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The Official Tourist Information Site for Wells

The Somerset Levels

Attractions > Somerset Landscapes - Around Wells

A Panorama of the Somerset Levels taken from the Draycott Sleights Nature Reserve on a glorious May 2013 bank holiday Monday. Made up of 8 pictures photomerged together plus a gentle bubble effect created in Photoshop C6. Image © Black Dog of WellsMisty scene over the Levels.Grey Lake on the Somerset Levels.Dusk over the Somerset Levels with a flowery laneSunset at Axbridge Reservoir.Our most secretive Olympic discus thrower limbering up in this Somerset Field!
The Willow Man appeared in 2001 and it is the largest willow sculpture in the UK and possibly the world. It is 12 metres high with an arm span of 5 metres. There is no access to the figure but this landmark can be seen from the motorway and railway just north of Bridgwater.Ashton Mill dates back to the 18th century. The sails no longer turn but it is fully kitted out with all the machinery used for grinding corn.Sunrise over Aller Moor on the Somerset Levels.Sunset over the Huntspill River.Otters can be spotted on the Levels.The tough Black Eye Moo gang making a rare appearance! The Levels have highly fertile ground and cattle graze on rich lush grass.Mist over the Levels with Glastonbury Tor in the distance.Meare Fish House is the last of the monastic fish houses in England.Sunset over King's Sedgemoor Drain on the Somerset Levels.Willow trees can be found all over the Levels and this is a scene that is highly evocative of the area.A tranquil scene on the Levels with cows and a swan.A typical rhyne on the levels. Image © Palden JenkinsHerons can be found stalking the banks of rivers and ditches around the Levels.A Mute Swan fishing in a rhyne. Image © Palden JenkinsBurrow Mump is thought to have connections as far back as the Neolithic period. Roman artifacts and coins have been found there. The remains of the present chapel date back to the 1830's.Burrow Mump. Image © Palden Jenkins.A crisp misty winter morning on the Levels.Early morning misty rhyne on the Somerset Levels.Dawn on the flooded Somerset Levels.One of those Sunsets over the Somerset Levels.Kingfishers live in the along the banks of the many rivers and ditches on the Levels.Typical to the Levels are the Willow trees and that line the many drainage channels.Early morning on the Somerset Levels.A rich sunset at Westhay Nature Reserve.Sailing on Axbridge Reservoir.Late afternoon sun creates lovely long shadows across the landscape.

The Levels are a sizable area that stretch further south than our Wells & Area Map may suggest. The ground is only a few meters above sea level and an extensive network of ditches and rivers help to drain the land of excess water. Indeed some areas can be frequently underwater after heavy rains. This is an area that is perfect to explore on bicycles as the flat landscape makes for easy riding. There are many small pretty villages here including Wedmore where the Saxon King Alfred signed a peace treaty with the Danes in the 9th century.

In 2001, the Willow Man appeared near Bridgwater next to the M4. This landmark is our version of the Angel of the North.

The Avalon Marshes is an area within the Levels rich in history and wildlife. Meare Fish House built in the 14th century is located on what would have been a small island in this fascinating area. This is the last surviving monastic fishery building in England. This facility provided a place for salting fish and drying. Not far away are the nature reserves of Shapwick Heath, Ham Wall and Westhay Moor. This is where starlings come in huge numbers during the winter season. You can find more about the starling murmurations here. Shapwick Heath is also the place to view a reconstruction of the Neolithic Sweet Track, the original wooden trackway dating back to 3806BC, discovered by peat diggers in the 1970s. Reconstructions of a Roman villa and Anglo-Saxon long hall can be seen just along the road at the Avalon Marshes Centre

There are many unusual buildings dotted about the Levels including the Ashton Mill, south of Cheddar. This mill tower built of stone dates back to the 18th century. The sails no longer turn but it is fully kitted out with all the machinery used for grinding corn.

Burrow Mump is a mini version of Glastonbury Tor. On top of this 24 metre high hill sits the church of St. Michael. This natural mound would have been an isolated patch of high ground with the marshy or even flooded Levels. It saw much action during King Alfred's time during the 800s and again during the Civil War in the 1640s. (There is a separate entry for this on the Attractions page.) Close to Burrow Mump is a monument to Alfred on Athelney Hill.

Visitor Information for THE CITY OF WELLS • MENDIP HILLS • SOMERSET LEVELS

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