Covid-19 Update - 12th May

Following the government announcement at the weekend that people in England will be able to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday, for leisure purposes, and that households will also be able to drive to other destinations in England - such as parks and beaches, we wanted to update you on Somerset Wildlife Trust’s response.

Update for members, supporters and visitors

Following the government announcement at the weekend that people in England will be able to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday, for leisure purposes, and that households will also be able to drive to other destinations in England - such as parks and beaches, we wanted to update you on Somerset Wildlife Trust’s response.

Our priorities are to protect wildlife and act in the best interests of our staff, members, the communities around our nature reserves and the general public.

Brown hare

Brown Hare - Jim Higham

At this time our Westhay and Catcott nature reserves remain closed to the public. We will reopen these two sites when we return to full reserve staffing levels and can be certain that all measures are in place to keep visitors safe.

More importantly, these sites are home to rare and special wildlife who have acclimatised to a lack of human traffic over the past seven weeks.  We are now, during nesting bird season, seeing wildlife activity nearer to footpaths. It is therefore vital that we do not invite disruptions at this time - for example that which may occur from family groups or people walking dogs etc. When we feel wildlife is ready for us to return, we will let you know.  I know this will be a disappointment to many, but we thank you for your patience and hope to welcome you back as soon as it’s safe for people and wildlife. 

View of Catcott showing water and reed beds

Catcott - Matt Sweeting

Our other nature reserves across the county are open for people to take their exercise. Whilst the government’s latest guidance says that travelling by car for exercise is permitted, we would advise that you continue to visit reserves local to you as you may have already been doing. As many of you will know, many of our nature reserves are just that - nature reserves; really special sites for a wide range of wildlife and we manage these sites carefully to protect these species. Our sites are not public green space or visitor attractions. We have limited facilities including car parking at our sites, so please continue to be sensible about your travelling choices and when visiting, please do adhere to all government recommended precautions:

  • Wash your hands before you come to the reserves;
  • Use hand sanitiser whilst out on site after opening/closing gates if you can;
  • Ensure you wash your hands when you return home;
  • Remain at least two metres away from any other members of the public when visiting. 

It is worth noting that on many of our grassland reserves, grazing stock have returned as usual in April so please follow local signage, keep dogs on leads where requested, and ensure you leave gates as you find them. We would also like to remind people that, due to Ash Dieback, we strongly ask that you do not visit Harridge Wood, Edford Wood and Rose Wood.

Thank you for your understanding.