Habitat: Seasonally flooded grazing marsh, fen, reedbed, carr woodland
Car park: ST401418, TA7 8NQ
Catcott Lows is the oldest and best-known part of this complex of SWT reserves, and differs from the other Avalon Marshes reserves, being primarily wet grazing marsh. Flooded in winter, it attracts large numbers of wildfowl including Pintail, Wigeon, Shoveler, and Teal, and a variety of waders, including Snipe, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, and occasional Ruff. Passage waders in spring and autumn could include Little Ringed Plover, Green and Wood Sandpipers, and Greenshank. Summer is the quietest time, but Lapwing and Redshank both breed, sometimes joined by Yellow Wagtails. Greylag Geese use the reserve as a nursery area.
The other areas of the reserve (Catcott Heath and Catcott Great Fen) are newer additions, accessed along Higher Ropes Drove, which runs east from the sharp bend in the road near the turning for the car park, and is also the access for the second hide overlooking the Lows. From a waymarked trail through damp woodland, chiefly alder carr, you can sidetrack on to a circular trail around Catcott Heath or head on to a tower hide overlooking the Great Fen, an area of reedbed and pools. From there you can retrace your steps or continue on a loop (>1km) round the reedbed back to the drove.
Raptors include Hobby (summer), Peregrine, Merlin, and occasional Hen Harrier (winter), and Marsh Harrier (all year). Great White Egrets are increasingly regular. Rarer visitors have included Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Osprey, Temminck’s Stint, White-rumped Sandpiper, and Red-backed and Great Grey Shrikes.
From A39 Bridgwater–Glastonbury road turn north through Catcott village (potentially confusing – keep going downhill and pass the Crown Inn). By the second left-hand bend turn north on to a drove road to the free car park. From the north, turn down side of the Burtle Inn in Burtle village.
Open all year. Main hide is right by car park and wheelchair accessible, but other hides are down rough tracks/grass droves. No facilities on site; nearest public toilets are at Avalon Marshes Centre (see Shapwick Heath).
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