Fifteen Days Out in South Wales – Otter Country

Let’s make it clear from the beginning that no, I haven’t spotted any otter, sorry. But if you’re looking for the account of a great otter experience without any actual otter involved, this is the right place for you.

It is also going to involve Cumberbatch of course.

I am well aware that you’re sick of being told the the main problem for the wildlife is loss of habitat. The habitat is now lost to the point that, annoyingly, it has become an abstract concept. If you were asked to draw the habitat of once endemic species, you probably would not be able to do so for lack of information. Even if you’re an ethologist, observing animals in pristine habitats is nearly impossible nowadays, so we have to make do with naturalized reserves.

Personally, I was convinced the otter habitat had disappeared entirely, even in naturalized form. So imagine my surprise when traveling to South Wales I discovered there are in fact a few naturalized places that actually are good otter habitats.

One of these places is the Lily Ponds area in Stackpole, Pembrokeshire, connected of course to the Coast Path and close to Barafundle Bay. Seeing an otter would be fabulous, but seeing an otter habitat is amazing enough, especially when you thought there was none left.


And anyway, I saw a vole. HA.

Well one shouldn’t be so happy about spotting a kind of mouse, but voles happen to be endangered due (of course) to loss of habitat and predation from minks (alien species escaped from fur farms). Unfortunately voles are the main meal of a lot of native bird so this leads of course to further imbalance and more sad news. Reading Tarka the Otter was traumatizing enough, now the vole, what’s next.

But the vole was extremely cute, working in the thick of the wood at sunset. And I’m sure the otters were observing us. A hundred otters! For further otter reading click here.

Also Barafundle Bay is stunning. Of course I knew nothing about Barafundle Bay before watching Third Star, but it really is an impressive place, especially when you reach it from the coast path, walking from the Lily Ponds.


More photos