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The Avalon Marshes
The Avalon Marshes is a spectacular and beautiful lowland wetland area with lush vegetation and a high level of wildlife. It is framed by the Mendip Hills to the north and the Poldens ridge to the south. On a map it is a wash of blue as a result of the myriad of ditches, rhynes and waterways that have re-claimed the land through drainage. Glastonbury town is the highest of a series of ‘islands’ that intersect the surrounding Marshes and the history and influence of the town has played a major role in the area. Described by many as being the most evocative part of Somerset, it has a distinct atmospheric feel and character.
This wetland has been constantly exploited, altered and managed by humans over the last 10,000 years leaving behind a uniquely rich archaeological heritage miraculously preserved in the waterlogged peat. The floodplain is covered by peat deposits up to 8m deep, sitting on top of earlier silts and clay. The acid peat soils of much of the valley support a rare grassland flora and fauna but are vulnerable to wastage resulting from desiccation. Either side of the River Brue alluvial deposits cap the peat and provide some protection from drying out.
Wetlands provide wonderful habitats for a huge range of species and the Avalon Marshes is no exception a mini-wilderness teeming with wildlife and acting as a crucial home and link for native and migratory species. The Avalon Marshes is sought out as a place for escape from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities and for its unparalleled access to nature.
The Landscape Partnership is an ambitious and visionary scheme for the Avalon Marshes in Somerset and has been awarded a £1,772,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The support from HLF plus further local income raises a total of £2.5 million to be invested in landscape, heritage and training projects which celebrate the area’s rich 6,500 year history. The Scheme runs from 2012 to the end of 2015.
The partnership is made up of English Heritage, Environment Agency, Hawk & Owl Trust, Natural England, RSPB, Somerset County Council and Somerset Wildlife Trust. The project also employs six staff who are based at the Avalon Marshes Centre - contact details are email: phone: 01458 860556.
The scheme also includes an annual festival. The purpose of the Festival was to encourage people to discover what makes this wetland landscape in Somerset such a special place: a meeting point of wildlife; buried archaeology and stories of the past; sustainably farmed foods; wetland crafts and cultural heritage and arts.
The first festival took place at the end of July 2013. To find out more and to see a record of the festival please go to the Avalon Marshes Festival page.
The Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership is a collaboration of conservation focused organisations working with local people, stakeholders and communities to deliver projects and activities that boost and enhance the wildlife and cultural heritage in the Avalon Marshes.
Working in partnership to celebrate the landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Avalon Marshes.
A1 To conserve and restore key heritage features and assets for environmental benefits and future generations.
A2 To tell and celebrate the complete story of the landscape including the future of the wetland, through the participation and enthusiasm of local communities, volunteers and visitors.
A3 Sustainably improve access and visitor experiences across the Avalon Marshes, increasing opportunities for exploration, learning and understanding.
A4 Embed skills and training in local community enthusiasts and volunteers for personal development, economic benefit and the long-term assistance to management and conservation of the landscape.
Phone - 01458 860556.
Email - email@example.com
We can be found at:
Avalon Marshes Centre, Shapwick Road, Westhay, Somerset, BA6 9TT
Scheme Manager Alex Sherman firstname.lastname@example.org
Commmunity Heritage Officer Tanya Camberwell email@example.com
Volunteer Development Officer Kevin Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
Heritage Education Officer Amy Stone email@example.com
Finance Officer Trevor Lethaby firstname.lastname@example.org
Administration Officer Mike Woodhead email@example.com
The Avalon Marshes is a lowland wetland area with lush vegetation and a high level of biodiversity that sits between the Mendip Hills in the north and the Poldens ridge in the south. It comprises the land of the Brue Valley beneath the 10 metre contour and includes the higher land of Glastonbury town, the history and influence of which has played a major role in the area. Described by many as being the most evocative area of Somerset, it has a distinct atmospheric feel and character.
This wetland has been constantly exploited, altered and managed by humans over the last 10,000 years leaving behind a uniquely rich archaeological heritage miraculously preserved in the waterlogged peat.
Wide open views across the wetlands are framed by the Mendip Hills to the north and the Poldens ridge in the south with Glastonbury Tor visible as a central reference point.
The soundscape is over-whelming, dominated by many layers of bird song with occasional silences revealing the remoteness of the marshes. Populated by small farms, the fields are home to many rare breeds of cattle and sheep including Ruby Devonshire Reds and Highland Longhorns.
As a level landscape, cycling and walking are popular and by escaping the car, visitors discover the lush greenery and ever-present water as well as escapism and solitude. The trained eye can spot features and evidence of the history of the landscape that has created what is present today peat troughs cut by hand, rhynes, abandoned railway lines and canals leading to Glastonbury.
The Avalon Marshes is justly beloved by the people that know it and is an unparalleled focal point combining huge abundance of wildlife with cultural heritage.
The Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership spent 2011 developing a Landscape Conservation Action Plan in collaboration with many stakeholders and local people. In short, this is a document which encapsulates the specific natural and cultural heritage attributes of the area and how it has evolved.
This leads to contemporary and forecast issues and immediate priorities interpreted into the projects that are supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
1.1 Executive Summary
1.3 Understanding the Avalon Marshes
1.4 Statement of Significance
1.5 Risks & Opportunities
1.6 Aims & Objectives to deliver the AMLP
1.7 Landscape Partnership plan & costs
1.10 Adoption and review
1.11 Full Project List 10 11 11