Somerset Wildlife Trust

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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.

Spring has sprung!

Bittern2 cpt Tim StentonSpring is a brilliant time to get out and enjoy all that Somerset Wildlife Trust nature reserves have to offer! Some highlights/ suggestions include:

  • Ancient semi-natural woodland spring flora including carpets of Bluebells, Wood Anemone and Primroses at sites such as Kings Castle Wood (Wells), Long Wood (Cheddar complex), Thurlbear (Blackdowns), Great Breach Wood (Poldens) and Langford Heathfield (near Wellington).
  • The sights and sounds of the reed beds, wet grasslands and fens at our Avalon Marshes nature reserves including SWT Catcott complex and SWT Westhay Moor. Bittern boom through the Spring and you may see Marsh Harriers doing their aerial display over the reed beds. At Catcott Lows, Lapwing and Snipe will be doing their Spring displays. Early morning or evening are the best times to visit.
  • Spring flora of our limestone grasslands will be visible, including Cowslips, Thyme and Salad Burnet. Great places to visit include SWT Black Rock, Draycott Sleights and Ubley Warren (Mendip Hills) and SWT New Hill & Gilling Down (Poldens).

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.