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In Association with the People's Trust for Endangered Species the Wildlife Travel Website is proud to bring you:

UK Wildlife Activities in 2003

The People's Trust for Endangered Species have organised 80 different events this year involving at least 25 different species and covering over 30 counties throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The most popular events have filled up very quickly again this year, so if an event you want to attend is fully booked please ask to be put on a waiting list.  The following is a selection of the events still available.

To make a booking or to receive a brochure, call the PTES on 020 7498 4533 or email them.   Alternatively you can visit their website for further information. 


EVENT                                                                                          DATE                                  

Veterinary Hospital, London Zoo               26 March

Fox Rescue                                                 13/4, 27/4, 11/5       

Essex Badger Watch                                    Various dates April through Sept   

Night-time natterjack walk                             26 April

Red Squirrels in Kielder Forest                     2 May

Chinese Water Deer on the Norfolk Broads   7 May

North Cornwall Wildlife Weekend                 Various dates in Sept and Oct

Hedgerow Wildlife                                        13 May

Northamptonshire Bats                                 14 May 

Focus on Badgers Weekend                         16-18 May

Bats in Merseyside                                       16 May

Worcestershire Badger Watch 1                    16 May 

Red Kites in the Chilterns                              17 July

Dormice in Somerset                                     18/5 and 11/10     

Canal Voles                                                  20 May

Dorset Badger Watch                                    21/5 and 8/8

Bats on Hampstead Heath                             22 May

Leopard Love-In                                           22/5, 10/6, 6/8

Glorious Gentians                                         27 May

Hampshire Badger Watch                              31 May 

Scottish Wildlife Weekend                             29 May-1 June

Bats in Thetford                                            June and September (tbc)

Wildlife of Lundy                                          4 June

Worcestershire Badger Watch 2                     5/6 and 10/9

Water Voles in Derbyshire                             7 June

Seals at Blakeney Point                                  7 June 

Mammal Monitoring at Wytham Woods         20-22 June

Stag Beetles in Wimbledon                            dates tbc

Wildwood Badger Watch                              23 August

(4) Behind-the-Scenes at the Veterinary Hospital, London Zoo

Behind-the-Scenes at the Veterinary Hospital, London Zoo

Event #: 4
Location: Regents Park, London
Cost: £15.00 (not including entrance to London Zoo)

Wednesday 26th March, 2003 - 15 places

Wild encounter

London Zoo is home to the largest zoo veterinary hospital in Britain. In addition to treating animals at the zoo, the vet unit also carries out wildlife health surveillance and research for conservation purposes. PTES funds some of this research, including studies of the parapoxvirus afflicting our red squirrels. The unit plays a crucial role in the reintroduction of dormice to the UK, carrying out health examinations on all animals to be released.


Tony Sainsbury is the Senior Veterinary Officer at the Zoological Society of London, where he has been treating animals for 12 yrs.


We will meet at 2.00pm for refreshments and an illustrated talk about the work of the veterinary unit. Tony will then introduce us to some of his colleagues, and lead us on a tour of the vet unit, including the pens housing the patients and the operating theatre. Our visit will finish at about 4.30pm.

(7) Fox Rescue

Fox Rescue

Event #: 7
Location: Tonbridge, Kent
Cost: £16.00

Date Places Note
Sunday 13th April, 2003 12 full
Sunday 27th April, 2003 12
Sunday 11th May, 2003 12

Wild encounter

Established 11 years ago, the Fox Project is a charity dedicated to the protection, rescue and advocacy of wild foxes in Britain. It rescues injured and abandoned foxes from all over southeastern England, and rehabilitates them before returning them to the wild. We have arranged our visit for a time of year when there may be fox cubs in the unit. You may even be offered the chance to cuddle one, if you wish!


Trevor Williams is the founder and director of the Fox Project. The hospital unit is based at Trevor's home.


We will meet at 2.00pm at the Fox Project's headquarters, where Trevor will give us an illustrated talk about the work of the Fox Project. We will then walk to the hospital unit about 10 minutes away. While we enjoy some refreshments, groups of four people will go in turn to meet the foxes currently being cared for.

For fox lovers, below is a limited edition print by Gary Mead of a 3-4 week old fox cub called Todd who was rescued by the National Fox Welfare Society in the year 2000. The sale of the print is being advertised on a web art gallery ( and 35% of the price of each print will be donated to the NFWS. 


