The Brue Headwaters Multi-Benefit Project (as it’s currently known) has been in operation for three years. The project focuses on working with farmers and landowners to address issues of water quality, flooding and drought. It utilises funding from the Environment Agency and Somerset Rivers Authority (FWAG Hills to Levels) and has worked with other schemes in the area including Reimagining the Levels.  

Wetland complex funded by Brue Headwaters project, Chesterblade 

Over the three years, the project has provided fully funded support and advice to farmers to improve land management practises impacting water quality including nutrient management advice, infrastructure assessments and countryside stewardship assistance.  


  Top: Riparian tree planting, Wincanton / Bottom left: Leaky pond, Batcombe / Right: Leaky woody dams, Batcombe 

The project has also provided support and funding for schemes that work with natural processes to slow the flow of water across the upper Brue, thus reducing flooding, sediment run off and associated pollution of watercourses. In 2022/23 this included the installation of 30 leaky woody dams, 21 leaky ponds/scrapes, 500m watercourse fencing and riparian tree planting, culvert repair, pond desilting, pond reconnection, cross flow bunds and subsoiling trials across 5 fields. 


The project has hosted workshops and webinars including a farm walk hosted by Godminster Farm, Bruton in March 2023 focusing on soil health and herbal leys, a natural flood management webinar joint hosted with Selwood Forest Facilitation Group and more recently a subsoiling workshop held at Higher Stavordale Farm, Charlton Musgrove.  

Godminster Farm, March 2023-Hosted by Pete Cheek (Farm Manager), Richard Hollingbery (Farm Owner) and Anthony Ellis (Terrafarmer Consultant)

CASE STUDY: Winterwell Farm wetland complex creation project 

 Winterwell Farm, Chesterblade is one the project’s most ambitious schemes. Prior to the work taking place, the site was managed as improved grassland and there were flooding issues on adjacent roads. The site was frequently wet, and the landowner identified this as an opportunity to provide  wider public and environmental benefits through the creation of a wetland complex. Made up of 14 wetland scrapes, they capture clean water from adjacent farm buildings, surface runoff and overflow from field ditches during heavy rainfall events, helping to slow the flow of water through the catchment. The newly created wetland habitat is already attracting a host of dragonflies and foraging swallows, demonstrating the value of open water and marshy habitat to the surrounding landscape.  

Tree planting with Willow will further enhance the habitat. 

The project takes place in the context of the diversification of the whole farm business; the farmer has also engaged with other environmental funding schemes including EWCO and Wilder Carbon (a Wildlife Trust carbon crediting scheme) to receive funding for providing public goods. This project demonstrates how such schemes can work alongside each other and provide alternative incomes for the farm. 

The scrapes are able to fill and empty during periods of heavy rainfall, ensuring there is capacity to refill during the next event.

If you are interested in the work and opportunities supported by the project and want to find out more, please contact Merle Brown ([email protected])