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 as part of the Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership Scheme.

Good Friday was a glorious day and visitors to Ham Wall, Shapwick Heath and Westhay Moor approached 1,500. Numbers dropped dramatically on Saturday, when the weather was pretty atrocious, to just over 100. However, they picked up again on Sunday and Monday, when the weather was reasonable, to 600-700 per day.

So how does this compare with previous years? We only have figures for Shapwick Heath, where counters have been installed for some time and it appears that this year’s figure of 1,380 is about average, similar to 2012 and 2013, but up on 2010 and down on 2011, 2014 and 2015. The figure for 2011, 2,660, is startling, until you realise that this was an exceptional year. 2011’s “barbecue” Easter was in late April and one of the hottest on record with wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures hitting 25C across the south of England. Easter 2014, again later in April, was also sunny if not quite as hot with visitor numbers approaching 2,550 over the weekend.

Visitor numbers to the Avalon Marshes reserves have been steadily increasing over the years but clearly we can’t escape the vagaries of the weather. So let’s hope for a fine 2016 so more people can enjoy the area’s rich heritage and wildlife, set within its unique landscape.


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