Wildlife & Biodiversity
Sedgemoor has a unique natural environment that includes wonderful habitats, such as 12 miles of coastline, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and the Somerset Levels and Moors.
As well as fantastic habitats, Sedgemoor is also rich in biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life found in an area) having many rare species such as the Cheddar Pink, the Otter and the Great Silver Water Beetle. Berrow Dunes in particular supports one of the most diverse floras in Somerset with at least 970 species of flowering plants having been identified on this Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Somerset levels and moors are classed as internationally important wetlands.
Local development, tourism and farming practices all influence the quality of our environment. We also face change associated with global warming and the threat of increased incidences of flooding. Sedgemoor District Council joined with the other Councils in Somerset and conservation organisations such as Somerset Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the RSPB to form the Somerset Biodiversity Partnership for the purpose of protecting our important species and habitats. The Partnership produced the document Somerset Local Nature Partnership.to show how it could work with local communities and other agencies in activities to protect and enhance wildlife. The Somerset Biodiversity Partnership has now merged into the Somerset Local Nature Partnership to become the "Iconic Landscapes and Wildlife" working group of that organisation. Further details of the work of the Somerset Local Nature Partnership can be seen on their website here:
In addition to the habitats and species covered in Wild Somerset, the Sedgemoor Biodiversity Action Plan describes the actions that Sedgemoor District Council together and other partners will take locally to protect and enhance wildlife in the district. Several habitats are of specific importance within Sedgemoor. These habitats are Calcareous and Neutral Grassland, Coastal and Marine, Heathland and Woodland; separate Habitat Action Plans (HAP's) have been drawn up for these.
Sedgemoor District Council are also promoting biodiversity by developing wildlife-friendly Management Plans for some of our key green areas. The Apex Park and Meads Eco Park Management Plans have been produced so far and can be found in Related Articles below.
Other organisations are helping to protect our wildlife in Sedgemoor with support from local volunteers. If you would like to help our wildlife, please contact the following organisations directly.
Berrow Conservation Group - Berrow Conservation Group meet monthly to undertake projects within Berrow Parish, including hedge planting, pond creation and scrub clearance, and species monitoring at Berrow LNR.
Bristol University Conservation Group - If you are a student at Bristol University then you can join this group which does occasional practical conservation work in Sedgemoor, mainly at Berrow Dunes. Visit the Bristol University Conservation Group website.
National Trust - are a UK conservation charity, protecting historic places and green spaces, and opening them up forever, for everyone. As the UK's biggest land owner, the National Trust looks after a lot of nature and wildlife and strives to maintain their land as an environment that supports a rich diversity of life. Two of the National Trust properties in Sedgemoor that need conservation volunteer help are Fyne Court and Broomfield Hill. Contact Steve Sudworth on 01823 451814, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the National Trust website.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - The RSPB have one reserve in Sedgemoor district. This reserve is at Greylake, which is a complex of meadows, rhynes and ponds which are fantastic for wading birds and invertebrates such as Dragonflies. Volunteering opportunities are available doing a wide range of habitat management, wildlife survey and visitor work on this and other reserves in the area - contact the local RSPB office on 01458 252805, email: email@example.com for general enquiries to the local team, email Greylake@rspb.org.uk for specific queries relating to the reserve or visit the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds website.
Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers - Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers are a group of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who carry out practical conservation work on local nature reserves around the district on alternate Sundays. Phone Anne or Norman Lees on 01278 641521, email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, or visit the Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers website.
Somerset Wildlife Trust - The Somerset Wildlife Trust own eight large reserves in the Brue Valley and a total of seventy eight across Somerset, and they welcome volunteers to help manage them. Contact Toria Hare on 01823 652440, email: email@example.com for more details, or visit the Somerset Wildlife Trust website.
Great Crane Project - The Somerset Levels are hosting a Crane reintroduction programme. This elegant bird was wiped out in the UK through hunting and changes in its habitat about 400 years ago. However a new project is under way to reintroduce young Cranes from Germany to Somerset. Over the last three years a total of 57 young Cranes have been released in Somerset. There are also small populations that have colonised naturally in East Anglia which it is hoped, together with our Cranes, will repopulate the rest of the country over time. To find about how the project is progressing visit the The Great Crane Project website and related documents below for the Somerset Crane Chronicle.