FoQ Visit to Steart Marshes

Friends of Quantock hosted a guided walk to Steart in October. We had a superb and knowledgeable guide in Nigel Phillips. We were very lucky with the weather with a bright and breezy day, not at all like the forecast.

As important habitats have been lost in the Severn Estuary by erosion, the WWT and the Environment Agency decided to create a new area of wetland and saltmarsh at Steart. A breach was made in former sea defences to allow sea water to flood in. The resulting saltmarsh absorbs wave energy, providing long term natural protection from erosion and new wetland habitats on a massive scale.

The developing marsh, with shifting channels and creeks, also provides a vital refuge for wetland wildlife and is an important nursery for fish and eels. Another advantage is that newly created fresh water grazing marshes are also helping to protect local properties from flooding by temporarily holding and storing water after heavy rain.

On our walk we saw numerous birds among them a Merlin, a Kestrel, Golden Plover, Spoonbills, Egrets, Dunlin, Teal and Pied Wagtails. Nigel also told us about the various plants we saw, many having been planted as shelter or food for the birds and other wildlife. His photos taken on the day show Lapwing high in the sky, Plover sitting in the mud and Spoonbills.