Limited edition print for sale in support of National Fox Welfare Society

(8) Essex Badger-Watch

Essex Badger-Watch

Event #: 8
Location: Benfleet, Essex
Cost: £15.00

Date Places Note
Wednesday 23rd April, 2003 4
Thursday 24th April, 2003 4
Thursday 22nd May, 2003 4
Friday 23rd May, 2003 4
Thursday 3rd July, 2003 4
Friday 4th July, 2003 4 full
Monday 11th August, 2003 4
Tuesday 12th August, 2003 4 full
Friday 26th September, 2003 4
Saturday 27th September, 2003 4

Wild encounter

Don Hunford has been watching badgers for over 40 years. In 1957 he began watching a sett near Benfleet and over the years became increasingly worried as he saw property development slowly surrounding the sett. In 1963 he was able to buy a house right next to the sett, which enabled him to keep a close eye on it, and to watch the badgers more regularly. He built a hide beside the sett and the badgers have now become so used to him that they take food from his hands.


You will meet at Don's house about an hour before sunset, and be taken to the sett. The watch will last approximately 11/2-2 hours.

(9) Night-time Natterjack Walk

Night-time Natterjack Walk

Event #: 9
Location: Formby, Lancashire
Cost: £15.00

Saturday 26th April, 2003 - 15 places

Wild encounter

Once common on southern heathlands, today the natterjack toad is one of our rarest amphibians. This charming and colourful little toad is restricted to sandy heaths and coastal dunes - habitats that are under threat in Britain. Extensive measures are being taken to protect the few restricted localities where natterjacks are still found, by preventing scrub growth on the dunes and creating artificial ponds to encourage breeding. The National Trust Reserve at Formby is part of the Sefton coast, one of the largest sand dune systems in England, and a major stronghold for this endangered species. Our visit in April will coincide with the time when natterjacks are emerging from hibernation and are highly visible as they travel across the dunes to pools to breed.


Sue Green is the National Trust Education Officer for Formby Nature Reserve.


Sue will meet you at 9.00pm for a guided walk along the sand dunes in search of natterjack toads. She will talk to you about the conservation work carried out by the National Trust for the species. The walk will finish by 11.00pm.

(10) Red Squirrels in Kielder Forest

Red Squirrels in Kielder Forest

Event #: 10
Location: Kielder, Northumberland
Cost: £20.00

Friday 2nd May, 2003 - 15 places

Wild encounter

Over the last 70 years, the red squirrel has suffered an alarming decline in the UK and it is feared that they will soon become extinct in England and Wales. Their decline is attributed to the spread of the introduced grey squirrel, whose adaptability enables it to outcompete its native cousin. Today, conservationists are testing many innovative techniques to save the red squirrel. One of the most promising strategies is being trialled by scientists and foresters at Kielder Forest, one of the most important strongholds of the species in northeast England. They hope to create a 'designer forest' that will put the resident reds at an advantage over encroaching greys.


Dr Peter Lurz, from the University of Newcastle, and Bill Burlton, from Forestry Enterprise, are co-ordinating the red squirrel research.


We will meet at 1.00pm for an introductory talk, followed by a guided walk through the forest to look for squirrel field signs. The event will finish by about 4.00pm.

(11) Chinese Water Deer on the Norfolk Broad

Chinese Water Deer on the Norfolk Broad

Event #: 11
Location: Strumpshaw, Norfolk
Cost: £18.00

Wednesday 7th May, 2003 12 places

Wild encounter

With their warm golden fur, large furry ears and bright button eyes, Chinese water deer are an attractive addition to the British countryside. Unique amongst British deer, the male water deer has no antlers but instead protruding tusk-like teeth, which he uses to defend a territory from other males. Chinese water deer were first introduced from China early last century to parks such as Whipsnade and Woburn. Some animals escaped, but due to their preference for damp woodlands they have not spread far.
A small population can be found living happily on Strumpshaw Fen, an RSPB reserve in Norfolk. Wildlife on the fen is abundant and, in spring, we may be rewarded by sightings of the elaborate courtship dance of great crested grebes and the 'sky dancing' displays of marsh harriers.


Tim Strudwick is the RSPB warden for the Mid Yare Reserve.


We will meet at 6.30pm for a guided walk across the reserve in search of the deer. During the walk, Tim will point out the wide variety of wildlife found in the fens. The walk should finish by 9.00pm.

