Nature Reserves

Nature Reserves

The Somerset Levels and Moors are a haven for Wonderful Wildlife.  Avalon Marshes and its nationally important nature reserves sits at the heart of the area.  Over the last 50 years wildlife has thrived here as abandoned peat workings have been transformed and restored to lush wetlands, many of which are now designated as National Nature Reserves.

Covering around 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres), the nature reserves are a home to a broad array of wildlife and offer the chance to see some unusual species, rarely seen elsewhere. There are many habitat types to discover including open water, reed-bed, mire, fen, meadow and wet woodland. Access is provided by numerous tracks, trails and hides.

There is a general location map below and the links at the left-hand side of this page will take you to detailed information on the individual reserves. The Avalon Marshes Centre sits centrally and makes a great base from which to explore. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the area with Glastonbury and Street close by.

Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve
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Catcott Nature Reserve
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Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve
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Ham Wall National Nature Reserve
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Shapwick Moor Nature Reserve
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Huntspill River
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Advice on Visiting the Reserves:

  • There are various restrictions regarding dog walking on the nature reserves: for example, dogs are not allowed on the main areas of Shapwick Heath, Westhay Moor and Catcott.  You can find out more on the individual nature reserve pages, pick up a leaflet at the information point in the Avalon Marshes Centre, or download a copy here.
  • Wear good footwear: paths can be uneven, muddy and slippery in places. More accessibility information can be found on the individual nature reserve pages.
  • All of the larger nature reserves have car parks. Please use them wherever possible and avoid blocking gateways, droves or limiting access for emergency vehicles.  Be aware that occasionally cars do get broken into around these sites so do not leave valuables in cars, remove the parcel shelf if possible, and report any suspicious behaviour to the police.
  • None of the reserves have litter bins so please take all your waste home with you. Thank you.

Location Map

  • You get a better view full screen – click on the top right icon – the “square”
  • Now use the menu, click on name see where the feature is and find out more
  • Or, click on the feature to find out more.
  • Use the + and – to zoom in and out

Visit the Avalon Marshes

Plan your visit Places to Visit