Coastline

Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve

The reserve consists largely of intertidal mudflats with saltmarsh, sandflats and shingle ridges, some of which are vegetated. The Bristol Channel has the second largest tidal range in the world and this exposes huge mudflats and sand banks in the area.

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.

Vegetation at the site is an important food source for some birds and parts of the saltmarsh are grazed by sheep to maintain a palatable sward for wigeon grazing. Wildfowling is permitted in some areas while the main body of the reserve is a wildlife sanctuary.From the car park in Steart village a path runs along a shingle ridge to hides at the mouth of the River Parrett. A tower observatory also provides views of the reserve.

Brean Down

One of the most dramatic landmarks on Somerset's coastline jutting out into the Bristol Channel and providing a download setting between Burnham-On-Sea to the south and Weston-super-Mare to the north.

The vegetation of the steep, rocky southern slopes and cliffs contrasts with the gentler slopes on the north side where the soil - containing wind-blown sand - is deeper. On the thin limestone, the most noticeable plant flowering in early summer is the rare White Rock Rose. It grows in abundance on Brean Down, at its most northerly world limit, and is only known to exist in two other places in Britain.

Other rare plants which grow on Brean Down include the inconspicuous Dwarf Sedge, which flowers in early spring, the late flowering Goldilocks and the Somerset Hair Grass, known only in England in the Mendips.

Butterflies and other insect life are rich on Brean Down. Butterflies regularly seen include the Common Blue, Meadow Brown and the Marbled White, while the Chalkhill Blue, whose caterpillar feeds on Horseshoe Vetch, is less common. Various species of grasshoppers can occasionally be seen, and the Bloody-Nosed Beetle can also be spotted.

Birds that are resident all year round include Sky Larks, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Great and Blue Tits and Stonechats. Jackdaws, Crows and Collared and Stock Doves nest on the cliffs, as do Kestrels which hover over the cliffs while searching for food.

As the naval military strength of France grew in the late 1850s under Napoleon III numerous forts around the south coast were built in addition to four in the Bristol Channel at Brean Down, Flat Holm, Steep Holm and Lavernock Point in Wales.

Four acres at the tip of Brean Down were requisitioned in 1862 for Brean Fort but building was not completed until 1870 due to disagreements between the contractor and government. The seven 7-inch Rifled Muzzle-Loading Cannons, which were built at Woolwich, were mounted in 1877 and each weighed 7 tons and had a 30lb charge of gunpowder able to fire a 112lb Palliser shot at 1,560 feet per second. This could pierce 8 inches of armour at 1,000 yards.

Uphill Nature Reserve

Uphill Hill Local Nature Reserve is located to the south of the village of Uphill, which is itself just south of Weston super Mare, supporting a diverse flora and valuable insect habitat.

The site lies on carboniferous limestone, which has been formed into a sheer face by quarrying at the western edge. A very diverse flora is found on the rock ledges of the disused quarry and steeper slopes of the Hill. An outstanding display of cowslips, primroses and green winged orchids covers the northern and eastern hill slopes in the Spring. The rest of the site is more level and gently sloping and consists of semi-improved calcareous grassland.

A tower tops the Hill and can be climbed for a panoramic view. Archaeological features include a disused lime kiln, a sheepwash and a powder house.


Sand Point

Sand Point is an extension of the Mendip Hills, jutting out into the Bristol Channel.  The headland boasts the largest complete set of Black Rock Limestone in the South-West and supports rare wildlife including the Cheddar Pink, Somerset Hair Grass and an introduced colony of Glanville Fritillary butterfly.

It is a stunning headland with views over to Wales and from the Severn Bridge down to Minehead Bay. Good coastal walks along this promontory, which also has archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age to World War II.

Steepholm

Steep Holm lies about five miles (8 km) offshore from the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. Although relatively close to areas of high population, and sitting in the middle of a busy shipping channel, Steep Holm is isolated by brisk tidal currents and a difficult landing place.

Despite and indeed because of its isolation, Steep Holm is a rewarding place to visit, with visitors welcome on scheduled boat trips, which depart from Knighstone Harbour, Weston-super-Mare between April and October.

It is a nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest famed for its beautiful, May flowering, wild peony. It is home to the remains of a 12th century Augustinian priory - carefully excavated over the past 30 years.

The Victorians fortified the island and their six gun batteries, complete with cannons, remain largely intact. The former Barracks has been restored as a Visitor and Education/Exhibition Centre. There are intriguing Second World War remains: searchlight posts, gun batteries and rocket launcher sites.

Flat Holm

Flat Holm is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve. The Project conserves the Island's natural and cultural features, from maritime grassland to Victorian barracks, from seabird colonies to wartime bunkers.

Both the Lesser Black-backed Gull colony and the maritime grassland are considered important for nature conservation. The Island is managed in 2 separate ways for these features. The north side of the Island is managed for the maritime species and the south side is kept as the gull colony with minimal management.

Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages
Knoll Farm Cottages