(13) North Cornwall Wildlife Weekend

North Cornwall Wildlife Weekend

Event #: 13
Location: Bude, Cornwall
Cost: £215.00 (including all accommodation, meals and guided activities)

Date Places Note
Friday 9th May, 2003 7
Sunday 11th May, 2003 7
Friday 19th September, 2003 7
Sunday 21st September, 2003 7
Friday 17th October, 2003 7
Sunday 19th October, 2003 7

Wild encounter

Partly owned by the National Trust, Trevigue Farm is a spectacular coastal farm where conservation is just as important as farming. The land is sensitively managed to encourage the greatest biodiversity possible, and as a result the farm is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including badgers, roe deer, tawny owls, barn owls, otters, hares, four species of bats and peregrine falcons. Habitats have also been specially created on the farm for dormice, large blue butterflies and the rarest member of the crow family - the striking and charismatic chough. Trevigue boasts the highest cliff in Cornwall (731 feet) and the Buckator Nature Reserve, which offers unparalleled views over the largest seal colony in Cornwall.


Francis Crocker, the manager of Trevigue Farm, won the National Farmers' Union President's Special Award in 2001 for demonstrating pioneering conservation work at Trevigue while running a viable commercial business.


Each weekend begins on Friday evening with an introductory talk by Francis. Over the weekend, he will reveal the wildlife treasures of this beautiful north Cornwall coast to you. Activities will include guided walks through two nature reserves of outstanding beauty, badger and bat watches and dormice box checks. During the weekend, Francis will describe the extensive conservation work he is carrying out at Trevigue.

(15) Hedgerow Wildlife

Hedgerow Wildlife

Event #: 15
Location: Stevenage, Herts
Cost: £15.00

Tuesday 13th May, 2003 -12 places

Wild encounter

Hedgerows are not only an attractive part of the British landscape, they also provide a haven for all kinds of wildlife, from wildflowers and insects to birds and mammals. However, not all hedges have the same wildlife value and much of their richness depends on how they are managed. Concern about the removal of hedgerows led to the introduction of laws in the 1990s to protect those that remain. Our visit in spring will be perfectly timed to find the hedgerows at their busiest, with colourful flowers at their base, insects buzzing on every bloom and songbirds nesting.


Alina Congreve is a postgraduate researcher at Kings College, London. She specialises in the protection of landscape features.


We will meet Alina at 10.30am for refreshments and an introductory talk about the wildlife of our hedgerows and associated legislation. We will also brush up on some basic species identification techniques. After a pub lunch, we will go outside to put our hedgerow survey skills into practice. The event will finish by about 4.00pm.

(16) Northamptonshire Bats

Northamptonshire Bats

Event #: 16
Location: Daventry, Northamptonshire
Cost: £20.00

Wednesday 14th May, 2003 - 20 places

Wild encounter

Five kilometres south of Daventry is a very special site which, when weather conditions are suitable, attracts bats of all species from throughout Northamptonshire to feed. It is an ancient unspoilt site consisting of old parkland, ridge and furrow meadows and a series of lakes around a stately home. During the bat walk we will be using bat detectors so we can hear the bats as they swoop and dive over our heads. There is a chance that Phil will have some rescued bats with him, so we will be able to have a close up view of these amazing creatures.


Phil Richardson is the Bat Conservation Officer for the National Trust, and also co-ordinator of the Northamptonshire Bat Group.


We will meet at 8.00pm for an introductory talk, followed by a walk outside to hear the bats. The event will finish at 10.30pm.

(18) 'Focus on Badgers' Weekend

'Focus on Badgers' Weekend

Event #: 18
Location: Wytham, Oxfordshire
Cost: £15.00

Friday 16th May, 2003 - 12 places

Wild encounter

Despite being one of our most distinctive and popular British mammals, the badger nonetheless manages to maintain an air of mystery through its secretive nature and nocturnal habits. Now you can learn all about badgers by joining us on a special weekend with scientists from Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, who have studied the badger population at Wytham Woods since 1976 and know each one individually.
During the weekend, you will learn how to recognise badger field signs in the wood, and enjoy an evening watching their nocturnal activities. You may also be able to study the badgers' social behaviour in intimate detail by watching infra-red and video footage of their secret activities. The weekend will include talks about the natural history and evolution of badgers, badger communication, their conservation and the laws protecting them.


Dr Chris Newman and Dr Christina Buesching of Oxford University's WildCRU, are co-ordinating the badger monitoring at Wytham Woods.


We will meet on Friday evening for dinner and an introductory talk. There will be badger-watches on Friday and Saturday evenings. The event will finish on Sunday evening. Packed lunches will be provided and evening meals will be served at the university field station.


Supporters are asked to book their own accommodation. Please contact us for a list of local bed and breakfasts.

(19) Bats in Merseyside

Bats in Merseyside

Event #: 19
Location: Rufford, Lancashire
Cost: £85.00 (including lunch, dinner, transport during the weekend, all talks, watches and guided walks)

Friday 16th May, 2003 - 20 places

Wild encounter

This year, PTES is funding an exciting new project to provide artificial roosting sites for bats at Mere Sands Wood. This is a relatively young woodland, and consequently very few of the trees have the holes, cracks and hollows of old age that offer bats a perfect roosting site. Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group has been monitoring the bats here for a number of years and is keen to increase the wood's potential as an attractive habitat for bats. The wide variety of bats found at Mere Sands includes Daubenton's, pipistrelles, brown long-eareds and whiskered bats.


Charlie Liggett is a leading member of the Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group and has been co-ordinating the bat survey work at Mere Sands Wood for two years.


We will meet at 7.30pm for an introductory talk, followed by a barbeque and a walk to see the bats. The event will finish by 10.30pm. Please mention any special dietary requirements when booking.

(20) Worcestershire Badger-Watch 1

Worcestershire Badger-Watch 1

Event #: 20
Location: Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire
Cost: £20.00

Friday 16th May, 2003 - 10 places

Wild encounter

There is no hide at this badger sett, so this is real badger-watching in natural conditions. However, the badgers are fed regularly to encourage them to remain in the vicinity of the sett when they first emerge in the evening. There is a golf course nearby, and the badgers have been known to bring golf balls back to the sett to play with!


Andrew Hadley is a warden for the Woodland Trust. He is also actively involved with the Worcestershire Badger Society.


The evening will start at 7.00pm with an illustrated talk on badgers, their homes, diet, behaviour and protection. Andrew will then lead you along the five minute walk to the badger sett. The watch will finish by 11.00pm.

Additional information

Badger-Watch Category B

(21) Red Kites in the Chilterns

Red Kites in the Chilterns

Event #: 21
Location: Henley-on-Thames, Buckinghamshire
Cost: £16.00

Date Places Note
Saturday 17th May, 2003 12 full
Thursday 17th July, 2003 12

Wild encounter

It took nearly 80 years for the majestic red kite to recover from near extinction at the end of the 19th century, when it was reduced to just a few pairs in Wales. Common in Medieval times, it was a regular scavenger in towns and cities, but persecution by Victorian gamekeepers and egg-collectors devastated British populations. Today, this beautiful bird of prey, with its gorgeous russet plumage, forked tail and narrow angular wings, is once again seen soaring overhead thanks to the efforts of conservationists. Twelve years ago, the RSPB and English Nature joined forces to restore the species to the Chilterns and now there are over 100 breeding pairs established from the Chilterns to the East Midlands.


Nigel Snell is the Southern England Project Co-ordinator of the red kite reintroduction for English Nature and the RSPB.


We will meet at 10.30am for a guided walk to see red kites, as well as buzzards, kestrels and a beautiful array of wildflowers. The walk, which is over fairly uneven ground, will last about two hours and will end at a local public house where lunch is available.

(22) Dormice in Somerset

Dormice in Somerset

Event #: 22
Location: Cheddar, Somerset
Cost: £15.00

Date Places Note
Sunday 18th May, 2003 20
Saturday 11th October, 2003 20

Wild encounter

The charming hazel dormouse was once a fairly widespread and common resident of Britain's woodlands and hedgerows, but today the species is perilously rare and vulnerable to extinction in many counties. In an effort to conserve this adorable creature, specially designed nestboxes have been put up in over 180 sites throughout the UK and dormice populations in these areas are regularly monitored. This year, we are very lucky to be invited to join the dormouse box checks at Black Rock and Cheddar Gorge. This scenic area was the site of the first ever box monitoring project over 20 years ago.


Doug Woods, a naturalist and leading figure in the captive-breeding of dormice, first discovered the value of 'back-to-front' nestboxes for hazel dormice.


We will meet Doug at 10.00am for coffee and an introductory talk followed by the nest box checks. The event will finish by 1.00pm, in time for lunch with Doug at The Bath Arms, if you wish. Nearby is the highly acclaimed Peat Moors Centre where you can explore reconstructions of iron age dwellings.

