Enjoy a peaceful, relaxing, self-catering holiday in a secluded mobile home situated in the heart of the countryside with spectacular views across the Cotswolds and floodlit badger-watching facilities within 50 metres of the accommodation
During your stay, you will be able to have EXCLUSIVE use of three heated hides from which to observe badgers and other wildlife by floodlight after dusk at College Barn Farm, Sibford Gower, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX15 5RY
The conservation project at College Barn Farm commenced in 1987 when Richard and Sandra Butt bought the farm. It includes the planting of trees and shrubs as well as encouraging and, as far as possible, protecting and preserving the resident wildlife.
Their aim is to establish and sustain (CUT “a Eight-acre”) an eight-acre wildlife area containing as many different varieties of trees and wildlife as possible, with badger setts and four ponds included within this area.
The provision of mobile-home accommodation and badger-watching facilities for visitors not only helps to fund their conservation project, but also enables other wildlife enthusiasts to share their enjoyment of such. With the help of Badger-Watch visitors, they are able to protect the badgers by observing their setts daily and the badgers most evenings by floodlight from three heated hides .
During the day there are many other varieties of wildlife, from small birds to grass snakes to roe/fallow/muntjac deer (subject to the season) to be observed at College Barn Farm. One visitor spotted a total of 47 different kinds of birds during her stay, which included kingfishers, woodpeckers, sparrow-hawks, buzzards, kestrels and owls.
About twenty or so badgers, including cubs, currently live in the setts on the farm (including an artificial sett) and are regularly viewed – unrestricted by glass – at close range by visitors sitting quietly in the hides.
The ‘Top Badger Hide’, which is heated and can seat four persons, is on ground level at the entrance, but 10ft. above ground on the viewing side where the field below (containing the setts) slopes away.
Above this hide is a balcony which allows visitors an elevated, open-air view of the badger setts and the surrounding area, day and night, when the weather is fine. Watchers usually leave a trail of peanuts from the setts up to the hide and very soon after dark, the badgers come up for their supper. They can be clearly seen as there are two floodlights mounted above the hide. These don’t seem to bother the badgers in any way.
A second hide, ‘Running Water Hide’ which is sunk into the ground and seats three/four, is situated by the end of the largest pond. This location provides an unrestricted eye-level view of the badgers at close range from the front of the hide and a view along two ponds from the side window. Photography flaps are located to the front and side of the hide. This hide is also heated and has two reclining seats and two cushion seats.
A third hide, which also seats three/four people, is situated further down the badger-field near the lower badger sett, just outside the floodlit area.
This years badger cubs have now moved away from their birth sett into close by setts (within 30 metres of the main sett) at least 5 disused entrances are now being used by either a single badger or in one case two badgers.
The badger in the video below has Just moved into (2 nights ago) what I call “Our Fox Retreat”
It would seem that all of this years badger cubs (now adults) have moved out of their “birth” sett to out lying setts and it would seem to me that some of the females went with them.
That said our last visitors saw 6 badgers out feeding together.
The badger emerging from the sett in the video below is coming out of a sett entrance in the woods behind one of the supports to our badger playground that I did not know was there until last week
a quick removal of leaves (in the video below) indicates to me that the entrance/sett has not been in use for long there are three other entrances surrounding the main sett which have identical leaf movement which would confirm recent occupation there are also several other entrances full of leaves.
The first badger to emerge last evening arrived outside the Running Water hide at 10.24pm I think that the late emergence was caused by a tractor ploughing a field next door late into the evening.
The badgers can be seen in the video below picking up damsons and eating fallen pears
Our last visitors were visited by a barn owl while watching the badgers, a badger actually walked along the tree trunk that the barn owl was perched on the owl gave the badger some “enquiring ” looks
The fallow deer stags are in the middle of the RUT and we have been having visits from some very large stags with massive antlers which they use on our trees to alleviate their frustrations.(the stag in the video appears to have an injured right rear leg
The badgers start to emerge around 6.30pm
The only soft fruit we have left that the badgers enjoy eating are plum type damsons and a few raspberries, below are a couple of videos that show how keen the badgers are to get them as only as the damsons ripen do they fall from the tree.
(Click on the above image until it full sizes to get the best effect..ie FULLSCREEN)
Full marks to the badger for trying!!
Foxes, deer, green woodpecker, squirrels, blackbirds, crows, magpies and jackdaws also visit the damson trees for the fruit or what the fruit contains
The badger emergence gets earlier ….around 6pm for the start.
We are getting many wildlife visitors to our orchard as the apples etc ripen
The first visitor last night was a badger but not the one in the video below as it arrived at 6.20pm
The second visitor to the same tree was:
There were at least 8 other different badgers visited the tree and were disappointed to find NO fruit lying in the grass
Can you guess which fruit they were all after.
The badger emergence is around 7.30pm and all the badgers bar one are back in the sett by 6.45am, I had one badger on camera entering the sett in daylight at 7.25am!
We have had some interesting visits from Fallow deer and muntjac’s recently.
A massive stag.
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Muntjacs are normally seen here on their own to see three in less than 60 seconds is unusual
The badger emergence started at 5.25 pm last night
The badger in the video below seems cautious as it emerges 2 hours earlier than normal, it is also interesting that the last badger back in the sett was around 1.5 hours later than normal (7.35am in daylight) I wonder what caused the badgers to spend more time above ground.
There were fallow deer here all day, I was watching 5 of them last evening at 5.30 until 5.45pm just after the badger emerged from its sett.
A fallow deer and fawn close up in the video below.
Around 50 pheasants visited us yesterday.
A male muntjac (one of three muntjacs here yesterday) in superb condition (see short video below)
I bet you have to replay the video to spot the mouse going up the tree, before being taken by the fox
True love or just part of the badgers life?
Fallow deer with fawn in daylight
The Canada Geese are back feeding off the barley stubble this morning (Sound on the video)
The badger emergence last night was before 7pm
The badgers are very adept at moving ROCKS as can be seen in both videos
A badger finds food and a Big stag visits…in the videos below.
The badgers and deer now have a better freedom of movement as we started and finished our harvest yesterday between 1pm and 7pm.