General views of floodplain grassland, Greylake RSPB reserve, Somerset Levels, England

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. 

 Greylake RSPB reserve, Somerset, England, aerial view
Ariel shot of RSPB Greylake

Nearby reserves

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:

Greylake

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.

Ham Wall

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.

Swell Wood

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

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.

Ham Wall RSPB reserve on the Somerset Levels in winter showing Glastonbury Tor and wildfowl in flight
Ham Wall
General views of floodplain grassland, Greylake RSPB reserve, Somerset Levels, England
Greylake
Wet meadows in flower, West Sedgemoor RSPB reserve, Somerset Levels, England
West Sedgemoor

Featured projects

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.

Bringing reedbeds to life

A national project which assesses the biodiversity value of some of the UK’s best reedbeds for species habitats.

Mid Parrett Wet Farmland Project

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.

The reedy fringe of Elney Lake, at Fen Drayton RSPB reserve, Cambridgeshire, England. February 2007.

Our partners

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: