Portbury Wharf

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Portbury Wharf is a now disused but historic boat landing area of salt marsh on the Severn Estuary between Portishead and the Portbury Docks. The Avon Wildlife Nature Reserve behind the Sea Wall is an area of lakes, ponds and rhynes with 3 bird hides and level paths, suitable for bikes and wheelchairs, leading from Sheepway (where there is a bus stop) right down to the sea across the marsh.

The whole area was until recently waste ground created by the dumping of ash from Portishead's now demolished power stations and is still known as Ashlands. However industry is still in evidence and if the tide is coming in you can often see enormous container ships heading along the deep-water channel to Portbury Docks very close to the shore.

New housing has been built on some of the old Ashlands area on the outskirts of Portishead but many paths have been created for easy access to the nature reserve where it is possible to see many different types of water birds - heron, geese, duck, wading birds, swans even a spoonbill in 2013 - as well as water voles, frogs and small fish in the rhynes. Linnets and fieldfares can be seen and a nightjar was recorded recently too while starlings put on a very fine display in winter around the remaining pylons. See the Avon Birds blog for daily updates of birds here and across the old county of Avon.

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How to get here

The X2 and X3 buses from Bristol/Portishead stop in Sheepway very close to Wharf Lane, the road that leads to the nature reserve and Severn shore. National cycle route 41 from Bristol joins route 26 near the Avonmouth bridge and goes right into Portishead passing the end of Wharf Lane - cycle-friendly until you get to the muddy shore!


There is a very small car-park at the entrance to the nature reserve but very limited space.

Easy walkingWheelchair accessibleAccess by bikeAccess by public transport