North Somerset Wetland Programme

Otter - Elliot SmithOtter - Elliot Smith

The North Somerset Levels and Moors are an extensive area of coastal and floodplain grazing marsh close to the major urban centres of Bristol and Weston-Super-Mare.

Protecting and restoring important wetland habitats so that wildlife can flourish.

Avon Wildlife Trust


The Romans began the process of enclosing and draining the inhospitable marshes alongside the Severn Estuary to create today’s landscape of small, scattered settlements and cattle-grazed fields bounded by a network of thousands of kilometres of rhynes (the local name for ditches) and rivers. These rhynes provide habitats for a rich variety of invertebrates such as dragonflies and plants including rare aquatic species.

What’s happening?

We are:

  • Providing advice to landowners on the management of wetland habitats.
  • Facilitating landowner entry into agri-environment schemes.
  • Working closely with landowners, internal drainage boards and others to achieve the best water level management regime for wildlife without compromising flood risk management.
  • Undertaking ecological survey and monitoring projects for important wetland species such as water vole and otter.

Start: date: 1995

Scheme area: 7,700 hectares

Trust reserves within the scheme

Puxton Moor, Clapton Moor, Weston Moor.

This scheme is helping species including...

Otter, water vole, water shrew, brown hare, lapwing, snipe, greater horseshoe bat, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plants.

Grazing marsh is important for many species of wetland birds including snipe and lapwings. The rare greater horseshoe bat can be found hunting for insects on the Levels and Moors.

This scheme is also...

Helping wildlife adapt to climate change, improving water quality, reducing flood risk, providing skills training and environmental education.


Natural England, Defra, Environment Agency, local authorities, West Somerset and North Mendips Internal Drainage Boards, Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre, England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative, Buglife.

To find out more

Email: | Tel: 0117 917 7270 | North Somerset Wetland Programme

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