The river is wholly artificial, dug in 1940 to provide water for a Royal Ordnance Factory.
Main habitats: Woodland, Open Water, Lowland Grassland
Area: 148 Ha
Site map: Nature on the Map.
Although most NNRs are managed by Natural England, 88 are wholly or partly managed by other bodies approved by Council, under Section 35 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The Huntspill River reserve is owned and managed by the Environment Agency.
Please note that no formal public rights of way cross the site. For access details contact the Environment Agency's North Wessex Team via the Agency's enquiry number, 08708 506506.
The river's value as a drain was also recognised and retention sluices were placed at each end to create an elongated reservoir. In the winter the Huntspill is used to clear flood water from agricultural land in the Brue valley, and in the summer it is filled by water from local peat moors.
At its western end the Huntspill enters the Bridgwater Bay NNR.
Most of the grassland on the banks of the river is leased for haymaking, or grazing by cattle and sheep. The waterway holds a large stock of coarse fish and part of the reserve is leased to a local angling association.
Otters use the site and artificial holts (homes) have been constructed for their benefit. Barn owls breed in the area using boxes erected by the Hawk and Owl Trust and nearby grassland is now being managed to provide a hunting ground for these birds.
Willow and scrub are being planted in some areas to create a more natural-looking landscape, provide new habitats and increase diversity.
The area is of some archeological interest and the remains of Romano-British salt works have been found on the site.
The reserve is 0.5 km south of Huntspill village and 10 km north of the town of Bridgwater.
Westwards the site extends as far as the estuary of the River Parrett, and eastward as far as its junction with the Cripps River, 2.5 km north east of the village of Woolavington.
A number of roads cross the Huntspill, the three largest being the M5, A38 and B3141.
The nearest train station is in Bridgwater.
Local bus services are provided by First Group.
The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local villages.