Restoring the River Bure in Norfolk

The River Bure on the Blickling Estate, Norfolk

We're embarking on our biggest river restoration project to date.

We rely on rivers for so much, but currently only 14% of England’s river catchments are in good health. So, we're setting out to reverse this trend through our "Riverlands" project. Working with the Environment Agency, we’ll be reviving five of the UK’s most precious rivers, including the River Bure in Norfolk.

Why the River Bure is special

There are just over 200 chalk-stream rivers around the world and the River Bure is one of them. Because there are so few of them, it makes the Bure all the more special. 

They are arguably some of our most beautiful rivers too when they’re healthy, with crystal-clear water from underground chalk springs making them the perfect sources of clean water and ideal habitats in which wildlife can thrive, which is why we need to protect them.

Rising in Melton Constable and passing through both the National Trust's Blickling and Felbrigg estates, the River Bure flows into the internationally important Norfolk Broads, which is Britain’s largest designated wetland and a haven for wildlife. 

Historically this river has supported life in the catchment by providing fertile land for farming, water meadows for grazing, power for milling and fisheries for commercial and recreational exploitation. Over time this has reduced the health of the river and the landscape it supports.

Rivers like this one need our help and we need to think long term if we’re really going to make a difference. We all have a role to play, right back to the rivers source. 

What will we be doing?
A kingfisher fishing from its perch

Our pledge to nature

We want our rivers and catchments to be healthy, clean and rich in wildlife. Working with our partners, local landowners and tenants, we’ll be looking to improve water quality and habitats along the river. This will help ease passage for fish and protect endangered species such as the water vole and eel.

A river that's loved and valued by all

Water is an essential part of our daily lives, but it’s good for our health and wellbeing too. With this in mind, we’re looking to improve access to the River Bure so that more people can love and value its heritage and natural beauty, which can significantly affect the way we feel.

Building a better future

Intensive agriculture, development pressures and the effects of climate change all take their toll on rivers. As a result 13% of freshwater and wetland species are now threatened with extinction from Britain. The more we understand the role that rivers play in our lives, the more we’ll care for them in the long term. 

Latest updates

24 May 19

Join our Big Balsam Bash at Blickling

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant species that is threatening our rivers and countryside. It grows along the river banks at Blickling, outcompeting native species and causing erosion. This is where you come in, we need your support this July to help remove it.

Himalayan Balsam at Blickling

27 Mar 19

Restoring a stream to save a catchment

Silvergate stream on the Blickling Estate is set to be restored for wildlife and the health of the wider river catchment thanks to a generous award of £115k from Postcode Earth Trust, a grant-giving trust funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Silvergate Stream on the Blickling Estate in Norfolk

26 Oct 18

Restoring Ghost Ponds to support wildlife

Working with the Norfolk Ponds Project and the Pond Restoration Research Group at University College London, we’ve just completed our first project to restore three previously in-filled ‘Ghost Ponds’ and create three more, in farmland on the Felbrigg Estate. This will not only increase the benefits to wildlife in the area, but allow us to see the differences in how new and restored ponds colonise with species.

Lone Heron fishing in misty pool