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Avalon Marshes

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Country Park/Nature Reserve

Avalon Marshes


Avalon Marshes
Shapwick Road


At the heart of Somerset lies a beautiful area called the Avalon Marshes, a vibrant, working landscape, celebrated for its rich wildlife, heritage and culture.  Rich meadows, small woods, reed-beds, lakes, pools and scattered villages all contribute to its evocative character.  The mystical Isle of Avalon, with Glastonbury Tor standing sentinel, looks out over the surrounding moors, which are criss-crossed by a myriad of ditches, rhynes and waterways, dug to re-claim the land through the ages.

The Avalon Marshes is internationally important and one of the finest remaining lowland wetlands left in Britain. Throughout the year the visitor may see kingfishers, bitterns and great white egrets, in spring the reed-beds come alive with bird song and in winter the star attractions are the massive murmurations of starlings and flocks of wildfowl.  Nature reserves, which are free to visit, include:

• Catcott (Somerset Wildlife Trust)
• Ham Wall (RSPB)
• Shapwick Heath (Natural England)
• Shapwick Moor (Hawk and Owl Trust)
• Westhay Moor (Somerset Wildlife Trust)

Sought out as a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life they offer unparalleled access to nature with numerous paths, trails and hides. Throughout the wider area a network of footpaths, droves, lanes and cycle-ways gives good access whether on foot, bike or in the car.

The Avalon Marshes has been constantly exploited, altered and managed by humans over the last 10,000 years leaving behind a uniquely rich archaeological heritage miraculously preserved in the waterlogged peat including prehistoric track-ways and lake villages.  You can follow the line of the Neolithic Sweet Track at Shapwick Heath or enjoy other highlights including Meare Fish House, Glastonbury Abbey and Glastonbury Tor.

The Avalon Marshes Centre
The Avalon Marshes Centre is a great place to start your visit, located at the heart of the marshes and its nature reserves.  It has a craft shop, cafe, local information and car park and is linked to Glastonbury by a mainly traffic free cycleway which runs through two of the reserves.

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