Burtle is locate in the Somerset levels and is surrounded by land which has been registered as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is also listed under the RAMSAR convention which is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands.
In this area of the Somerset Levels the water levels are managed by drainage ditches called rhynes which are controlled by sluice gates to either increase or decrease the water levels. The network of rhynes enable the water to be moved to the larger rivers and drains. The South Drain is pumped at Gold Corner so that the water levels can be reduced if required during times of heavy rain. The water levels are held high during the winter so that there is a small amount of water on some fields which is called “splash”. This provides the necessary water for the winter bird population that the area has become famous for.
The ability to manage the water levels provides an ideal opportunity to create areas for wet lands birds and the area is well known for it’s migrating as well as resident bird population. There have been many rare sightings in the area and you will always be able to view some wonderful sights including the murmurations of starlings heading to their overnight accommodation, along with the desert of lapwings swooping over the water. There are Heron and Egret fishing as well the occasional Kingfisher looking for lunch.
There are many Buzzards which swoop and dive over the field as well as Marsh Harriers. You may also see Hobbies, Sparrowhawks and Owls and the Great Cranes which have recently been introduced back into the area
As well as an amazing selection of birds there are many other forms of wildlife that you may see. Otters, Water Vowles and the non native Mink travel the waterways. Deer, Swans and farmed livestock share the fields and the Dragon Flies and butterflies are flicking over the vegetation.
Nearby Towns and Cities
The City of Wells is the smallest City in England and is a short drive from Burtle. Wells has a lovely cathedral with nice walks around the city, including the moat around the Bishops Palace where the swans ring the bells. There are some wonderful shops and equally good restaurants around the city.
Glastonbury is again only away with it’s world famous Glastonbury Tor, this town is still a mythical place which welcomes it’s followers
Street once famous for leather and sheepskin products is now visited more for the outlet village Clarks Village with big brands and low prices.
Bridgwater is the home of the carnival and is the largest moving illuminated carnival in England, this is held normal around Guy Fawkes day.
Industry and Employment
Over the years Burtle has been a very rural community with many villagers employed in the fields. Burtle still has many livestock farms today with both diary and cattle as well as sheep. Whilst the number has reduced in recent years this is a major source of employment in the area.
There is also some diversification within the agricultural element of the village. There is now an Equestrian Centre and some farms offer self catering accommodation (link to accommodation).
There is also a mechanical engineering workshop who employs some local people. Peat production is still evident in the area and provides employment both at the packaging plant and with through the collection and delivery process.
There is easy access out of the village to major routes South and North via the M5 and east via the A303, this makes it an ideal location for the commuters who have to travel to various places. With the introduction of faster broadband to the village however people are able to work from the village in their businesses and there is a growing trend of people who “work from home”.