Habitat: Reedbed, open water, raised bog, damp deciduous woodland, pasture
Grid ref for car park ST457437, BA6 9TX
Good all year, Westhay Moor is similar to Shapwick Heath but less busy, and also has its own special features.
From the car park walk north – further along Dagg’s Lane Drove are a blind and a boardwalk leading to a small hide, but first is the interpretive hide (two Penduline Tits wintered here in 1997). Go left along the grass cross-drove which starts here – the birches, alders and Scots pines hold common woodland species, with Redpolls and Siskins in winter. Partway along, a gate on the left leads to the raised bog. A rare habitat, unique in Somerset, it is most interesting for its plants and invertebrates, but occasionally attracts Tree Pipit (summer), Jack Snipe or Short-eared Owl (winter). A loop track right of the cross-drove leads to a small raised hide overlooking the central reed bed. All the expected species are here, including Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tit; in summer Cuckoo and Hobby are regular.
At the western end of the cross-drove is London Drove, probably the best area, especially in winter. A short path opposite leads to a hide overlooking a reedy lake, but along the drove to the right Ten-Acre Lake and the ‘Back Pool’ usually hold more birds, including Great White Egret, Goosander, and perhaps Goldeneye or a rarer duck. The ivy-covered trees have attracted wintering Yellow-browed Warbler and Firecrests; Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests are regular.
Past summer rarities include Red-footed Falcon and White-winged Black Tern. In winter Whooper or Bewick’s Swans sometimes frequent the fields opposite the car park.
The Reserve is brown signed off the B3151 Glastonbury–Wedmore road. Turn east on a sharp bend (from the south, about 0.5 miles out of Westhay village, and from the north, just after Sweet’s Museum) towards Godney. The (free) car park is on the left after about 1.5 miles.
Dagg’s Lane Drove and the interpretive and Island hides are wheelchair accessible. However, the cross-drove is grass on soft peat, and London Drove is very uneven in places. Some parts of both are often muddy in winter. No facilities on site; public toilets at Avalon Marshes Centre and Ham Wall.
About the Site