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Tourism SSSIs

Afton Marsh Nature Reserve

REF NR: 530

Afton Marsh is at Freshwater, between Afton Road in the north, and Freshwater Bay. The site covers 15.3 hectares of tall fen’s and open water habitat, woodland and scrub on the upper reaches of the Western Yar. Afton Marshes is part of the Freshwater Marshes SSSIs.

The picture to the left is one of the entrances to the Marshes, just off Blackbridge road.

The Marshes used to be on the old flood pain of the River and was once a grazing marsh. The River Yar flows north from Freshwater bay to Yarmouth reaching the sea at a sluice gate. The gate closes at high tide causing the water to back against to the rustic bridge. An overflow dam prevents water levels rising in the south marsh.

How to get there?
The public footpath (F36) runs along the west side of the south marsh, from Blackbridge road all the way to Freshwater Bay. The footpath is open to the public at all time of the year. There is another path to the north marsh between Blackbridge Road to Afton Road, but this is prone to flooding during wet weather and wintry periods of the year.

Afton Marshes, why is it so special?
There are many types of wetland habitat that the Marshes provide to plants and animals. Tall fen with common reed, cover large areas on deep, wet peat. During the wetter periods the south marsh flourish with varied flora, for example, yellow loosestrife, marsh fern, greater birds-foot trefoil can all be found there. Southern marsh orchid is found in wetter areas whereas drier areas contain greater pond sedge tied with meadowsweet, hemp agrimony, hemlock water dropwork and water mint. Animals use the marsh to breed, they include reed warbler and sedge warbler. Butterflies include wall, small tortoiseshell, peacock, red admiral, orange tip and three species of whites (large, small and green-veined)


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