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.
Summer is here!! - why not try exploring these special grassland sites?
There are 72 sites to explore, but here are some suggestions for nature reserves to visit this summer that have hay meadows (likely to be cut around the 15 July but still worth a visit anyway) and species rich pasture grazed by livestock:
On the Mendip Hills, there is Edford meadow, Cooks fields, Middledown, Draycott Sleights, Black Rock, Hollow Marsh and Cockles Fields, some of which form part of the Magnificent meadows programme.
In the Blackdown Hills, there are some hidden gems to discover including Yarty Moor, Wellington Castlefields, Ringdown, Brimley Hill mire and Bishopswood meadows.
The Poldens Hills are a superb place to visit at this time of year, with sites including Green Down (home of the large blue butterfly), New Hill & Tannager, Gilling Down and Prospect Fields.
Down in the Brue valley in the Levels and Moors, the fen meadows at Catcott Complex are looking amazing and buzzing with activity.
We recommend that you contact us for more information about where to park and how best to access these sites and we can send you a map. We plan to have maps for all our reserves available as a download by this Autumn.
Please send us your suggestions for your favourite summer walks on Somerset Wildlife Trust nature reserves and we will publish the top 5 on our website! Please send your suggestions here.
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.
Did you know?
- In the Mendip area alone, volunteers contributed over 2104 hours of their time to help manage our nature reserves from April 2014-March 2015.
- 8755 hours of ‘organised volunteering’ activities took place on our nature reserves across Somerset last year. This equates to 1167 days!
- Corporate volunteering has clocked up 937 hours, or 125 days of conservation action.
- We have around forty grazing contractors and provide employment for many other local contractors.
- That 55,000 visitors per year visit our Black Rock reserve (Mendips).
- We provide 1,110 hectares of open access for people to enjoy our oustanding nature reserves.
- 682 school children got their hands dirty on our nature reserves in the 2012/13 academic year.