Can you spot the Roe Deer looking out for me in this photo…?
June 21st is approaching fast and is the longest day of the year. Long evenings mean a perfect time to catch one of our most magical and largest of wild animals the Badger or to use the old name ‘brock’.
Today I’ve been scouting for a good place for this locally and found this fantastic spot on the picture below. Beautiful beech and Ash woods with the floor coveted in pungent wild garlic and the badger set built right on one side of a deep gulley: the opposite side of the gulley is elevated above the badger’s holes and offers a perfect view of any nocturnal activity.
I’ll be going next week for real, turning up before dusk to (somehow!) get comfortable high up on the far bank before night falls. It’s a very steep bank and I think a hammock might be employed between a couple of strong Ash bows, but I may just perch myself in a tree and see if I can keep from falling out…
I read a fantastic book as a boy call “A Forest By Night” by Fred J. Speakman and ever since have had a special affection for badgers. In the book which I thoroughly recommend, although it’s near impossible to get hold of now, the author, recently beureaved and injured during the second world war and unable to work spends a year in Epping Forest staying out at night and recording everything he sees, through each season – most of the activity focusses around the lives if the badgers he watches. It’s an inspiring read and one of the first books on what we would now know as ‘woodlore’ or bushcraft. The author also also wrote a seminal work called ‘Tracks, Trails and Signs’ on the art of tracking. I can’t wait to get out there in the woods and wait for the sun to go down, the birds to quieten down and then, hopefully for the badgers to nose cautiously out of their ungerground home and begin their nocturnal habits of cleaning out their dens and starting to forage for food. I just hope I don’t fall out of that tree! An update will be recorded here – Fred J. Speakman didn’t have the Internet in his day…
“One of my very favourite events of Spring is the magical but brief appearance of dramatic clusters of Bluebells right across southern England. Preferring shade, they flood wooded areas in an instant – like the annual gathering of some Secret Society of Blue. And each year I take pictures.
Because I can’t quite believe my eyes: their vibrant colour combining with the bright lime of new beech leaves in an almost surreal display. And because perhaps they might not return..?” Thankfully they do each year which is important as our native Bluebell’s which represent a significant 25% of the world’s Bluebell population – Find out more about Bluebells at the Woodland Trust or head to your local woods before this amazing scene is over!
It’s surprisingly hard to get hold of a real swag in the UK. I inherited my Razorback swag from my wife’s family when we were living Down Under several years ago: that’s the brown one below and shown in our main post about swag-camping here (and you’ll see it pop up all across this site as it’s been my main outdoor accommodation for ages now – I haven’t used a tent for 7 years…).
There’s a lot of swags available on Ebay, in Australia see here http://shop.ebay.co.uk/i.html?LH_AvailTo=3&_nkw=swag+canvas – worth a look but the postage is pretty heavyweight – but great for looking at the real Aussie swags that are available over there: lots of different shapes and sizes.
Update: Another company based in Devon also sells Australian style swags – they are made in the UK unlike the imported ones above, but are based faithfully on the original Australian designs – see http://www.wruffit.co.uk/ for details:
[Edit: Seems that Wruffit are no longer trading… website has been down for a long time and no answer on their phone number – so one less place to buy a swag now!]