Nestled between the River Coquet and Simonside hills in beautiful Northumberland, lies Hepple Wilds, a landscape of restoration and rejuvenation.
Since 2020, this 4000 acre estate has embraced natural processes, and is on a journey of ecosystem restoration by encouraging wildness
, with gentle intervention where required. Free-roaming Longhorn cattle, Highland cattle and Exmoor Ponies have been introduced. These magnificent animals help to create diverse ecosystems by creating openings, transporting seed and nutrients which encourages more diverse plants, scrub and trees, supporting a wealth of wildlife including moths, beetles, birds and bats.
There is another, delicious benefit to nature restoration – the produce that we can enjoy from a healthy landscape. There are few that manage to capture the unique character of a wilder landscape more truly than the Hepple Spirits Co.
Our “Spirit of the Wild” experience is an exploration of the wild and delicious benefits that are created by nature and Hepple Spirits Co and strengthened by the nature-led ethos and light-touch management of the Hepple Estate.
The midsummer evening will begin with a short walk in part of Hepple Wilds, at that magical time of day when dusk falls, followed by an introduction to the Hepple Spirits distillery by Walter Riddell, Founder of Hepple Spirits and Cultivator of Hepple Estate. You will discover how art and science combine in the distillery to produce spirits which hold the character and flavour of the botanical ingredients used – many of which are harvested on the Hepple Estate. You will be invited to sample some of the drinks, and will have the opportunity to buy bottles to take home.
Afterwards, you will head out with Wild Intrigue and Hepple Wilds guides, to explore the bounty of wildlife that is emerging on the estate.
You will be introduced to nocturnal pollinators, moths, and the astounding diversity of forms and colours these vital creatures take. You will have the opportunity to visit ‘light traps’ which attract moths without harming them, and find out how some of their exquisite names were formed, such as Garden Tiger, Peach Blossom and Beautiful Golden Y, and if we are lucky, a Juniper Carpet.
With an abundance of moths and other insects benefitting from the rich plant life and wetlands at Hepple, many species of bat hawk across the sky. With the specialist bat detectors provided you will eavesdrop on the bats as they forage and socialise. You will discover how these incredible little mammals have developed strategies which attempt to outsmart their moth prey!
We are incredibly proud to support the work of Hepple Wilds through our Wild Intrigue “Spirit of the Wild” event.