As well as its major attractions the Avalon Marshes has medieval buildings, attractive villages, ancient trackways, a legacy of war and much more. Some of these lie on our heritage walk and cycle routes. Here are a few suggestions:
The world famous Sweet Track is a timber walkway which crossed the reed swamp of the Avalon Marshes in Neolithic times. Lost for thousands of years it was discovered by peat digger Ray Sweet in the early 1970s. At Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve you can walk along the route of the track, see a replica section in the reedbeds and take in the atmosphere of a very different world.
The Fish House at Meare is the only surviving monastic fishery building in England. The building sits in an ancient landscape adjoining Manor House Farm and Meare’s attractive church. Find out more about the Meare and the Abbey. English Heritage’s website also has more information.
This part of Glastonbury used to be a large complex of industrial buildings, processing sheepskins into products such as flying boots, slippers and coats. Although the industry has moved on, several of the buildings, including the Red Brick Building, remain. Rescued from demolition it has been converted into a thriving community hub with a café restaurant, craft units and activity space. Around the corner is the site of Beckery Chapel . To find out more go to the Red Brick Building website.
The village of Shapwick has many attractive buildings and a wealth of history. It is a “Be Thankful” village, a settlement from which all their members of the armed forces survived World War I. The wider parish is one of the most studied in England; it was the focus of many years work led by Time Team’s Mick Aston and Professor Chris Gerrard. You can find out more about Shapwick on the Wikipedia website.
Godney is an interesting, linear village sitting on the banks of the river Sheppey. It also sits on the World War 2 defensive GHQ “Green Line”. This was built in 1940 to protect Bristol in the case of invasion. In Upper Godney you will find defensive pill boxes sitting in the pastoral landscape. The Wikipedia website entry tells you more about the Green Line.