Somerset Levels and Moors
Somerset Levels and Moors
This well-known landscape is among the largest wetlands remaining in England, rich in nature, history and legend.
Characterised by flat, wet meadows bordered by rhynes and ditches with low hills creating a dramatic landscape, it is internationally significant for wildlife.
The Somerset Levels and Moors have been shaped by human history, farming and natural processes over millennia, resulting in the unique wetlands we see today.
By 2030 we want to see the area as a thriving, nature-rich wetland landscape, with grassland farming taking place on the majority of the land. We would like the impact of extreme weather events to be reduced by land and water management in both the upper catchments and the flood plain.
We are currently working alongside partners and landowners to secure this future for the wetlands and the wildlife they support, which includes lapwings, snipe, dragonflies and flowers.
Explore the area
Find out what’s going on near this Futurescape, including places to visit, news and local events, plus how you can work or volunteer for us.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
The fields here were once arable farmland, but now you can see lapwings, snipe, curlews and redshanks nesting here during the summer, as well as yellow wagtails, skylarks and meadow pipits.
Here you can enjoy a newly created wetland, which provides a safe home for many rare species including water voles and otters. In spring the reedbeds are alive with birdsong and in autumn you can see kingfishers flashing up and down the ditches. Bitterns are seen regularly all year round.
The ancient oaks of Swell Wood are part of a continuous strip of woodland extending for around 10 miles along the ridge from Langport to the Blackdown Hills.
West Sedgemoor is part of England's largest remaining wet meadow system. Set among the Somerset Levels and Moors, it has the largest lowland population of breeding wading birds, such as lapwings, snipe, curlew and redshanks, in the whole of southern England.
We're working to safeguard and improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.
A national project which assesses the biodiversity value of some of the UK’s best reedbeds for species habitats.
The Mid Parrett Wet Farmland Project is a pilot scheme managed by the RSPB supporting farming and wetland wildlife in the River Parrett floodplain. We are working with farmers who manage extensive wet grasslands in the Parrett floodplain, encouraging them to make good use of the Environmental Stewardship scheme which provides valuable financial support for those managing land within the floodplain.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land on in the Somerset Levels and Moors. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we're working with:
Saving special places
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph