Sunday 14 and 28 April, Sunday 28 April and Sunday 5 and 12 May
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, and hopefully we will be able to cuddle
Our leader will be Trevor Williams who is the founder and director of the Fox
Project. The hospital unit, which usually houses several cubs, is based at
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.
Wednesday 17 April, Wednesday 29 May, Tuesday 18 June, Wednesday 14 August
The Santago Rare Leopard Project 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 and black leopards, as well as
Tamar, a hand-reared puma. It is one of the few places in Europe to have
successfully bred clouded leopards in captivity. As well as raising public
awareness of the plight of these endangered animals, the Santago Rare Leopard
Project works with zoos all over the world on captive breeding programmes,
aiming to provide animals for eventual re-introduction into the wild.
Our leader will be Peter James who 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 meet 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.
Friday 26 April, Tuesday 7 May, Wednesday 8 May, Thursday 9 May, Monday 8
July, Tuesday 9 July, Wednesday 10 July, Friday 10 August, Saturday 3 August,
Saturday 28 September
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.
4 per event
You will meet at Don's
house about an hour before sunset, and be taken to the sett. The watch
will last approximately 1 1 /2-2 hours.
Friday 10 - Sunday 12 May
Friday 5 - Sunday 7 July
The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at Oxford University has
been monitoring the wild inhabitants of Wytham Woods since 1987.The badgers in
particular have been studied since 1976 and are known individually to the
scientists. In April 2000, WildCRU began an ambitious project to extend their
monitoring work to include all resident mammal populations in Wytham, such as
deer, squirrels, bats, mice and voles. One of the major aims of the project is
to train teams of volunteers to efficiently monitor wildlife. Data collected by
volunteers is essential to the University's research projects, and it is hoped
that eventually it will change the face of mammal-monitoring nationwide. Much of
the mammal monitoring work at Wytham is sponsored by PTES.
Our leaders will be Dr Chris Newman and Dr Christina Buesching who run the
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit's Mammal Monitoring Project in Wytham Woods,
where they also live. They've both spent many years studying Wytham's badger
population and working with all kinds of mammals in the woods.
12 per event
£115 inc. lunch, dinner, transport over the weekend, talks and
We 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
we will learn how to set small mammal traps, detect and recognise badger
field signs and trails, survey the local squirrels and monitor the
badger setts. The event will finish on Sunday evening. Packed lunches
will be provided and evening meals will be served at the university
Friday 10 - Sunday 12 May
Friday 20 - Sunday 22 September
Friday 18 - Sunday 20 October
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 also boasts the highest cliff in Cornwall (731
feet) and the Buckator Nature Reserve, which offers unparalleled views over the
largest seal colony in Cornwall.
Our leader will be Francis Crocker who is the manager of Trevigue Farm, and
who won the National Farmers' Union President's Special Award in 2001 for
demonstrating pioneering conservation work at Trevigue, while running a viable
7 per event
£205 inc. accommodations, meals and activities
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. Francis will also describe the extensive
conservation work he is carrying out at Trevigue.
Your accommodation will be a comfortable cottage above the ancient
woodlands of Trevigue. Dinner will be in the farm's own restaurant, a
converted 16th century farm building.
Once widespread across Britain, beavers were hunted to extinction over 400
years ago for their dense luxurious coats and musky secretions. Now Europe's
largest rodent is poised to return to its former homeland thanks to an ambitious
re-introduction project by Scottish Natural Heritage and PTES. In 2003 three
beaver families will be released into a series of lochs in the heart of Knapdale
Forest in mid-Argyll. We are among the first to have the unique opportunity to
visit the exact site to learn about this exciting project. In addition to its
beautiful forests, mid-Argyll has a stunning coastline of rocky outcrops and
white sandy beaches, teeming with wildlife, such as bottle-nosed dolphins, minke
whales, otters, common and Arctic terns, sea eagles and other birds of prey.
