Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Busy old Brock

Our badgers have been busy. That is possibly an understatement. I'll show you.

This is Parc Yr Odyn, around six acres or so of organic pasture. It looks a bit scrappy, but it's my favourite field. It faces south, warms up and grows quickly in the spring. It is right next to the house and has a lovely spring or two feeding into the little stream which pops into the bottom corner by the buildings to water the animals.

Now it is a field of two halves. Here is the other half:

The badgers have been digging for grubs. They are probably after leatherjackets, the larval stage of the daddy long legs or crane fly. The badgers, in their quest for a tasty snack, have removed the grass and it now looks like the surface of the moon.

I can only imagine what someone who was earning their living from the land would think, looking at this. Imagine if it were a silage field, all that lovely grass ruined by Brock's industrious front paws.

But we only have thirty sheep and their associated lambs. Luckily. I don't earn my living as a farmer. Luckily. The farm, all 22 acres of it, is Soil Association registered land. We're not supposed to plough, but the badger don't know that. The day after tomorrow a woman from the Ministry is coming to see us, but she's coming from the environmental point of view, to assess us for suitability for management under the Tir Gorfal scheme. Hopefully our vigorous badgers will earn us extra points.

Now, gather round gardeners, and look at this:

Lovely, crumbly loam. Tip-top top soil. The picture doesn't really do it justice, but it's good stuff. Which is why I've already annexed part of the field to grow flowers and veg on and have designs on the rest, particularly the section which currently looks as if it has been ploughed.

Instead of tearing my hair out at the damage, I was rubbing my hands with glee!

That's my hand print in the middle of the soil above, below is a badger's foot print.

It is a great deal of damage and at the moment it looks terrible, but they do it every year and by next spring it will be all green and grassy again. But there is a very large part of me that wants to run a fence along the middle, scrape up all the pulled off grass, and go mad planting up the lovely soil with all the plants currently waiting in pots.

We don't really need to grow grass on it do we?


  1. Blimey, ignoramus that I am I didn't realise how quickly badgers could change the look of the landscape... wonder if mr Famer opposite who has built all over his field is part-badger? He's certainly looking for loot. Ho hum. V. droll Chris, go back to work. Fascinating photos (you could set up a rival National Botanical Garden if allowed to plant there!).

  2. Wow they certainly do a better job than the pigs that's for sure. We don't have any badgers on the island....

  3. I had no idea either! That's a lot of damage. I'd be having to restrain myself from bunging plants in too!

  4. wow, that is some damage to the grass. we have badgers round here but have never seen anything on that scale. great pictures - you should do a talk!

  5. Totally fascinating. We've always had badgers around (before we moved here) but never seen anything like that before...quite extraordinary....
    Looks like you don't need to plough!

  6. Who needs a plough anyway, when you've got Brocks? How amazing - is all this activity because the soil is so wonderfully soft? I bet they wouldn't get so carried away on our Sussex clay soils! Mootia x

  7. The little devils. I had no idea badgers could do that much 'damage'.

  8. Good grief, I didn't realise badgers make so much mess and destruction.

    We have them around here but never get to see them alive, only sadly when one gets knocked over, but they live in the woods and damage possibly not as noticeable

  9. No you dont...g'wan tell I said so!

  10. Know badgers of old,no good fencing old brock will be right thru there same as ever!

  11. Amazing - what naughty badgers! I wonder how many there were and how long it took them? We've had a bit of badger damage down on our allotments, but nothing on that scale. Fascinating pictures.


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