Healthy rivers are essential for people and nature.

Rivers are our lifeblood. They shape our landscape, provide freshwater and support wildlife. When rivers thrive, so do we.

Help your local river today

We need healthy rivers

Our country is home to 85% of the world’s chalk streams—some of the most ecologically rare habitats on the planet. Rivers provide two thirds of our water supplies, and support agriculture, manufacturing and energy, as well as giving us sanctuary and adventure. Our freshwater habitats support a huge variety of wildlife, and provide natural protection from flooding by storing water in the landscape and slowing the flow downstream.

A recent Environment Agency report shows over 90% of rivers in the south east of England are in poor health.

Our rivers suffer from different types of pollution nearly every day. Weirs, dams and other man-made barriers disrupt fish and other species from moving freely through the river. Natural freshwater habitats like wetlands and ponds are being lost from the landscape.

Find out how we're helping rivers thrive again

Where do we work?

We cover 12 river catchments from Basingstoke to Dover. 

Our area includes large, lowland river systems like the River Medway making its way across the Kent countryside. We have several globally-rare chalk streams rising from our underground chalk aquifers as well as special clay rivers recognised as Sites of Special Scientific Interest like the River Beult.

What’s a catchment? A catchment is the area of land which drains into one river. We work at a catchment scale to consider all of the possible influences on the health of a river.

Explore where we work

Wish us a happy birthday!

In 2022, we are celebrating 20 years of bringing rivers back to life.

We started out as a small group of passionate volunteers on the River Wandle in South London, frustrated with the poor condition of their local chalk stream. The South East Rivers Trust is now one of the largest regional rivers trusts protecting rivers across the south east of England for future generations.

We have lots planned in 2022 to mark this occasion so watch this space. If you don’t want to miss anything, why not join our newsletter?

Join our mailing list

Volunteer with us

We want people to enjoy rivers as much as we do.

One great way to do this is to volunteer on your local river, joining our team of 500+ volunteers working in many different ways to bring rivers back to life.

From monitoring the migration of the European eel into our rivers to helping remove shopping trolleys from the river bed or creating new spawning habitats for fish – we’d love to see you join us at one of our events. We also have opportunities to volunteer with us at your own pace, like our River Guardians scheme.

Take action for rivers today