The Avalon Marshes

The Avalon Marshes, a magical wetland landscape, lies at the heart of Somerset’s Levels and Moors. It is nationally important for its rich cultural heritage and diversity of wildlife, with Glastonbury Tor, the Isle of Avalon and some of Britain’s best wetland nature reserves.

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Wetland Wildlife

The Avalon Marshes is part of Somerset’s Levels and Moors, one of the largest lowland wetlands in Britain. It is internationally important for wildlife. See murmurations of starlings; listen to booming bitterns; be enchanted by colourful meadows; watch butterflies and dragonflies; and if you are very lucky glimpse otters at play.

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Meare Fish House in the landscape

10,000 Years

Inhabited since the end of the last ice age, the Avalon Marshes has slowly been reclaimed from the sea and bears the evidence of history. Ancient trackways crossed the marshes in the Stone Age; Iron Age dwellers built lake villages; Romans extracted salt; the medieval period saw the influence of Glastonbury Abbey; the industrial revolution brought canals and railways.

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Isle of Avalon

Mystical Glastonbury is reputed to be the ancient Isle of Avalon.  A thriving town it is home to Glastonbury Abbey and Glastonbury Tor, which looks out over the Avalon Marshes and beyond. Legends abound including King Arthur and his sword Excalibur, and Joseph of Arimethea and the Holy Thorn.

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The Big Three

Female Marsh Harrier in flight

The Avalon Marshes is famous for its winter starling murmurations, but in spring and summer look out for our largest resident birds: Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Great White Egret – our ‘Big Three’ – regularly seen on our reserves they cannot fail to impress!

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Cyclists and Glastonbury Tor

Nature Reserves, fascinating heritage, Glastonbury Tor, museums, attractive villages, footpaths, cycle routes, kids’ stuff and lots more. Come and explore Somerset’s Avalon Marshes.

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History and Heritage

Glastonbury lake Village

The Avalon Marshes is a landscape of rich resources, not of coal and iron but of food, peat and water.  These give the marshes their special character and have left a wonderful legacy of history and archaeology.

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Wonderful Wildlife


The Avalon Marshes is a very special place to see and enjoy wildlife whatever time of year you visit. There are four National Nature Reserves and lots of other areas teeming with wetland wildlife.

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Tweets liked by Avalon Marshes

Upcoming Events

Owl Artwork

Somerset Art Weeks – 23 September to 8 October

Somerset Arts Weeks Festival 2017 is the unique celebration of visual arts in Somerset. At the Avalon Marshes Centre Somerset Crafts will have art & craft works on display and for sale include ceramics, glass, jewellery, mosaics, paintings, photography, sculpture,… Read more…

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Neolithic Man on the Marshes – 24 September

Shapwick Heath is famous for the ‘Sweet Track’ which is Europe’s oldest manmade walkway and a scheduled ancient monument. Take a tour with reserve staff to discover how neolithic man survived the wild marshes, join in the discussion with our… Read more…

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‘Echo-Maker’ Screening (SAW Event) 7th – 8th October

A film about loss and return in the wetlands of the Somerset Levels and Moors; screened in South-West Heritage Trust’s Romano-British villa reconstruction, set within the archetypal landscape that inspired it… Sean Harris’ film, projected through layers of gauze within… Read more…

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Keeping in Touch

If you would like to keep in touch with what is happening in the Avalon Marshes why not sign up for our enewsletter “Messages from the Marshes”, “like us” on Facebook or follow us on Twitter?


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The Avalon Marshes Partnership