Slimbridge Community Growing Hub

Sue Kinsey, WWT

The Community Growing Hub at Slimbridge is a new initiative which is growing locally sourced, native floodplain meadow plants as easy-to-plant plugs. We are growing around 20 species in all – including bird's-foot trefoil, corky-fruited water-dropwort, cowslip and meadowsweet – that we believe celebrate the mix of wildflowers which make the Severn Vale meadows special.

WWT volunteers tending to floodplain meadow plants 3, © WWT 

We want our plugs to support the creation and enhancement of wet grassland habitats in the Severn Vale landscape, reversing historic declines. Wildlife-rich floodplain meadows are not only beautiful, but beneficial. For example, they can provide flood mitigation and store substantial quantities of carbon.

The project is volunteer-led and our dedicated crew of volunteers is working in a refurbished polytunnel at Slimbridge to bring the idea to life.  

We champion native plants and those of local provenance in grassland restorations because: 

  • Studies have shown that plants which are locally and/or ecologically adapted perform better than those from non-native stock.  
  • Agricultural varieties of native species, which are often supplied in commercial mixes, are genetically distinct from native wildflowers and may differ in terms of phenology, growth form and ecological requirements.  Wildlife, such as pollinators, which have co-evolved with native plants may struggle to adapt.  
  • We want to celebrate the wildflowers which make the Severn Vale meadows special.  Some of these can be hard to find from large national suppliers.

WWT has a target of creating 100,000 Ha of new and restored wetland habitat in the UK by 2050, with an initial target of 20,000 Ha by 2030. By 2030 we also want to build a body of 400,000 people to speak up for wetlands and take action where they live, work and study. In a very small way we hope that this initiative will help us reach these targets by providing plants for wetlands and inspiring our volunteers.

Our plugs would be ideal for those creating or restoring wet grasslands or floodplain meadows in the Severn Vale such as landowners, farmers, developers or councils, but we are also offering free plants to local community groups in the area carrying out similar projects.

WWT Community Action Coordinator Sue Kinsey waters floodplain meadow plants, © WWT 

For further information on species available, pricing and delivery please go to our web pages or contact  

We are now open for Spring orders, although we do still have some stock available now.

The project has been made possible due to support from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund and Eversheds Sutherland.