Public Access

The estate is crisscrossed by 26 kms (16 miles) of public rights of way, plus additional permissive routes and an open access area. See below for more details.

Huge improvements have been made to these routes since we left conventional farming and embarked on the Repton park restoration and rewilding project, and the number of people using our footpaths has risen exponentially as interest in seeing our wildlife and free-roaming animals has rocketed.

We welcome all visitors to the Estate but would like to remind all riders, walkers - and particularly walkers with dogs - of the need to adhere to the Countryside Code, keep dogs under control, close gates behind you, and keep at all times to the footpaths and bridleways.

This is particularly important now we have herds of free-roaming animals and ground-nesting birds like lapwing, woodcock and skylark trying to re-establish themselves.

 

Free-roaming Animals

In particular, it is important to appreciate that our free-roaming cattle, ponies and pigs - an important aspect of the rewilding project - are not like ordinary farm animals. Like the red and fallow deer, they have free rein of the Estate. They are not managed in the conventional way, or supplementary fed, and they give birth to their young out in the project.

To all intents and purposes, they are wild animals and we need to protect their natural flight distance for their own safety and the safety of the public.

So please observe these simple rules:

  1. Do not approach the animals, and on no account try to feed them. 
  2. If animals are on the footpath, and looking unwilling to move, simply go around them, giving them a wide berth.
  3. Keep dogs on a lead or under control at all times, and on no account allow them to chase the animals.
  4. Take particular care to avoid red deer stags and fallow bucks during the rutting season (late Sept through October) when testosterone levels are high and their flight distance is considerably reduced. Don't be tempted to get close to photograph them.
  5. Take particular care not to get between a mother and her offspring.
  6. On no account pick up or touch a fawn, piglet, foal or calf, even if appears to have been abandoned. The mother knows exactly where her offspring is and will return. Leaving it hidden in long grass or in a ditch or thicket while she goes off to graze with the herd elsewhere is her way of drawing predators away from a newborn.  

The only real danger to the young animal is if it is touched by human hands because then its mother may reject it.

If you are genuinely concerned, by all means call the estate office to make us aware (01403741235).

Generally if a newborn calf has an ear tag then we know about it, but if it hasn’t been tagged yet, we’ll very much welcome the call.

 

Bridleways & Footpaths 

Knepp Estate maintains the public rights of way jointly with West Sussex County Council, and we work closely with the local ranger service to ensure the network remains in good condition. 

We have invested considerably in the main bridleway at Penbridge, resurfacing the worst areas around the bridge itself. We have also resurfaced footpaths and permissive paths around Dial Post; and resurfaced the Green Lane running south from Shipley. And we have begun cutting back the vegetation on the Green Lane, allowing light in to dry out the path. Much of this work has been done with the help of valiant volunteers on our big volunteer days in the autumn. Do contact us if you would like to be involved admin@knepp.co.uk.

We rely on public feedback concerning the condition of our footpath network so if you identify any hazards or obstacles, please do bring them to our attention so we can deal with them.

 

Permissive Routes

We have created links and additions to the existing footpath network around Shipley, Dial Post and Countryman Lane to provide circular walking routes and better connection with the villages.  

The area around the old Knepp Castle ruin has been an open access area since 2002, so please feel free to park at Floodgates entrance, just off the A24, and visit the old ruin.

 

Toll Rides 

The Estate and surrounding area is very popular with horse riders and, again, in order to rationalize existing bridleways and enable riders to avoid roads, we have created additional routes as part of the Toll Rides Network Trust, or TROT. In order to use these rides you must become a member of the Trot Ride Scheme. Membership helps cover the considerable additional costs needed to maintain these routes each year.

Once a rider becomes a member of TROT they can use ALL other farm or forestry routes nationwide for no extra fee.

If you would like to join the TROT scheme and use these riding routes on the Estate, please contact the Estate Office on 01403 741235.

 

Educational Visits

In addition to our guided Wildlife Safaris we host Forest Schools and lead guided tours for various other schools and educational groups.

  

The Castle

Knepp Castle is a private family home and closed to the public except for occasional visits from the Historic Houses Association and similar societies by special arrangement.

 

Castle Gardens

The Castle Gardens are open as part of the National Garden Scheme and yearly at the Floral Fringe Fair in June.

 

For further information, please contact the Estate Office on 01403 741235 and enquiries@knepp.co.uk