Located on the East Sussex Coast between Eastbourne and Bexhill, the Pevensey Levels is an area of low-lying marshland prized for its high conservation and agricultural value.
The Levels are a working landscape made up of a patchwork of livestock, arable farming and nature reserves. Different users have different needs for water level management.
Two main watercourses feed the Levels
- Pevensey Haven
- Wallers Haven.
Pevensey Haven is fed from streams to the west and north of the Levels and flows down to Pevensey Bay where it enters the sea through outfalls maintained by the Environment Agency
A network of small streams flowing south from the Ashdown Sands to the sea at Norman's Bay feed the Walters Haven. In summer months the Haven acts as a reservoir for public water supply. The amount of water allowed to flow out to sea has to pass through a sluice gate controlled by the Environment Agency. High levels are needed in the Walters Haven to ensure outlying ditches and streams are kept topped up to support the resident wildlife.
Water moves through the Pevensey Levels by a complex network of ditches. Water levels in the ditches are controlled by a series of pumping stations and sluices operated by the Environment Agency for the benefit of agriculture and conservation. In many of the ditches water can flow in either direction.
The farmers use ditches are used instead of fences to prevent cattle and sheep from straying. In some areas water levels in the ditches have been lowered to grow crops.