilding initiatives.

Key aims of the network


Key aims of the network

  • To increase the area of land committed to rewilding for the benefit of nature, climate and people.
  • To enable effective rewilding actions, grounded in best practice, to deliver positive ecological, environmental and socio-economic outcomes.
  • To demonstrate new models of land management and showcase the successes of our partners, leading to more rewilding actions across different settings.
  • To demonstrate the range of nature-based business opportunities rewilding can drive, promoting it as a viable option for small and medium-sized landowners.
  • To expand knowledge and understanding of the principles and benefits of rewilding.

What makes Northwoods different?


What makes Northwoods different?

  • Focused on rewilding in Scotland, drawing on our region-specific knowledge
    The network is focused on Scotland, enabling us to support land partners using our in-depth knowledge of Scottish species and habitats, and our hard-won understanding of the cultural and social context of land use change in Scotland.
  • Limited to medium-sized landholdings, with targeted selection of partners
    Partnership is restricted to medium-sized (usually 100 to 1,000 acre) landholdings. We also consider geographic spread, location in relation to other rewilding activity, and type of land-use when selecting land partners, in order to maximise impact.
  • Supportive land partnerships with commitments on both sides
    Our emphasis is on establishing formal partnerships with land owners and managers who want to commit to rewilding. We require partners to sign up to a set of commitments and principles underpinning the network, and offer a range of supporting activities in return.
  • Tailored, personal support and guidance to achieve the best results
    These formal partnerships allow us to provide support that is responsive to the needs of partners in varied settings, with different aspirations and starting points. We help partners to interpret best practice and make decisions relevant to their situation for optimal results.
  • Showcasing and storytelling at the heart of the network
    We believe passionately in the power of storytelling to influence opinion and bring about change. To help turn the tide for nature recovery in Scotland, we will share the stories and successes of our land partners, and take a wide audience along on their rewilding journeys.

Core rewilding principles

Core rewilding principles

Establishment of new native woodland

Establishing new native woodland and enriching existing woodland.

Creation or restoration of peatlands

Creating or restoring peatlands, ponds and wetlands.

Naturalisation of watercourses

Restoring natural processes along watercourses and across flood plains. 

Removal of wildlife migration barriers

Removing wildlife migration barriers and establishing ecological corridors. 

Returning missing native species

Reintroducing native species and expanding the range of existing species.

Revitalising natural processes such

Encouraging processes such as vegetation succession and predator-prey interactions.

Establishment of natural grazing

Using appropriate grazers such as cattle, to replicate the impact of missing herbivores.

Engagement with local

Exploring opportunities for recreation, education and employment with local communities. 

Development of diverse

Developing nature-based enterprise models that work in tandem with ecological recovery.


Scotland boasts some of the most inspiring examples of rewilding at a landscape-scale across large estates. However, to address the dual emergencies of climate breakdown and nature loss, rewilding must also be accessible to smaller landholdings, so they can contribute to ecological recovery.

We know from speaking to land managers and community groups across Scotland that despite aspirations to rewild, many feel they lack the knowledge of best practice, or have concerns about funding, long-term sustainability and communications around rewilding. 

Northwoods exists to help its partners overcome these barriers, and in doing so, prove the power of rewilding to restore habitats, recover wildlife populations, mitigate climate change and support rural communities.


If nature is allowed to shape and govern the landscape, change can happen surprisingly quickly. We don’t know exactly what the network will look like in 20 years – that will depend on a range of dynamic processes - but the rewilding actions taken by our land partners will undoubtedly catalyse a more vibrant, complex mosaic of habitats supporting greater abundance and diversity of life.

Becoming a Northwoods partner

Are you interested in rewilding your land, but not sure where to begin? Or rewilding already, and facing challenges you need help to solve? Could your story inspire others? Consider becoming a Northwoods partner.

Northwoods land partners own or manage between 100 and 1,000 acres within Scotland, and are looking to commit some or all of this land to rewilding. On joining, partners commit to the core rewilding principles that underpin the network, and agree a Rewilding Plan outlining the commitments on both sides. 

Drawing on the rewilding knowledge and expertise we have in the SCOTLAND: The Big Picture team and within our reach, Northwoods delivers tailored support with a strong emphasis on:


  • Application of rewilding best practice
    Support with accessing expert advice and making the right scientific and practical choices for individual landholdings.
  • Financial and business development support
    Working with partners to expand their income streams, access funding, and develop nature-based business to sustain their rewilding.
  • Communications and storytelling resources
    Supporting partners to share and showcase their work to a wide audience, and engage with local communities to demonstrate the benefits of rewilding.


By showcasing and sharing the models and stories emerging from the Northwoods Rewilding Network, we seek to inform and inspire further ecological recovery across Scotland. Please enjoy and share our stories.



As Northwoods celebrates its 50th land partner, some of our partner share why they have chosen to rewild.

Munching Mosaics

Munching Mosaics

Using appropriate grazers to replicate the impact of missing herbivores is one of the core principles of Northwoods. And if you don’t have any of your own, no problem.