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.
Discover Somerset's Winter Wonderland Walks
Somerset’s magnificent hills, ancient woodlands and wonderful wetlands take on a magic of their own in Winter - our natural spaces turn into silent, mystical places waiting for the canvas of bare trees and hardened earth, sleeping peacefully until the Spring. A wonderful array of Somerset’s finest Winter wildlife is waiting to be discovered, from wading birds to Roe deer. Take a look below to see what you might discover near you:
Harridge Woods…for a Wonderful Winter Woodland
A truly magical place, Harridge woods features tinkling streams, ancient stoggles, otherwise known as veteran tress and the historic Keeper’s Cottage, a home to many of the 11 species of bat that can found on the reserve. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for mosses, lichens and insects, as well as darting Roe Deer.
Catcott...for a Winter World of Wading Birds
One of the lowest points in the Avalon Marshes, Catcott boasts a mosaic of hay meadows, wet woodland, grassland fen, and is internationally renowned for the vast amount of wintering birds that rest there during the colder months. You can also see stunning views across the marshes, spot Glastonbury Tor, and Peregrines, Marsh Harriers, Snipe and Redshanks can be seen overhead.
Dundon Beacon…to find a Host of Holy History
Dundon Beacon is filled with a mix of calcareous grassland, scrub and ancient oak woodland, which is steeped in history – you will come across 18th century flagstone church path which links Compton with Dundon. You can explore the ancient hill fort and the insects and plants that thrive on the species-rich grassland.
Picture: Harridge Woods ©Andrew Avery
Bishopswood Meadow…for a Frosty Foray
The River Yarty runs along Bishops Meadow, and the reserve is home to Otters, Kingfisher and Dippers. You will also find Milkham Copse, a beautiful, ancient woodland and plenty fields framed with hedgerows thick with Hazel, Hawthorn, Field Maple and Ash this time of year.
Draycott Sleights…for Super Scenic Sights
Covering fifty hectares of the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills, Draycott is renowned for its spectacular views of the Quantocks, Bristol Channel and Somerset Levels. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for Fieldfares and Redwings feeding on Hawthorn berries and Foxes, Rabbits and Stoats scuttling across the grassland.
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.