Natural England - Shapwick Heath NNR

Shapwick Heath NNR

“Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve is not only a fantastic place to see wildlife, but a monument to the history and ingenuity of Neolithic man preserved through the amazing Sweet Track. It’s a unique window to the past and a place everyone should try to visit.”
Simon Clarke, Senior Reserve Manager

Open water, Shapwick Heath

Where: Somerset

Main habitat: Peatland and reed beds

Why visit: Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve is a superb place to watch wildlife. This magnificent wetland reserve is managed by Natural England and covers over 500 ha at the heart of the Somerset Levels and Moors. It’s an area that’s steeped in history, and an atmospheric landscape of great skies and endless horizons.

Habitats include lush green wildflower meadows; still, dark ditches; damp, secretive fens, shady, wet fern woods; and open water, fringed with rustling reedbeds.

Marvel at the huge flocks of starlings coming into to roost in winter and the spring migration of hobbies arriving from tropical Africa. Shapwick Heath is also the location of the Neolithic Sweet Track, the oldest man-made routeway in Britain.

Star species: Otters, bitterns, marsh harriers

Access: There are eight trails across the reserve. The old railway track from Shapwick Road to Ashcott Corner is suitable for wheelchairs and great for cycling.

Other nearby attractions: The National Nature Reserves of Ham Wall (RSPB), Westhay Moor (Somerset Wildlife Trust) and Shapwick Moor (Hawk and Owl Trust) are all within two miles of Shapwick.

Further information

For enquiries and further information contact 01458 860120 or email somerset@naturalengland.org.uk