SUSSEX COUNTY TIMES
see Adur return to natural meander
Environment Secretary Nick Herbert went on
'safari' during a visit to the wildland
project managed by the Knepp Castle Estate
near West Grinstead.
ground-breaking rewilding project is being
run by estate owner Charlie Burrell who gave
the South Downs Conservative MP an extensive
tour of the 3,500 acre site.
aim of the project is to return the land to
its natural state after many years of
intensive farming and to allow grazing
animals such as longhorn cattle, Tamworth
pigs, Exmoor ponies and fallow deer to roam
as freely as possible with minimal human
Herbert was told about plans to allow the
River Adur - which was canalised in the
eighteenth century - to return to its
natural meander, thereby allowing the return
of seasonal flooding.
will encourage a greater variety of aquatic
and marshland plants, insect life,
amphibians, and wading birds.
will also be work to restore former wetland
areas on the estate inducing old ponds and
water meadows that were sacrificed to
the project began in 2001, a number of rare
species have already been spotted on the
site including - the common blue butterfly,
which is no longer common in
Britain despite its name.
project has generated considerable interest
from scientists, governments and
organisations across Europe and received
support from Natural England, the
Environment Agency, Sussex Wildlife Trust,
the British Trust for Ornithology, the
National Trust and the Centre for Ecology
Burrell said: "It was a delight meeting
Herbert. His understanding of agriculture
and ecology is so refreshing.
immediately clicked with what we're trying
to do here at Knepp. I really feel itísí
important we have politicians like this who
can see into the future."
Herbert said: "It was fascinating to
see how the landscape has already changed in
the short time since the wildland project
I'm not surprised that it has generated so
much interest. It's a project that will
provide great inspiration to people who care
about the countryside and want to reverse
the decline in our biodiversity."
Herbert said he was delighted Mr Burrell had
agreed to contribute to the ongoing debate
over the future of the landscape, habitats
and wildlife through the Future Countryside
set up by the MP.
Knepp Castle Estate has recently thrown its
weight behind opposition to the proposed
landfill site at Laybrook Brickworks, to the
west of the wildland project. Mr Burrell has
said that a landfill site will threaten the
project's survival and fly in the face of
efforts to clean up the environment.