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(6) Fox rescue 

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 one! 

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 Trevor's home.

Location: Tonbridge, Kent 

Places: 12 

Cost: 15 

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.

(7) Leopard Love-In 

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. 

(Website address: www.angelfire.com/super/santago)

Location: Welwyn, Hertfordshire  

Places: 20 per event 

Cost: 25

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.

11) Essex Badger Watch 

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.

Location: Benfleet, Essex  

Places: 4 per event 

Cost: 15

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.

(13) Mammal Monitoring at Wytham Woods 

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.

Location: Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire  

Places: 12 per event 

Cost: 115 inc. lunch, dinner, transport over the weekend, talks and training

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 field station.

 

(15) North Cornwall Wildlife Weekend 

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 commercial business.

Location: Bude, Cornwall  

Places: 7 per event 

Cost: 205 inc. accommodations, meals and activities

The 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.  

 

(18) A Wild Weekend in Scotland 

Thursday 16 - Monday 20 May 2002

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 Reserve.

Location: Lochgilphead, mid-Argyll  

Places: 11

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.

(21) Bats on Hampstead Heath

Tuesday 21 May 2002

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 Group.

Location: Hampstead, London  

Places: 20 

Cost: 15

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.

 

(25) New Forest Badger Watch

Friday 31 May  2002

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.

Location: The New Forest, Hampshire  

Places: 27 

Cost: 15

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.

 

(28) Water Voles in Derbyshire

Saturday 8 June  2002

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  

Places: 15 

Cost: 15

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.

 

(30) Somerset Wildlife Weekend 

Friday 14 - Sunday 16 June 2002

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 the UK. 

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 mammals.

Location: Cheddar, Somerset  

Places: 12 

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.