Access in Summary
The Reserve has brown sign posts directing people from both the Shapwick end and also the Meare end, the signs start as far as Glastonbury. The Reserve has two main entrances, one is accessed from Meare and the other from Shapwick. There are 8 trails at the reserve:
- The Decoy Trail
- Short Sweet Track
- Long Sweet Track
- Discovery Trail
- Meare Heath Hide
- Meare Heath Noah's Hide
- Railway Trail
- Canada Water
Car Park / Drop Off
Directions to off road parking Shapwick End
From the M5 take junction 23 towards Bridgwater and then join the A39. Where the A39 splits bear left onto Bath Road. Continue along Bath Road and then turn left down Wood Lane this leads onto Church Lane after a short distance. Then turn left onto Station Road continue ahead and the off road parking area and entrance to reserve is on the right.
Directions to Main Car Park
From the M5 take junction 23 towards Bridgwater and then join the A39. Where the A39 splits bear left onto Bath Road. Continue along Bath Road towards Ashcott and turn left into School Hill and then turn right onto Ridgeway then bear left onto Station Road. Continue along Station Road and the main car park is on the left hand side.
Car Parking: Shapwick Entrance
There is off road parking at the Shapwick entrance with enough room for 6 cars. There is a further car park just over the bridge about ½ mile where there is a main car par with lots of space for parking. Neither car park has spaces designated for disabled people or parent with children.
Car Parking: Meare Entrance
To access the trails from the Meare side there is a car park which is sign posted from Meare. The car park is on the Ashcott Rd just as it joins Station Rd. There are no designated spaces for disabled people or parents with pushchairs; however the car park is very large.
Facilities: Shapwick Entrance
At the main car park on the Shapwick road there is the site office. The office is not accessible for wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs.
There are Accessible toilets at the rear of the office and Male and Female Toilets.
The site office has a powered wheelchair which guests can borrow. Members of the Natural England team will assist people on arrival.
Trails: Shapwick Entrance
Short Sweet Track trail: This trail is approximately 1.09km from the off road parking around the trail and back to the car park again. The Trail is made up of 3 main surface types Compacted Stone, Boardwalk and trodden compacted grass and mud.
This trail is accessible for parents with pushchairs, and powered wheelchair users. Some non powered wheelchairs would be able to use this trail, however it is recommended that you review the pictures and details of the trail before deciding to attempt it.
There are seat along the route approximately every 400 metres. The trail can become muddy in places following heavy rain fall.
Long Sweet Track Trail: This trail is approximately 1.58km long from the off road parking around the trail and back to the car park again. This trail is not accessible for wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs. In places the trail can be difficult with narrow overgrown pathways. Following heavy rain fall the trail is very muddy.
Decoy Hide Trail: This trail is approximately 1.75km from the off road parking around the trail to the Hide. The trail at the time of assessment in March 2008 was being repaired. This trail would be accessible for powered wheelchair users once the work is completed. Parents with good off road pushchairs may be able to use this trail.
Canada Water Trail: This trail was closed at the time of the assessment.
Trails: Meare Entrance
Discovery Trail: The Discovery trail is approximately 772 metres from the car park to the end of the boardwalk and back to the car park. This is a nice trail through the bulrushes the trail surface is made up of tarmac and boardwalk. There is a small 10 metres stretch at the beginning that is compacted mud and stones.
Meare Heath Hide: This trail is approximately 2.34km from the car park to the end of the hide and back to the car park. The surface of the trail is made up from compacted stone and then trodden ground. The trail is accessible for Parents with Pushchairs and people in powered wheelchairs, people in non powered chairs may find the trial difficult especially following bad weather. It is recommended that you review this trail in detail and the pictures of the surface before making your decision. There is only one seat along the route until you reach the hide where there are benches inside the hide. The Hide is accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs. Wheelchair users may find it difficult to get to the viewing slots if they are unable to transfer to the benches.
Meare Heath Noah's Hide
This trail is approximately 2.6km from the car park to the end of the hide and back to the car park. The surface of the trail is made up from compacted stone and trodden ground. The trail is accessible for Parents with Pushchairs and people in powered wheelchairs. There is only one seat along the route until you reach the hide where there are benches inside the hide. The Hide is accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs. Wheelchair users may find it difficult to get to the viewing slots if they are unable to transfer to the benches.
Railway Trail: This trail is approximately 2.9km from the car park at Meare end to the gates at the Shapwick end the return journey makes the trail a total of 5.8km long. The surface of the trail is made up from compacted stone. There are seats at intervals of approximately 500 metres along the trail. This trail is fully accessible for all visitors.