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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Exciting Events

Family events, walks, talks and training.  There are lots of interesting events taking place in or around the Avalon Marshes. Our events page has lots to offer whatever your age, interest or expertise.

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Spring Exploring

Spring is almost here, the days are longer, the birds are singing and the trees are budding. Why not dust off your walking boots or wellies and explore the Avalon Marshes to see what wildlife you can spot?

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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

Female Marsh Harrier in flight

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

Reed Warbler

Shapwick Heath Spring Bird Migration Guided Walk – 31st March – FULLY BOOKED

Catch up with some of Spring’s earliest arrivals such as Sand Martins and warblers, and hear the first of the booming Bitterns on Shapwick Heath’s annual Spring Bird Walk, accompanied by staff and volunteers with expert bird knowledge to help you with… Read more…

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Bittern ©Jerry Hawker

Mr Boombastic at Ham Wall

With fifty male booming bitterns recorded last year, the Avalon Marshes is one of the best places in the country to find this shy and elusive bird. Join us on an early morning walk to come and listen to the… Read more…

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Shapwick Heath Kids’ Big Bug-Hunt – 7th April

Join us along the Discovery Trail at the Ashcott Road end of our reserve to hunt for mini-beasts in the woods, have a go at pond-dipping and get bird-spotting tips in the Tower Hide overlooking the reedbeds of Meare Heath…. Read more…

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Keeping in Touch

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The Avalon Marshes Partnership


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