river adur restoration project

River Adur Restoration Project

Why are Knepp's water meadows so lacking in biodiversity when elsewhere in the country they are a treasured resource?

The destruction started in the early 19th century when a stretch (down stream of the preset day A24) of the River Adur was straightened and widened to allow barges access to the iron workings below the great dam wall of Knepp Mill Pond.  Since then it has been further canalised for agricultural drainage leading us to today's deep straight channel that floods dramatically in winter & all but dries up in the summer.

Our aim is to re-naturalise the river, restoring its natural meanders and thereby reintegrating the surrounding floodplains.  Hopefully this process will encourage the return of wading and even nesting birds, as well as a whole range of insects and amphibians, important marsh plants and riverine trees like black poplar.

Our motivation is both aesthetic and environmental, and the project would not be possible without expert advice from the River Restoration Centre, and funding & support from the Natural England, the Environment Agency, Sussex Wildlife Trust & West Sussex County Council.

The reach of the river to be entered under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme is approximately 2.2km from Capps Bridge to the A24 including Tenchford Bridge with two main tributaries and their floodplains adding to the extent of land to be considered for inclusion in the scheme.

Surveys have been undertaken during 2005 and 2006, and the first phase of the project is underway (Sept 2011)

For further information see The River Restoration Centre Report - 3097 KB

Black Poplar (populus nigra subsp betulifolia)

Knepp planted cuttings and saplings for 3 years ( to 2007)  from cuttings taken from 26 trees being grown in the nursery at Wakehurst Place. If you would like to know more on this project click on (Black Poplar - Species Action Plan for Sussex pdf 967kb) For a print friendly version - in MS Word  176 KB












the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Estate have started the naturalisation of 2 1/2 kilometers of the River Adur


the beginnings of a more natural river system


in October 2011 the BBC Countryfile program featured the Adur restoration - this created 23,000 hits on the Knepp Web site during the programs airing