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A wild walk on Westhay

PUBLISHED: 16:07 13 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:08 13 August 2014

An Emperor Dragonfly by Lynne Newton

An Emperor Dragonfly by Lynne Newton

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Matthew Marshall from Somerset Wildlife Trust has set up a circular walk around one of the trust's most stunning wetland nature reserves to encourage local people to get out and explore the county's incredible wildlife and record their sightings.

The walk

WildWalks is a partnership project between The Wildlife Trusts and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). They are seeking help from amateur and specialist volunteers to log sightings and map records of plants and animals across our living landscapes and nature reserves. Recording wildlife sightings during regular walks offers an opportunity for you to be part of long-term landscape-scale conservation work. By recording how wildlife is responding to changes in land management you can help to inform Somerset Wildlife Trusts’ conservation work. To help get you started Somerset Wildlife Trust has set up a recommended WildWalk at Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve, a stunning 106 hectare nature reserve on the Somerset Levels.

Visitors to Westhay Moor can experience the local landscape as it was when the first settlers, Neolithic farmers, made the marshes home; a mosaic of wetlands, lakes and reed beds alive with hidden wildfowl and fish. Restored peat diggings have been transformed by the trust into a network of open water, reed beds and the largest surviving fragment of lowland acid mire in the south west. Westhay Moor is at the cornerstone of the trust’s Brue Valley Living Landscape Project to restore, recreate and reconnect important wildlife habitat.

So get out and explore the county’s incredible wildlife and let the trust know what you see as this is vital for on-going conservation effort. Visit somersetwildlife.org/wildwalks

1 From the car park turn right and follow the path north alongside one of the lakes formed by historic peat extraction.

2 Turn left by the pull in and head towards the Viridor Hide (A). From the hide follow the drove west past the starling sculpture depicting one of the Levels most iconic wildlife spectacles.

3 The gate here provides access into the raised mire (B). Walk through the largest remnant of lowland raised mire in south west England.

4 Follow the path right along the wooded edge, this bares left and takes you through the trees.

5 Turn right along the path on the higher ground and head back across the mire.

6 Upon reaching the gate turn right along the path before heading north at the next left. This track heads north towards the Tower Hide (C).

7 Upon leaving the Tower Hide follow the path south east through the reed bed until you reach the drove.

8 Turn left onto the drove and retrace your route past the Viridor Hide to the car park.

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