Although Bristol is a bustling, modern city, there’s a fantastic amount of wild and green spaces to be found too – one of these spaces is Ham Wall nature Reserve. Here you can enjoy an amazing range of wildlife, stunning panoramic views stretching all the way to Glastonbury and tranquil paths that will leave you feeling refreshed and connected with nature.
Where can I go outdoors in Bristol?
Ham Wall Nature Reserve is a 265-acre, RSPB owned site in the heart of the Avalon Marshes. It had previously been worked by the peat industry, and then passed to the RSPB with the objective of re-creating native reedbeds to help the struggling bittern population in the UK. It has now become not only a vital breeding spot for Britain’s most secretive bird species, the bittern, but many other species of birds.
Ham Wall is teeming with other forms of wildlife too – while you’re there, you may catch sight of elusive otters, water voles swimming along the bank, Iberian water frogs loudly singing their breeding songs, roe deer roaming the woodlands and, if you’re lucky, a barn owl may make an appearance during the day in the winter, when they have young to feed.
It’s a fantastic place to visit all year round, with each season bringing in new sights and sounds to enjoy. During the spring months, hear the boom of bird song filling the air as various species of birds from Africa arrive, while in the summer, broods of young ducks and grebes gather amongst the reedbed edges. As Autumn arrives, you’ll see kingfishers flashing and bearded tits flocking, as they feed on the berries and seeds in preparation for winter. In the icy months of winter, this is a perfect opportunity to spot otters, as they skid across the ice.
If you’re bringing the kids, there’s a wooden food cycle sculpture trail to follow, where they can learn about the ecosystem of the reserve. There is also local cycling and walking paths, making a fantastic route for a family cycle or walk among nature. Ham Wall is the ideal place for a day out away from the city, and a fantastic family trip!
- Reserve open daily from dawn until dusk. Car park times:
5am-6.30pm, 1 November-31 January.
5am-8pm, 1 February-31 March.
5am-10pm, 1 April-30 August.
5am-8pm, 1 September-31 October.
- Entry free for all with donations welcome.
- The main path through the reserve is pushchair friendly.
- Dogs are welcome on a lead on the designated paths.
- Visitor centre with a café (open weekends only) and toilets on site.