The Avalon Marshes
At the heart of the Somerset Levels and Moors, lies a beautiful area called the Avalon Marshes. The Avalon Marshes is a vibrant, working landscape, celebrated for its rich wildlife, heritage and culture. Rich meadows, small woods, reed-beds, lakes, pools, scattered villages and isolated houses all contribute to its wonderful evocative character.
The Avalon Marshes is not only one of the finest remaining lowland wetlands left in Britain but is internationally important. Throughout the year the visitor may see kingfishers, bitterns and great white egrets; in spring the reedbeds come alive with the cacophony of bird song and in winter the star attractions are the massive murmurations of starlings and flocks of wildfowl.
To find out more go to the area’s website www.avalonmarshes.org.
Somerset Wildlife Trust’s involvement
Somerset Wildlife Trust has long recognised the area’s importance. We are involved in three major projects running in the area and look after five nature reserves. The two largest, and well know reserves, are Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve and the Catcott Complex. The projects are:
- The Avalon Marshes Centre
- The Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership (AMLP).
- The Brue Valley Living Landscape project (the River Brue runs through the heart of the Avalon Marshes). To find out more visit our Brue Valley Living Landscape page.
The Avalon Marshes Centre
The Trust is working with the other Avalon Marshes partners to redevelop the Avalon Marshes Centre. It will act as an operational base for the partner organisations which manage the local nature reserves, as an educational resource for schools and other groups, and as a hub for visitors to the area. Details are on the Avalon Marshes website.
The Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership
In 2012, a partnership of Somerset Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Hawk & Owl Trust, RSPB, Somerset County Council, The Environment Agency and English Heritage was awarded a £1,772,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a Landscape Partnership scheme for the Avalon Marshes area. This is an ambitious and visionary approach in landscape scale conservation to recognise and celebrate the fantastic wildlife and cultural heritage in the area. Six themes summarise the projects within the scheme:
- Conserving the natural environment
- Conserving the built environment
- Increasing community participation
- Improving access
- Providing learning opportunities
- Developing training and skills
The support from HLF plus further local income totals over £2.5 million and is being invested in landscape, heritage and training projects. The scheme is up and running until September 2016 and is linked to the plans to improve and expand the Avalon Marshes Centre which lies at the heart of the marshes.
To find out more about this exciting project go to www.avalonmarshes.org
Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership
Avalon Marshes Centre, Shapwick Road, Westhay, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9TT