FOLM arranges free public walks at the reserve in the summer with experts such as Ed Drewitt and Steve England.
FOLM is open to everybody and is free to join. We work with Bristol City Council, who own and maintain part of the reserve. We only work on the council-owned part of the local nature reserve, and our working party activities are agreed in advance with the BCC Parks Department. We also take advice from expert naturalists and wildlife groups to help ensure that we know as much as possible about the habitats that the reserve provides, in order that they can be protected.
Lamplighter’s Marsh Local Nature Reserve is next to the tidal River Avon in Shirehampton, near the M5 bridge at Avonmouth, where the river flows into the Severn estuary. It forms part of an important wildlife corridor along the tidal Avon, which includes the Downs, Leigh Woods, Old Sneed Park, Bennett’s Patch and White’s Paddock, and Pill Foreshore on the opposite side of the river from Lamplighter’s Marsh.
The reserve is easily accessed from the free car parking area by the Lamplighter’s pub at the end of Station Road. It is only a short walk from Shirehampton railway station. The well-surfaced path through the reserve, known as the yellow brick road, is about 1km long and is part of the Severn Way. It has level access at both ends and is suitable for wheelchair users, pushchairs etc. It leads to a lovely picnic area by the river. The north end of the yellow brick road is on West Town Road, under the M5 bridge and near to the Park and Ride car park.
Part of the reserve is the Daisy Field, between the Portway and the Severn Beach branch line. It is managed as a wild flower meadow, and bee orchids grow here. There is a small orchard, cared for by Shire Greens. The Daisy Field overlaps with the historic site of the Shirehampton Remount Depot, where hundreds of thousands of horses imported from America were temporarily stabled before being sent by rail to play their part in the First World War.
Lamplighter’s Marsh and the Daisy Field provide a diverse range of habitats in a small area: intertidal saltmarsh, a brownfield site, a freshwater pond, dense scrub, improved grassland and orchard. Viper’s bugloss, moth mullein and a nationally rare moss grow in the Lamplighter’s Marsh. Waders such as curlew and redshank can be seen along the river at low tide. There is a large heronry just up the river at Ham Green, best viewed across the river from Shirehampton. The herons nest opposite the reed bed where the Nibley Road playing fields meet the PBA sports ground – about five minutes walk from the Lamplighter’s Marsh reserve. Listen out for reed warblers while you’re watching the herons!