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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 Avalon Marshes, lots to enjoy and remember.

Almost a perfect reflection?

Winter trees on an afternoon walk

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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 are being used to graze this section of the site. We put in a series of 8ft posts by hand using a drivel and installed 2 box strainers to support the fence at the turning point and the end. We then strung the three strands of barbed wire and tensioned them using monkey strainers. Two volunteers, John and Julia from the Somerset Wildlife Trust, came out with us on the day – huge thanks to them for being a pleasure to work with and for helping us get the job done on time!

Text by Susie Robson, Avalon Marshes Apprentice.

Photo – Shayl Renyard, Avalon Mashes Apprentice.


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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 time of the year. Funding was provided by the Heritage Lottery Funded Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership.

Mark Blake, SWT’s Avalon Marshes Reserves manager, said:

“The Catcott complex of nature reserves are a series of semi natural habitats managed by the Trust, with some still under restoration. The reserves sit within a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest and are a mecca for wildlife such as otters, rare insects, amphibians and birds of prey. The Trust’s aim at Catcott is to maintain a favorable environment for the wildlife at the same time as providing access for the public to come and enjoy the reserves.”

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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 Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership.

As part of the project, school children spend two days exploring the wetland wildlife and heritage and producing stories and poetry with storyteller Jane Flood, and Somerset Film work with primary and secondary pupils to tell stories of the landscape through digital media such as film and animation.  The results were presented at the event with over 50 people taking part.  One teacher whose class was involved said ‘The Avalon Marshes is a beautiful landscape, it is a wonderful place for children to experience the natural world and regardless of how many times we visit children always enjoy their trip and return with different perspectives.’

Also taking part was artist Ruth Worsley working with children to create flags and banners using natural wetland materials, and Ivor Hancock demonstrating willow weaving.  Pupils’ work on display came from many schools including Walton, Mark, St Joseph’s & St Teresa’s in Wells, Meare and Millfield Prep – as well as from children who are home educated.  Two A Level music students from Strode College also performed pieces they wrote in response to a visit to the Avalon Marshes.

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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 autumn colour, Dog Rose on Shapwick Heath

Autumn Berries Dog Rose Shapwick Heath

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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 of the real Sweet Track which is preserved by the waterlogged peat of the Avalon Marshes.

Although the modern trackway is open to view, you will have to wait until later in the winter 2014/15 before you can follow in the footsteps of prehistoric man.

Find out more about the Hands on Heritage works by visiting the Avalon Archaeology Blog


The ‘Hands on Heritage’ project is part of the Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership scheme; a three-year venture funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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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 digital stories, film, radio and audio recordings.

Year 2 children at St Joseph’s & St Theresa’s School in Wells took part in the project just before the summer holidays. The pupils researched wetland wildlife and learnt about photography, then visited Shapwick Heath NNR to photograph the wildlife they had researched.  The children’s ‘digital stories’ about the wildlife of the Marshes were compiled with their photos and voiceovers by Will Bix of Somerset Film. Here is a video about them making those stories.

There are still spaces to take part in this project. Teachers from primary or secondary schools should contact Amy Stone at the Avalon Marshes Landcsape Partnership if they are interested.

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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, agriculture, history, and social and domestic life.

The Images of Avalon is a community orientated multi-layer project focused on the landscape and cultural heritage of the Avalon Marshes area, and it includes:
Phase 1: ‘Then and Now’ – A photographic competition and exhibition of entries that will be included in the archive.
Phase 2: ‘Footprints from the past’ – To gather a collection of a digital of images to produce an archive for our website and public use.

The first phase of image collection was exhibited at Somerset Crafts centre during July 2014; the next phase is to gather images and oral accounts of the magic of the Avalon Marshes.

The images we collect will be documented and uploaded to our website allowing anyone who is interested in the Avalon Marshes to view them. They will enable people to visually explore the cultural diversity and varied history of this special landscape.
The collection will also be made available to all the partners and may be used in publications, educational, and promotional material for the benefit of everyone.

We also need volunteers to help with:
• Entering images and data onto the database and website
• Assisting with image collection and community events
• Image scanning and manipulation

If you would like to know more about the project and how you can be involved please contact:
Tanya Camberwell, The Community Heritage Officer at: or telephone 01458 860556.

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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 in the waterlogged peat and survives to this day.

In the summer of 2014, a team of archaeologists dug several test pits and trenches to check the condition of the wood and to take samples for analysis.

This short film explains all and gives the first modern day glimpse of a the foundations of a lake village occupied from 300BC to 100AD.


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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 almost packed to capacity and lots of positive feedback. We hope to see you again in 2015.