(23) Canal Voles

Canal Voles

Event #: 23
Location: Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire
Cost: £15.00 (not including lunch or entry into the Peat Moors Centre)

Tuesday 20th May, 2003 - 15 places

Wild encounter

The Kennet and Avon Canal was once one of the best sites for water voles in the country. When the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon section of the canal had to be drained and reconstructed due to leakage, the water voles were rescued and taken into a captive breeding programme. Their offspring were returned to the newly refurbished site a year later in 2001. Studies of the reintroduced water voles showed that they swiftly reoccupied their former canal-side homes and were doing well. Further releases of water voles to the repaired and revegetated sections of the canal in 2002 proved very successful.


Rob Strachan, of Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, runs the Kennet and Avon water vole project.


We will meet at 2.30pm for a boat trip down the Kennet and Avon Canal to look at prime water vole habitat. Rob will give an introductory talk, and he will hopefully have a water vole with him to show you. Refreshments will be provided. The boat trip will finish by 4.30pm.

(25) Dorset Badger-Watch

Dorset Badger-Watch

Event #: 25
Location: Dorchester, Dorset
Cost: £15.00

Date Places Note
Wednesday 21st May, 2003 15
Friday 8th August, 2003 15

Wild encounter

There are at least 12 badgers in this sett, which is thought to be over 100 years old. During the last three years, there has been a 100% sightings record at the Dorset badger-watch. The hide is comfortable and heated and looks out over the sett, which is floodlit so that you can see the badgers as they emerge. As well as badgers, there are frequent sightings of owls, foxes, rabbits and bats.


Nick and Mark Needham are the owners and managers of the Dorset badger-watch.


The watch will start at 7.00pm and will last about two and a half hours.

Additional information

Badger-Watch Category B

(26) Bats on Hampstead Heath

Bats on Hampstead Heath

Event #: 26
Location: Hampstead, London
Cost: £15.00

Thursday 22nd May, 2003 - 20 places

Wild encounter

Summer evenings on Hampstead Heath are a perfect time for spotting bats as they emerge from their roosts to feed. Our guided walk will take us to Highgate Ponds, where we will learn how to identify different species using bat detectors. The two species we are likely to find are tiny pipistrelles as they hunt for insects along woodland edges and Daubenton's, which specialise in catching insects from the pond surface.


Cindy Blaney is a leading member of the London Bat Group.


We will meet around 8.30pm for a walk with Cindy across Hampstead Heath, which will last about two hours. During the walk Cindy will introduce us to the sights and sounds of the bats found on Hampstead Heath, as well as the fascinating work of the London Bat Group.

(28) Leopard Love-In

Leopard Love-In

Event #: 28
Location: Welwyn, Hertfordshire
Cost: £25.00

Date Places Note
Thursday 22nd May, 2003 20
Tuesday 10th June, 2003 20
Wednesday 6th August, 2003 20

Wild encounter

The Santago Rare Leopard Project (website address: is a private collection of some of the rarest and most beautiful big cat species in the world. It is home to snow leopards, clouded leopards, Persian leopards, black leopards and a hand-reared puma, and is dedicated to raising public awareness of the plight of these endangered animals. The Santago Rare Leopard Project is only the second place in Europe to have successfully bred clouded leopards, as part of its captive breeding and reintroduction programme. PTES is proud to be funding a new enclosure for Enya, a beautiful clouded leopard cub born in spring last year.


Peter James is the director of the Santago Rare Leopard Project, which he set up 12 years ago.


We will meet at Peter's home in the early evening to see the cats in their enclosures. By visiting at this time, we will be able to watch Peter feed his cats. Refreshments will be provided. The visit will finish by 9.00pm. NB: No stroking of the cats will be possible.

The following further information about the Santago Rare Leopard Project is contributed by Sara Barford:-

Pussies Galore!

But these are no ordinary cats. These Big Cats are in fact Leopards. Are you a cat lover? Do you fancy seeing a Snow Leopard at close quarters? Well you can - at the SANTAGO RARE LEOPARD PROJECT.

This is a private collection of Leopards, owned by Peter James. The project was started in 1989 with the aim of breeding some of the rare leopards, particularly the Clouded and Snow Leopards. Their goal is to see future progeny bred here to be part of any major project to release them back into the wild.

Santago is completely self-funded, running sponsorship schemes, as well as the membership schemes. They also have 4 open days a year and run Art Workshops and photographic days.

Let me introduce you to some of the current BIG CAT residents.

Clouded Leopards

Jessie (born 11/4/97) who is breeding with Fluff (born 12/9/98) and has already successfully reared one male cub. 

