As you may know, starling season is our busiest time of year for visitors to Avalon Marshes from October through to March. It is with great sadness that this year we are asking our visitors to try and visit an alternative local roost instead where possible, and to think carefully before travelling to our site due to the difficulties created by Covid 19 and the need for social distancing.

For the safety of all our visitors, staff and volunteers, we ask that if you can, please try alternative sites before choosing to visit us at Avalon Marshes – while we’d love to welcome you, the government guidelines on social distancing and maximum gathering sizes measures mean we cannot safely accommodate the usual large numbers of people who visit us.

Please visit starlingsintheuk.co.uk to find out where your local alternative roost is to visit  – we’d hate for you to be disappointed on arrival here at RSPB Ham Wall. If you’re travelling from further afield, there is also a great range of our other reserves that host starling murmurations that are worthwhile visiting instead, including:

 If the Avalon Marshes roost is your local roost, and you choose to visit us, please remember that the experience you may be used to at the reserve will not be the same this year. We ask that you plan your visit carefully and read the following guidelines to avoid disappointment:

  • Our car park will have limited spaces available for visitors – please do not be surprised if we have to turn you away due to reaching our site capacity. Please do not park on the road – be considerate of our neighbours and the need for emergency vehicle access at all times. If the car park is full or closed, then the site is at capacity – please return to visit the roost another day or choose a different roost to visit
  • We ask that all visitors be considerate of each other and work together to ensure that everyone can view the starlings safely, maintaining social distancing at all times. Please wear a face covering if you are able to wear one
  • The maximum group size able to visit our reserves together is 6, unless you are from the same household or bubble. Groups who do not follow this legal requirement will be asked not to enter our reserve.
  • Be mindful that our sites have a reduced toilet availability due to extended cleaning regimes
  • During weekends and over the Christmas period, we usually experience the highest number of visitors. Consider visiting outside of peak times such as weekdays or in the morning as the sun rises when the birds fly up spectacularly from the reedbeds. If you’d like to visit the reserve in the daytime instead, we also have some fantastic other wildlife to see such as bitterns, marsh harriers and majestic great white egrets
  • Parking costs £3 per car or is free for RSPB members (display membership card on your dash) in the RSPB Ham Wall car park. Payment is taken via credit or debit card. We will not be able to lend out RADAR keys for those planning to use our reserve blue badge parking so please bring your own with you
  • Be mindful of the sensitive habitat around the reserve – please stick to the paths and bring a torch to help you find your way in the dark. Please note that dogs are only permitted on the main track and footpath running along the Glastonbury canal (Red Route) at RSPB Ham Wall and must be kept on a lead at all times. Dogs are not permitted on Shapwick Heath NNR
  • There are no bins at any of the sites across the Avalon Marshes, so please take your rubbish home with you to avoid it harming our sensitive wildlife

We understand that a visit to the Avalon Marshes starling roost is an annual tradition for many and naturally people will be disappointed that the experience will not be the same this year. However, it is necessary that we ask people to consider everyone’s safety before visiting, including our own staff and volunteers as well as other site visitors. We hope that you are able to find an alternative roost to visit that you can enjoy safely, and the Avalon Marshes starlings will be here to greet you once it is safe for large groups to gather again.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Winter reeds at dusk

Winter reeds

Winter light makes for wonderful light, a good time to be out with your camera. Walking to see the starlings late afternoon and this this view caught my eye! Always carry your camera with you when you are exploring the… Read more…



Natural England fencing project Shapwick heath

Apprentices’ Fencing Project

Recently we have been working on a fencing project for Natural England on the Canada Farm side of Shapwick Heath NNR. We put in a 30m stretch of post and wire fencing to help control the stock (mainly cattle) that… Read more…



Catcott boardwalk built by royal navy

Royal Navy at Calcott

Members of the 815 Squadron’s 234 Lynx Flight spent a week working at Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Catcott Nature Reserves. They worked hard building a raised boardwalk through an area of wet woodland, helping ensure access for the public at any… Read more…



School children creative project local

The marshes are alive with the sound of music

Children and adults visited the Red Brick Building to celebrate the Avalon Marshes through poetry, stories, artwork and music.  The event featured work by local school children and students inspired by the local wetland landscape and was organised by the… Read more…



South Drain landscape photography avalon marshes

Autumn works

On a lovely autumn day the Environment Agency’s long reach machine is hard at work clearing summer weed from the South Drain. The Autumn colours in the Avalon Marshes are wonderful in the early morning and late afternoon light! More… Read more…



Prehistoric sweet track shapwick heath

5814 year delay at an end!

Avalon Marshes’ Hands on Heritage volunteers have been working hard in experimental archaeology to create a reproduction of the Sweet Track at Shapwick Heath NNR. The replica, which has been built using traditional methods and design, is situated near the site… Read more…



digital media project with Will Bix of Somerset Film

Digital media project for schools underway

Sights & Sounds of the Marshes is a digital media project delivered by our partners at Somerset Film and funded by the Hertiage Lottery Fund.  Local school and college children are being given the opportunity to explore the landscape through… Read more…



archive photography of local industry agriculture history and social domestic life

Help us to create ‘footprints of the past’

The Images of Avalon archive would like to scan images that you have to create a unique look into the life of the Avalon Marshes area. We’re looking for images of people, places, and landscape that show aspects of industry,… Read more…



Glastonbury Lake Village excavation

Lake Village Excavation

The world famous Glastonbury Lake Village provided the first clear evidence of the presence of Iron Age settlers in the Avalon Marshes when it was discovered in the early 20th Century. The wood from the buildings has been miraculously preserved… Read more…



2014 Avalon Marshes Festival at Edington Church in the churchyard

2014 Avalon Marshes Festival

Butterflies, Birds and Bugs: Wildlife in a churchyard. This event was part of the festival and took place at Edington Church. The 2014 Avalon Marshes Festival has been a huge success with most walks and tours fully sold out, talks… Read more…