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flood mitigation

On average, flooding costs the UK economy £1.1 billion a year. The cost of the 2015 floods alone was £5 billion. One in six properties in the UK is now at risk of flooding. But this need not be.

The evidence, both in the UK and abroad, is incontrovertible: naturalising rivers and rewilding river catchment areas prevents flooding. It is far cheaper, safer and more resilient than engineering hard flood defences. And it brings with it other huge economic benefits in terms of water purification, soil restoration, drought resistance and wildlife.   

Healthy soils also store huge amounts of water as opposed to cultivated, anaerobic soils. According to the Soil Association, a 20% increase in soil organic matter increases the holding capacity of one hectare by between 40 – 100 thousand litres. Leafy scrub helps intercept heavy rainfall and alleviates flash floods, too.  

We are already seeing this effect at Knepp, thanks to our restored soils and increased vegetation cover and, in particular, the restoration of our section of the river Adur and surrounding floodplains.  

Of course, beavers – the ultimate hydrological engineer – are experts at restoring natural wetland systems and storing water. We look forward to seeing how these keystone species increase water storage on our land – and hopefully biodiversity, too – after their introduction in 2022.   

Further Information

Harribin, Roger. ‘Back to nature flood schemes need “government leadership”’. BBC News. (January 16, 2014)

Lean, Geoffrey. ‘UK flooding: How a Yorkshire town worked with nature to stay dry’. Independent. (2 January 2016)
‘Flood defence spending in England’. House of Commons briefing. (November 2014) file:///C:/Users/issy.KNEPP/Downloads/SN05755.pdf
‘Flooding in Focus – recommendations for more effective flood management in England’. RSPB. (2014)

‘How rewilding reduces flood risk’. Rewilding Britain report. (September 2016)

‘Working with natural processes to reduce flood risks’. Environment Agency, DEFRA, Natural Resources Wales. (July 2014)

‘Slowing the flow at Pickering’, Forest Research and Institute of Civil Engineers

‘The Pontbren Project – a farmer-led approach to sustainable land management in the uplands’. Research report by the Woodland Trust (February 2013)

Our 12+ Policy

Knepp Wildland Safaris and campsite are all about the quiet and patient observation of nature.

Some of the species we are likely to encounter are shy or can be frightened by loud noises or sudden movements. Our campsite with open-air fire-pits, wood-burning stoves and an on-site pond is unsuitable for small children.

For this reason, our safaris, holiday cottages and campsite are suitable only for children of 12 and over.

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