Watercress Farm Rewilding

Business, Community • North Somerset

Restoring nature, reconnecting communities and inspiring behavioural change for ecological and economic success.

Belmont Estate's story

Belmont is a regenerative organisation restoring the natural world and enabling people and businesses to learn, invest and be in nature to drive behavioural change. They are restoring biodiversity, reversing climate collapse and reconnecting communities to nature and each other to deliver positive environmental and social impact. They do this through multiple nature-recovery projects and a free nature connection programme, ultimately commercially sustained by the creation of natural capital products for the corporate market.

Watercress Farm Rewilding is one of Belmont’s nature recovery and connection projects situated just outside Bristol. This project is part of the wider Belmont Estate which is steeped in history stretching back for centuries. Over the last ten years, the owners have been on a mission to gradually piece back the land to restore and reconnect the whole Estate and put it all back together. What’s really exciting about these changes is how things have come together in a completely new way. Conservation, sustainability, education, community and inspiration are all part of this restoration.

The aim of Watercress Farm Rewilding Project is to restore an environmentally degraded landscape for the benefit of nature, climate and the community. The land has been conventionally farmed, drained and constrained by human intervention, contributing to an alarming drop in local biodiversity; high concentrations of agrochemicals in the soils and watercourses; and an increased risk of downstream flooding. By rewetting and rewilding, this project will enable the land to act as a functioning floodplain whilst restoring natural water flow and creating a haven for birds, pollinators and plants. By creating a connection and community programme within the site, this project will enable thousands of children, adults and families to access green space for free, reap mental and physical benefits and deepen their connections with nature.

To hear more about Watercress Farm Rewilding, listen to the Carbon Copy Podcast Running Out of Time special episode featuring this initiative.

Useful learnings from Belmont Estate

Belmont is a multi-faceted organisation and functions across several different sections with nature restoration, community and education alongside corporate partnerships and natural capital. No one bit exists without the other and as such it’s a very interesting model of commercialising conservation. Demonstrating that conservation is not only viable but can also be profitable is valuable more widely as it encourages other people to do it too.

The nature recovery projects are a crucial part of the business ecosystem, creating genuine positive impact, a resurgence in local biodiversity and improving community connections through volunteering and ecological surveying opportunities.

In their experience, the advice for others doing something similar would be to avoid the pitfall of getting caught up in arguments about what works best: organic, regenerative, etc. As with nature, ‘diversity’ is almost always the solution. Diversity in every sense of the word – of tactics, of people involved, of values/goals, of practices.

Belmont believes that our disconnect with nature starts in childhood, which they help to address through a free series of events and opportunities for children to get out in nature. This nature connection program at the heart of Watercress Farm has proved to be very popular, with over 3000 children from all backgrounds coming to the project each year to learn more and connect with the natural world.

Belmont Estate's metrics

Biodiversity gains, reconnecting people with nature, community engagement, commercial success and environmental and ecological restoration on a local and national scale. Over the last couple of years, Belmont has recorded 1800+ species of wildlife within the site and has had 5000+ people engage with the nature connection programme or access green space for free.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...


North Somerset

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Business, Community, 50 to 249 people

Shared by

Carbon Copy

Updated Jul, 2024

Recommended for you

  • Grounded Ecotherapy
    Tower Hamlets

    Grounded Ecotherapy

    Making space for nature so more people in London can enjoy and benefit from experiencing nature.

  • Trent Rivers Trust

    Trent Rivers Trust

    Restoring and protecting rivers within the Trent catchment area.

  • The Claypits
    Glasgow City

    The Claypits

    Transforming an industrial site into an inner city nature reserve.

  • Tree Musketeers

    Tree Musketeers

    Growing, planting and caring for trees in Hackney.