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.

Check out how the project works in practice... 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.


Project Aims and Achievements:

  • Wetland Habitat Restoration: Over 40 ponds and small wetland features have been restored or created across the Severn Vale landscape. FWAG SW delivered 29 ponds/ wet features and  WWT created 7 new ponds and restored 4 existing within the landscape.

The Benefits: Ponds support an array of wildlife, by increasing the number and diversity of wet features across the landscape this will help to increase invertebrate numbers which provide food resources for other wildlife such as birds and bats. In some areas the wet features have been specifically designed to improve habitat for over wintering and breeding Curlew, in the Severn Vale Area. 

Case study:  Elmore Court: Valuable habitat for wintering waders, wildfowl and breeding waders with extensive grazing of native breed livestock

Photo credit: Elmore Court - Wetland restoration using a rotary ditcher


FWAG SW worked with the landowner to deliver one very large scrape area and pond. The site is an important ‘stepping stone’ in the landscape between Slimbridge WWT reserve and Walmore Common (SSSI, SAC, and SPA). 

The drainage of both fields has been isolated from the main drainage ditches so that the wetland features created hold water. The feature is being closely monitored by the Estate and FWAG SW to identify further improvements that could be made and to identify species benefiting from the new habitat. 

  • Work with volunteers to Survey 1,000 ha of Floodplain Meadow: Survey work has now been completed across the project area and has been collated with surveys collected in 2020 & 2021 (approx. 320 ha) – amounting to 1000 ha in the Vale

Survey method: Using the Habimap method (see more information on Glos Wildlife Trust website) along with Priority Habitats Inventory method, surveys take place in optimal survey period.

Results: Over half of surveys area is considered Priority Habitat quality (compared to 119 ha before the project started). Over 400 ha of poorer quality grassland has been identified that could be restored to more species-rich plant communities.

120 ha of unmapped existing species-rich meadows were identified for inclusion in Natural England’s Priority Habitat Inventory.

Informing Management: The findings are being incorporated into individual farmer focussed reports, which show the quality of the grassland surveyed. 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.

Financial Benefits: In addition to benefit of informed conservation decisions, the landowners can use the survey data in applications for agri-environment schemes.

  • Restore Floodplain Meadow: 36ha of land have undergone meadow restoration techniques over seven sites, introducing the seed/ plug plants of distinctive species of floodplain meadows. 

Floodplain meadows are a beautiful, rare habitat made up of a distinctive group of plants that are resilient to flood events. They can contain up to 40 different plant species per metre square and have a strong cultural history.  

Method: Seed was collected from local SSSI and priority habitat lowland meadows (donor sites) through the harvesting of green hay, and brush harvesting seed, 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). 

To find out more about rare Floodplain Meadow habitats visit Floodplain Meadow Partnership: Valuing, conserving and exploring our heritage | Floodplain Meadows Partnership 

Plug Plants provided by Ecohab Wildflowers


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

Advisory visits and events:

  • Floodplain meadow event: to help farmers identify indicator species and to discuss management. 
  • Curlew event: engaging farmers with local breeding attempts and the interaction between farming activities and breeding success and what they can do to help.
  • Grazing strategies, parasite control and impacts on the wider environment.
  • Wildlife supported by ponds: how to maintain and restore ponds.
  • Discussion workshop on management of 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.

Site visits also include advice on Countryside Stewardship, helping farmers to identify the relevant options to apply for and highlighting the payments available for sensitive management that will support priority habitats and species.


To express an interest in participating in this project or if you have any queries, please contact the FWAG SW Gloucestershire Office on 016666 503 668 or contact Sarah Wells [email protected] / 07769203068




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.