To find out the status of an expedition please click here

  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

2023 Dates
2 weeks: 2 weeks terrestrial only – 18 June – 1 July 2023
2 weeks: 2 weeks terrestrial only – 2 July – 15 July 2023
2 weeks: 2 weeks terrestrial only – 16 July – 29 July 2023

Click Here for Expedition Dates

This project is based at the Knepp Estate in the Low Weald of Sussex, which is Britain’s premier and most famous rewilding site.  The 3500 acre estate is being returned to a pre-human habitat by almost abandoning human intervention in the management of the landscape and allowing fields to revert to natural vegetation. Fallow and red deer, wild horses, long-horn cattle to mimic the effects of the extinct auroch and pig to mimic wild boar control the vegetation on this unique estate to produce a patchwork of different habitats.  Beavers are being introduced to help restore the wet grassland and wetland habitats.

This approach was started in 2002 and has turned out to be visionary with many other farmers now looking to similarly restore areas of the country using this approach.  The effect on wildlife has been breathtaking including massive increases in floristic diversity, insect abundance, many more butterflies including special species such as Purple Emperor, growth in the abundance of threatened bird species such as nightingales, and turtle doves and 13 of the 17 bat species returning to the land.

This course is aimed at those participating positioning themselves to be able to benefit from the anticipated explosive growth in career opportunities in wildlife management and climate change careers in the UK (see Opportunities in the UK jobs market for ecology and climate change careers)

Practicals in the first week are aimed at introducing methods used to quantify a range of different taxa.  These include practicals on UK Hab mapping, terrestrial invertebrate surveys including Malaise trapping, water pans, pitfall traps, light traps, Pollard counts for butterflies and sweep netting, bird point count and mist net surveys, reptile search transects and cover boards, amphibian spotlight and tadpole surveys, DISTANCE sampling and camera trapping for large mammals and sound surveys for bats.  For part of each day the participants will be learning how to analyse large data sets using R (open source software used in most universities) so that skills are acquired to write up science reports based on data collected from field surveys. This is an important skill to acquire alongside the field survey skills if wanting to work in field ecology.

In the second week , the practicals are aimed at developing applied skills for wildlife careers.  These include pollination surveys and how to quantify bird and mammal population that can be used in land management careers.  Others such as UK Hab mapping and calculation of the biodiversity value of a site using the DEFRA biodiversity metric will open up opportunities for planning authorities and developers.  The carbon practicals will look at how to quantify carbon in fields, hedgerows and trees and how the voluntary carbon market works.

In the evenings there will be presentations from professional ecologists or climate change specialists in how they developed their careers.

There is also the opportunity to learn how to use canopy access techniques to be able to undertake surveys in tree canopies.  This is an optional extra course costing £170 provided by Canopy Access Ltd and you can do this half day practical instead of one of the other practicals being offered.  All the equipment and training is provided and you will be accompanied into the canopy by an instructor.  Seeing the Knepp estate in the same height as Purple Emperor butterflies defending their territories or nesting White Storks is an amazing experience.

Field skills, data analysis and specialist skills for wildlife management careers at Knepp Estate

The aim of this 2 week course is to give the participants experience in field survey techniques that are likely to be encountered if undertaking a field ecology or climate change career.  In the first week the practicals are aimed at training participants in how to quantify a range of different taxa and then how to analyse and prepare field ecology reports.  In the second week the practicals are more applied and are aimed at acquiring skills needed for different career opportunities in the wildlife conservation or climate change fields.  involve completing pollinator surveys and how to identify bee and hoverfly species, how to map areas using UKHab and quantify the biodiversity score of an area using the DEFRA biodiversity metric, how to quantify carbon storage in a range of habitats and how the voluntary carbon market works.

In addition, the course includes evening presentation from professional ecologists or climate change specialists in how they developed their careers.

  • Learn about UK conservation, land management and rewilding from lectures and practicals
  • Learn a wide range of wildlife survey techniques and how to analyse data and prepare field reports
  • Obtain skills in applied surveys that help access wildlife or climate based careers
  • Identify potential careers from talks delivered by professionals from across the conservation sector
  • Optional Canopy Access course (additional cost of £170)
  • Course fee of £1465 for 2 weeks
  • Travel to site
  • Optional canopy access course – £110 or $170 (Book here)


The British summertime is somewhat hard to predict, usually average daytime temperatures from June to August are between 18°C and 21°. Rainfall can be variable on site from very dry weeks to wetter weeks. It is important to check up to date weather forecasts before departure.

Fitness Level Required

Medium – there can be long walks and terrain varies depending on research location with some being flat and others more challenging.

Creature Comforts

Facilities in the camp site are basic (sleeping in tents), with a mixture of compost and temporary toilets. There are some limited opportunities to buy snacks. Phone signal can be good in certain areas of the site.


  • Knepp Estate
  • United Kingdom

Want to get involved with this project?


Want to get involved with this project?

   Latest from our blog

  • My Opwall Trip – Making memories, best friends and dreams come ...

    Posted on 9th May 2023
    Megan Frain, like many of the Operation Wallacea office staff, started her Opwall journey as a student on an Opwall expedition! Megan has recently joined the team at Opwall HQ and wanted to share with you her incredible experience in South Africa!...
  • 6: Relearning How To Recycle – Tips And Tricks

    Posted on 3rd April 2023
    Waste Series Article 6   Here we are going to talk about all the little tips and tricks you can implement to reduce your waste’s impact and to ensure it actually gets recycled. We’ll also go over things to be mindful of...
  • 5: Relearning How To Recycle – Facts And Stats

    Posted on 3rd April 2023
    Waste Series Article 5   Theoretically, almost anything can be recycled. However, whether that item is recycled or not depends almost entirely on whether it is deemed efficient and economical to do so. Recycling in itself isn’t that confusing, but all the...
Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 |