Porlock Marsh and Porlock Weir
Habitat: Tidal marsh/mud, shingle, adjacent farmland; sea
Car parks Porlock Weir: SS865479, TA24 8PB; Bossington: SS898480, TA24 8HQ
Porlock Weir is less used for sea-watching than nearby Hurlstone Point, but can be good in similar winds (W/NW) throughout the year. In spring/summer Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars and Gannets move up-Channel on feeding forays, with a chance of Storm Petrel or Puffin in strong westerlies. Autumn rarities have included Sooty Shearwater and Little Auk, while all three commoner divers may be seen in winter, with Red-throated by far the most frequent and numerous (late November–early February). Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake occur at any time of year, most frequently during late autumn or winter storms. Gore Point, c.400 yards north of the harbour, gives the best view but is very exposed, so the preferred spot is behind the shelter of a pillbox just beyond the cottages over the footbridge across the harbour.
As the only low-lying coastal land between Minehead and the Devon border, Porlock Marsh was a magnet for migrants, including an impressive list of rarities. Since the shingle bar was permanently breached in 1996, however, the marsh has become little more than tidal creeks, and wader interest is much decreased beyond a few Oystercatchers and Redshanks. The shingle, fields and old lime kilns on the east side, accessed from Bossington, are still worth exploring though: Shore Lark, Great Grey Shrike, Black Redstart and Snow Bunting have all been recorded here in autumn/winter. Singles of Isabelline Shrike (spring) and Little Bunting (winter) have been recorded along the west side, accessed by walking back along the road from Porlock Weir.
For Bossington turn off the A39 through Allerford. From entrance of NT car park (P + D) turn right and right again and follow track and footpath to the old kilns.
For Porlock Weir take the B3225 from Porlock to the village; park only in P + D car park.
Paths on Porlock Marsh and to Gore Point are mostly flat but narrow and can be muddy, so neither site is particularly wheelchair friendly, though you can usefully sea-watch from benches in Porlock Weir car park. Toilets at both car parks, and other facilities in villages or in Porlock.
About the Site
Porlock Marsh is part of the extensive Holnicote Estate managed by the National Trust (NT).