Snow Leopards

Shadow - born 4/4/93                            Tara - born 27/6/93

Nadia (Be-Be) - born 12/5/97.  (The first cat they managed to breed successfully)

Persian Leopards

Bandar - born 19/8/86 (male)                 Shalima - born 6/6/88 (female)    

Black Panthers  

Khan - born 20/8/97 (male)                    Mystique (Misty) - born 28/9/97 (female)

(They are hoping that these two will breed as Misty is now of the right age for her first litter)

African Leopard  

Sheena - born 3/3/97.  She has been hand-reared and will let Peter handle her.


Tamar - born winter 96/97.  She has also been hand-reared and has a lovely purr! 

(Yes you are correct, the puma is not of the leopard family.  Peter was approached by the RSPCA when her mother rejected Tamar; the claws in her back feet did not develop.  Thus the odd one out.)   

Membership, Sponsorship and Art & Photographic Days

Membership -  An Annual Subscription costs just £7.50 and includes a quarterly newsletter and entry to the Open Days for £5.00. 

Sponsorship - £25.00 per cat per year.  For this you will receive a large colour picure of the cat you sponsor, a certificate of sponsorship and two free visits (times to be arranged) per year to see your cat.  Plus invites to any Open Days at the reduced price of £5.00; by sponsoring a cat, you automatically become a member.   

Each cat cost approximately £1,100 a year for food and bedding, there are additional costs such as veterinary fees and the maintenance of the enclosures.

Art Workshops – There are 2 one-day workshops organised by Peter James, with Chris Christoforou available to provide advice if needed. Take the opportunity to sketch or paint the cats on show, in a mutually relaxed and comfortable environment, in the company of like-minded people.




PAIR OF PERSIAN LEOPARDS – The largest sub-species of leopard

AFRICAN LEOPARD – Sheena is tame and a star of TV

PAIR OF CLOUDED LEOPARDS – plus a young unrelated female

PUMA –Tamar is also tame and starred on TV

Photographic Safari – These can be arranged by photographic clubs, with a minimum 8 photographers and maximum 15. The cost is £25.00 per person and includes an introductory talk on the animals. Also Tea & coffee as required.

Peter James is in full attendance for the duration of your visit, approximately 4 hours and will attract the Leopards into the best positions for your photographic opportunities. There are openings through the enclosure wire that enables you to get your camera lens through; thus nothing to obscure the view.

For further information on any or all of the above, contact Peter James at: -

Santago Rare Leopard Project, 14 Willow Walk, Welwyn, Herts, AL6 9SQ

Tel: 01438 714393  

(29) Glorious Gentians

Glorious Gentians

Event #: 29
Location: Salisbury, Wiltshire
Cost: £25.00

Tuesday 27th May, 2003 - 20 places

Wild encounter

Small but beautiful, the early gentian rarely grows more than 10cm tall. Thought to be one of Britain's few endemic species, it is nationally scarce and only occurs in a few protected sites, mostly in southern England. In recent years the early gentian's occurrence has declined markedly and its rarity has led to its inclusion on the list of Biodiversity Action Plan species. However, it is now thought that the early gentian is, in fact, genetically identical to the autumn gentian. Partly funded by PTES, botanists are now seeking to unravel the mystery and determine whether the early gentian is indeed a true species or just a peculiar form of its larger and more common cousin.


Alan Gange is a senior lecturer from Royal Holloway, University of London.


We will meet Alan at 10.00am for an introductory talk, followed by a walk to see these beautiful flowers, finishing around 12.00pm. The walk will finish at a nearby public house, where you can join Alan for lunch, if you wish.

(30) Hampshire Badger-Watch

Hampshire Badger-Watch

Event #: 30
Location: Gosport, Hampshire
Cost: £15.00

Saturday 31st May, 2003 - 14 places

Wild encounter

There have been badgers at this sett for over 40 years. The badgers are fed regularly in a special floodlit area in front of the hide, which has been built up so that the badgers can be seen at eye level, only four to six feet away. Up to six badgers are frequently seen during the evening, and we have planned the watch for a time of year when there is the best chance of seeing cubs.


Richard Caffrey is a member of the Southampton Badger Group, and has been studying the local badgers for nearly 10 years.


Richard will meet you for a 9.00pm badger-watch. It is likely to last about two hours.

