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A circular walk through the newly created Steart Marshes along well made pathways, with an optional extension to the breach in the former sea defences on the River Parrett.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
If you are travelling by bus, start at (D/A), if you are arriving by car, start at (4).
(D/A) From the Crossway Farm bus stop/main road, walk into Combwich down Brookside Road. You can top up on supplies at the Combwich Post Office and Stores 100m on your left, there are no refreshments on the reserve.
(1) 100m beyond the post office, take the narrow road to the right of the white house (Herons’ Brook) onto Riverside, the sign can’t be seen until you are on the road, though it is marked with the England Coast Path sign to Combwich Pill. Stay on Riverside to the end, about 200m.
(2) Riverside takes a sharp left and turns into Ship Lane, don’t go up Ship Lane, but bear right onto the bridleway, walking alongside Combwich Common. Keep on this track for 50m until you see the gate and signs for WWT Steart Marshes.
(3) Enter the reserve through the wooden gates. From the gates, you are in the reserve and will walk along the signposted and maintained pathways. Otterhampton Marsh is the first area you’ll walk through which is coastal marsh. Depending on the time of year, you will see a variety of birds, other wildlife and grazing stock. There is only one path to follow, taking you past a viewing platform, following signs to the WWT main car park. After 2.5 km you will reach the main entrance, car park and toilets, which are across the road. There are a number of different walks around the reserve. This walk is circular, you can see different parts of the reserve before returning to Combwich.
(4) From the main entrance, follow the path and signs to either Quantock View Point or Mendip Hide, you can stop off at both hides for a spot of birdwatching. The hides at Quantock View Point look out across to the villages of Otterhampton and Stockland Bristol with the Quantock Hills in the background.
(5) From Mendip Hide you can look out over Steart Marsh, the main saltmarsh area, with extensive views across the Parrett estuary to Brent Knoll and the Mendips beyond. In the winter you’ll be treated to the site of thousands of migrating birds. The highest tides are particularly spectacular. When you’ve finished, follow signs from either hide to the River Parrett.
(6) When you reach the Parrett, turn right and walk on the path with views over the River Parrett on your left, back towards Combwich. It is 1.6km back to the original entrance. If you started from the main road in Combwich, retrace steps to (D/A). If you started at the car park, then turn back into the reserve through the wooden gates on your right at Combwich Common.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 30ft - The Crossway Farm
1 : mi 0.35 - alt. 26ft - Post Office
2 : mi 0.57 - alt. 26ft - Bridleway to Combwich Common
3 : mi 0.69 - alt. 23ft - Gate
4 : mi 2.1 - alt. 20ft - Main entrance
5 : mi 2.41 - alt. 16ft - Mendip Hide
6 : mi 2.89 - alt. 10ft
D/A : mi 4.31 - alt. 30ft - The Crossway Farm
Hundreds of hectares of new saltmarsh and freshwater habitats have been created at the Steart Peninsula, demonstrating how wetlands work for wildlife and people. Thousands of waders and wildfowl flock to the site, particularly in the winter. The site is a haven for wildlife including Roe Deer, Otters and Brown Hare.
The site has excellent accessible paths for walkers, cyclists, mobility scooters and horse riders, subject to a few local restrictions. The three hides, toilets and 2.1m height restriction on the car park are open every day except Christmas Day 9am – 4.30pm. Admission is free.
Dogs are welcome on most paths but must be kept under close control at all times. There are no dog waste or litter bins on site, so please take all your rubbish home with you.
Public transport : Limited bus service from Bridgwater.
Public Toilets : Main WWT car park at Stert Drove
Parking : Main WWT car park at Stert Drove (4). GR®: ST254421
For more information : www.wwt.org.uk/steart
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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