Brean Down is a National Trust property in Somerset,a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.The Down is an extension of the Mendip Hills,stretching some 2km into the Bristol Channel,separating Weston Bay from the larger Bridgwater Bay.The following picture shows the Fort at the end of the Down with Steep Holm Island to the right and the Welsh Coast in view.
The geography ensures it is a major site for observing migrating birds many of whom rest and feed on the Down.The turf is kept at optimum levels for all bird and insect life by the
combined efforts of the Cattle who graze during the summer and by the large group of Feral goats who have been on the Down for a number of years.
The Cattle come from the Maunsell Estate in Somerset under a grazing agreement and until
recently have been the long horned White Park Cattle some of which are shown grazing on
the Down in 2007.A much more recent picture of the goat herd is also shown.
In 2009,the spectacular White Park cattle have been replaced by a mixed group containing some British White Cattle,another interesting and attractive group of animals.The following pictures show them grazing above the Fort.
Brean Down is also a nationally imprtant Site for several species of rare plants and grasses.
The purpose of this site is to try and build up a list of birds,excluding the common species and the 4 principal gull groups usually seen around the coast,that can be seen on and from Brean Down.In this,I am very greatful to Paul Bowyer(PB) of Somerset Ornithological Society who has agreed that I may use his observations and also to his colleague Martin Sage(MS).My own observations are appropriatley marked.
The information will be made available to visitors to the Down and will build up on an annual basis.
As more information and sightings become available I hope that we can extend the level of information which will be available to visitors.
While I am happy to take credit for some small part, at this stage, of the gathering of information,I must record here that this site would have remained nothing more than an idea if it were not for the technical knowledge,skill and expertise of my son who has put my shaky ideas into a working and developing document.