We visited Devon Badger Watch on late August and were fascinated and enthralled to see a group of badgers emerge from their den and forage just a few feet away.
We go badger watching in Surrey each summer but we have never be so up close and personal.
The evening started with a meeting in the 'interpretation centre'... An old farm building with a few sticks of domestic furniture and some home made posters. There was only four of us... It was not an auspicious start.
However our guide won us over almost immediately. Before we left the steading he showed us the roost used by a barn owl. As we walked on he began to tell us in encyclopedic detail about badgers and showed us where they had dug a small hole by the farmhouse.
After a short walk down the lane, through a small field and into a woodland, we arrived at an immensely impressive wooden hide. It had two rows of seats and windows at almost ground level.
We were settled, the windows were washed and dried and peanuts were put down to attract the badgers. As soon as our guide was back in the hide, he began an immensely informative whispered commentary.
Then a badger appeared... then another... then another!
We were rooted to the spot as they came closer and closer and closer until, if it hadn't been for the glass, we could have almost leaned forward and stroked them!
A small noise somewhere frightened them... they ran... but after a few minutes they came back again until all of the peanuts were finished and they went off foraging in the woods.
It was a remarkable evening. On our way back to the farmhouse, the path was lit but low level lamps.
We liked the feeling that we were in a ‘Richard Attenborough’ documentary with wild animals only two or three feet away and a whispered commentary about them just behind us.
We would have liked the ‘visitor centre’ to be a bit more professionally presented.
Top Tip: Take sturdy shoes. Don’t take a camera as, unless it is a special photography evening, no pictures are allowed.
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