Our River People Tour is here!

The tour is a series of four free events offering ways for local people to celebrate, learn and act for the Ouse. There will be a range of exciting talks, debates, activities, and stalls. We will be involving lots of river related groups and initiatives… so come along and contribute your ideas for the river rights charter and wash it down with plenty of tea and cake!

Having started upstream in Balcombe last October in the beautiful Victory Hall and Barcombe in January with a fantastic 400 people visiting, we are bowled over by the contributions and attendance of local people so far.

The next stop is Lewes on Saturday 23rd March 11-4pm at the Malling Community Centre, Spences Lane, BN7 2HQ

Pop in and join us. It’s FREE and here’s something for everyone


River People in Lewes

Groups contributing include Environment Agency, local Anglers, South East Water, campaign groups and more. There will be arts and crafts and a special contribution from Western Road Primary pupils reading their river poetry, singing the Ouse song and selling their Rescue our Rivers artwork.

Organisers, Love our Ouse, will also be delivering our own activities throughout the day including the ground breaking project underway to develop a Rights of Rivers Charter following a recent Lewes District Council motion that’s been putting the Ouse on the map nationwide. They will be gathering local people’s ideas.

We will be bringing their large scale maps giving people the chance to get a birds eye view of the whole river and contribute their memories, concerns and hopes for the Ouse. We are also recruiting local people to become Citizen Scientists to upscale monitoring and testing.

We have a fantastic line up of talks planned. All are free, no need to book.

Malling Community Centre

11am – 4pm, Sat 23rd March, FREE drop in
Pop in anytime for exciting talks, debates, activities, and stalls. There’s something for everyone. Take part in our river community mapping, contribute your ideas to the Ouse Rights of River Charter, help make a Beaver Dam and sign up to be a citizen scientist. Our talks programme is Ousing:

11.00am River Run & Rescue
Western Road Primary School pupils present reports about river species that accompany their artworks, perform a selection of poems from last year’s whole school River Run poetry anthology and will also perform the Ouse Song by James Cory-Wright.

11.40am Rights for the River Ouse
Love Our Ouse
An energetic talk and workshop session on the potential to give the Ouse back its rights. Have your say on what the Ouse Charter should contain!

1.10pm A Public Jetty for Lewes?
Love our Ouse
There used to be a couple of public places to easily access the river, the steps by the Riverside are still there. Not one public launch site exists in Lewes. There is enthusiasm for safe and practical access to the river. This discussion explores the practical options for a return to river recreation in our town.

2.40pm Beavers on the Ouse – a matter of time?
Beavers are back! Ecologist and self-confessed fanatic Dylan Walker explains what makes beavers special, where they are now, and what we need to do to bring them back to the Ouse Valley.

3.20pm Fishes of the Ouse
Clean Ouse Project
Lifelong Angler Stewart Allum talks us through the Ouse fish with fantastic visual photos they’ve taken including details of the threats they face.


River Revelry Fundraiser

7 – 10pm, Sat 23rd March
Upstairs, Linklater Pavilion, Railway Land Nature Reserve
Tickets £10 in advance & on door (subject to availability)
A social event celebrating our watercourses through a flow of poetry, song and performance featuring the best in local talent. Tickets are limited and popular so book in advance!
Book tickets here


Glimpses of the Ouse

6pm, Wed 27th March
Council Chamber, Lewes Town Hall
FREE tickets in advance
The Mayor of Lewes, Matthew Bird, is hosting a special event to celebrate the heritage and rich history of the River Ouse with an exciting talks programme featuring:

Ships and Industry – Mary Burke
Bridges – John Bleach
Heritage – Dr Graham Mayhew
Rights of Rivers – Emma Montlake

Book your Free ticket in advance here


How to protect yourself from surface water flooding

11am-12.30pm, Sat 30th March
Lewes Climate Hub, 32 High Street, Lewes, BN7 2LU
FREE drop in
Lewes has experienced severe flooding several times and the town is at increasing risk due to climate change and development. As climate change results in more severe rainfall, join experts from Friends of Lewes, with support from the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust and Love Our Ouse, to delve into practical solutions and get answers to your questions about sustainable flood prevention.alast

Photo credit: Mary Long-Dhonau OBE, www.floodmary.com

Are you an Ouse expert, enthusiast or part of a local group/organisation? You can still apply to take part in the tour.

Want to do your bit for the river? We have volunteer opportunities to be part of the team. We’re particularly seeking committed volunteers in a special opportunity to be part of delivering our interactive river community mapping activity. All you need is a curiosity, a willingness to learn and interact with all kinds of people who live along the Ouse. There’s lots of flexibility in tasks and rotas. No experience is necessary, just a few hours or muck in for the whole tour!

Get in touch with Tasha for more info on both at info@loveourouse.org

Here’s what happened in Barcombe, January 2023

We know that people in Barcombe are closely connected with the river and we weren’t disappointed by the turnout. Around 400 people packed the Village Hall throughout the day! We sold all the cake, the talks were very popular and kids were enjoying getting muddy.

We welcomed really insightful and interesting additions from active local groups. Isfield Angling Club displayed Ouse fish photos and spoke about their years of experience watching the declining health of the river. Barcombe Community Wildlife Group impressed everyone with their amazing local wildlife knowledge and spectacular large jar of grass snake eggs. Don’t Urbanise Hamsey spoke to people about their mounting campaign against the potential housing development near the river in Hamsey Village and Wilder Life demonstrated the opportunities and benefits of reintroducing Beavers and got kids creating their own dams! Our community discussion focused on our relationship with the Sheffield Park to Barcombe stretch past and present through the lens of Pollution, Recreational access & Climate Change.

Here’s what happened in Balcombe, October 2023

We kicked off our tour visiting the beautiful Victory Hall in Balcombe where local people were invited to take part in range of river focused activities and talks by ourselves and fellow Ouse partners and enthusiasts.

It was so interesting to hear about and see so many wonderful photos of the huge variety of beautiful fish that can be found in the Ouse. Peter King, Direcot of the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust gave a fantastic talk all about the Ouse, its threats and challenges and South East water talked about whole catchment management with a focus on water supply.

Love our Ouse activities focused on our river community mapping where people were invited to contribute to our giant Ouse maps. We learnt a lot about the heritage of the Ouse Valley viaduct; did you know a pub was built at the construction site for the builders? It was aptly named the Bricklayers Arms! We heard about the determined endeavours to keep fracking out of Balcombe and the huge potential impacts this could have on our waterways. We learnt of the special colony of BIRDS (?) that live on Balcombe Lake.

We delivered our Rights of River session which saw lively debate and strong support for an Ouse Charter via our petition. We also had lots of interest in sign ups for our Citizen Science Project recruiting 8 local people to undertake our River Ecology 101 training sessions and become river monitors for that area.

Thank you to everyone who contributed, volunteered and the local people who came along. We look forward to our next event at Barcombe Village Hall on 27th January!