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).

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

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games