Our leaders will be Martin Gaywood who is the Beaver Project Officer for
Scottish Natural Heritage and John Halliday, the warden for Taynish Nature
Cost:£420 inc. accommodation, lunches, minibus transport, guided
tours, boat trip and entrance to the Sea Life centre
We will meet for dinner
on Thursday evening, and on Friday we will visit the proposed beaver
re-introduction site, where a member of Scottish Natural Heritage will
tell us about the re-introduction project and lead us on a guided walk
through Knapdale Forest. The weekend will include a boat trip to
discover the rich coastal wildlife, and a guided tour around the
Scottish Sea Life and Marine Sanctuary, one of Scotland's leading marine
animal rescue centres, which cares for sick, injured and orphaned seals.
We will also be taken for a guided walk through prime otter habitat on
the beautiful Taynish peninsula, followed by an evening badger-watch.
The weekend event will finish on Monday lunchtime.
Accommodation: Buidhe Lodge is a comfortable hotel in an idyllic
setting on the shores of Loch Shuna.
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.
Our leader will be Cindy Blaney who is a leading member of the London Bat
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.
This comfortable hide has been in operation since 1991 and is set in private
grounds in the New Forest. The badgers can be seen in close proximity as they
forage within inches of the front of the hide. A few years ago the sett became
overpopulated and fighting broke out, causing the resident family to move away.
However, there is currently a pair of badgers living in the sett, and it is
hoped that they will breed and produce cubs in February 2002.
Our leader will be Alistair Kilburn who is the founder and manager of The New
Forest Badger Watch. His father helped to set up the New Forest Badger Group,
the first such group in the country, in response to the persecution of badgers
in the area.
New Forest, Hampshire
The evening will start at
9.15pm with a short introductory audio tape in the visitor centre about
the badger sett. You will then be guided to the hide and the watch will
last about an hour. As you watch the badgers you can listen to a
commentary using headphones.
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 45%. The
project involves close co-operation with the owners of local sites
that have retained their water vole populations in spite of
encroaching mink, and monitoring of the local water voles. In
addition, the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has succeeded in increasing
public awareness of 'Ratty's' plight through presentations, training
seminars and interpretation boards.
Our leader will be Helen Perkins who is the co-ordinator of
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's water vole project.
Location: Tintwistle, near Glossop, Derbyshire
We will meet at
10.30am for an introductory talk. After refreshments we will
walk through moorland water vole sites to look for their
signs. You will need to bring a packed lunch with you, which we
will hopefully eat en-route, weather permitting. The walk will
finish by 2.30pm.
Cheddar Gorge links the village of Cheddar to the Mendip Hills, and, among
many attractions, is famous for the highest inland limestone cliffs in Britain.
The area around Cheddar Gorge is a glorious place to spend the weekend, with an
abundance of wildlife and stunning landscapes to explore. There is an incredible
variety of plants in this area, including the Cheddar pink and the Cheddar
bedstraw. The rich wildlife includes 29 species of butterfly, in addition to
nationally important populations of bats and dormice, both threatened species in
Our leader will be Doug Woods who is a naturalist and leading figure in the
captive-breeding of dormice and who first discovered the value of back-to-front
nest boxes for hazel dormice. In 1993, The Mammal Society awarded him its Silver
Medal in recognition of his contribution to the study and conservation of
Cost:£180 inc. all meals and accommodation, talks and guided walks
The weekend will begin
with dinner on Friday evening. During the weekend Doug will show us many
elusive British animals in their natural habitats, including badgers and
dormice, while giving us talks about the natural history and
conservation of this beautiful area. He will also introduce us to the
intriguing world of reptiles, as we search for adders, grass snakes and
slowworms basking in the summer sun. The outings are likely to involve
scrambles up and downhill. No transport is provided, so car sharing will
have to be arranged.
Accommodation: The Bath Arms Hotel is a comfortable and friendly hotel
located in the heart of the village of Cheddar, with stunning views of
the beautiful Mendip Hills.