“When I was in Muckley the other day–“
“Muckley? That’s a ways”
“Two miles or more, easy”
“Gosh, I’d like to travel someday…”
Various work and family commitments kept me at home in the evenings this weekend but I managed to sneak out on Sunday morning for another look for badger setts. I didn’t find what I was looking for but I did explore the far side of the woods and add a couple of new setts to my map of the area into the bargain.
I may have mentioned that the woods are on the top of a hill – not a huge hill, but big enough for this part of Bedfordshire. Odd as it may sound, almost all of my attention to date has been on the side of the hill nearest our village, so it was time I paid a visit to the other side.
The woods are a mixture of conifers and deciduous trees, surrounded by pasture. It’s ideal badger country. I was looking for the sett that bordered the main sett on the east side. I thought this was the Beech Tree sett but I’m not sure now. It doesn’t seem to be active. I didn’t find any sign of a sett in this area, but I find a couple of new setts further to the east.
Here’s what looked to be an old and established sett on quite a steep slope.
The spoil heaps in the sandy soil are huge. The badgers must have worked for generations to alter the landscape like this.
It rained heavily early on Sunday morning so there were no tracks visible, but the sheer size of the excavation could only mean badgers. There were a number of holes linked by obvious paths, so this seems to be an active sett.
Here’s another sett. This one was outside the wood in a hedgerow that was only one hawthorn tree wide. I’ve seen hedgerow setts like this before. It shows how badgers can adapt to most places. There were two main holes, the spoil from which had spilled through the fence and been worn away by the sheep in the field. My young assistant here shows the scale.
The holes were visible in the bushes. Again, there were no tracks, but the shape of the hole, the size of the spoil heaps and the discarded bedding all point to badgers.
So I’ve got a few more coloured dots on my badger map, even thought there’s still some significant blank spaces. But all in all it was an enjoyable walk, even if it was almost into the next parish.