Pigs introduced to Cornwall moors to bring farmland back to nature

The pigs have been introduced to Helman Tor. Credit: Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Pigs have been reintroduced to Cornwall's moors to help nature recover.

The pigs, native breed Oxford Sandy and Blacks, were introduced to Helman Tor on Bodmin Moor as part of the largest nature recovery project led by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The animals were loaned by a farmer as part of a ‘rewilding’ trial to create germinating opportunities for plants and to knock back the dominant ones, like bracken, to help wildlife flourish.

In November 2023, 15 native breed longhorn cattle were also introduced to the moor.

Longhorn cattle have been reintroduced to the land. Credit: Cornwall Wildlife Trust

The Trust received some funding from the Bedruthan Community Fund of £30,000 to match fund its Christmas Appeal to help develop rewilding plans.

The 97-acre land had been farmed intensively in the past, but the pigs and cattle will now help to bring it back into a more natural state.

The process will involve removing nutrients and reversing the drainage which has taken place over the years.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s use of rewilding principles looks at past landscapes where wildlife thrived, enabling a wide area to become more biodiverse and more resilient.

The activities of the pigs and cattle are an ancient and sustainable alternative to the use of heavy machinery.

It is hoped that the pigs’ activities will bring many positive benefits. 

Andy Collins, Mid Cornwall Reserves Manager, said: “Pigs are nature’s plough.

“They rootle around in the ground – turning over sods of earth with their strong necks – as wild boar would have done in Britain hundreds of years ago.”