15-minute drive from the Centre (6.7 ml)

Avalon Marshes Centre

At the heart of Somerset’s Levels and Moors, lies the Avalon Marshes. An area of international significance enjoyed by all.

The Bittern Trail is a tranquil family friendly cycle trail, through approximately 4 miles of the Avalon Marshes. It runs between the town centre and the Avalon Marshes Centre.

Rich meadows, small woods, reed beds, lakes, pools, scattered villages and isolated houses all contribute to the evocative nature of the landscape. The marshes are only just above sea level and are protected from the sea by slightly higher areas of lands formed of clay, known as the levels.

The Avalon Marshes is not only one of the finest remaining lowland wetlands left in Britain but is internationally important. Throughout the year, visitors may see Marsh Harriers, Bitterns (a rare type of Heron) and Great White Egrets and in the Spring the reedbeds come alive with birdsong. The Winter stars are of course the Starlings and flocks of wildfowl and visitors gather in their numbers to witness the murmurations.

This area of the Somerset Levels and Moors has been constantly exploited, altered and managed by humans over the last 10,000 years leaving behind a uniquely rich archaeological heritage, including prehistoric track-ways and lake villages, miraculously preserved in the waterlogged peat.

Evidence of their occupation is provided by many wooden trackways found preserved within the saturated peat. The Sweet Track, the oldest of these, has been dated to almost 6000 years old and is believed to be the earliest man-made roadway discovered anywhere in the world.

Later Iron Age lake villages have been discovered near Glastonbury and Meare. Again it is thought that the dwellers were nomadic folk moving down into the wetland during summer when the water levels were low. The practice gave rise to the name Summersaeta, “Land of the Summer People” from which Somerset gets its name.

Frequently asked questions about Avalon Marshes Centre

The starling murmurations at Avalon Marshes usually occur between November and February each year, with the peak season being in December and January. However, exact dates can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, so it is best to check with local wildlife organisations or the visitor centre for the latest updates and best viewing locations.

Yes, the Avalon Marshes are generally dog friendly, but it is important to keep them under control and on a leash at all times, especially in areas where there may be ground-nesting birds or grazing animals. Some of the nature reserves within the Avalon Marshes may have specific rules or restrictions, so it’s always best to check with the individual reserve or visitor centre before bringing your dog. For example, dogs are not allowed on the main areas of Shapwick Heath, Westhay Moor and Catcott. You can find out more on the individual nature reserve pages or pick up a dog walking leaflet at the information point in the Avalon Marshes Centre. Additionally, it’s important to clean up after your dog and dispose of waste properly to help protect the sensitive habitats and wildlife in the area. 

There are many dog walks around the Avalon Marshes but it is worth noting that there are various restrictions regarding dog walking on the nature reserves. For example, dogs are not allowed on the main areas of Shapwick Heath, Westhay Moor and Catcott. You can find out more on the individual nature reserve pages or pick up a dog walking leaflet at the information point in the Avalon Marshes Centre.


Yes, there is a cafe located on-site at the Avalon Marshes Centre. The Marshes Hub Tea Stop is open from 9:30am to 5pm, seven days a week, and offers indoor and outdoor seating. They serve a variety of hot and cold drinks, breakfast options, light lunch items such as soups, quiches, and toasties, as well as cream teas, homemade cakes, and specials of the day. You’ll receive a warm welcome from Sally and her team.

To find out about upcoming events at the Avalon Marshes Centre, visit their website. They host a range of events, which are organised by the Avalon Marshes partners and other organisations. Each event listing includes contact information, so if you have any questions or feedback, you can contact the organisers directly.

If you’re interested in birdwatching at the Avalon Marshes, you’ll definitely want to look out for the bittern, marsh harrier, and great white egret. To stay up to date on recent bird sightings, check out the RSPB website. There, you can find photos and blog posts from resident birdwatchers Stephen Couch and Ali Blaney, as well as sightings reported by other visitors to the area.

Contact details for Avalon Marshes Centre

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