The Severn, Karen Lloyd
Joining these fragmented wild places into one Living Landscape
The Severn springs to life at Pumlumon in the Cambrian mountains, and twists along the longest course of any British river through Wales and England before tumbling into the Bristol Channel, and from there out to sea.
The Wildlife Trusts are working together to manage this river and its catchment in its entirety; to allow the wildlife along the Severn's banks to grow and move, and to recognise this water and this wildness for the magnificent natural assets they are.
Nine Trusts are working to manage the Severn in a co-ordinated project we call Source to Sea. The idea is to manage this habitat in the best interests of both the wildlife and the people who live along the river by restoring flood plains, restoring the health of tributary rivers, recreating vanished wetlands and ultimately joining these fragmented wild places together in one Living Landscape.
The Pumlumon Living Landscape in Wales covers the source of the Severn, Wye and six other major rivers.
Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane
This scheme is a timely demonstration of how land management for flood water storage is of crucial importance both for biodiversity and for urban populations. The floodplains of the rivers Severn and Vyrnwy, at their confluence near the village of Melverley in north-west Shropshire, cover approximately 22,000 hectares. Traditionally this was an area of winter flooding but land practices have changed to support more intensive agriculture.
Changes in the hydrology of the area have had major implications for towns downstream such as Shrewsbury, Ironbridge and Bridgnorth, all of which were badly affected by the severe floods of 2000.
The project aims to help restore the natural ecosystem of the river, enabling the land to hold back water at peak flood times. The re-creation of wet grassland will benefit a range of birds such as lapwing and curlew.
Shropshire Wildlife Trust has worked with landowners in the area over the last five years, with the result that more than 150 hectares of land in the confluence are now in the Higher Level Stewardship agri-environment scheme.
In 2008 Shropshire Wildlife Trust bought 18 hectares of floodplain with two main aims; to show that this low-lying land could demonstrate land management that might help alleviate flooding problems and also to help breeding lapwing
and other wetland birds.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is restoring the Severn Vale.
Brecknock Wildlife Trust is working to restore ponds along the Wye Valley.
Gwent Wildlife Trust is restoring the Wye Valley as part of the Usk to Wye Living Landscape.
Radnorshire Wildlife Trust is developing a project to restore the Wye’s tributary, the River Marteg, which was once the major salmon spawning river in the Upper Wye.
Worcestershire Wildife Trust has led projects resulting in the restoration of 500 hectares of river floodplain.
Start date: 2004
Scheme area: 22,000 hectares
Trust reserves within the scheme
This scheme is helping species including...
Current threats to the landscape
Intensive agriculture, reduced floodwater storage capacity
This scheme is also...
Helping wildlife adapt to climate change, reducing flood risk, providing volunteering opportunities, growing local food.