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The Severn Vale area includes many of the small rivers and brooks that drain into the lower River Severn or directly into the Severn estuary. The land is variable with mixed urban, agricultural and forested areas. The main urban areas include Gloucester, Cheltenham, Ledbury and Stroud. Arable land dominates the Leadon catchment, which suffers from poor water quality due to excessive quantities of silt and high levels of phosphate and nitrate.

Extensive woodlands are present in the Forest of Dean, where there are also water quality problems associated with uncontrolled discharges from former mine workings. These are often acidic and contain metals and other harmful substances that can have significant ecological impacts. Abstraction within the catchment is mainly for public water supply and agriculture. The Cinderford and Glynch brooks are over abstracted and groundwater is used to enhance low flows in the Glynch Brook during summer months. Low flows are thought to be adversely affecting fish populations, particularly spawning and nursery areas, in some parts of the area.