Visit this wildlife wilderness in Burnham On Sea
Covering over 42 acres, Apex Leisure and Wildlife Park offers visitors a chance to relax away from the bustle of Burnham’s shopping centre and beach. Apex was once an area of clay digging where several pits were excavated and when these were later flooded, they became lakes which are now home to many types of wildlife.
Many mallard ducks gather by the slipway waiting for passers to throw them handouts, while grey herons are also regularly spotted during the breeding season searching for small fish and eels for their young.
Other water birds regularly spotted include mute swans, which are often successful in rearing their young at the lake, and cormorants, pochard ducks and tufted ducks. Coots, Canada geese and moorhens are also sometimes seen by the rushes. Terns appear only infrequently with the common tern most likely to be spotted, and then only as they pass through.
Blackheaded, common and herring gulls fill the air with their calls. Swallows, house martins and sand martins can regularly be seen swooping low over the water, catching insects during summer.
Reed bunting are also often seen on the slipway in twos or threes, along with grey and pied wagtails. Reed warblers and sedge warblers can also found in the reed beds during the summer.
Other wildlife to be spotted at Apex Leisure Park include common toads, water voles (which are sometimes mistaken for brown rats) and a wide variety of insects, including orange gatekeeper butterflies and common darter dragonflies.
The fishing rights for Apex lake are held by Highbridge Angling Association. The waters are stocked with carp and bream and make good fishing grounds. Permits can be obtained from Thyers Tackle Shop, Highbridge (Tel 01278 786934). Consideration to other park users is requested.
A picturesque, gentle walk around the lake is marked out with a level footpath. This should take no more than 40 minutes to complete at a medium pace.
For those who want a longer amble, walk via the tree planting areas to the River Brue then turn right and the path leads along the river to the southern end of Burnham’s sea front.
Small boats are moored in the river and, if the tide is high (check tide times here) during summer months, it can be interesting to watch them set sail and head downstream to join the River Parrett and the Bristol Channel.
Children’s Play Area
A traditional style play area is designated for toddlers and juniors which is reflected in the varied items of equipment. This includes swings, a slide, a roundabout, seesaw and a tyre swing. For more adventurous older children and adults there is a trim trail which runs parellel to the footpath around the lake. It has various pieces of keep fit apparatus at intervals along its length.
A skate park at Apex is located in the south east, adjacent to the Children’s Play Area. It is a floodlit, open access facility which consists of a Quarter Pipe and Fun Box ramps with Grind and Curb rails.
The Burnham Tigers have been leasing a biking area at the edge of Apex Leisure Park for over six years. The club meets on Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons with an annual membership fee required. For details contact Burnham Tigers BMX Club via the Tourist Information Centre on 01278 787852. The track is considered by the British Cycling Federation to be one of the best venues in England for BMXing.
Picnic tables are situated by the car park, or for a more peaceful setting, you can picnic on the grass further into the park. Please remember to place any litter in the bins provided or take it away with you.
Radio Controlled Boating
The Radio Controlled Boat Club meets every Wednesday evening during the summer and most Sunday mornings all year round at Apex Leisure Park. Boats include graceful yachts, power boats and trawlers. Competitions are held on a regular basis. Sedgemoor Model Boat Club can be contacted via the Tourist Information Centre on 01278 787852.
Free car parking
A large car park extends from Marine Drive to within 100 feet of the lake. Parking is free but overnight stops by campers are not allowed.
Observing the rules and by-laws
Please observe the by-laws which require you to take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time. Please also note that swimming and entering the lake is not allowed. Dogs with responsible owners are welcome – please ensure that the poop scoop bins provided are used.