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.
Enjoy fiery Autumn colours and explore our nature reserves
Autumn is a time when our nature reserves are changing from summer greens to autumn yellows, reds and browns- in our woodlands, grasslands and wetlands. We say goodbye to our summer visitors that use our reserves for breeding and will soon be saying hello to the migrant birds as they start to arrive with us and stay for the winter months. Many species stay on our reserves all year, including the elusive bittern and the otter.
In early/mid October, there’s still lots of late summer wildlife activity on our reserves, with dragonflies and some butterflies still on the wing if you are lucky.
Highlights that we would recommend this autumn are:
- Autumn leaves, displays of autumn colours and fungi at Great Breach wood, Harridge Woods, Long Wood and Thurlbear Wood.
- Special late summer flowers including autumn lady’s tresses at Cook’s fields and species rich grasslands with late butterflies/ grasshoppers at Draycott, New Hill and Tannager and Jan Hobbs.
- Autumn migrant birds such as black tailed godwits and sandpipers plus building numbers of wildfowl at Catcott Complex- easily visible from the Lows Hide
- Westhay Moor especially early in the morning to see otters and around the island hide for the chance to see Bearded reedlings.
- Langford Heathfield for abundant devils bit scabious flowers and territorial tawny owls.
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.