There are always lots of exciting things going on in the Avalon Marshes including events, new species sightings and plenty of projects to restore habitats and conserve the area’s fascinating heritage. In addition to this news section you can keep in touch via the Avalon Marshes Facebook page which is updated on a regular basis and via our e-news “Messages from the Marshes” which is emailed out periodically. Sign up here to receive Messages from the Marshes.

Clockwise from left: Grass snake, scarce chaser dragonfly, white admiral butterfly, green tiger beetle. 
Photos from Rob Balch, Deon Warner, Bill Urwin and Julie Merrett

Shapwick Heath NNR Newsletter Apr – June

Catch up with all the hard work from the Natural England’s Somerset National Nature Reserves team with their latest newsletter covering April to June. This issue includes news about species surveys, brush cutting and white admirals alongside wildlife highlights from… Read more…

Cover page of the Visit Somerset E-Book; image of Dunster Castle near Minehead, Somerset.

A Celebration of Somerset

  A new ebook, launched to showcase the county of Somerset, is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK. Compiled by renowned photographer Ian Brodie on behalf of Visit Somerset, ‘Visit Somerset: History and Heritage’ exhibits… Read more…

Children dressed as Romans

Invasion at the Avalon Marshes Centre

The South West Heritage Trust’s historic replica buildings have seen lots of action since our last update, including their first public open days and group visits. The scaffolding from the outside of the Romano-British dining room has been removed and… Read more…

Image of the front cover of the Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve guie

New Shapwick Heath FSC Guide

  We are delighted to report that Natural England has launched its new Field Studies Centre guide to Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve (NNR) at the Avalon Marshes Open Day on Sunday 5th June. Designed by the Somerset NNR team… Read more…

Stephen Moss in front of his on screen presentation at Strode Thare in Street, Somerset.

Not the Norfolk Broads!

  The Avalon Marshes was recently described by Stephen Moss on Radio 4’s Today programme as one of the best new places to see wildlife in the whole of the country. Well, the weekend of 4 / 5 June proved… Read more…

Training course participants out in the Avalon Marshes looking at wet grassland.

Wet grassland for farming and wildlife

  Much of the focus in the Avalon Marshes has been on the nature reserves which lie at its heart.  However, most of the area is characterised by wet grassland which has been farmed since the area was drained.  The… Read more…

Image showing exposed foundations of the early Norman and late 13th century (possibly 1274 AD rebuild) chapel walls.

Beckery Chapel opened up

  The chapels on Beckery island have been uncovered again for the first time in 50 years. Glastonbury Abbey sources from the 12th century link the chapel to King Arthur, who had a vision of Mary Magdelene and the infant… Read more…

Shapwick Heath Newsletter issue 20

Shapwick Heath – Volunteer and reserve news Issue 20

Booming Bitterns, Tower Hides, Grasslands and Livestock plus much more in the latest newsletter from the Shapwick Heath NNR team. Great artcles and up to date news from Natural England about the goings on at Shapwick Heath NNR. To download… Read more…

Tower hide view soft peat

Soft peat, tower views!

Shapwick Tower Hide awaiting its superstructure Hides, especially tower hides, provide a great location to see wildlife with minimal disturbance, shelter from the elements and fantastic vistas over the magical Avalon Marshes landscape. However, two key challenges face the teams… Read more…


What a difference a day makes!

  As you will know, Easter weekend this year was a real mixed bag of weather. Inevitably this was reflected in the visitor numbers to the Avalon Marshes reserves, picked up by the new visitor counters. These have been installed… Read more…