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Visitors on a cottage holiday should visit Burnham on Sea. This popular Somerset resort, much-loved by families who flock to enjoy its collection of no less than eight fine, mainly sandy beaches in the summer months. The principal Burnham beach is sandy, dog-free and well patrolled during the holiday season. The Beach Lighthouse Area offers wide, open sands and dunes, together with a famous local landmark, the lighthouse on stilts. The town’s Berrow Beach claims to be the second longest sandy stretch of beach in Europe, at six miles, and has its very own shipwreck and marshland area with visiting birds. Sandy Brean Down is another area of beach popular with families. The town’s elegant Edwardian pier is renowned as the shortest of its kind in Britain, but still manages to house the obligatory entertainment arcades and food outlets to keep children busy on seaside holidays. Apex Leisure and Wildlife Park offers family entertainment, with pleasant green spaces for walking and picnics, a lake for fishing, children’s play area, skate park and bird sanctuary with its collection of ducks, terns, warblers, martins and many other species in residence.
Birds of a rather more exotic nature can be seen at Brean Down Bird Garden, three miles out of town. Birdwatchers will also appreciate a visit to Steart Island and the wider Bridgewater Bay area, a nature reserve and designated Site of Special Scientific interest some six miles or so from Burnham. The tidal mud and sand flats and marshes of the region are home to waders, waterfowl and widgeon, and birds may be spotted from the five hides dotted around the area. Visitors also like to walk the Parrett trail, which snakes along the river bank, following it from mouth to source.
Of a rather more high-octane nature, nearby Brean Leisure Park offers the thrills and spills of over forty rides and attractions, children’s play areas, fun slides, restaurant outlets and a golf course. The Animal Farm Country Park, just outside Burnham, is a family attraction with animal displays, shows and feeding sessions and play areas for children of all ages. For a more tranquil day out, Brean Down itself is one of Somerset’s landmarks, standing proudly some one hundred feet above sea level, and the last part of the chain of rolling Mendip Hills as they tumble to meet the coast. This area is a great place for walking, to appreciate the beauty of Somerset and the variety of bird and wildlife that makes this their home. Brent Knoll is a particularly popular walk on the Down, rewarding the visitor with wide-ranging views of the Mendips, Glastonbury Tor, the Cheddar Gorge and out over the Bristol Channel. Walkers may like to take in Brean Down Fort, built in the late nineteenth century as the perceived threat from Napoleon’s forces cause the rapid building of several military strongholds along this section of the English coast.
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