On the (legal) trail of badgers

Nature fans are being offered a close encounter with badgers deep in a Forestry Commission woodland in North Yorkshire.
Nature fans are being offered a close encounter with badgers deep in a Forestry Commission woodland in North Yorkshire.
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NATURE fans are being offered a close encounter with badgers deep in a Forestry Commission woodland near Scarborough.

Mystery tours led by Scarborough expert Jane Payne begin in mid-May and run until August revealing the highs and lows of badger family life.

Strikingly coloured, the creature is one of England’s largest wild mammals – yet spotting one can be really tough.

They spend long hours underground in their multi-chambered setts, which can be hundreds of years old, and are mainly active during the night.

Jane explained: “My children went to see badgers when they were just six years old and that helped to get me hooked. Since then studying and observing the animal has become a real passion. Watching them in the forest is magical.“

Cubs born in February will be taking their first few steps outside the sett in April and May, emerging as night falls.

Still being weaned by mum, she will teach them how to dig for food like worms. By the year’s end, male offspring are often shown the door, as Dad doesn’t want to be challenged. But adults may also be keeping their own secrets from each other – cubs often have different fathers!

Jane continued: “We will be visiting a Forestry Commission hide in a remote wood, overlooking a sett which has been used for well over 100 years by generations of badger. We get people coming from all over the UK. Keeping the location secret helps protect the animal from illegal persecution.”

Badgers are found across Britain, usually in woods below 100 metres wherever ground conditions, such as drainage, and land use permits.

To check dates and times call (01723) 882295, or email brockview@live.co.uk

Meeting details will be given at the time of booking. The event is suitable for adults and accompanied children over 10 years old.