Severn Vale

    The Severn Vale area includes many of the small rivers and brooks that drain into the lower River Severn or directly into the Severn estuary. The land is variable with mixed urban, agricultural and forested areas. The main urban areas include Gloucester, Cheltenham, Ledbury and Stroud. Arable land dominates the Leadon catchment, which suffers from poor water quality due to excessive quantities of silt and high levels of phosphate and nitrate. Extensive woodlands are present in the Forest of Dean, where there are also water quality problems associated with uncontrolled discharges from former mine workings. These are often acidic and contain metals and other harmful substances that can have significant ecological impacts.

    Abstraction within the catchment is mainly for public water supply and agriculture. Significant quantities are also used for power generation. The Cinderford and Glynch brooks are over abstracted and groundwater is used to enhance low flows in the Glynch Brook during summer months. Low flows are thought to be adversely affecting fish populations, particularly spawning and nursery areas, in some parts of the area.

    This catchment partnership is being hosted by the Severn Rivers Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

    The Severn Vale catchment partnership is engaging with a wide range of partners throughout the catchment including local authorities, statutory bodies, recreational groups, water companies and conservation organisations. A steering group was formed in 2014, then in 2015 an open event was held where over 100 people got together to share their views on the catchment and discuss the priorities for the partnership. These results were used to inform the current catchment plan.

    Regular meetings of the partnership are held to review the priorities and progress with projects and identify any new opportunities for engagement. The partnership will regularly update the catchments online project map with existing, developing and conceptual projects. 

    An Environmental Services Evidence Review of the Severn Vale Catchment has been produced, promoted and disseminated via public workshops, and is available to the partnership and general public via the Severn Rivers Trust and CaBA websites. This can be used as a tool to highlight potential projects through the wide variety of maps included in the report such as Landcover, Agricultural Practices and Livestock Farming, Population, Water Quality, WFD Criteria, and importantly, Point Sources of Pollution and Opportunities for Enhancement. This document also categorises potential issues and benefits, such as drought, flooding, habitat and wildlife, carbon regulation, and recreation and leisure; all are criteria important to the partnership, and considered during any project work.  

    Since the inception of the partnership in 2014, a wide range of project work in the Severn Vale catchment has been delivered on a regular basis. Once again, partnership work has been fundamental to success in both planning and delivering these projects. The partnership has endorsed a 'bottom up' approach to project development, bringing all users of the catchment together to develop ideas and projects that benefit the catchment as a whole.


    Projects include:

    ·         Leadon Improvement Project – improve fish passage, increase riparian habitat and address diffuse pollution issues.

    ·         Cam Habitat Improvement Project – undertake flood risk assessment and identify habitat enhancement opportunities.

    ·         River Frome – restoration of the Bonds Mill paleo channel to provide 1.2km of eel, salmonid and coarse fish habitat.

    ·         Stroud rural SuDS – deliver a range of Natural Flood Management interventions throughout the Frome headwaters.

    ·         Foresters Forest – Monitoring waterways in the Forest of Dean, identifying priority barriers to fish passage and enhancing the ‘wetscape’ habitat throughout the forest.

    Monitoring is carried out through riverfly surveys across the Severn Vale.

    The Foresters Forest project has a huge network of volunteers who carry out a range of monitoring and surveys in the Forest of Dean.

    The catchment partnership is keen to encourage and support volunteer groups and expand the use of citizen science to inform management and monitor the results of projects that have been implemented in the catchment.

    Severn Vale

    The Severn Vale area includes many of the small rivers and brooks that drain into the lower River Severn or directly into the Severn estuary.
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Severn Info

The Severn RBD is home to over 5.3 million people and covers an area of over 21,000 sq km with about one third of the area lying in Wales. The River Severn is the longest river in Britain and joins the rivers of South East Wales (including the Wye, Usk and Taff) and those of the counties of Avon and Somerset that drain into the Severn Estuary. The Severn RBD has several major urban centres, including Bristol, Cardiff and Coventry, but much of the landscape is rural in character, particularly within the Welsh Borders. It also contains many important habitat and wildlife areas and the Severn Estuary and its surrounding area are afforded a very high level of protection under European wildlife law for its bird populations, habitats and migratory fish species.


The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.


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