Amberley Wildbrooks

We own 82 hectares of Amberley Wildbrooks; some of the best wetland habitat to be found anywhere, next to the River Arun with fine views of the South Downs as a backdrop. Amberley has a complex hydrology of ditches, neutral wet grassland and raised peat bog due to the chalk streams feeding in from the south and water percolating through the acid greensand soils to the north. Although the ditches are man-made and were primarily dug in the 1800s, over half of the aquatic plants found in Britain occur here as well as a fantastic array of invertebrates, some of which are internationally rare.

Apart from the ditches, there is plenty of wet grassland peppered with dark green rushes and in areas where there has been little grazing for years, greater tussock-sedge seems to march on. The frequent flooding in winter transforms the landscape attracting large numbers of exciting wildfowl, such as shoveler, pintail, wigeon and teal seeking refuge and food on the water. In places, wet scrubby woodland adds another interesting habitat being home to many warblers. The reserve is managed in partnership with the RSPB and other local landowners within a larger area of the brooks. It is recognised as being internationally important as part of the Arun Valley Ramsar and Special Protected Area (SPA) which also includes Waltham Brooks. It is important for wintering wildfowl and breeding waders, rare ditch invertebrates
and plants – so managing the water levels for optimum wildlife is crucial. Seasonal grazing by the local farmer and occasional ditch clearance is also essential in getting the habitat right.

Access is restricted to the Wey South Path which runs through the centre of the brooks which can be very boggy almost all year round. A fantastic view of the reserve can be gained from the South Downs above.