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Shooting Welsh wildlife - Nigel Addecott

(September 01, 2014)

Dinefwr badger sett

 Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

Although badgers are a nocturnal species, they can (though not very often) be seen during daylight; if you know where and how to go about it. Badgers are a protected species, which means you cannot disturb them or their sett. However, there is nothing to stop you watching them from a safe and responsible distance. I had the opportunity to watch and photograph them from a publicly available, purpose-built hide at Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire, recently.

A National Trust property set in beautiful surroundings, less than a mile from Llandeilo, Dinefwr has a lot to offer. The site comprises Newton House - a magnificent Gothic pile, restored to its 1912 heyday; Dinefwr Park – 800 acres landscaped by Capability Brown, with roe deer, foxes, stoats, otters, many bird species and the famous White Park cattle, which have been here for at least 2000 years; and the ruins of Castell Dinefwr – a Welsh castle built by Rhodri Mawr (c. 820–878) and Deheubarth's capital under Hwyel Dda (c.880 – 950) and Rhys ap Gruffudd (1132 – 1197).

 

Newton House as seen from atop Dinefwr Castle keepNewton House as seen from atop Dinefwr Castle keep
© Copyright Nigel Davies and licensed
for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Dinefwr Park viewed from Dinefwr Castle
Dinefwr Park viewed from Dinefwr Castle
© Copyright Trevor Rickard and licensed
for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Badgers are very social creatures. They live in family groups in an underground sett, which will usually have several entrances and many tunnels. Like humans, they are omnivorous and will eat just about anything, with earthworms their favourite. They have very acute senses of smell and hearing. Their eyesight, however, is dreadful and for such a big animal they are incredibly skittish and will bolt back underground at the slightest sound or strangest smell.

Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

Photographing animals such as badgers presents its own problems; primarily the low light conditions when they are viewable makes things difficult to get a clean, sharp shot. Higher ISO settings are the order of the day (or late evening would be more accurate) which produce higher levels of 'noise' in images.

I highly recommend a visit to Dinefwr. At the time of writing the charge for a session from 19:00hrs to 21:00hrs is £7.50 for adults and £3.50 for under 18s. You are taken to the hide by a knowledgable guide, who will show you all manner of wildlife en route to the hide. Space is limited to just ten people per session and must be booked in advance.

 

Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

 Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

Parc Dinefwr badger sett, Nigel Adeccott

More information about Dinefwr from the National Trust here.

Nigel Addecott, September 2014

 

All images © Nigel Addecott, except where noted

These, and many more, beautiful images are available on Nigel Addecott's wildlife photography website.

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