Additional information

Badger-Watch Category A

(31) Scottish Wildlife Weekend

Scottish Wildlife Weekend

Event #: 31
Location: Isle of Mull, Inner Hebrides
Cost: £15.00

Date Places Note
Thursday 29th May, 2003 12 Event finishes Sunday 1st June, 2003

Wild encounter

Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the Hebrides is an area of outstanding beauty with an amazing abundance of wildlife. It is a wonderful place to see resident and migrating whales and dolphins, including minke whales, harbour porpoises, orca and bottlenose dolphins. On the coast, sightings of seabirds, such as kittiwakes, herring gulls, gannets, puffins, guillemots, razorbills and even Manx shearwaters are plentiful. You may also be lucky enough to see otters as they feed and play along the shoreline. However, one of the main reasons people go to the Isle of Mull is to see the majestic golden eagle and the remarkable reintroduced white-tailed sea eagle.


Jan Dunlop is the Forestry Commission Warden for the Isle of Mull. Jeremy Matthew will be taking us on the whale watching trip. He has been running these trips for more than a decade and in that time has accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the islands and their wildlife.

Richard Atkinson specialises in showing visitors the spectacular wildlife of Mull. He makes a donation to the WWF and Scottish Wildlife Trust for each person taking part on his wildlife safaris.


We will meet at the hotel in time for dinner on Thursday night. On Friday we will be given a guided tour of a Forestry Commission reserve, followed by a bat watch in the evening, On Saturday we will be taken on a whale watching cruise and on Sunday we will join a wildlife safari. The long weekend will end on Sunday afternoon.


We will be staying at the Bellachroy Hotel, a comfortable hotel located near Tobermory.

(32) Bats in Thetford

Bats in Thetford

Event #: 32
Location: Thetford, Norfolk
Cost: £390.00 (including all dinners and accommodation, trips, guided walks, packed lunches, travel during the weekend). Travel to Mull and single room supplements are not included.

Date Places Note
TBA 8 June and September (Dates to be confirmed. Please telephone 0207 498 4533 for the latest information)

Wild encounter

The commercial pine forests around Thetford were chosen in 1975 for a long term study of bats. Five bat species are found in the forests, namely the charming brown long-eared bat, both species of pipistrelles, noctules and the very rare Leisler's bat. Five hundred bat boxes were put up in the forest to encourage the bats to breed. The boxes are monitored on a regular basis and any inhabitants are checked for species, age and sex. When a bat is caught for the first time, it is ringed before release so that it will be recognised in the future.


Dr Bob Stebbings has been studying bats for 50 years and is one of the UK's foremost bat experts. He is responsible for setting up the first scientific bat box project in the UK.


Bob will meet you at 8.00am, and take you into the forest to check the bat boxes. The checks will conclude at about 3.00pm. Packed lunches will be needed and will be eaten on the move. In the morning supporters will need to agree the sharing of cars which can be taken into the forest and driven along forest tracks.

(33) Wildlife of Lundy

Wildlife of Lundy

Event #: 33
Location: Lundy, Devon
Cost: £17.00

Wednesday 4th June, 2003 - 20 places

Wild encounter

Undisturbed by cars, Lundy is a unique and unspoilt island that is home to a fascinating array of wildlife and beautiful flowers such as the endemic Lundy cabbage. In June, the coastline resounds to the cries of hundreds of nesting sea-birds. At this time of year, the nimble Soay sheep that scramble around on the rocks should have young by their sides, and we may even spot basking sharks feeding in the clear inshore waters from the cliffs.


Ben Sampson is the Warden of Lundy Island.


We will take the 10.00am ferry from Ilfracombe. The journey to Lundy is about two hours. You will be free to explore the island until the guided walk at 2.00pm, which will finish at 4.30,in time for the return ferry at 5.00pm. There is a shop and cafe in the village. There is a steep climb up to the village. However, a lift is available to those who may need it. For more information about local accommodation, please do contact us.

(35) Worcestershire Badger-Watch 2

Worcestershire Badger-Watch 2

Event #: 35
Location: Bewdley, Worcestershire
Cost: £15.00

Friday 6th June, 2003 - 6 places

Wild encounter

Wassal Wood was originally part of the Wyre Forest. When most of the forest was felled some years ago, the Woodland Trust bought Wassal Wood and set about restoring it to its former glory. There are no hides in Wassal Wood for badger-watching. However, food is regularly provided to encourage the badgers to remain in the vicinity of the sett after they have emerged.


Andrew Hadley is the Woodland Trust warden for Wassal Wood. He is also an active member of the Worcestershire Badger Society.


The evening will start at 7.00pm with an illustrated talk, followed by the badger-watch. The watch will finish at 11.00pm. There will be a 15 minute walk to the sett.

