The Flourishing Floodplains Project is a collaboration between FWAG SW, WWT (Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership, operating in the Severn and Avon Vale Region.


This phase of the project has come to an end, read below about its aims, outcomes, and case studies, If you're interested about what we're doing next in the Severn and Avon Vale Region then we think you'll be interested in our Severn Vale Guardians project in partnership with WWT. 


The project aimed to restore priority wetland habitat, increase the area’s natural flood management capacity, and support the habitat required for over wintering and breeding Curlew, in the Severn Vale Area. We achieved these aims by supporting farms in the region to collectively:

  • Create/restore a minimum of 30 ponds, scrapes & other small wetland features across 4,000ha landscape

More than 30 ponds/ small wetland features have been restored or created FWAG SW delivered 29 ponds/wet features and WWT created 7 new ponds and restored 4 existing within the landscape.

The biggest wetland creation site within the project is at Elmore Court where FWAG SW worked with the landowner to deliver one very large scrape area and a large pond. This location has long been seen as one of strategic importance for wetland creation, due to its potential to provide a ‘stepping stone’ in the landscape between Slimbridge WWT reserve and Walmore Common (SSSI, SAC, and SPA). The drainage of both of these fields has been isolated from the main drainage ditches so that the wetland features created hold water. These features have been designed to increase valuable habitat for wintering waders, wildfowl and breeding waders and fits with the landowners vision for more naturally functioning land with extensive grazing of native breed animals.

  • Work with volunteers to survey 1,000 ha Floodplain Meadows, the outputs of which may be used to help access environmental payments

Survey work has now been completed across the project area and has been collated with surveys collected in 2020 & 2021 (approx. 320 ha). In total this amounts to over 1000 ha of floodplain meadow in the Vale. The team has also developed a method for botanical survey, including a strategy to ensure that all sites will be covered during the optimal survey period. The survey method combines the Habimap method with Priority Habitats Inventory method and data for landowners to use in application for agri-environment schemes.

The findings are being incorporated into individual farmer focussed reports, which show the quality of the grassland surveyed, an update on curlew if relevant and any information about ponds and capital works. The reports also give some management recommendations. Management advice has been developed through the project findings, targeting farmers with curlews and meadows on their land, so they are able to take decisions about when to cut the hay to benefit both curlews and meadows.

  • Restore 20 ha of Floodplain Meadow

36ha of land have undergone meadow restoration techniques, introducing the seed/ plug plants of high value indicator species for floodplain meadows. Seed was collected from local SSSI and priority habitat lowland meadows (donor sites) through the harvesting of green hay, and brush harvesting seed; which was then spread onto the ‘recipient sites’ which were prepared and managed to give the best chance of seed establishment. Plug plants were also used to introduce diversity to restoration sites and these were planted by volunteers. Some sites received more than one treatment, in order to give the highest chance of success; 19.53ha received brush harvested seed, 19.9ha received enhancement by green hay and plug planting  was undertaken on 17.31ha (10mx10m planting areas spread throughout fields).

  • Provide advice and guidance to farmers around habitat creation and restoration, healthy soils, water quality and environmental scheme

Work is continuing with farms through advisory visits and events. Farmer events have included a floodplain meadow event to help farmers identify indicator species and to discuss management; a curlew event engaging farmers with local breeding attempts and the interaction between farming activities and breeding success and what they can do to help; a workshop on grazing strategies, parasite control and impacts on the wider environment; an event focussing on wildlife supported by ponds and how to maintain and restore ponds; and a discussion workshop on how farmers approach managing land in the floodplain and the opportunities and challenges. Over 50 visits to landowners have been undertaken to advise on management of meadows and pasture for wintering and breeding waders, improving soil health for enhanced water and carbon storage, and greater climate resilience. Many farms with existing ponds have requested visits and advice has been provided on appropriate management and restoration activities that could be carried out.

Many of the advice visits carried out by FWAG SW have included advice on Countryside Stewardship, helping farmers to identify the relevant options to apply for and highlighting the payments available for sensitive management. A FWAG SW adviser has proactively supported 8 farms in the project area to successful apply for Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier, five of which included options specifically to support wintering or breeding waders such as curlew.  FWAG SW are also providing advice to a large estate with considerable area of Severn Estuary foreshore and freshwater wetland habitat, to apply for a Higher Tier to deliver improved habitat management and restoration works.

  • Running training and demonstration events for farms in the area

FWAG SW will provide funding (subject to approval) for any capital works required to deliver habitat enhancement work on a farmer’s land.


Check out how the Project works in practise...

We have interviewed and collected data from Gloucestershire farmers on floodplains who have embraced the Flourishing Floodplains Project. Learn more on the Flourishing Floodplains Case Studies page


To express an interest in participating in this project or if you have any queries, please contact the project team:



This project is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The fund was developed by Defra and its arm's-length bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.