LOCAL LANDOWNER HELPS CREATE A LIVING LANDSCAPE WITH WILDLIFE AT ITS HEART

Tuesday 1st November 2011

Karen Lloyd, Severn Vale Living Landscape Project Officer checking out the smallKaren Lloyd, Severn Vale Living Landscape Project Officer checking out the smallest of the scrapes (c) GWT

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s most ambitious landscape project to date has just completed a major milestone towards its vision of creating a 'wetland mosaic' in the Severn Vale, thanks to support from a local landowner.

The work forms part of the Trust’s Severn Vale Living Landscape approach, launched in 2008, with the aim of joining up areas of important wetland habitat that have become fragmented. 

it will link with both the Trust’s Coombe Hill nature reserve, just off the A38, which is a fantastic place for breeding waders, and Ashleworth Ham nature reserve, just across the River Severn

Severn Vale Living Landscape staff work directly with landowners to identify potential areas where 'wildlife friendly' landscapes can be created; from helping farmers to access funds for environmental work, to actually designing and creating new wetland habitats on the ground, using funding from their five sponsors. 

Dr. Peter Whitehead, who owns the land where the work is taking place, said “I already have curlew breeding in some of my fields, and the Trust found definite signs of otters here. I am delighted to be working with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on this project to give these species more opportunities to thrive in the Severn Vale.”

“We are very grateful to Dr Whitehead,” said Karen Lloyd, Severn Vale Project Officer “he has allowed us to create this exciting wetland complex, which includes five large shallow 'scrapes', connected by meandering channels to the existing ditch network, especially as it will link with both the Trust’s Coombe Hill nature reserve, just off the A38, which is a fantastic place for breeding waders, and Ashleworth Ham nature reserve, just across the River Severn. It also complements the work being carried out by our partners, the Environment Agency on the River Chelt.

Together these sites offer the ideal habitat for our native wildlife, such as birds, otters and even brown hare. We also hope the local community will become involved in monitoring the site to see how it develops”.

Before work started, the idea was presented to Norton Parish Council and other landowners along this stretch of the River Chelt. The Environment Agency and and Natural England were also consulted and have been very supportive throughout the work.

Archeologist examining a trench

The county archaeologist was involved to make sure that no underlying historical resource was damaged and the results from their excavations were very unexpected and exciting. Natural England were also consulted and have been very supportive throughout the work. "This investigation has revealed evidence of a previously unknown Roman settlement somewhere in the vicinity of this field. 

Over a metre down, a dark layer of soil containing large quantities of Roman pottery was found, dating from about 1,800 years ago; some of it probably came from France" said Andrew Armstrong, the Countryside Archaeological Adviser for Gloucestershire County Council. "This fact, plus the quantity of material found, would suggest that a fairly substantial settlement must be located nearby - probably on higher ground."

Tagged with: Biffaward, Conservation, Gloucestershire First, Grundon, Living Landscape, Scrape, Severn Trent Ltd birds, Tubney Charitable Trust, Wading, Wetland