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

19 Feb 20

Meet our new apprentice

Meet Sharon Reeves , the newest member of the Bure Riverlands team. Sharon joined us in February 2020 on a brand new Water Environment Worker Apprentice scheme. Find out more about Sharon and this exciting new apprenticeship scheme.

Water sample collecting

14 Nov 19

Wildlife set to benefit from stream restoration

Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, work to restore Silvergate stream on Blickling Estate is now complete, and it’s hoped that by restoring the stream at its source, will bring big benefits for wildlife and the health of the wider river catchment. This is an exciting milestone in the Riverlands project and it’s just the beginning, with more restoration works planned for the River Bure and Scarrow Beck next year.

Rangers standing next to Silvergate Stream on the Blickling Estate

20 Sep 19

Restoring Norfolk's farmland ponds

The Norfolk Ponds Project has set out on an ambitious project this autumn, to restore 50 farmland ponds predominantly in Norfolk, with support from the National Trust. Over the last 40-50 years, thousands have been filled-in, in the push to produce more food and intensify farming. Those that remained have also become heavily overgrown by scrub. This month, nine ponds have been restored as part of the ‘The Big50 initiative’, all close to the River Bure and Blickling Estate.

Common frog in the bower pond