Welcome to Knepp and the home of the most famous rewilding project in the country. It's been featured in the national press and on television and for that reason amongst many I have avoided it like the plague [I have danced here] even though it's on the doorstep. During the lockdowns it became rammed with people and there's little in the way of parking, but now things are thankfully settling down a bit and it's the quieter time of year I thought I'd chance my arm.
The Knepp Estate has been in the hands of the Burrell family for more than 500 years and the current owner ran it as a farm for many years. However, as the family's ideas have changed it's gradually been transformed into a rewilded area and it's incredible how many species have returned [it is regularly surveyed]. The different habitats are very carefully managed and many larger grazing animals roam freely. It even has a pair of beavers, but they can't be released and has started a successful white stork breeding programme. For anyone wanting to know more Isabella Tree's book "Wilding" is fascinating. Thankfully for me there are a series of public footpaths which crisscross the area and marked walks which make it very clear where you can go. With the weather so glorious it seemed wise to follow the longest route and make the most of our time there.
There's a lot going on at Knepp. They have a campsite and yoga retreat and during the warmer months they run their wildlife safaris. It's one of those places that you never know quite what or who you might encounter. The butterfly creation and arch of antlers is right near the carpark and as for that random column near the gate I've no idea how that fits in!
You pass by all sorts of different environments as you wander round. There are several well considered platforms built in the trees [so they don't damage them] which give you a good birdseye view. The "lake" is the millpond and was originally tied to the 16th century iron industry which flourished here. At the time it was the biggest body of water in the South East, but these days it's half the size it once was.