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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Thunersee nature reserves

The Swiss aren’t generally as keen on nature reserves as the British. Despite the stupidly beautiful countryside, there are comparatively few places like RSPB reserves (over 200 in the U.K.) and the National Trust (who is the U.K.’s largest individual land owner).

We’re lucky enough to live near two of the small Swiss reserves at Lake Thun: both easy to reach via public transport and both right on the lake shores, with spectacular views and ideal conditions for birdwatching.

The main photograph above is of the lake shore at Gwatt, near Thun, in early spring. As the temperatures rise in spring and melt the snow from the surrounding mountains, the lake levels rise and cover these stretches of foreshore, nourishing nearby reed beds and providing plenty of cover for a great many nesting birds.

Reed Beds, Gwatt, Switzerland

The second nature reserve on the lake is at its far end, at Neuhaus-Weissenau between Neuhaus golf course and the lake. Again, the protected area is lined by reed beds and a very picturesque path leads through the woods next to the lake shore. The nature reserve is quiet in winter but no less spectacular, with panoramic views to the Niesen and Niederhorn. Here, there is even a small beach with glass-clear water when the lake levels are low; but much reduced in summer and filled to the edge of the water with families.

Thunersee from Neuhaus, Unterseen BE