Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Greater Water Parsnip

Greater water parsnip, one of Somerset's rarest plants, is being reintroduced on to Catcott because it is so important for pollinating insects


Flowering for Life

The Trust's Catcott reserves are a haven for wildlife. They teem with waterfowl in winter while summer hears the meadows hum into life with the sound of insects. Now, thanks to our new Flowering for Life partnership, the fields of Catcott and neighbouring Shapwick Moor will become even more valuable for some of the Somerset Levels' rarest plants and insects.

More Flowers for More Insects

Mark and Alys, the Brue Valley Reserves Team, will be working hard with their dedicated group of volunteers to increase the number of flowers in the fields and ditches. They’ll be clearing away scrub, reshaping ditch banks and installing field gutters to provide more niches for more flowers. More flowers mean more food for pollinator insects such as bumblebees, butterflies and hoverflies.

Rare Flowers for Rare Insects

This project isn’t just about SWT working in isolation. We will be working closely with our partners to reintroduce two species of plant which have gone locally extinct: greater water parsnip and devil's bit scabious. Both of these species are favourites of rare insect species such as the shrill carder bee and the ornate brigadier soldierfly. The plants will be nurtured by Bristol Zoo Gardens and pupils from Inaura School before being planted out into the ditches and fields of Catcott and Shapwick Moor, owned by the Hawk and Owl Trust. The ongoing success of the reintroductions will be monitored by the Somerset Rare Plants Group, who were the first to raise the alarm about the plight of greater water parsnip on Somerset.

The Hawk and Owl Trust have also been hard at work recently, using 'green hay' to increase the number of flowering plants found at Shapwick Moor. You can see how they got on in these videos. By working together we are creating a hugely rich resource for pollinators and all the other species that thrive on diverse, nature-friendly grasslands.

Get Involved

For more information contact  or download our project Delivery Plan.

Or why not simply visit these wonderful reserves? Click for more information about Catcott and Shapwick Moor.


Flowering for Life Partners

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The project has been funded by Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT), which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.