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Wildlife & Countryside

The wildlife around Curry Mallet is wide and variable. The village itself has some quiet corners and footpaths, as well as a stream flowing through the centre and many well established gardens, creating many different habitats. As well as a farmland birds including linnets, yellowhammers and meadow pipits, it has summertime visits from cuckoos and nesting spotted flycatchers. Nightingales have been known to sing here too. Barn owls can be seen gliding above the roads, especially in May and June when they have big hungry chicks. Boxes have been provided for these popular owls on at least two sites; they also nest at the church. Parts of Curry Mallet, especially along the quieter lanes with grassy middles, have glow-worms,a beetle that prefers no light pollution. The females light up after dark to attract a mate. The centre of the village has a number of distinctive trees – an old horse chestnut that shades the shop, and a beautiful line of tall poplars edging the manor that can be seen from some distance away.

Swell Wood (RSPB)

Just a mile or two outside Curry Mallet lie the ancient oaks of Swell Wood, part of a continuous strip of woodland extending some 10 miles (15 km) along the ridge from Langport to the Blackdown Hills. It has the largest colony of breeding grey herons in south-west England – more than 100 pairs and a small number of little egrets nest here. Between March and June is the best time to come and see the spectacle. If you’re lucky, you might see a dormouse among the hazel trees, while wildflowers such as bluebells cover the woodland in spring. 

littleegret_

Look out for primroses and orchids, too. We manage the woodland to benefit the dormice, woodland birds, butterflies and plants. You can explore the RSPB’s two nature trails and hide, which are open at all times.  For further information, click here.

West Sedgemoor (RSPB)

West Sedgemoor is part of England’s largest remaining wet meadow system. Set among the Somerset Levels and Moors, it has the largest lowland population of breeding wading birds such as lapwings, snipe, curlew and redshanks in southern England. In winter, the controlled flooding on the wet meadows attracts birds in their thousands – ducks such as wigeons, teals, shovelers, pintails and mallards, and wading birds such as golden plovers, snipe and lapwings.

west sedgemoor sized
The reserve has restricted access to protect ground-nesting birds and over-wintering flocks. Come on one of our guided walks to get special access to our winter viewing station. West Sedgemoor is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. To keep the hay meadows and pastures special for wildlife, the RSPB control water levels and the grazing cattle create ideal habitats for ground-nesting birds. The hedgerows are managed using traditional methods benefiting birds, small mammals and butterflies, and water voles and otters breed here too.  For further info, click here.

Willows & Wetlands Visitors Centre

A mile or two from Curry Mallet you can come and see the willow industry … from the Withy Bed to the Basket at the Willows & Wetlands Visitor Centre.

Blackdown Hills

Just to the south of Curry Mallet lie the Blackdown Hills,  a nationally important landscape, which was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in recognition of the special qualities of their natural and built environment. Being relatively unspoilt, the Hills offer a rare sense of timelessness. A network of hedges, mature hedgerow trees and small copses link a rich mosaic of semi-natural habitats. The area is perfect for walks, cycling and horse riding where the quiet bridleways and byways offer many opportunities to explore and enjoy the locally distinctive buildings, archaeological remains and natural flora and fauna. The Hills have a variety of tourist accommodation providers ranging from bed & breakfast establishments, beautiful country houses, converted barns, farmhouses and cottages. There are a number of self-catering cottages and a small range of family run hotels and guesthouses. This area is renowned for its fantastic range of welcoming country inns, many of which offer terrific menus of home cooked food, sourced from local produce. The Blackdown Hills are perfect destination for short break holidays, where visitors can join in with organized activities such as guided walks, hedgerow skills workshops, fishing, arts and crafts, writing courses… the list is endless! Further info available here.