Days Out: Devon badger watch


The venue

In a quiet and secluded corner of North Devon lies Devon Badger Watch, one of the UK's best venues for watching badgers. It's a scenic setting of coppices, rolling hills and graceful valleys, rather like The Wind in the Willows. And as the badger clan sprawls across more than 60 acres, you are pretty certain to see Badger and his many friends. Viewing takes place from a hide (one badger was sitting outside the hide's door when we arrived); and sometimes the animals pop up in front of the window rather like glove puppets. They will bounce about in the woods in front of you for an hour or so, ferreting for food and munching the peanuts laid out for them before dropping down the hill to the stream for a drink. You may also see buzzards, sparrow hawks and kestrels, along with bullfinches, swallows, deer, fox and hares.

For children

Badger-watching is an excellent way to introduce children to the natural world. The hide overlooks a slope and a badger preening itself will often overbalance and tumble downhill. Badgers also have a diet high in the kind of slimy creatures that appeal to children, such as snails and earthworms. Spotter sheets are available to let kids try to match up the footprints of animals they come across in the woods. And they may badger you (ahem) to adopt a badger. You can do this at the visitor centre.

For adults

There's something about these animals that is truly mesmerising. Few will be unmoved when a badger pauses, with a paw half cocked, and raises its snout in the air. But these are wild creatures, and their claws and teeth are sharp. Surprisingly little is known about them, but you can learn more at the watch's excellent visitor centre. The owners, Kevin and Anne, also provide a detailed insight into the badger's life, and into the relationship between Britain's wildlife, the countryside and farming.

Refreshments

Food is available at the Exeter Inn three miles away on the Tiverton Road. Don't overdo the garlic bread - apparently the badgers don't like it.

Access

Because of the need to sit still and quiet at the hide, children under seven are usually not admitted. The path to the sett passes through a coppice that is unsuitable for wheelchairs. That said, the owners suggest you call them to discuss your needs as they may still be able to help.

Admission

Open Monday to Saturday, April to October. Times varybut badgers usually appear around 7.30pm. Adults £10, children £6. Advance booking is necessary.

How to get there

Devon Badger Watch is only accessible by car: north of Tiverton, off junction 27 of the M5. For security, visitors will be given the exact location when booking(01398 351506; devonbadgerwatch.co.uk).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager - Commercial Cable & Wire - UK

    £60,000 - £75,000: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the major Aer...

    ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain