TOURISM businesses in Sedgemoor were given a guided tour of Steart Marshes, an area at the mouth of the River Parrett which is set to be one of the largest new wetland reserves for wildlife in the UK.

The businesses, ranging from B&Bs and pubs to a farm shop and a vineyard, were shown around by Tim McGrath of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust. He explained how the new marsh would act as a sea defence by dispersing wave energy and reducing erosion rates.

The tour was arranged by Sedgemoor District Council as part of the COOL Tourism project. It aims to boost rural tourism by looking at best practice, supporting providers and developing themed marketing campaigns.

Lynne Abbott from The Old Cider House said: “We are really excited to see what will happen when the area is flooded to complete the plan.

“We have many visitors who come to us to enjoy the fantastic countryside in Somerset and we know we have some of the best bird watching in the country.”