Is a Wild Days holiday for me?

Enjoyed a walking holiday but wondered where it was going? Interested in wildlife but never quite see it? If you're looking for a sociable and stimulating break with likeminded people, or if you've ever thought a working holiday would be great, but shame about the hair-shirts and communal living, then a Wild Days holiday is definitely for you.

DSC_0139'In fact being spoilt with good food and comfort are key ingredients of Wild Days Conservation programmes', said Peter Lynch, Author of ‘Wildlife & Conservation Volunteering – The Complete Guide’, published by Bradt.

Creature Comforts

‘We’re not about sleeping bags and bunk houses or cooking your own food and doing the washing up’ adds Wild Days' founder Kathy Gill. ‘Our ‘citizen science’ activities might be hard work and we will have to rise early some days but we’re also about enjoying the beautiful countryside, comfortable accommodation and eating the best local food available.’

What to expect:

 - Unique insight into UK wildlife
 - An active holiday - with a purpose
 - Expert input - talks, walks and technique
 - Great food, locally sourced - all included
 - Interesting companions and lively discussion
 - Comfortable (usually single) rooms

West Lexham :: Wild Days Conservation :: www.wilddaysconservation.org

Still wondering if a Wild Days holiday is for you? Find out why others have been attracted...

Cornwall Beachwatch: Treasure Troves of Data

In August we ran a Wild Days Conservation research holiday on the wild and wonderful beaches of west Cornwall. Our beach-combing produced some interesting finds, and valuable data for the Beachwatch programme.

Detailed survey

recording finds

Recording finds

Over three days, the team visited six of Cornwall’s beaches on the lizard peninsula, and the north coast near St. Ives. The beaches were owned by the National Trust, RSPB and local communities and ranged from secret rocky bays to broad stretches of shining sands. And the sun shone! Continue reading

Suffolk’s Seaside Shepherd: On Orford Ness in May

 

Andrew Capell with lambAndrew Capell is a Shepherd working for the National Trust at Orford Ness and other sites on the Suffolk coast.  Andrew has been looking after sheep for over 30 years and he currently cares for the flock of over 100 as well as working with the sheep to maximise habitat conservation on the Ness, Europe's largest vegetated shingle spit...................

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March on Orford Ness Suffolk

Andrew Capell with lambBoy it’s been cold and wet here on the Ness the last few weeks. Today has seen sun, snow, sleet and a cold wind. Not the weather you want to be out trying to paint red arrows on the road to make out the main visitor route. With the count-down to opening now in full swing we are running out of days. When the weather is fine all the outside jobs are getting done and when it’s wet the buildings are getting swept out, windows cleaned and displays all sorted. On top of that I am doing my day job of looking at the sheep and giving then some hay. We got them all in last week and looked at their feet and trimmed and treated any that needed. Our females are starting to look ‘in lamb’ now so after Easter I will be moving them back to the Ness.

Curlew

At the mo it’s still very wet here which is proving attractive to the Curlew and a few Black-tailed Godwits. Duck numbers are down a bit now as many birds have started to move back North. A few Ringed Plovers have returned over the last weekend and the Lapwings have started to sort out their territories on the airfields. The first Spoonbills have been about with up to 6 seen on Saturday and, unusual for us, 2 Egyptian Geese have been seen as well. We managed to open some bird nets for the first time this year have re-trapped 6 Bearded Tits, all from last year, so we know that at least these survived over the winter. The moth trap has been put out but with the cold nights no moths have been in it so far. We are only putting it on once a week, as soon as it’s above 8 degrees at night it will be on more.

Orfordness Lighthouse CREDIT Tony Pick 2011 small

I don’t get much post sent to the office so it’s nice when I do, last week the invite to exhibit at the Suffolk show came. I was hoping to have a new Whitefaced Woodland Ram to take but I could not fine one that I liked. My 2 Jacob rams are getting a little old now at 4 years so it looks like I will be just taking my young Heb ram but he needs to fill out a bit first. So the rams will come back onto the Ness when the ewes do and I can put them on the river walls which are nice and dry with lots of grass. Kite the sheepdog may also go. He missed last year so it would be nice to take him to see if he can improve on his 4th place in 2014. But that paper work can wait till next week as we have a brake in the sleet shower now and I have some vehicles to put away. And then fingers crossed it stays fine till we are over the river and on the way home.

