'Farm the Flow'

What is ‘Farm the Flow’

Most residents of Ironbridge will be aware of the issues regarding flooding from the River Severn, but perhaps less so with regards to the  flooding caused by the Lydebrook flowing down the catchment between Little Wenlock, Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge.

Two years ago Severn Gorge Countryside Trust, working closely with Telford & Wrekin Council, the Environment Agency, Harper Adams and Wolverhampton Universities set up a partnership project called ‘Farm the Flow’ to carry out research into whether natural flood management could help alleviate the severity of flooding.

Funding was won from DEFRA via the Environment Agency for a three year project to try to:

  • improve the flood warning system by installing extra gauges
  • work with local landowners to investigate whether natural flood management was possible on their land
  • set up a community ‘Citizen Science Project’ that we have called; ‘Learning about Lydebrook’

Our aim is to support the local community in becoming more involved in understanding and contributing to our learning about how the Lydebrook works, from soils to water and ecology.  FREE training will be arranged over the Spring and Summer of 2019 using a range of interesting equipment.  No prior experience is necessary and people will be able to choose on their level of involvement.

‘Learning about Lydebrook’ Citizen Science Project

If you would like to find about more about how you can get involved in the ‘Learning about Lydebrook’ Citizen Science Project then come along to an information evening that is being held on Tuesday 7th May at Little Wenlock Community Centre, Malthouse Bank, Telford, TF6 5BN.

The principle behind citizen science is to use the power of collaborative volunteer research. Anyone can take part – you don’t need special skills or training as we will explain everything you need to know to get involved. It’s a fun, free way to enjoy nature while doing a little bit of good in the world.

You can also register your interest by completing the form opposite.  We will then contact you with further information about the project.

Register of interest - 'Learning about Lydebrook' Project

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What is natural flood management?

The aim of natural flood management is to reduce the downstream maximum water height of a flood (the flood peak) or to delay the arrival of the flood peak downstream, increasing the time available to prepare for floods. This is achieved by restricting the progress of water through a catchment in 3 ways:

  1. Increasing soil infiltration and allowing water to soak away.
  2. Storing water by using natural features such as ponds, ditches or low lying land or by creating new ponds and areas to store water.
  3. Slowing water by increasing resistance to flow. For example, by planting trees on the floodplain or constructing “leaky dams” in channels.

What is a debris dam?

Debris dams are constructed to allow free passage of water in normal flows and only hold water back when required during high rainfall.  The backed up water is pushed out of the channel into appropriate sites upstream where silts are deposited. A single debris dam would have little impact but a series of debris dams at various locations can help reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

Lydebrook Flood 2007

We know that in 2007, after we ecorded 68mm of rain in 36 hours on saturated ground, the Lydebrook became a raging torrent and several tonnes of silt, coal and pulverised fuel ash (PFA) washed down to the silt trap