Steart

Habitat Salt marsh, brackish and fresh marshes, estuary, adjacent farmland and hedgerows
Grid ref/postcode for main car park ST252442, TA5 2PU
Toilets at main car park:  open 9am–4.30pm
Directions From the A39 west of Bridgwater go north through Cannington towards Hinkley Point and follow brown signs to reserve. The main and Steart Gate car parks are along the road to Steart village, with the Natural England car park (for north side of the breach) just beyond. All are free.
Journey time from Minehead is about 45 minutes (on clear roads).
Accessibility Open all year (except Christmas Day). Wide gravel paths, flat or on gentle slopes, and spacious hides are designed to be wheelchair-friendly. Toilets at main car park are open 9am–4.30pm. Nearest shop and pub are in Cannington.

Useful documents to view or download:

Description

Steart Marshes is a new and extensive site, still maturing; interesting all year, it is best in winter, especially around 2 hours either side of high tide.  Large numbers of a variety of wildfowl and waders feed and roost.  Merlin, Peregrine, and Short-eared Owl are all regular, and Marsh and Hen Harriers are seen most winters.  Rarities/scarcities so far have included Pallid Harrier, Purple Heron, Spoonbill, Whooper Swan, Water Pipit and Lapland Bunting; one or two Great White Egrets are now regular.

The variety of paths, hides, viewpoints, and parking areas mean you have plenty of choice.  Along the south side are Mendip Hide, overlooking the main tidal marsh, and the viewpoint overlooking the brackish Otterhampton Marshes, which provides more opportunities to see waders and raptors, and good chances of Short-eared and Barn Owls.  A much longer walk to the south side of the breach in the Parrett estuary bank gives more opportunities to see waders (including Avocets) on the estuary and winter thrushes in the hedgerows.

Along the west side are Polden Hide and various blinds. Steart Gate car park provides easy access to another vista across the marshes, including some shallow, muddy pools.  Further on, the north side of the breach is a good spot for viewing waders as they commute to and from the Parrett estuary.

South of the main car park is the freshwater Stockland Marsh, which is also well worth a visit: Cattle Egret, Garganey, Wood Sandpiper, Black Winged Stilt, and Spoonbills have all been seen in recent years.

Useful links

Visits

The Birdwatching Group visited Steart on a windy day in December 2019 – it was not good bird watching weather hence a rather short list of 28 species seen plus 4 heard only.   We witnessed a large murmuration of Lapwings and a large flock of Golden Plover.

Species seen Steart Dec 2019

September 2019.  We visited Steart again.  September can be a difficult time of year to see a good number of species as many summer visitors have left and winter arrivals are on their way.  A total of 25 bird species were seen.

Species seen Steart Sept 2019

A visit in January 2019 resulted in 42 sightings and were very lucky with the raptors, seeing a female Hen Harrier (also known as a Ring-tail due to the white rump) and a Short Eared Owl:

Species seen Steart Jan 2019