Andrew

Suffolk’s Seaside Shepherd: On Orford Ness in Feb

 

Andrew Capell with lambAndrew Capell is a Shepherd working for the National Trust at Orford Ness and other sites on the Suffolk coast.  Andrew has been looking after sheep for over 30 years and he currently cares for the flock of over 100 as well as working with the sheep to maximise habitat conservation on the Ness, Europe's largest vegetated shingle spit...................

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Beach Holidays – the Wild Days way!

Soar Mill Cove, Devon :: wilddaysconservation.org

‘This is the beach
where the flip flops come
at the end of their
flip flop trip.

And where does a
flip flop trip begin?’

(from Flip Flotsam, by Elspeth Murray)

Flip-flops, Lego, plastic ducks: unlikely subjects for scientific research but surprisingly, excellent ingredients for the perfect beach holiday! All of these have played a part in increasing our understanding of the workings of ocean currents; a few interesting facts:

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Renowned journalist reviews a weekend with us in Dorset……………

By Peter Lynch
Author of ‘Wildlife & Conservation Volunteering – The Complete Guide’, published by Bradt.

32c

There’s no reason why a holiday shouldn’t be about self-indulgence but they can also be meaningful. Volunteering holidays are also on the increase – doing something consequential and worthwhile instead of just ‘me’ centred? Maybe helping endangered wild animals or doing something that helps reduce our destructive impact on the planet?

For years I have been hooked on ‘hands-on’ volunteer wildlife holidays, which are so much more interesting than being carted around on a safari tour bus, all too often looking at morose, semi-wild animals in a game park.

These types of holiday in exotic destinations, where you’re personally and practically involved, are exciting, enjoyable and inspirational, but they can be pretty expensive and may not suit everyone.

When returning from an overseas trip, full of eco-enthusiasm, I’ve always been disappointed to find so little support for similar activities in the UK – even though we’ve wiped out proportionately more of our native species than most of the underdeveloped countries we’re trying to help!

So I am excited to find that at last someone has realised that there’s as much need for wildlife and landscape conservation volunteering in the UK as there is in far flung countries. Continue reading

Springwatch is back! We’re giving away a Wild Days holiday to celebrate

It’s our favourite TV programme and we’re so excited Springwatch is back!

Springwatch surprise! Weasel - Wild Days Cosnervation - Wildlife conservation and research holidays in the UKTo celebrate its return to the BBC this year we are offering a free place on our 2 day taster experience in Dorset, running from Thurs 26th to Saturday 28th June. You can come and join us as we collect data for the UK Mammal Atlas project and help to manage the landscape at one of Dorset Wildlife Trust’s most beautiful protected areas.

To enter simply click here and tell us in 100 words what inspires you about the British countryside.

 

[Edit: well, obviously the deadline has passed now, and the lucky winner has already spent a lovely weekend with us. Watch this space for more opportunities though…] Continue reading

Hedgehog footprints!

HedgehogWild Days’ home-town has just been declared Britain’s first ‘Hedgehog Town’! We went along to an event celebrating this to find out more and met some wonderfully enthusiastic people from the Dorset Mammal Group. We didn’t see any hedgehogs though – thankfully the group knew they were nocturnal, and that it’s best not to disturb them. Continue reading

The grey squirrel – our most seen and controversial garden visitor

The latest results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, their yearly ‘what’s in your garden’ survey, show that nearly three-quarters (72%) of people in the UK see the grey squirrel in their gardens at least once a month and 91% had seen them at one time.  This makes them the most commonly seen mammal in this country, an interesting position for a species that has only lived here for the last 150 years at most. Continue reading