Birding Breaks in Stunning Somerset

Birding Breaks in Stunning Somerset

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What a wonderful place Somerset is for birds! From the Mendips to the Quantocks, Exmoor to the coast, and of course the wonderful new wetlands of the Avalon Marshes, the county is rapidly becoming the very best place in southern England to enjoy a wide variety of birds and landscapes.

Home to up to ten species of long-legged waterbirds – including great white, cattle and little egrets, little bittern, night heron, glossy ibis and crane – a dozen species of warblers, and the famous starling murmurations in winter, this is the ideal location for a relaxing yet eventful birdwatching experience.

And now Country Innovation has gone into partnership with Somerset Birdwatching Holidays, a new venture based near Wedmore.

Run by Graeme & Kay Mitchell – who have a lifetime’s experience in the travel business, having led a successful company for 25 years – SBH offers luxury guided tours for small groups of people with any level of birding experience, from compete beginner onwards.

The tours are led by my old friend Stephen Moss – author, naturalist and producer of Bill Oddie’s TV series, including Birding with Bill Oddie and Springwatch.

Graeme and Stephen make a great team – both love showing people the wonders of Somerset’s birdlife, and between them they know every little hidden corner where the really special birds can be found.

What I really like about Somerset Birdwatching Holidays is that they offer a unique combination of local knowledge and expertise, luxury accommodation, fine food and good company, to make your visit a memorable one. They only take small groups (maximum 8 people; usually 4-6), and offer a range of tours throughout the year, staying for two, three or four nights. They can also arrange bespoke guided tours, targeting specific places and/or species, for groups, couples or individuals.

I first met Stephen when we were both getting started in the wildlife business, and we are now close neighbours here in Somerset. He has written several books about this area, including Wild Hares and Hummingbirds, which follows a year in the wildlife of his home village of Mark. Stephen is President of the Somerset Wildlife Trust and the Somerset Ornithological Society. Let’s be honest, there isn’t a better-qualified person to introduce you to the birdlife of Somerset!

Depending on the length of the trip, there will be visits to the nature reserves at Ham Wall, Shapwick & Meare Heaths and Greylake; longer trips also go to the Quantocks, Mendips and Somerset Coast – including the new reserve at Steart Marshes overlooking Bridgwater Bay.

After your day’s birding, you’ll return to Walls Farm, a 19th-century farmhouse in the quiet hamlet of West Stoughton near Wedmore. Accommodation is normally in newly-converted cottages in the six-acre grounds, complete with all mod cons; some single guests stay at a neighbouring farmhouse B&B.

Meals on the first and last nights are provided by Kay, whose cooking is legendary! On other nights you are welcome to eat at one of several very good local pubs. Lunches and drinks are also provided throughout. Guests can relax in the heated swimming pool, or browse a large selection of bird books.

If you are interested, do check out the Somerset Birdwatching Holidays website:
Or email Graeme, Kay and Stephen on:

STOP PRESS: a few places are still available for birdwatching tours on the following spring dates - 27-29 April, 10-13 May, 22-25 May, 15-17 June. Quote COUNTRY to get a 10% discount on any of these tours.

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