Bird Watching in Somerset

The Walnut Tree, near Taunton in Somerset makes the ideal location for birding holidays. Somerset has more National Nature Reserves than any other County in the South West and The Walnut Tree Hotel is within striking distance of many of them. We regularly host large parties of bird watchers and here are some of their favoured local spots.

Bird Watching Break – 3rd to 5th June

On the first weekend in June, we are hosting a special bird watching weekend break, offering you a chance to experience some of the great birdwatching on offer around Somerset, guided by a local expert.

Steart Marshes

A wild, wetland landscape created by the WWT and the Environment Agency – one of the UK’s largest new wetland reserves. Hundreds of hectares of saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands provide habitat for a rich mix of wetland wildlife including otters, egrets, owls waders and wildfowl.

Ham Wall

Ham Wall is a newly created Wetland, which provides a safe-haven for many rare species including water voles and otters. In spring the reed beds are alive with birdsong and in autumn you can see kingfishers flashing up and down the ditches. Bitterns are seen regularly all year round. About a 30 minute drive from The Walnut Tree Hotel.

Shapwick Heath

Managed by Natural England this area of wetland covers over 500 hectares at the heart of the Somerset Levels and Moors. An incredible 64 different species of birds nest at Shapwick, including Cetti’s warbler and great-crested grebes, while dragonflies and over 27 species of butterfly abound in the summer. These include the silver washed fritillary, purple hairstreak and orange-tip. About a 25 minute drive from The Walnut Tree Hotel.

Bridgwater Bay

This reserve consists largely of intertidal mudflats with saltmarsh, sandflats and shingle ridges. The Bristol Channel has the second largest tidal range in the world and this exposes huge mudflats and sand banks in the area. As a result of this the site has an important bird population with approximately 190 species recorded on the reserve. Large numbers of wintering waders and waterfowl visit the site and some species use the area as a stop-off on migration routes. About a 20 minute drive from The Walnut Tree Hotel.

Dunkery and Horner Wood

Dunkery & Horner Wood NNR is owned and managed by the National Trust as the majority of the reserve is within the grounds of the Holnicote Estate. Horner Wood is an ancient oakwood and local birdlife includes the pied flycatcher, wood warbler, lesser-spotted woodpecker, redstart and dipper. The upland area exhibits a complete range of heathland habitats showing a transition from ‘true’ upland down to lowland heath. Moorland birds seen here include stonechat and whinchat, curlew, ring ouzel and merlin. About a 60 minute drive from The Walnut Tree Hotel. For more information about packages for bird watching holidays for large groups, call us on 01278 662 255 or email