Skip to content

River Ouse Restoration Project at Sheffield Park

A wooden pedestrian bridge, with a gate at the other end, crosses the river Ouse, Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
A wooden pedestrian bridge crosses the river Ouse, Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Since receiving Heritage Lottery Funding in 2017, we’ve been undertaking a restoration project for the River Ouse at Sheffield Park. The project has been working to improve the channel shape and connection to the floodplain, reducing flooding downstream and benefiting the wildlife habitats in the area. Discover the work we’ve been doing to the floodplain, how we’ve increased access to the river and regular project updates.

Showcasing the river restoration works

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’re able to showcase the river and floodplain restoration works, highlighting their importance in the local area.

As part of the project, local communities have been able to explore the historic and natural significance of the river through volunteering opportunities, walks and new information panels. We’ve also improved access to the river, with a new bridge connecting National Trust land to the Ouse Valley Way public footpath.

Restoring a natural river

The River Ouse has been dramatically altered over the last two centuries because of changes in land use and transport. The Ouse Navigation Act of 1790 involved the straightening and deepening of the river channel and the introduction of a series of locks.

Sheffield Park and Garden, together with the Environment Agency, wanted to address these alterations and restore the natural function of the river. We’ve recorded and conserved the remains of an 18th-century lock with the help of a local volunteer group, helping to share knowledge on how canals were constructed and on how best to look after these historic features.

‘The natural heritage of the river is going to be greatly improved and we hope that local communities and visitors will enjoy exploring and learning about this beautiful piece of Sussex countryside. By engaging people’s love of the outdoors, we will play our part in securing better outcomes for the countryside – making it again healthy, beautiful and rich in wildlife.

- Emily Long, National Trust Project Manager

Project timeline

14 Aug 2021

Orienteering trail goes live

A new orienteering trail for families is now installed on the parkland. Starting from the 'Green Man' gate at Ringwood Toll, the two routes take you either around Ringwood Toll itself or down to the river and bridges. Download a map before you arrive and see if you can find all 10 orienteering markers.

A high-sided rope bridge with a wooden floor crosses the River Ouse at Sheffield Park, East Sussex
A rope bridge crosses the River Ouse at Sheffield Park, East Sussex | © National Trust Images/John Miller
Footbridge over the River Ouse at Sheffield Park, East Sussex


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you can help support vital conservation and project work at Sheffield Park and Garden or other areas of the National Trust.

Our partners

Heritage Fund

Inspiring, leading and resourcing the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

18th-century watercolour of Sheffield Park by an unknown artist, shows the view across the lake towards the house with deer in the trees and people on the edge of the lake

The history of Sheffield Park and Garden 

Discover more about the makings of Sheffield Park and Garden in East Sussex, from Capability Brown’s foundations to Arthur Soames’s horticultural legacy.

Water lilies on Middle Lake in the summer at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex

The garden at Sheffield Park and Garden 

Explore a horticultural work of art at Sheffield Park in East Sussex, formed through centuries of landscape design, famed for its autumn colour but beautiful in every season.

Sunrise over Pillbox pond in July at Sheffield Park, East Sussex

The parkland at Sheffield Park and Garden 

Explore over 250 acres of wide-open spaces and dramatic skies at Sheffield Park and Garden. Look out for butterflies, buzzards or skylarks and the historic remains of its past.

A man looking down the guard around a tree sapling, in a landscape dotted with other newly planted trees

Our cause 

We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.

Birds eye view of the kitchen garden project at Florence Court, County Fermanagh

Grants and funding 

Find out more about the funding the National Trust receives from grants, and the projects it has helped support.