In 30 years, insect numbers have dropped by 25%. The loss of ancient woodlands, and fields becoming larger so they can be more efficiently farmed, have contributed to this. Jeremy decides to make his farm more insect-friendly. A big part of his wilding plan is a wetlands project where he will transform a boggy part of a valley on the farm, and “put Mother Nature in the driving seat”.
First, he has to bring in inspectors to check out his bog so he doesn’t harm wildlife already there. The inspector finds evidence of water voles, which are protected (there were 8 million of them, but there are now only 220,000 left). Jeremy sets up a camera over a few nights and no water voles are spotted, so he he gets started on excavating a pond hole with his massive rented digger.
He finds clay, including the necessary blue clay that holds water well and which he’ll use to line the sides. When he’s done, he goes away for an hour and comes back to find his new hole has already filled up with water. He will need top pump it out to continue, so in the meantime he decides to dig another hole higher up, aiming to create a flooded wetland area for insects. He’s gonig to dam a stream to slow the water down, flooding his wetland area and encouraging water animals. His girlfriend Lisa is horrified by the massive mess he’s made. Jeremy moans that everyone is always shouting at him.
Jeremy builds his dam from wood and clay, and slows the stream. His second hole begins to fill with water.
As night falls he tries to go home but his Supercat vehicle is stuck in the enormous amount of mud he’s created. He calls Kaleb to come and rescue him using the Lamborghini tractor but that gets stuck too.
The next morning, Kaleb’s brother in his own tractor pulls Kaleb in his own tractor who pulls Jeremy in his Lamborghini tractor out of the hole. It works! Lisa arrives with beers.
Charlie turns up, and explains the field is churned up,which leaves them in breach of “soil compaction requirements”. If an inspector saw it they could lose 5% of their government payment scheme subsidy. Looking at the new wetland area, Charlie says Jeremy should have waited for dryer conditions. Jeremy gets Kaleb to clear up the mess.
Jeremy moves on to the woods, where he’s thinning out the trees and using a very technical machine to measure and cut the logs. Thinning only a small part of the wood still yields 200 tonnes of timber. It doesn’t go down well on social media where he’s accused of “deforestation” among other things, when actually it means more sunlight reaches the forest floor, promoting sapling and flower growth.
Jeremy is a birdwatcher, and asks wildlife expert Roy Dennis for advice on improving the farm environment for birds. Roy is impressed with the varied bird life already living on the farm, and the wild food available to them. Together they spot several different species. Jeremy then spots a baby owl in an outbuilding, and decides to put up owl boxes on stilts for them to live in. His and Kaleb’s initial attempt — is a disaster, with the pole at an angle and no owl box on it as Jeremy forgot to attach it.
Victor the Ukrainian bee keeper arrives with Jeremy’s new bees for his four hives. A queen can live three or four years; a normal bee a month in summer and six months in winter. The queen lays 2000 eggs a day. Jeremy is stung by a bee.
Jeremy and Lisa and still repairing the dam in the wetlands area.
Jeremy goes back to the owls. He brings in outside contractors who can corkscrew drill holes for the now-shorter poles, complete with bought owl boxes.
A mobile sheep scanner visits, and Jeremy, Kevin and Ellen scan alll the ewes. There are 15 single pregnancies, one not pregnant at all, and three sets of triplets, with the rest twin pregnancies.
As part of Jeremey’s ecological plans, he and Kaleb create wildflower-filled highways across the fields to help insects and spiders get to the crops and eat the bugs. Kaleb doesn’t understand why they’re sacrificing crop space, and hence money, for this.
Jeremy’s main pond is ready, filled from his stream. When it is full he puts in 250 brown trout. They have to be propelled in, in fast flowing water, as falling into the water wakes them up. The dam is now mostly holding too. Charlie is impressed with the wetlands area! The crops are doing well too. Charlie is happy!