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Westhay Moor Nature Reserve

Westhay Moor is a beautiful nature reserve to explore with its shimmering lakes and reed beds, birds singing and signs of life all around.

Exmoor ponies have now been allowed to graze through the centre paths of the reserve along Daggs lane Drove and London Drove. Please follow these safety precautions:

  • Avoid getting between animals and their young
  • Please keep dogs on a short lead
  • If ponies or cows approach do let your dog off the lead
  • Grazing animals keep the reserve at its best

Download our wonderful Westhay WildWalk here.

Wildlife Extravaganza and Family Picnic: Westhay Moor - Saturday 26 July 10am - 3.00pm. Join Somerset Wildlife Trust for a wide range of activities including wildlife activities, nature trail and guided walks with reserves staff.  Discover the secrets of Westhay Moor with pond dipping and a minibeast hunt. Challenge yourself to achieve the Hedgehog award. For more information about this great event and to book your tickets click here.

Download the Access Statement for Westhay Moor here.

Nearby Reserves

Catcott Complex
Kings Castle Wood
Draycott Sleights

Wildlife

What to see

 

Banded Demoiselle

 

Otter

 

Common Bittern

 

Osprey

Starling spotting

The Levels and Moors biggest attractions for birdwatchers - millions of starlings arriving to roost amongst the wetland reeds beds - ­ start to arrive in November and stay through to January/February.

Mild or sunny weather is the best time for spotting the starlings, as they tend to go straight to roost on wet, windy or overcast days.

During starling season the local area can get very busy so please be considerate of local residents when parking and avoid blocking gateways and access points.

For up-to-date information on where starling murmurations may be seen call the hotline which will tell you where the birds are roosting - call 07866 554142.

Wildlife

The lakes, reedbeds and woodlands of Westhay Moor provide a winter haven for many species of bird ­ some more unusual than others. Westhay’s waterways regularly play host to diving ducks such as goldeneye and goosander which fly down from their breeding grounds in Scotland and further afield. The males of both these species cut a particularly fine figure on the lakes as they dive for fish. It is also worth a winter visit to Westhay to enjoy the great congregations of mute swans swanning about on the water having moved in from the surrounding areas during cold weather.

The reedbeds provide winter shelter for other important species, including bitterns which have been regular winter visitors to Westhay’s reedbeds for years. You should listen out for the peculiar pinging call of bearded tits, an astonishing looking bird which is hopefully making a welcome recovery on the Levels.

There is more seasonal interest if you move away from the waterside and take a walk through the woods; siskins and redpolls dart around the tops of the alder trees while a lucky few will see a firecrest ­ one of the UK’s smallest but most beautiful birds. Easier to find will be redwings and fieldfares which, having arrived from Scandinavia, will flock between the trees and fields in search of food and shelter. Redwings in particular deserve a closer look, sporting a smart, streaky breast and distinguished eye-stripes.

Keep looking up as you walk out of the woods because you never know what might be passing over. Ospreys are seen each year as they pass through on migration to West Africa, while you might spot a hen harrier quartering the reedbeds or a merlin dashing after the small birds it preys on throughout the colder months

About

About Westhay Moor

Visitors to Westhay Moor nature reserve can experience the local landscape as it was when the first settlers, Neolithic farmers, made the marshes home ­- a mosaic of wetlands, lakes and reed beds alive with hidden wildfowl and fish.

Restored peat diggings have been transformed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust into a network of open water, reed bed and the largest surviving fragment of lowland acid mire in the south west.

Westhay Moor is the Trust’s only National Nature Reserve and it is at the cornerstone of our Brue Valley Living Landscape Project to restore, recreate and reconnect important wildlife habitat in the valley. The beautiful wetlands of the Brue Valley are rich with wildlife but if we don’t link up these islands of habitat and create highways our wildlife can move around we risk losing some of our most valuable species.

You can find out more about how our Brue Valley Living Landscape project is working across the landscape to protect wildlife on the Somerset Levels by clicking here.  

You can download our Westhay Moor leaflet here.

261 acres (106 ha.)

Location

Location & Access

Map

Download a map of Westhay Moor (PDF Size: 77kb)

Please do take care when visiting Westhay Moor - here are some things to be aware of.

Parking

Westhay Moor has a car park at the entrance to the reserve. Do make sure your vehicle is secure and remove any valuables from display.

