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! – get out and about and visit some of our special sites.
There are many reserves to explore but we suggest below some of them which have amazing flora and fauna to see at this time of year.
In the Blackdown Hills, reserves such as Bishopswood meadows, Quants and Ringdown offer the visitor interesting walks. Wildwalks http://www.somersetwildlife.org/wildwalks.html have been set up at Quants and Bishopswood Meadows, ideal short walks where wildlife can be seen and recorded, adding to our valuable species database.
On the Mendip Hills, grassland reserves such as Black Rock, Draycott Sleights, Edford Meadows, Cockles Fields and Cooks Fields form part of our Magnificent Meadows programme. They are at their finest during the summer months and are a great place to find butterflies such as the Chalkhill Blue, Grizzled Skipper & Dark Green Fritillary.
The Polden Hills near Somerton are a great place to visit during the summer months. The best places to see the large blue butterfly (and many other special insect species) are Green Down (that supports 23% of the UK population) and they are sometimes seen at New Hill & Tannager too.
There is lots to see at Somerset Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves in the Avalon Marshes area (Catcott Complex and Westhay Moor) and the fen meadows at Catcott Complex are particularly colourful and full of insects at this time of year.
We suggest that you contact us for more information about parking facilities and how best to access these sites.
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.