Much of the Lower Severn Vale Levels used to be marshland and parts could only be used in the summer before extensive drainage and flood protection measures were introduced.
Hedgerows would be laid to define livestock boundaries and willow trees would be pollarded (pruned) to provide wood for practical use such as making woven putchers to catch fish.
Although there are still a lot of farms in the area today they are much fewer in number and generally are managed more intensively than in the past. This has led to a loss of natural features and habitat for some local species despite many farmers working hard to maintain habitat for wildlife, both voluntarily and through stewardship schemes.
Orchards, once abundant throughout the area, have gone into steep decline along with fish populations. This has led to the end of salmon fishing in the area and alongside it many traditional crafts and associated land management practices like putcher-making and willow-pollarding are in danger of being lost.
That’s why A Forgotten Landscape worked in partnership with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West to help advise farmers on conserving the landscape and keeping traditional practices alive.