Coaches and minbuses are advised to drop passangers at the entrance to the drove and not in the car park.

Wheelchair access

Two of the four bird watching hides have wheelchair access via an easy access trail and boardwalk.

Opening

The site is open to the public throughout the year and access is along rights of way or permissive reserve paths only. Due to the delicate nature of the site dogs are not allowed on the mire and should be kept on leads on permissive tracks.

How to get there

By road

Westhay Moor (ST 456 437) is north of the village of Westhay in Somerset. The car park is just off the road to Godney, at the junction with Daggs Lane Drove.

By bicycle

A National Cycle Network route runs along a disused railway line, just south of Westhay village.

Grid Reference: ST 456 437.

Events

Events Nearby

1

Thursday 24 July

Come along and have a go if you think you fancy a career in environmental conservation. Spend the morning doing practical tasks on Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve.  The Avalon Marshes Apprentices will show you how it’s done in this taster session, giving you a glimpse of what life is like for the reserves teams. You will be able to find out about their life and experiences as they set out on such a career.
 

Part of the Avalon Marshes Festival: Bringing the Landscape to Life.

One of a varied series of events in the Avalon Marshes during July.
 

For the full list of festival events click here.   For more information about this event click below.

Have you found an archaeological object that you would like to find out more about? If so then bring it along to Wells Museum where Somerset’s Finds Liaison Officer will be on hand to tell you more about what you have found.
 

Part of the Avalon Marshes Festival: Bringing the Landscape to Life.

One of a varied series of events in the Avalon Marshes during July.
 

For the full list of festival events click here.   For more information about this event click below.

David Leach of Somerset Wildlife Trust will give a talk on the relationship between man and nature and how this created the landscape of the Avalon Marshes. David is the trusts’ Living Landscape Manager for the Avalon Marshes area and has a wealth of knowledge of the work being done to conserve its diverse wildlife.
 

Part of the Avalon Marshes Festival: Bringing the Landscape to Life.

One of a varied series of events in the Avalon Marshes during July.
 

For the full list of festival events click here.   For more information about this event click below.

Friday 25 July

As part of the Avalon Marshes Farmers Market there will be guided walks onto the nearby Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve. These will be led by staff from Natural England and the Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership. The walks will be a great opportunity to find out more about this wonderful reserve, its wildlife and archaeological heritage.
 

Part of the Avalon Marshes Festival: Bringing the Landscape to Life.

One of a varied series of events in the Avalon Marshes during July.
 

For the full list of festival events click here.   For more information about this event click below.

Sample the food and drink of the Avalon Marshes and the Levels and Moors of Somerset, at the renowned Levels' Best Farmers Market. There will also be guided walks on the nearby Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve, an open day at Somerset Crafts and the Images of Avalon exhibition and prize giving.
 

Part of the Avalon Marshes Festival: Bringing the Landscape to Life.

One of a varied series of events in the Avalon Marshes during July.
 

For the full list of festival events click here.   For more information about this event click below.

Yoga is great for both mind and body. The outdoors, wildlife and water also provide these benefits. Bring these together through this very special spiritual outdoor yoga experience at Ham Wall National Nature Reserve!
 

Part of the Avalon Marshes Festival: Bringing the Landscape to Life.

One of a varied series of events in the Avalon Marshes during July.
 

For the full list of festival events click here.   For more information about this event click below.

Experienced guides from Somerset Bat Group and Natural England will lead this walk around Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve to find these elusive, fascinating creatures using bat detectors.
 

Part of the Avalon Marshes Festival: Bringing the Landscape to Life.

One of a varied series of events in the Avalon Marshes during July.
 

For the full list of festival events click here.   For more information about this event click below.

Sunday 14 September

SWT Westhay Moor Nature Reserve Birds and general interest Grid Ref: ST456 437 Leader: Phil Wright.

Saturday 18 October

Help the Hedgehogs

Make your own hedgehog box with staff and volunteers from Secret World.

Secret World Wildlife
Rescue, New Road Farm,
New Road, East Huntspill,
Highbridge, TA9 3PZ

Tuesday 28 October

Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Relocation with the staff of Secret World

Secret World Wildlife
Rescue, New Road
Farm, New Road, East
Huntspill, Highbridge,
TA9 3PZ

1

Click the following link for a full list of Somerset wildlife events

 

 



Videos of Westhay