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.
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.
The badger emergence last evening was 6.48pm
It did not take the badgers long after a 3 month rest period to find a few peanuts hidden on our “tree badger climbing frame” (about an hour) see video below
Ignore the date on this video.
I had a good sighting of a Barn Owl this morning, it was still out hunting at 7.30am
The badger emergence is around 6.30pm.
We still have apples lying under some of our apple trees which provides food for many birds including Field fares, Redwings, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Wood Peckers,Jay’s and many other varieties of birds some of which can be seen in the video below.
Also badgers deer and grey squirrels!!(deer shown in the video below)
5th February 2016
Two minutes from completing my morning dog walk I was treated to one of the most spectacular events that I have seen for some time, I just wish I had my video camera with me.
I had spotted a barn owl (who is currently resident in one of our barn owl boxes) out hunting around our hedges and our 7-8 acre wood half way through my dog walk, but as I neared my house 20 minutes later I could see the barn owl coming toward me down the other side of the hedge at about 4-5 feet in altitude with lots of swerves etc as they do! A Red Kite then dropped out of the sky toward the Barn Owl which I had noted was carrying a mouse or vole!! for the next 60 seconds or so I saw a flying display second to none, which included both raptors flying upside down at different times such was the determination of the Red Kite to steal the Barn Owls breakfast. Once the Barn Owl arrived at the trees around our farm building it was safe from the kite stealing its breakfast.
4th February 2016
The badger emergence is temporarily getting earlier but as the dusk gets later they will emerge around half an hour after last light.
I was pleased to see four badgers together outside the running water hide last evening even if they did argue somewhat.