On 23rd May 2023 27 advisers from 13 organisations working in the Wye Catchment gathered at Brockhampton Hall for a training day on floodplain meadows funded by Environment Agency and Wye Valley AONB.
Mark Wood and Chris Hudson hosted the day and provided delicious grass fed beef lunch (https://perrystonemeats.co.uk/) and showed us meadow restorations underway on the floodplain at Fawley Court on the Clay Estates.
The training was led by Emma Rothero and David Gowing of Floodplain Meadows Partnership ( FMP) who inspired us with their work on fabulous floodplain projects across the UK. You can read more on their new website and in these presentations
- an Introduction to FMP and to floodplain mcarbon slide FMP high reseadows
- the science and research that back up the critical part floodplain meadows play in addressing the climate and ecological emergency in productive farming systems
- a list of the organisations present who are already working on Floodplain Meadows in the Wye Catchment with scope for future collaboration to achieve even more at Landscape scale for a whole range of ecosystem services
- Indicator plants of floodplains that reveal compaction, waterlogging and high nutrient status that is tolerant or intolerant of cutting
Key learning points for the day included
- the understanding that floodplain meadows function best for production of species rich hay that is deep rooted and contributing to soil carbon at great depths in the soil; and that these meadows flourish in free draining soils such as those in the Wye Valley.
- Species rich floodplain meadows have huge potential to store carbon in soils – Lawson and Gowing unpublished data. Mean C density 109.4 t / ha – much higher than trees or other land uses – High resolution slide below
Further Help, Advice and Links
- Wye Valley AONB Floodplain Project
- Farming in Protected Landscapes Grant
- Access to a series of historic and modern maps commissioned for the project (Tithe, Ist edition OS, Dudley Stamp land utilisation surveys 1932, Aerial photos from 1946 to present day and Lidar) used to identify floodplain grassland present for a long period with high potential for restoration. Available on request from Wye Valley AONB or your WUF or Herefordshire Meadows adviser.
- Advice and support from Herefordshire’s Floodplain Meadow Ambassador, Simon Barker
- Herefordshire Meadows advice as part of above project and for all FPM restorations
- Wye and Usk Foundation Natural Capital Team and Farm Team advisers as part of above project and for farm advice in the Wye catchment
We look forward to continuing future collaborative working for the Wye catchment to capitalise on the potential of floodplains to deliver a whole range of ecosystem services in productive farming systems. We’d be pleased to convene future meetings and training so let us know what you’d find useful and what your organisation can provide.