Wild Days Conservation – Bringing a unique holiday experience to The Suffolk Coast!
This autumn, experience a holiday like no other with a conservation holiday on The Suffolk Coast! Experiencing and playing a part in the important research and conservation work that’s being done, the holidays on offer are run by Wild Days Conservation, the only conservation holiday providers in the UK.
We spoke to Andy Jefferies, Co-Founder of Wild Days Conservation to find out what’s in store during the holiday and why The Suffolk Coast is so unique…
How did you get into Wildlife Conservation?
I grew up in rural Scotland, surrounded by wildlife, farming and the countryside; it was always something that was there and easy to take for granted. When I was 17 I went on a conservation holiday which opened my eyes to the importance of conservation and how much fun and personal satisfaction there was to be gained from doing something positive. I still feel that every day.
I’ve spent my life since then working in conservation around the world, but with Wild Days we’re doing something for the wildlife and nature we grew up with, and surrounds us all the time.
What does Suffolk offer that nowhere else in the UK does?
Right on London’s doorstep, Suffolk has world-class wildlife habitat; a direct product of it’s very special landscapes. From the wild and mysterious spit at Orford Ness, one of the most valuable vegetated shingle beaches in Europe, to the exceptional wetlands that make up Minsmere’s glorious haven for birds. But also inland: a thriving tradition of farming that recognises the link between stewardship of the land and value for wildlife.
What is your favourite aspect of the holidays in Suffolk?
Getting to see the places and meet the people that conventional tourism doesn’t reach; spending time on Havergate Island in the company of an RSPB ranger, or venturing off-piste at Dunwich Heath to find something special and rare that you’d be completely unaware of if just visiting on your own. I’ve been there many times, but there are always surprises; earlier this year I saw ant lions for the first time in my life.
Can anyone come on a conservation holiday?
Wild Days Conservation holidays are perfect for anyone who is interested in the wild world around them. You don’t need to be an expert, just keen to learn and give it a go. We always try to make our activities accessible to anyone – there’s always something that can be done.
Where is your favourite place to visit during a trip to Suffolk?
Oh, that’s difficult! Probably Orford Ness because it’s such a weird and wonderful landscape, steeped in history both ancient and modern, and which has such a special feel to it. I’m also quite fond of The Ship Inn in Dunwich! The beer’s good and the food is fantastic. We never miss a chance to spend an evening there when we’re running holidays in the area.
What holidays are on offer on The Suffolk Coast?
Suffolk Coast Shingle, Islands, Boats and Food takes places from 24th September to 1st October 2016 and includes stunning accommodation in Orford, locally sourced food and drink, and trips to Orford Ness and Havergate Island surveying and clearing beaches, studying invertebrates and undertaing small mammal surveys. A visit to the Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is also included so you can stock up on a few Suffolk made goodies to take home!
In October, from Sunday 9th – Saturday 16th, we will be working at RSPB Minsmere and National Trust Dunwich Heath. Holiday makers will have the unique opportunity to watch the Red Deer Rut and helping with coppicing and fencing and surveying small mammals and invertebrates. You will stay in comfortable accommodation in the Suffolk countryside at Bridge Barn, where you can enjoy a massage in their on site therapy centre, the perfect end to a hard day’s work!
For more information and to book, visit www.wilddaysconservation.org/holidays/location/suffolk