wildland advisory group
"where natural processes predominate and long term financial stability is achieved outside of a conventional agricultural framework"


The Knepp wildland project is in many ways a unique undertaking in lowland England. More extensive methods of grazing livestock and the use of a mix of large herbivores on larger areas of land to drive habitat management are being initiated elsewhere in the UK, but these are mostly in the upland, less populated areas of the north and north west.  Embarking on the Knepp wildland project is thus particularly challenging and exciting. Experts from home and abroad, all bringing their specialist knowledge, have visited Knepp and given help, advice and on occasions criticism. The Knepp Estate is not an island, it is physically and culturally embedded in the surrounding countryside of West Sussex, with other landowners and neighbours around its boundaries.

With so much advice on all aspects of the wildland project, and in order to keep our neighbours and other local residents informed and to address any concerns they may have regarding the sweeping changes that we are making, it was decided to set up a Steering Group to advise and guide the project. The Steering group meets once a year. This provides an opportunity for the discussion of a range of important issues from stocking levels, the environment and landscape to animal welfare and the impacts of the spread of weed seeds onto adjacent land. 

But the members of the steering group are also ideally suited to assist in the development of management plans and policies. It was decided at the inaugural meeting in May 2006 that the Steering Group should have the following functions: 

  • To advise the Estate on livestock management and ecological issues 

  • To give the project credence 

  • To help with an interpretation strategy to reassure and inform the public and press 

  • To comment on the Business Plan and Holistic Report (Kernon Consultants) part funded by the Countryside Commission. 

  • To work up a management plan for the expansion of the project.

It is hoped that the experience gained will help others to initiate further rewilding schemes and also inform conservation grazing projects. 

The Steering Group is made up of representatives of UK and European organisations, individual specialists and local residents: Natural England, Grazing Animal Projects (GAP), Sussex Wildlife Trust, Large Herbivore Foundation, Private advisors, Landowners and Defra.

We will be posting the minutes of the meetings on this page in due course if you are wanting to see them before this work is done please contact the Estate Office enquiries@knepp.co.uk.