Flourishing Floodplains: Regenerative Farming

The Severn Vale is one of the largest floodplains in England, providing a great opportunity for large-scale nature recovery, with associated ecosystem service provision (including flood regulation, carbon sequestration, nutrient regulation). The Vale currently supports a range of high nature value farming but has still seen significant reductions in the quality and extent of natural habitats over the last ~80 years, largely due to the intensification of (mostly pastoral) farming. 

The Severn Vale presents some particular challenges to farming, notably fluvial flooding; Severn winter floods are frequent and cover large areas. Climate change and upstream land-use may cause these to become more frequent, extensive and long-lasting. This situation potentially constrains more intensive forms of pastoral farming. 

The objectives of this project are to: 

  • Explore the attitudes and business approaches of existing farmers with land situated on floodplains 
  • Develop and present case studies to illustrate how these farmers became engaged in restoring floodplains  
  • Investigate the challenges, motivations and barriers to changes in floodplain recovery and maintenance 
  • Provide recommendations on how to help farmers to transition toward more agroecological farming 

These objectives will be met through the identification and exploration of existing case studies, the co-ordination of scoping workshops with farmers and stakeholders, and the development and testing of new case studies that will lead to further impactful resources.  

Funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge and through partnership with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, FWAG, and the Floodplains Meadow Partnership, this project will run over a period of seven months, from September 2022 to March 2023. It will be led by Chris Short, who will work alongside Jane Mills, Dr Charlotte Chivers, Honor Mackley-Ward, and Bee Ray-Smallcalder. 

CCRI Ref: 2021-107