On Tuesday December 10th members of the Kirklees Badger Protection Group and Dave Wilde, attended a meeting of the ‘Upper Dearne Woodland Group’ to finalise details for the building of the artificial sett in woodland managed by the group. Having received the grant cheque we were keen to get on with the work ASAP, and by December 12th work had begun.
Clive Turner (from the KBPG and South Yorkshire Badger Group) and his team arranged for all the materials to arrive that morning, the digger man was primed to start work and there was great excitement from the volunteers. Unfortunately standing in the way was a four foot high wall. The woodland group had been wanting this removing for some time and were happy for the digger to knock it down, they had mentioned it was a particularly strong wall but that a digger shouldn’t have a problem with it, a slight understatement. The wall didn’t want to move!!!
Two hours of pushing and pulling with the digger bucket, bashing with a sledge hammer, numerous almost helpful suggestions from others, and a few words of encouragement, did little to move it. Eventually it gave way but still needed breaking into pieces small enough to move, the sledge hammer was reintroduced with a stone chisel and a crowbar but made little impact, then the stone saw entered the fray and along with the other tools enabled entry into the wood.
The digger soon got to work removing soil from the intended site, the dumper truck and other people transported the materials from the main road to the site and we finally seemed to be getting somewhere. The footprint of the sett was soon cleared, with trenches dug for the entrance pipes. The pipes were laid and covered over and after an awful day weather wise it was decided to call it a day.
The following day, in possibly even worse weather, the team arrived to complete the work. Chambers were constructed, top quality hay was left as a starter for any new occupants, the entrance pipes were joined to the chambers and dead ends were left for the badgers to carry out further excavations as they required.
Heavy mesh was put in place and the sett covered over, leaving no sign of entrances from the public footpath passing close by, and little sign of ground disturbance.
A splendid job carried out by a knowledgeable and committed team, well done and many thanks to them. Thanks also to DDPET for the grant towards funding the sett construction.
Footnote – Sad to report that within two weeks the sett had been vandalised. One of the entrances had been damaged, the lovely little wall surrounding the pipe entrance had been pulled down and the clay pipe smashed – probably using the stone from the wall. The matter was reported to the police and the local wildlife officer was due to visit the area and make enquiries. Hopefully the attack was a one off and the badgers will enjoy their 5* accommodation soon.
Kirklees Badger Protection Group
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