The town of Burnham-on-Sea boasts a mile-long esplanade overlooking the Bristol Channel, close to the estuary of the River Parrett and Stert Island with a vast amount of wildlife throughout the seasons.
Burnham has accessible sandy beaches stretching for 7 miles, with the natural sea defences of the sand dunes following the coastline to neighbouring Berrow and Brean.
Follow the National Cycle Network route 33 between Burnham-on-Sea and Brean, along the beach and known as the ‘Stop Line Way’ because this section follows the line of the World War II Taunton Stop Line, built in 1940 as a defence against invasion.
Burnham on Sea has the second highest tidal range in the world and the shortest pier. Be sure to visit our Volunteer operated Visitor Centre for the all essential Tide Times!
Visit as the sun is setting for a view that will not disappoint. We are fortunate enough to have 3 Lighthouses – the low lighthouse, which stands on 9 pillars on the beach and is probably one of the most photographed landmarks in the area. It was built in 1832 along with the High Lighthouse built by Joseph Nelson both grade II listed buildings.
Dogs are welcome at certain times and in certain areas, so it’s best to check with the Visitor and Information Centre or look at one of the maps next to the beach.
The town also supports the Litter Free Coast & Sea Somerset with regular community operated beach cleans and projects to encourage local businesses to reduce their single use plastic.
During the summer season donkey rides are available along stretches of Burnham Beach which start from the jetty.
Marine Cove Gardens
As you walk along the esplanade you will pass the enclosed Marine Cove Gardens, hidden behind high stonewalls next to the leaning Church of St Andrews. The Green Flag awarded garden was built in 1927 and restored with a Heritage Lottery Grant in 2011. There is a pergola, cherub fountain, lion head pool, shelters and seating. The garden is an ideal sheltered spot for a picnic next to the central feature Art Deco style fishpond.
You can cycle or walk along the esplanade, heading south, and pick up the path along the river Brue towards Highbridge where you will come to Apex Leisure and Wildlife Park. Apex Park covers a 42-acre site, attracting thousands of visitors each year. The cycle route passes through the park but is accessible for wheelchair users and walkers alike. There is a free carpark, cycle points, toilets and seasonal refreshment stands, as well large play areas, a BMX track, skatepark and exercise equipment.
Apex Park is recognised for its importance as an aquatic site for over wintering and breeding wildfowl and attracts a diverse range of other wildlife. The Friends of Apex Park have been active since 2001 and have helped to improve the park for residents and visitors. The park is owned and maintained by Sedgemoor District Council and hosts many events throughout the year, with the biggest being Somerset Play Day in August.
The park has for many years held the coveted green flag award and is recognised for being one of the best parks in the country. The Green Flag Awards is a national quality scheme for greens spaces in England and Wales.
If you visit Burnham-on-Sea during late Spring and early Summer make sure you check the events calendar for one of the free, volunteer led music events in Manor Gardens. The Gardens are situated on the junction of Love Lane and Berrow Road, Burnham-on-Sea and are available to hire from Sedgemoor District Council.
The Gardens feature a formal bandstand, planted areas, play area, tennis courts and seating. The events held here showcase many local artists and bands. Bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy an afternoon of music and entertainment within a short distance of the town centre.
Close to the railway station and community hall in Highbridge, Southwell Gardens and its house are managed by volunteers for a trust with charitable status under the War Memorial Trust. There is a large playing field and a children’s play area on the site. The ‘house’ is available for hire for events.
The gardens were purchased by the people of Highbridge in memory of those residents who gave their lives in the Second World War.
The Memorial Garden contains the Railwaymen’s Plaque, dedicated to the railway workers who left to join the services for duty in the First World War. The plaque had been sited at the Somerset & Dorset Locomotive Works, then situated at Walrow but when the station was demolished it was relocated to Southwell Gardens.
The Memorial Garden honours local hero, Major Frank Foley. Major Foley was the subject of a book written by the Bletchley Park author Michael Smith entitled ‘Foley, the Spy who saved the lives of more than 10,000 Jews from the Holocaust’. Major Foley was born at 7 Walrow Terrace, Highbridge in November 1884 and went to the local school.
The Railway Heritage Group is an active community group concerned with the installation of historic artefacts around the site of the former Somerset & Dorset Railway line between Highbridge and Burnham. You will see numerous artefacts throughout the towns and, on Great Station Approach, the Town Council manages a replica signal box, donated by the group and available to hire.
Boating and Sailing
Go for a day’s fishing or just sailing around Bridgwater Bay. You will need a launch permit to use the jetty – these can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre (Telephone 01278 787852).