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 were 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 were 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.
The videos and factsheets produced by the CCRI and contained within the case studies captured the experiences of farmers restoring their floodplains to increase biodiversity, store carbon, improve soil and water quality, connect people with nature and make best use of their land for their businesses.
Findings from our work will be fed into policy recommendations on improving floodplain management practices and farmer guidance developed by the project partners. The case studies will be published publicly soon, and shared across the websites of all partners involved in the Flourishing Floodplains project listed above.
Funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge and through partnership with the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, FWAG, and the Floodplains Meadow Partnership, the project will ran over a period of seven months, from September 2022 to March 2023. Led by Charlotte Chivers, the CCRI team also included Chris Short, Honor Mackley-Ward, Bee Ray-Smallcalder and Jane Mills.
CCRI Ref: 2021-107