Ham Wall Reserve, Somerset

RSPB Ham Wall is a 267-hectare nature reserve near Glastonbury in Somerset. The RSPB has been involved at Ham Wall for
25 years, recreating wetland from old peat working for the benefit of numerous rare and endangered species of wetland bird.

The Ham Wall Reserve is an important wetland area that attracts migratory species of birds; starling murmurings are the main attraction from late September to March and the reserve is also a significant breeding ground for the bittern. Greater and lesser egrets and little bitterns are new colonisers to the reserve as conservation work continues to reap benefits. A large proportion of bird species on the reserve and adjacent wetlands are officially “at risk”. There are birds that are now rare to the UK and are seldom seen; Savi’s Warbler being a good example and when news of a possible sighting spreads the enthusiasts are drawn out. RSPB’s conservation efforts also benefits mammals such as water voles and otters.

The reserve is very popular visitor destination with up to 70,000 people arriving each year, but some of the viewing points used
by visitors were reaching the end of their life and were in need of replacement and updating. This became the focus of an award from Valencia Communities Fund. During the project two old viewing platforms were removed and replaced with new ones to a much more robust and functional design. A group of the reserve volunteers took down and rebuilt three viewing screens to a new and more accessible design. The new interpretation panels were installed in these new viewing areas. The project also aimed to improve the available seating and bike racks for visitors and provide a place for the reserve to allow people to experience the wetland by canoe.

The canoe trail allows a closer experience with the wetlands and will increase user experience as a whole. The use of canoes
on the local rivers and rhynes has increased over the last year and helps people engage more with nature.

"Overall the project has vastly improved the visitor facilities and accessibility of the reserve and this has been reflected in the
positive comments we have received from the people who visit the site." Steve Hughes, Fundraising Manager.

Photo (C) RSPB/Paul Blackmore