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 a 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.
24th August 2016
The badger emergence is around 9pm
I was pleased to see two muntjacs visited us yesterday (see video below)
The badger emergence is still around 9.30-10pm
A RARE sight in the video below, have a guess at what it is before it turns around
The three badger cubs are still in our northern boundary sett
see video below
There are also at least two more badgers in another sett along the northern boundary. (see video below)
9th August 2016
A herd of fallow deer including “Whitey” across the valley safely enjoying a breakfast meal of wheat in the video below
In the video below an adult Moorhen feeds with her two remaining chicks of her second brood.
A Mallard Duck seems none to keen on Moorhens in the video below.
7th August 2016
The badger emergence is around 9.30pm, the weather is warm and windy
In the short video below is it one fox and two badgers or three foxes??
In the video below two badgers have a tussle over a hand full of peanuts while two other badgers are waiting in the surrounding area!!
27th July 2016
A welcome light rain fall over night has brightened up the countryside around here!!
Our smallest pond bank seemed to attract many visitors yesterday and last night
Two very bright looking badgers
The Green Woodpecker
The ever present Jay
The bank of our largest pond attracted quite a few moorhens who did not seem to like being filmed!!
25th July 2016
A very warm week just passed causing tempers to fray!! (see the video below)
18th July 2016
A deer and badger evening yesterday my cameras picked up three stags and one large fallow deer doe plus three muntjac, there was also 2 foxes looking for food from 11pm onwards.
In the video below is a huge stag with wonderful antlers.
Two of the muntjacs very close to the camera in the video below.
15th July 2016
7 badgers seen out last evening at one time.
There is a tale to tell in the video below!!
It is another fox completely different to the other two foxes and easily identified by her tail
13th July 2016
The first badger was emerged at (see video below)
A relaxed brown hare was also around yesterday
12th July 2016
The badger emergence commenced at 9pm the previous night was 8.45pm
In the video below a young fox attempts to catch a rabbit in the entrance to an active badger sett!!
a Mallard duck in the short video below with her two remaining ducklings by our smallest pond.
11th July 2016
The young fox was here yesterday in daylight and again several times during the night there must be some attraction and most likely it is food.
8th July 2016
The first badger was out last night at 8.23pm.
A jay came to see us yesterday and for once came close to the camera for a minute!!
We now have two foxes one older than the other(see older fox in the video below)
3rd July 2016
The badger emergence starts at 9.20 pm with 5 badgers being seen out together.
A short summer video of a sniffing fox (below)
29th June 2016
The badger emergence last night was 9.05pm
Take a peek at what the Blackbirds were up to at 4.36am OUTSIDE one of our north boundary badger setts this morning in the video below
We cultivated or fallow arable land yesterday which attracted 3 Red Kites to come and feed on exposed earthworms.
Two of the Red kites can be seen in the video below:
18th June 2016
The badger emergence is around 9.30pm the weather is warm and sometimes very wet!
Two friendly badgers in the video below on the bank of one of our ponds eating food I left out for the ducks and moorhens
The mallard duck with three of her ducklings on the pond bank in the video below.
The muggy warm weather came to an abrupt halt overnight with persistent rain falling at 6.30am this morning!
The wildlife here has become very apparent with all species being very busy feeding youngsters regardless of obvious dangers.
There was obviously a litter of fox cubs born locally as one of them took up residence in our ” 4 Dogs flat” (click on the image to full size it)
The fox escapes after I shut our three younger dogs up!!
One of the young moorhens
2nd June 2016
A deer day! two herds of fallow deer here this morning and yesterday, a video of a young fallow deer “pricket” in the video below with some of the rest of the herd in the background.
My two old friends the French Partridges feeding around a badger sett yesterday (in the video below)
Some of the badgers are out in daylight (see video below and watch to the end) presumably because their emerge By emerging at 8am in daylight they achieve an extra hour!
Fallow deer including an in moult albino in the video below.
25th May 2016
The badger cubs are growing up (see video below)
Jackdaws and magpies do not always get on (see video below)
23rd May 2016
What do badgers do in dark corners normally out of sight?(watch the video below)
The start of next years badger cubs hopefully
22nd May 2016
Fight night at a badger sett
A brief close up video of a deer that has been around here for the last two or three weeks on its own guess what type of deer it is
18th May 2016
A Green Woodpecker finds food around a badger sett entrance in the video below.
Two badgers out in daylight (the second badger is under the tree trunks in the distance)
Two Jackdaws collecting masses of nest building materials.
7 badgers seen out together last night
Two images taken by Aad Hoogesteger of one of our badger sows still lactating and no sign of her cubs (assuming she is from one of the watched setts)
(Triple click on the images to full size them)
Two woodpeckers in the image below:
Many thanks to Aad and Nicoline Hoogesteger for coming all the way from Holland to our badger-watch and contributing lots of great photographs to our web site with video footage to come in due course.
May 9thth 2016
A pair of swallows arrived back here on the 4th May and immediately started looking around the inside of one of our barns for a nest site.
The two sets of badger cubs on our north part of the farm are progressing well, lots of play fights and following their mothers a little way from the setts looing for food.
Video below: The 3 badger cubs become much more active chasing each other around and play fighting
Video below: A badger cub is now aware of a flying insect
Video below: The badger cubs start looking/scraping for food
April 28th 2016
The badger sett on our northern boundary seems stable with the exception of the cubs emerging mid afternoon!!
see the first two videos below.
The next two videos depicts a badger war around one of our watched setts, the war has been going on all week (no badger cubs seen here yet no surprise there)
April 24th 2016
The badger cub in the other sett has two siblings (see video below)
April 23rd 2016
The badger cubs get stronger by the night! I have also spotted another badger cub in a sett close by this sett.
