Here is the Wildlife & Habitats Walk! I couldn’t manage to map this one myself but with our huge choice of where to spot wildlife locally, it would have been difficult for me to choose without it becoming another long walk!
Thankfully however, our resident wildlife photographer extraordinaire Clare Glanville has kindly taken us with her on one of her favourite walks around Sharpness Marina and Docks where you can see and hear an abundance of wildlife.
The walk below includes plenty of charming descriptions of what birds to look and listen out for on this walk – with lots of photos taken on this particular route!
So whether you get out for some fresh air and this easy stroll, or prefer to go on a bird safari from the comfort of your armchair, enjoy…!
One of my favourite walks is around by the old tidal basin in Sharpness and through the field with the wind turbine.
I park the car by the dockers club and head up the hill signposted to ‘Sharpness Marina’.
One of the many things I have noticed is the abundance of Goldfinches along there and just at the top of the hill the chiffchaffs are calling to one another – they’re definitely one of my favourite visitors this time of year.
Following the road which bears left at the top of the hill and heading to the marina down the steps, the trees come to life with rooks and crows – but they don’t blot out the song of the robin that will always be perching somewhere among the trees.
At the bottom of the steps, bear round to the left again and with the boats on your right and SARA former Harbourmaster’s House about 300 yards away on your left.
Cross the jetty bridge over the water to the sea wall. Here you might see a rock pipit or two actually perched on the wall.
At low tide usually a little egret and “Scruffy” the grey heron can be seen on the flats.
In the winter you can see an absolute abundance of widgeon and redshank with small flocks of dunlin whittling through.
Snipe can also be seen but are less common. If you turn around and face the old tidal basin behind you, you will see coots and mallards, with the odd cormorant taking a dip.
Also keeps your eyes peeled for the kingfisher, which is very elusive but is there.
After taking in the breathtaking view of the estuary head towards SARA and follow the basin round until you get to the old wrecks lying just under the water.
Here you might spot a grey wagtail on the water lilies, and dragonflies on a nice hot day.
Head up the steep stony path and turn right onto another path (wellies if there has been a good drop of rain).
Lots of the hedges here are overgrown which makes it harder to spot the birds, but stand and wait a while and you’ll see blackbirds and you’ll definitely hear – even if you don’t spot – robins, linnets, goldfinches, dunnocks, great tits and blue tits!
Now turn your eyes to the skies to catch a buzzard, a raven and the occasional red kite.
Follow the footpath until you come to the bench overlooking the estuary, Sharpness pier and the Severn bridges near Bristol down to your left.
Again looking over the river you might see heron, little egret, oystercatchers and the odd curlew, which are more common in the winter months.
Redshank also can be seen along here but again I’ve found they’re more common in the winter.
The chiffchaffs will be chiff chaffing merrily at this point too!
After a rest on the bench, follow the path parallel to the river where the dong of the blackcap might be ringing out, or a dunnock giving it’s best, as well as the burbling goldfinches.
Keep walking straight towards the oddly shaped Ned West building, passing it on your left and you’ll come out to meet Dock Road.
Turn left here along Dock Road to the roundabout with the docks on your right.
Keep to the left side of the road, cross the roundabout and look up at the warehouse buildings as you approach.
Observe the herring gull chicks on the roofs on your right – they are extremely cute when they’re small.
When you see a grassy path leading up to your left after about 100 yards, take this up through a meadow where there are butterflies and all sorts of insects in the grass and flowers.
At the end of the field where the concrete blocks sit, exit out onto the road which leads back up to the field below the Dockers Club where I parked my car.
From here you can carry on through the field following the stony track to other side and exit onto the road.
Turn left and keep walking up the road and you’re on the high bridge. Here you’ll get an amazing view of the estuary and the canal as well as the dock.
Keep an eye out for cormorants flying through, low flying ducks, an abundance of gulls, pied wagtails and sometimes swans passing through the canal.
Depending on the weather it really does change what you see, but in any weather you’ll see something!
This past 5 months we have had osprey fly through, a white tailed eagle and an abundance of red kites.
After you’ve taken in the views at the high bridge, turn back to get to the Dockers Club field where you started.
Remember keep your ears to the ground and eyes to the skies!
We hope you have really enjoyed this charming wildlife walk. I know I learned to recognised some new birds here, so many thanks again to eagle-eyed Clare Glanville for sharing her knowledge and wonderful photos with us all.