What we do

We work for rivers.

We inspire lifelong stewardship for rivers by getting people of all ages to experience, enjoy and understand rivers.

We restore, renaturalise and reconnect rivers, removing barriers to fish migration and enhancing habitats. We improve water quality through wetland creation and construct natural flood management measures to protect communities and surrounding land.

We work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders including local government, non-governmental organisations, landowners and businesses. We work with farmers to promote sustainable land and water management ensuring healthy soils, tackling water scarcity, and boosting biodiversity.

We are conservation experts. All our work is led by data and evidence, using research and monitoring to target positive action. Using this data and our expertise, we host catchment partnerships –  bringing together stakeholders to challenge and collaborate on the best outcomes for rivers.

River Wandle at Hackbridge © South East Rivers Trust

Our core areas

Restoring rivers and catchments

We develop, design and deliver physical improvements on rivers as well as their catchments. Where possible we work with nature to bring rivers back to life.

We break out concrete, naturalising riverbeds and banks. We create and enhance habitat by introducing wood and gravel back into rivers. We remove river barriers to open fish migration routes and to let rivers flow freely once again. Where this is not possible we install fish passes and easements. We build wetlands and install ‘end of pipe’ solutions to improve water quality. We install leaky woody structures and build sustainable urban drainage solutions (SuDS) to help reduce flood risk. We love making meaningful and physical changes to the environment.

Creating meanders on the Beverley Brook © South East Rivers Trust

Connecting communities

We want to see healthy rivers at the heart of local communities.

We work with local people to improve rivers in the south east through our river cleanup events and restoration days.

We inspire communities with opportunities to learn about their local river, its history and wildlife at our guided walks and river talks.

We monitor the health of our rivers by training and supporting volunteers and citizen scientists.

Find out how you can help your local river

Volunteers at a Balsam Bash © Sivi Sivanesan

Catchment planning

We work at a catchment scale – looking at all the surrounding land which could influence the health of a river. What happens upstream affects what happens downstream.

We use data and evidence to map, model and target the right measures to restore catchments and rivers. With this data, we host 10 catchment partnerships. These bring together stakeholders and organisations who have an influence over the river, to better understand the health of the river, and work on collaborative solutions for its restoration.

Mapping issues © South East Rivers Trust


It is vital people of all ages understand the importance of healthy rivers and so all of our projects involve education, whether that is with local communities, landowners or businesses.

A large part of our education work is targeted at young people, inspiring a lifelong passion for rivers and the natural world. Our education programme delivers river sessions for children – taking them out to experience their local river and learn about the wildlife that calls it home.  Sessions can be booked by schools or clubs.

Children can also complete activities themselves or with friends and family. Get down to your local river and try some of our Junior River Ranger activities. Or try out some of our inspiring home education activities.

We also offer fun learning activities for children and their friends and family to complete on their local river, and at home.

Explore our school sessions

Pupils engaged with SuDS © South East Rivers Trust

Water and land stewardship

Water and land stewardship is about managing land and water resources in a way that improves the health of rivers.

We work with farmers, water companies and local authorities to engage in land management practices that enhance catchment processes and protect rivers and water resources. For example, we advise farms on improving soil and rainwater management and restoring wetlands and riparian areas. These nature-based solutions help retain water in the landscape, recharging water resources and slowing flows to reduce flooding.

We have developed cutting-edge natural capital analysis and mapping which is being used to inform nature-based solutions and increase investment in them.

Water and land stewardship assessment © South East Rivers Trust