The Portland Bird Observatory offers comfortable, hostel-style accommodation with shared facilities for up to 24 guests in the lighthouse and adjacent annexe.
The adjoining self-contained lighthouse-keepers cottage sleeps four and is particularly suitable for a family or small group that require a little more privacy.
The accommodation is primarily aimed at visitors wishing to enjoy the natural environment of Portland and is popular with, for example, birdwatchers, naturalists, walkers/ramblers, artists/stone-carvers, climbers and water sports enthusiasts; we can also accommodate school/college or other groups on residential field-trips and study visits.
The Guardian has put together this excellent interactive map of its compendium of some the best walks in Britain. everything from Bronze age Perthshire and the beauty of Ullswater to the Watership Down warren! Here
According to the Environment Agency, a dead piranha has been found in the River Torridge in Devon. Nothing to panic about though. The EA said that the piranha had probably been placed in the river once the fish became too large for its tank and died because it could not tolerate the low temperatures. The Daily Telegraph
I enjoyed this short diary from the Highland News on the ups and downs of wildlife in the Highlands this summer and how to attract pine martens with jam. It also mentions the old persecution dippers which were shot in “unbelievable numbers” on many Highland rivers as they were thought to have a marked effect on the eggs and young of the salmon.
These holiday cottages in Devon offer a comfortable and peaceful retreat for anyone with a love of wildlife. Otter Cottage sleeps 4, Beech Lodge sleeps 6-8, Nuthatch and Honeysuckle Lodges sleep 4-6 each. Guests can enjoy own nature reserve designated a SSSI by English Nature.
The farm, including our private but nationally-recognised nature reserve, is home to scarce animals and plants including barn owls, dormice and orchids, as well as swallows, deer, foxes, badgers, occasional otters, and many hedgerow birds. We make our accommodation as sustainable as possible, and manage the farm for wildlife, with help and advice from Natural England and the Devon Wildlife Trust. We gained a Gold approval from the Devon Wildlife Trust for our commitment to wildlife conservation.
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Here’s a wacky way of spending a day. Go on a tree climbing course in the Isle of Wight. The organisers meet you at their “secret” tree climbing field in rural Isle of Wight. Once you have climbed as high as you want to go, you can hang out in the canopy, maybe resting awhile in the tree hammock before abseiling to the ground through the branches. Then, come down for homemade refreshments & a cup of tea.
Bed and breakfast accommodation in Gilsland, Cumbria in old farmhouse and beautifully converted byre on a working farm. The land contains a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, as well as 2 turrets and a Roman Bridge. Home-cooked evening meals, placing a strong emphasis on using good quality and local ingredient. Right on Hadrian’s Wall National Trail.
We are in the process of converting the farm to organic status and are hoping to enter the Higher Level and Organic Entry Level Stewardship schemes, which will commit us to protecting and encouraging wildlife on the farm, preserving the historic features and extending public access around the land.
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Whetever will they think of next! Help construct a roomy communal snowhole lit by the reflected light of candles! Wake up to the absolute silence of a pristine winter wonderland bathed in the soft light of a Cairngorm dawn, in the highest mountain range in Britain. They claim “This will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.” Whatever the case, sounds more fun than playing golf.
Once you’ve undergone a day of essential skills training we embark on a two-day expedition to head deep into the snowy wilderness. The route takes us across the Cairngorm (4085ft) – Ben Macdui (4295ft) plateau to spend a night in a communal snowhole. You learn the essentials of good snow hole design and efficient construction. The challenges are unique and the rewards unrivalled – this is Britain’s ultimate winter mountain experience & one not to be missed.
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600-year-old country house near the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire, where you can relax in the big organic garden or walk in the pastures, orchards and woodland, enjoying the peace and the wildlife.
The whole farm is managed sustainibly for the benefit of wildlife and landscape.
One traveller noted: “We were only on holiday for four days so it would be an exaggeration to rate this as a holiday of a life-time however the accommodation is definitely **** and I have already recommended it to family and friends.”
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Set in the foothills of the Quantocks, this is a 15th century farmhouse with breathtaking views across open organic farmland. The different options are: camping, bed & breakfast or one of 3 self catering cottages which sleep 3-4 persons.Wonderful views and self-directed farm walks leading to natural, spring-fed ponds, through the forestry and to our own stone circle. Activities on the farm and nearby can include walking, cycling, fishing, falconry (1:1 private tuition can be arranged), Wwoofing (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), and a Farm School. We also run courses in bread making, falconry and organic farming, and run art weekends
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Here’s a weird one. Fancy going llama trekking in cream-tea Devon? It seems walking with llamas is the latest thing on East Devon’s spectacular Jurassic Coast. This is an excellent example of farm diversification in the UK and I wish Peak Hill Llamas, the organisers, the best of luck.
Llamas are friendly, gentle and intelligent animals and make ideal walking companions. Our llamas are easy to handle and will happily carry your refreshments and waterproofs – leaving you free to relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery.
Looks great fun. More here
The RSPCA has warned people may be contributing unwittingly to the decline of Britain’s hedgehogs by putting down rat poison. According to new research, the presence of anticoagulants – which are used to kill rats – has been found in ”significant levels” in hedgehog corpses. More here
British farmers and the Ramblers Association warned yesterday of the potential dangers posed by cows after a spate of attacks which have seen four people trampled to death by in just over eight weeks this summer. The high figures are unusual: in the past eight years there have only been 18 deaths in total caused by cattle of all kinds – including bulls. The Independent
See also Are cows dangerous? (“Figures reveal that attacks by cows are by no means unusual.)
Easily accessible from London by rail or road, the Chilterns offer a great mix of forest singletrack and open farmland, with plenty of superb descents (and a cheeky climb or two). With the odd technical section to keep you on your toes (none are too daunting and are aimed at the less experienced), our routes take in the ancient Icknield Way and Ridgeway. Accommodation for the weekend is at a superb 17th century coaching inn, perfect for post ride ‘relaxation’. Based in Wendover. £245 (2 days) 2009: 08 May, 03 Jul.
Jon Monks runs walking tours along Hadrian’s Wall from beginners to strenuous hiking holidays. Here
Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is an unbroken 84 mile signposted trail stretching from coast to coast, from Bowness-on-Solway in the west to Wallsend in the east. It passes through some of the most beautiful parts of England – from rolling fields and rugged moorland to the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. These holidays follow the trail and enable you to see the beautiful countryside and experience the culture as well as discover the history of this remote part of the country. Visit
Self guided walking holidays are also available