Badgers at RSPB Haweswater. 🦡

Have you ever seen a badger? I must admit these nocturnal mammals have always been something of a mystery to me. Stocky with stripey faces and claws made for digging, the badger is apparently as common as the fox, but much more elusive. Some people ( myself included) have only ever spied the bodies of those poor unfortunates, squashed at the side of the road. 😦 So when I heard about the new Badger Hide at Naddle Farm near Haweswater in Cumbria, I was eager to book myself a place. Of course it helped that my Mum lives only 15 minutes away from the new RSPB base and I could coincide the experience with a family visit.

The hide at Naddle Farm can be hired out for private viewings but I chose to book a Monday night place for myself and my brother. A Monday night slot lasts 1.5 hours and on our visit four other people joined us plus two RSPB guides. The price is £15 for adults ( £12 if your a RSPB member) and children are £10.

Badger viewing begins at dusk, so we arrived at the farm just before 9pm. We were then introduced to our guides and shown into the hide, which is at the back of a farm building looking onto a small fenced croft.

For the first 45 minutes no badgers appeared , so it was the brown rats that entertained us. Yikes! You can see one in the foreground of the above photo. They were quite cheeky and only made themselves scarce when the first badger showed up.

The RSPB staff had hidden food under rocks in the croft. But don’t worry, although the thought of some tasty morsels does entice wildlife, a badgers diet consists mostly of worms. A typical nights feed for one badger is a few hundred wiggly worms, which they dig from the ground and suck up like spaghetti. Yum!

Our first visitor was a badger that the guides had got to know from her previous visits. She had been named ‘ Porridge’ by some students. We had been told not to worry if Porridge showed up with bite marks on her rump. Biting each others bums is apparently quite normal in the badger world , as a way of establishing heirachy. Luckily Porridges bite wounds were almost healed and she looked in good health.

Porridge stayed around for a good 15 minutes, flipping rocks and digging in the grass. It was wonderful just to be able to sit in comfort, and watch badgers do what badgers do, in their own natural environment.

Another ten minutes after Porridge had left ( and the rats had reemerged, only to quickly hide again) another badger came a calling. This one was a new visitor. Neither of the guides had seen this particular mammal before, so they were quite excited. He/she emerged from the woodland on the hillside and spent a good while sniffling around. It is possible there are as many as 40 setts in the Haweswater area, so who knows how many badgers live here.

Our time watching Britain’s largest predatory mammal was all to soon over, but we all agreed it had been well worth it.

For information on how to book the hide look here. 🦡

Have you ever seen a badger?

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43 thoughts on “Badgers at RSPB Haweswater. 🦡”

  1. Like you I have only seen a badger at the roadside. Hoping David I and I will have a similar fruitful experience when we visit next month. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience. xx

  2. I just saw one yesterday—it ran across the grid road in front of the bus and out into the field.

    British badgers are cute. Our are scary. A friend told me that his grandma caught one killing chickens in the chicken coop, cornered it, and killed it with a hoe. This was during the depression when every chicken you had meant you and your family weren’t going to starve. A hoe handle is only five feet long and those badgers are vicious. Grandma must have been very angry or very desperate.

    1. Looking at North American badgers, they do look quite different from European ones.
      We did ask if badgers kill other animals. They do. Those rats for example made sure they made themselves scarce. But it is rare for them to attack livestock I think.
      Your friends Grandma does sound very brave!

  3. How wonderful it must have been very exciting to see the live badgers in their natural habitat, It sounds like a worthwhile and interesting experience. I’d love to see them like that and not on the roadside as we pass by:)

  4. Fab! Like Rosie, that’s the way I like to see them too. We had a holiday in the Scottish Borders recently and saw two of them on the roadside. Most distressing.

    1. Haha, yeh the rats were a little scary, but watching them I realised they are just one of our native wild animals going about their business. X

  5. Never seen a badger as we don’t have them out here, but thanks for sharing your photos & the info about them. Have a great weekend & take care.

  6. I saw one one my way down from Place Fell into Boredale before Easter during our week in the Lakes. I got within about 10 metres of it before it shot off away from me and disappeared down a hole, assumed that was its sett. I certainly could smell it!!

  7. Apart from road-killed Badgers, I have only seen a live one twice.(many years ago) Thanks for your post which prompted me to google badger watching and found a local badger hide and book a place next week.

  8. I’ve seen a badger crossing the road when driving in Derbyshire at night and they were regular visitors to the garden at my parents house so have often see them from the kitchen window there! This is a great experience to be able to offer to people though!

  9. Just catching up on things after being computer-less for two weeks. 😦 That looks and sounds like a great experience, one I’ll have to try sometime as I’ve never seen a live badger, only a couple of roadkill ones. The rats look cute too 🙂

  10. Like most of your other commenters I’ve only seen badgers fleetingly from the road. Nevertheless, I was suprised by how big they are. Must visit this place.

      1. It’s on my list of places to visit. I’ve glimpsed it from the fells coming up from the Ullswater side and would like to tackle some of the hills from that side. Not the easiest place to get too, though.

      2. Yes, I really must make the effort to get up there. Only glimpsed Haweswater from the mountains to the west. I’d like to get a different perspective of the valley.

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