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  • Bleadon Levels nature reserve

    Set across more than 27 hectares of land, Bleadon Levels nature reserve provides a range of mainly wetland habitats for wildlife. It was established during the late 1990s when major changes were made to the land on the Bleadon Levels during construction of Weston-super-Mare sewage treatment works.

    The nature reserve has nearly 19 hectares of saltmarsh and tidal creek habitat as well as a further eight hectares of grassland, reedbed and open freshwater lagoons.

    Bleadon Levels reserve

    The saltmarsh is called a managed retreat – farmland given back to natural coastal processes. After building a new sea defence wall, the old one was breached, letting in saltwater at high tides and allowing specialist salt-loving plants to establish. The marsh is an important part of flood defence, reducing the power of incoming high tides during storms.

    A footpath around the nature reserve allows you to take a closer look at the variety of habitats and wildlife found here.

    Wildlife at the reserve

    The site’s drainage ditches have become home to many water voles and the elusive otter may also be seen. Keep an eye out for their footprints in the mud or distinctive droppings – known as “spraints”.

    Most of the site, particularly in and around the sewage treatment works, is also home to the brown hare.

    The saltmarsh has grown over the years and created suitable habitats for various invertebrates, including ground beetles, specialist spiders and butterflies.

    Birdwatching

    Wildfowl are a feature and you can see a range of ducks on the nature reserve from the two bird hides situated at the north side of the lagoon and the south side which has wheelchair access.

    Waders feed on the marsh and skylarks breed there. Short-eared owls hunt over the open grass and the reeds are used by summer-visiting reed bunting and cetti’s warbler.

    Bleadon Levels reserve bird hide

    Opening times

    Bleadon Levels nature reserve can be accessed by vehicle at these times only: Monday to Thursday, 8am to 3.30pm, and Friday, 8am to 3pm. A car park is available. The site postcode is BS24 0AP.

    The reserve can also be accessed at anytime on foot from the Uphill area of Weston-super-Mare via a public footpath along the sea wall.

    Protecting the environment

    Our sewage treatment works to the south west of the nature reserve treats sewage to a high standard so it can be safely released back into the environment.

    The sewage works was built in 1999 and serves up to 250,000 people living in, or visiting, the popular seaside town of Weston-super-Mare.

    In recent years millions of pounds have been invested in improving the treatment facilities and ensuring the site can cope with an increasing population without harming the environment.

    These improvements mean the works can now treat up to 86 million litres of sewage a day in times of extreme weather, as well as store up to 21 million litres of stormwater.

    Our dedicated environment team is continuously looking at ways to enhance the environment and encourage biodiversity in and around our sites.


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