Somerset Nature Reserves
Somerset Wildlife Trust protects some of the county's most threatened habitats and precious species within its nature reserves. They are great places to enjoy and explore the amazing wildlife and landscapes we have on our doorstep. There are many opportunities to get close to nature and see some very special wildlife.
We manage 72 nature reserves across Somerset, which cover an area of 1,720 hectares (roughly equivalent in size to 2,000 football pitches). Some of our nature reserves are very large and link to adjacent sites to create a complex, while others are a cluster of fields or woodlands. Our largest nature reserve that we manage is Yoxter (228 hectares) and the smallest is Wadbury Bat House in East Mendip.
The Somerset Nature Reserves Fund
Last year we launched The Somerset Nature Reserves Fund – a new annual fund to provide vital additional money we need to invest in the long term future of our nature reserves. Our reserves are the bedrock upon which we are able to deliver our core conservation programmes and how we provide secure and long-lasting homes for vulnerable species across the county. We still need to invest more than we are currently able to do and so I am asking if you can help us this year. For more information and to donate, please click here.
Discover Somerset's Spring Walks
With Spring now on its way, we wanted to share with you some of the amazing walks you can enjoy on our nature reserves.
Long Wood, Black Rock and Velvet Bottom are all part of our Cheddar Complex:
Long Wood, one of our oldest nature reserves, filled with ancient, semi-natural woodland dating back to the 13th century and is a particularly great walk during Spring as Bluebells will have bloomed and make a striking contrast against the Wild Garlic
Black Rock is great for exploring rocky outcrops, as well as it’s flower rich limestone grassland. Wherever you go you won’t escape it’s intriguing industrial heritage.
Velvet Bottom lies on the floor of a dry river valley, and is filled with rough grassland and pockets of woodland and scrub. Walking through you will see lots of evidence of it’s lead mining history, and will easily be able to extend yourvisit to Ubley Warren reserve which is home to a wide variety of butterfly species.
Also on the levels you can...
Explore a mosaic of wildlife habitat at Westhay Moor
Part of the Avalon marshes, Westhay Moor is set within Somerset’s historic Levels and Moors, and provides a unique insight into 6,000 years of shifting landscapes. The mosaic of habitats is home to a vast array of wildlife all year round, however in spring keep your eyes to the skies to see a Marsh Harriers or a Hobby soaring overhead and keep a watchful eye on the reedbeds to spot Bearded Reedlings.
Witness a landscape shaped through time at Catcott
Our Catcott Complex is one of the lowest points in the Avalon Marshes, and to provide the perfect habitat for wildlife all year round the wetland reserve’s water level is carefully controlled. During the Spring wintering birds leave the reserve and as the water level lowers an array of passage birds arrive, including Whimbrel , Greenshank, and Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit
Did you know?
- In the Brue Valley area alone, volunteers contributed over 1700 hours of their time to help manage our nature reserves during 2015.
- Across the whole of our reserves during the same period, over 6500 hours of activities were undertaken by volunteers.
- Corporate volunteering has clocked up over 930 hours, or 124 days of conservation action in the year 2014-15
- We have around 40 grazing contractors and provide employment for many other local contractors.
- That (on average) at least 50 visitors a day visit our Westhay Moor nature reserve.
- We provide 1,110 hectares of open access for people to enjoy our outstanding nature reserves.
Where to visit?
Our nature reserves are maked on the map below or an A-Z list can be found to the left. You can also download our Nature Reserves Guide.
Picture: LongowoodBluebells - Jeff Bevan