North Somerset Levels and Moors Restoration Project
The North Somerset Levels and Moors is an extensive area covering around 8,000 hectares of low-lying wetland next to the Severn Estuary and bordered by the Mendip Hills. This beautiful area - part of a National Nature Reserve - represents almost 4% of the remaining, nationally rare habitat, and is home to semi aquatic plants and wetland and wading birds on the moorland, wildflower meadows on the ridges and ancient woodlands.
Restoring a rare habitat
The Gordano Valley is the most important site in our region for wet meadows, and a valuable habitat for rare wetland birds including lapwing, redshank and snipe as well as many wild plants and animals including water voles and newts. We're working hard with partners to restore the biodiversity of this area and improve the water quality of the network of ditches which crisscross this landscape.
We're working with partners including Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Internal Drainage Board and North Somerset Council to protect and improve the North Somerset Levels and Moors landscape. The main focus is on restoring the ditches - locally known as 'rhynes' which are an important feature for wildlife. We're liaised with local landowners and farmers, helping them to access funding and training them to manage their ditches. We're grateful to Wessex Water, our funding partners, who have supported this project.
So far, we have contacted 250 landowners, provided advice and small grants to over 50 farmers, supported 12 farms to access funding for restoration work, and restored 21 kilometres of ditch network.
Bringing back breeding waders
Thanks to funding from Biffa Award, we're able to enhance the land on our nature reserves in the Gordano Valley, Weston Moor, Clapton Moor and Puxton Moor, to benefit breeding wader birds. Pairs of lapwing have returned to the area and we want to attract more of these rare and beautiful birds. Our Lapwing Project is focusing on stabilising the water levels and improving the landscape to provide good quality feeding opportunities for lapwing chicks.