Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve

Family birdwatching at Westhay

Family birdwatching from hide at Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve - Guy Edwardes

UPDATE (18 March 2024): Following the recent flooding at Westhay, all paths and hides are now open again, however there is still a lot of mud and water on site, and wellies are strongly recommended.

Westhay Moor is part of the mystical Avalon Marshes within Somerset's historic Levels and Moors. It provides a home for rare wildlife and a unique insight into thousands of years of shifting landscape.


Westhay Moor,

OS Map Reference

ST 456 437
A static map of Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve

Know before you go

106 hectares

Parking information

Reserve car park at ST 456 437 is reached via the minor road between Westhay village and Godney. Disabled parking is available. PLEASE NOTE there is a height barrier on this car park of 2.1M. A £3 carpark charge will be payable per visit from 18 Jan 2024.

Bicycle parking

Bike rack available at the reserve. National Cycle Network Route 3 runs through the village of Westhay.

Grazing animals

Yes - Exmoor ponies and cattle present in summer and autumn.

Walking trails

Starting at the car park you will be met with the first signpost that will give you the choice of taking the 3km long Otter trail, marked by Otter footprints on way-markers, or the 1.6km Coot trail, marked by Coot footprints. Whichever trail you choose they both lead to the first hide of the reserve, the Viridor Hide, and following the Otter trail you will also be led to the Tower Hide, a great place to take in the view of reedbeds and wet woodlands of Alder and Willow.

Fancy a Guided walk?


Access is along rights of way or permissive reserve paths only. There are some all weather paths but others can be very wet and muddy in winter. Several bird watching hides some with wheelchair ramps, see map.


Assistance dogs only

However, dogs on leads or under close control are allowed on the public rights of way (the droves) at Westhay Moor NNR and Catcott nature reserve.



Bird hides

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

Please note: Parking charges for all visitors using the car park at Westhay Moor NNR will apply at £3 per visit. Please visit the link below for more information.

Parking at Westhay Moor

Dogs are only allowed on the public rights of way (the droves) at Westhay Moor NNR and Catcott nature reserve. Dogs are not permitted on any central permissive paths on both reserves. On public rights of way, dogs must remain on a lead or under close control, remaining on the paths at all times, be visible and in close proximity to their owners. You can read why we have made this decision on the page below.

Dogs on Westhay and Catcott

Internationally acclaimed, Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve is one of the jewels in the crown of Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Nature Reserves and is situated in the centre of the internationally acclaimed and award-winning Avalon Marshes area on the Somerset Levels. Reclaimed from the remnants of industrial-scale peat extraction, and home to the largest surviving remnant of lowland acid mire in the South West. 

It is a mecca for wildlife all year round but particularly in the Spring when Bittern can be hear booming, and where tens of thousands of overwintering birds make it their home. It is home to 7 of the 9 UK breeding herons and has fabulous resident populations of wading birds, wildfowl and is home to otters, beguiling numbers of dragonflies and also raptors such as hobbies, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and the odd Hen Harrier.

Peat can capture a whole load of carbon so it’s becoming increasingly important as part of a broader effort for natural climate change adaptation in Somerset.

Natural England’s Shapwick Heath reserve and RSPB Ham Wall are also close.

We’ve now created a full StreetView tour of two of the reserves in the Avalon Marshes. You can access a virtual tour from the link below!  As well as viewing the virtual tours on your computer or smart phone/tablet you can also view them in a VR headset to access a fully immersive experience.

Virtual tours

Contact us

Somerset Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01823 652400

Environmental designation

National Nature Reserve (NNR)
Special Site of Scientific Interest