FOR many of us, the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel provide a valuable source of inspiration and enjoyment - from walking along our coast paths, spending time on our beaches, watching wildlife or partaking in recreational activities such as sailing and fishing.

It is also crucial area for nature with many conservation designations protecting the ecosystems and species that live there - from flocks of waders and wildfowl to important fish nurseries and migration routes as well as many communities of marine invertebrates living on or in the extensive mudflats, sand banks and rocky ledges.

Coastal fringe habitats such as the salt marshes at Steart and Porlock, the dunes at Berrow and coastal woodland along the Exmoor cliffs are also vitally important both for biodiversity and as carbon sinks and natural sea defences in the face of increasing climate chaos.

However, the Severn Estuary is also exposed to increasing threats, such as from coastal squeeze and development made worse by climate change impacts and from dredging for aggregates. It is also a prime site for energy production both more conventional nuclear power plants and proposed renewable energy alternatives like tidal barrages and lagoons.

There is increasing concern about how we manage these impacts and many key habitats are in a poor state and in decline so in 2016 a group of stakeholders produced a document called the Severn Vision ( This set out the goals needed to conserve and restore the estuary as a healthy functioning ecosystem, valued for its internationally important wildlife, habitats and landscapes; alongside ensuring it still provides more benefits for people, local communities, places, and economies, including greater resilience to climate change; and where development is planned and managed in a way that sustains and enhances the estuary’s resources.

Unfortunately, 6 years on, despite some great local examples of progress and good practice, such as the coastal re-alignment work at WWT Steart Marshes, many of the Vision’s recommendations are still be implemented and ecosystems continue to be in decline.

The Environment Agency has recently given a grant from its national ‘Championing Coastal Coordination’ fund to a group of organisations led by Somerset Wildlife Trust.

This short-term “Delivering the Severn Vision” project is an opportunity to turn the Severn Vision into a deliverable framework for action; one which maximises nature restoration, climate mitigation and adaptation benefits for the whole Severn Estuary and outer reaches area.

If you would like to find out more and take part in workshops and training over the next month, there is online and face-to-face sessions on coastal citizen science.

Community groups, local authorities or businesses that may be interested, the Somerset Wildlife Trust is interested in hearing from you.

To get in touch, email with any queries or thoughts.