education service

Spreading the word...


We are fortunate to live and work in this special place and are committed to offering educational visits to the estate.

Have a look at different seasons at Knepp

Some of the groups that have visited so far are:

Plumpton College, local County Councillors, Cranleigh & South Eastern Agricultural Society, Beeding & Bramber Local History Society, Shipley farmers, The Country Landowners Association, Southwater Junior School, The Royal Forestry Society, Savills' Resident Land Agents, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, The Horsham Natural History Society, Sussex Resident Land Agents, Shipley Handcross & Windlesham Schools, LEAF, the Woodland Trust, Horsham Food Fayre, the Environment Agency, the Historic Houses Association, the Wildland Network, Shipley & Dial Post residents, The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), Natural England's science & evidence team for the lowlands & woodlands, The Countryside Access Forum for West Sussex (CAFWS), The High Weald AONB Unit, National Trust Conservation Advisers, Gatwick Greenspaces, Sussex Wildlife Trust, a group of Swiss landscape architects, Shoreham District Ornithological Society, Shipley Cubs, The Country Trust with Marshlands Primary School, CIWEM, Sompting Abbotts School, Friends of Hollinbury & Burstead Woods, Ferring Conservation Group, Davison High School & Soth Downs Rangers.

In 2009 360 people visited in 19 groups and in 2010 we had a record 700 visitors in 38 groups.

If your school, group or organisation would like to visit Knepp to look at some of the ongoing conservation projects on the estate, please contact Jason or Julie at the estate office. 

Generally visits last from 2 - 4 hours.  Our original format was a "walk in the park", but during 2007 we had a bespoke personnel carrying trailer built, so now we can offer visitors a trailer ride covering a larger area.  Some school visits take on a different format - we have had some that last for two days and include camping.

The estate has been the subject of various research studies and university dissertations over the years and we endeavour to accommodate these wherever possible.

Some of the areas that may interest groups of visitors are described below.  These may be particularly relevant to school children.

For an information pack contact the estate office.

Landscape - Our countryside has been shaped by the consequences of centuries of human activity. When examined carefully all English landscapes reveal evidence of this process. More rarely there are areas where important historic features remain visibly intact, offering glimpses of the way in which previous generations managed the land and how it appeared to them.

These areas are particularly valuable both as a historic record and because they contribute to the diversity of our countryside, reinforcing the distinctiveness of their locality. The age and undisturbed nature of such areas frequently makes them valuable for wildlife.

Features which may be included under this category include historic parklands such as Knepp, containing evidence of parkland design such as avenues or groups of trees, historic deer parks and wood pastures, ancient field systems and grasslands, areas of ridge and furrow, historic water meadows, historic earthworks such as moats, ponds, green lanes and ancient settlements, and of course scheduled ancient monuments.

Possible Activities

History - Investigate the period in which the feature was at the height of its activity and identify how people would have lived in those times e.g. what clothes would they wear, food they would eat, how would they travel, which other local places or landscape features would have been in existence then.

Geography - Relate aerial photographs to ground level views and maps. Identify how activities have changed the local landscape.

Consider why that area was chosen for that particular feature. For example was it a vantage point or a vista, was there a good water supply or transport route nearby?

English - Use the visit as a basis for role play, enacting out the life of the times.  Write "on the spot" accounts of important events or daily life of the times.

Science - Investigate the plants and animals living in the area now and compare them with might have been living in that area in earlier times.

Look for evidence of undisturbed planting such as hedgerows, meadows or copses and compare the number and type of plants and animals present with those found in more recent plantings.

Art - Investigate what art forms would have been popular at that time. For example, Anglo-Saxon artists used elaborate and colourful patterns to decorate different things including weapons and manuscripts. Create your own patterns reflecting the important features of the time such as local animals and plants.

Technology - Create 3D models to show how the landscape has changed over time and use this as a display to explain to other groups the value of the site.

The best time to visit Knepp

Fallow Deer. (May – October)

In May, the fallow deer bucks (males) lose their antlers and change their dark winter coats to summer. This can mean that they are not looking their best. By the end of June, antlers have formed and young fawns have started to appear. They are in their prime in September. The end of September sees the bucks competing in the rut. A strange “bugling” can be heard from them. Fights breakout between rival males.

Wild Flowers. (June – July)

Much of the park has been sown with a wild flower seed mix. Species such as knapweed, birdsfoot trefoil and oxeye daisies are established and are at their best at the end of June. There is also an area of devils-bit scabious, together with other species such as common agrimony, eyebright, and speedwell down by the lake edge that flower in August. 

Knepp Mill Pond

Knepp Mill Pond forms one of the most interesting focus points of the study area, and is one of the largest artificial bodies of water in the region. It is now much smaller than its original size, as almost half of the former pond at the northern end has silted up and progressed to reed bed and alder/willow carr. The south-eastern arm is also substantially silted and has reverted to reed bed and carr.

In the main area of lake, the average depth of water over the silt is thought to be around 750mm (3’) although over large areas it is only a fraction of this. The depth of silt has now been measured and is in places 2m deep. Despite the extent of siltation and reversion to reed bed and carr, the area of open water is still very substantial indeed, extending to approximately 28 acres.

The margins of the lake are particularly well developed with a wide swathe of emergent vegetation dominated by reed mace, with some areas of bull rush. There are also several areas of woodland associated with the lake edge, as well as a range of habitats in the silted areas ranging from reed beds and marsh to alder and willow carr. Water lilies occur at the southern end.

The lake is particularly important as a habitat for birds and other wildlife including dragonflies and amphibians.

For an information pack contact the Estate Office or read further in an article written for the CLA.


he has just sat on a beetle - what species was it?
Shipley Windmill seen from Windmill Lagg
classes for all
Fallow Buck (Damma damma) with its distinct palmate antlers in velvet
piglets keeping up with their Tamworth mother 
this Longhorn calf is about two weeks old
touring the "wildland"

Old Knepp Castle Ruin – Built by William De Braose around 1150 – taken from the De Braose family by King John

see if you can spot a Common spotted orchid
the trailer for those longer tours
looking at the past through mud (see more)