19th April 2016
After a couple of days and nights of “rough” weather the badger cubs emerged again for a longer period and looking stronger/more active
(take no notice of the times on the camera damp/water is not good for electronics and has altered the time)
15th April 2016
A truly wonderful sight from one of our satellite badger setts!!
(click on the image around three times to full size it)
This sett last year produced the first emerging badger cub this year after a warm winter at least three badger cubs have been produced.
I only set the camera outside the sett yesterday.
14th April 2016
A sleepy badger and others in the videos below. (I have never in 20 plus years seen a badger having a sleep outside the sett
Midnight grooming by friendly badgers
A badger roll over!!
13th Aril 2016
Good sightings of a barn owl at 7pm close to the mobile home by our current visitors photo below
Not all of a badgers life is pleasant see short videos below
6th April 2016
The badger emergence is variable at the moment between 7.30pm and 11pm
One of our recent visitors reported a sighting of a lesser spotted woodpecker which surprised me, however the video below proves it
The greater spotted woodpecker is around twice the size of the lesser spotted woodpecker and has obvious wing marking differences to the lesser spotted woodpecker (see vide below of the greater spotted woodpecker)
2nd April 2016
The reason a badger is always on guard either in or outside the sett at this time of year when there is a possibility of cubs being in the sett is demonstrated in the short video below
1st April 2016
The closest badger to the camera ever and this is not an April fool joke
Below is a daylight badger looking/smelling around to see what is around before making an emergence
30th March 2016
How many stags are there in the herd of fallow deer across the valley from us this morning?
PLease note that “whitey” the albino is still with them!!
The badger emergence is now around 8pm
Our current visitors Bob & Lin spent half of yesterdays daylight hours watching a kingfisher fishing on our top pond (for sticklebacks) (photographs will be available next week)
Good sightings of buzzards and red kites enjoying free flight in the high winds.
a family of deer visited us recently.
The badgers are around their setts most of the time never leaving a sett unattended which is a sign of badger cubs being underground!!
March 21st 2016
The badger emergence is around 7.15pm
The badgers have been taking copious amounts of straw down into their setts which is a good indicator of badger cubs being present, together with the fact that my cameras show the presence of an adult badger being in or around the setts at all times, the guard duty is shared between the 4 adult occupants!
In the video below are a covey of red legged partridges passing the camera, it is the biggest covey of partridges I have ever seen on our farm.
March 14th 2016
The badger emergence is around 6.45pm
An interesting 28 seconds badger tussle in the video below
March 9, 2016
Tremendous rainfall here overnight (2-3 inches) and it is still raining flooding everywhere except. here as we are 450 feet above sea level
from yesterdays cameras
A Muntjac surrounded by wild birds all getting ready to start mating and then nesting
8th March 2016
The badgers emergence is slowly getting later now around 7.10 pm
The wild birds behaviour is changing as the 3 inches of snow that fell on Saturday night thawed letting spring arrive
The Fieldfare (triple click to get the enlarged image)
The very early Pheasant
07 March 2016
A well scarred badger first to the rewards and from the furthest sett away from our badger hides
05 March 2016
3 inches of snow overnight!
A snowy badger
04 March 2016
A pair of partridges inspecting an exceptional badger sett entrance here, they spent 2 hours doing the inspection
The badger emergence is around 6-6.30 pm
I have seen 4 badgers out at the same sett entrance at 6.30pm (see video)just before the rain started last evening.
The weather has turned warmer with blustery showers.
I am pleased to say that I am having to refill my five wild bird feeders every day!!
The greater spotted wood pecker is drumming on the trees every morning!!(in between visits to the peanut feeder)
The badger emergence is back to 6.10pm
The weather cold with an easterly wind two nights ago -9c
However the sun has been out during the day and NO rain, the bird population seems to be increasing by the day, I saw 7 red kites looking for worms on a field that was being cultivated yesterday.
Below is a photo of two Green Woodpeckers and a video of one of them looking for food (click on the image to full size it)
A Cock Pheasant inspects a newly opened badger sett on our farm boundary
The current badger emergence is 7.50pm
As I was walking across one of our fields with my dogs this morning I found a small leveret under a weed that the dogs had walked past, I so nearly trod on it that the leveret was forced to move!! The dogs were then aware of it so I had no choice but to pick it up. I marked the spot with my walking stick took the dogs home and quickly returned the Leveret to the underside of the weed in the field where it had been hiding. I saw no sight of the adult Hare on either occasion but feel confident that the leveret has a good chance of survival.
The wildlife without exception here think that SPRING is nearly here.. Thrushes are singing from dawn, the badger activity has escalated dramatically, in the three videos below the badgers are running around 10-12 feet off the ground on their tree highway and guess what the ponds were half frozen over last night the coldest night here in 4 months.
You will see in the first video below the second badger on the Highway knock off a stone which obviously made a noise when it hit the ground frightening both badgers off the ” Highway ” in seconds. Bear in mind that they are in pitch black conditions how the heck can they run so quickly without falling off the Highway???
Finish the peanuts and a quick inspection around the camera and a careful exit from the highway (video below)
On the Highway by a too late badger, a quick look for peanuts and off again (In the video below)
I saw a red kite out hunting in the sunshine while writing these notes (9.48am on 16th Feb 2016)
Added on 18th Feb 2016
Below a short video showing some of what happens to last years fallen apples in daylight, after dark the deer, badgers and an occasional fox help themselves I am very thankful to them as it avoids an acid build up in the soil which would affect the apple tree.