Additional information

Badger-Watch Category B

(36) Water Voles in Derbyshire

Water Voles in Derbyshire

Event #: 36
Location: Hathersage, Derbyshire
Cost: £16.00

Saturday 7th June, 2003 - 15 places

Wild encounter

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's water vole project has been running since 1997, when a countywide survey revealed that populations of these charming creatures had declined in Derbyshire by nearly half. The project involves working with the owners of local sites that have retained their water vole populations despite encroaching mink, and includes close monitoring of the local water vole communities. In addition, the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has increased public awareness of 'Ratty's' plight through presentations, training seminars and interpretation boards.


Helen Perkins is the co-ordinator of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's water vole project.


We will meet at 10.30am for an introductory talk. After refreshments we will walk through moorland water vole sites. Please bring a packed lunch with you, which we will hopefully eat en-route, weather permitting. The walk will finish by 2.30pm.

(37) Seals at Blakeney Point

Seals at Blakeney Point

Event #: 37
Location: Blakeney, Norfolk
Cost: £16.00

Saturday 7th June, 2003 - 20 places

Wild encounter

The seals that grace Britain's coastline are among the most exciting sights of the seaside. Two species are found in our waters - the common and grey seal. They are very different in their preferred landing sites and so are rarely found on the same area of coastline. However, on the protected beaches and inaccessible sandbanks of Blakeney Point, up to 500 individual seals of both species can be seen sunbathing together. As well as enabling you to see these amazing creatures close up, your boat trip will also include a drop off on Blakeney Point Nature Reserve, where you will have fantastic views of seabirds from its hides.


Paul Bishop's family has been taking people to see the seals on his boats from Blakeney for over 35 years.


We will meet at 11.00 for the trip, which will last about 2 hours.

(40) Mammal Monitoring at Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire

Mammal Monitoring at Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire

Event #: 40
Location: Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire
Cost: £30.00

Date Places Note
Friday 20th June, 2003 12 Event finishes Saturday 20th June, 2003

Wild encounter

Wytham Woods is a beautiful ancient woodland where the Wildlife Conservation and Research Unit (WildCRU) of Oxford University has been monitoring mammal populations for many years. WildCRU is inviting a group of our supporters to join them for a weekend of 'hands-on' mammal monitoring. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn exciting new skills, such as recognising mammal field signs, setting live traps and how to monitor an active badger sett. No prior knowledge is necessary. The animals you will learn about include deer, squirrels, bats, mice, voles and badgers. Much of the mammal monitoring work at Wytham is funded by PTES.


Dr Chris Newman and Dr Christina Buesching run WildCRU's Mammal Monitoring Project in Wytham Woods. They have both completed PhDs on Wytham's badger population and since then have expanded their expertise to include other mammal residents of the woods.


You will meet on Friday evening for dinner and an introductory talk from Chris about Wytham Woods and the Mammal Monitoring Project. Over Saturday and Sunday you will join Chris in monitoring the woodland mammals. The event will finish on Sunday evening. Packed lunches will be provided and evening meals will be served at the field station.

(41) Stag Beetles in Wimbledon

Stag Beetles in Wimbledon

Event #: 41
Location: Wimbledon, London
Cost: £115.00 (including lunch, dinner, transport during the weekend, all talks, training and guided walks)

Date Places Note
TBA 20 To be confirmed, please telephone 0207 498 4533 for details

Wild encounter

Although the number of stag beetles in the UK has declined over the years, there remain a number of 'hotspots' where these magnificent beetles continue to thrive. Perhaps surprisingly, one of these 'hotspots' is London, particularly southern and western areas, where stag beetles continue to be quite common in and around the city's green spaces and gardens.


Deborah Harvey is a postgraduate researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London and is studying the biology and ecology of the stag beetle for her PhD. Tony Drakeford is a Conservator of Wimbledon Common.


We will meet at 7.00pm for an introductory talk about stag beetles, followed by a chance to go outside and see these creatures in flight.

(43) Wildwood Badger-Watch

Wildwood Badger-Watch

Event #: 43
Location: Herne Bay, Kent
Cost: £15.00

Saturday 23rd August, 2003 - 12 places

Wild encounter

This is a unique opportunity for anyone who is fascinated by badger behaviour to watch them really closely in a natural environment. There is a hide to watch from in bad weather.


Peter Smith is a leading member of the East Kent Badger Group.


The evening begins at 8.00pm, with an illustrated talk on badgers, followed by the badger watch which may continue until about 10.00pm.

Additional information

Badger-Watch Category A