Wildlife Hides at Finders Keepers France and Marcadis Gite
Updated: Sep 11
Well, after a successful first year we have closed our doors to the Summer season and are preparing for winter. After some serious discussions we have decided to remain open for a winter season. Personally, we don’t envisage a busy one, and are not even sure if we will get any bookings but it was worth giving it a try.
Many people will say, Why? Who would want to visit France in Winter? Why would people pay more to visit out of season when most places close? Well this was our thoughts until November arrived and we realised, this is the perfect time to see wildlife, plus Autumn especially is breathtaking. The reds of the trees and the fabulous sunrises and sunsets are not to be missed. Due to the reduction in foliage and the cooler days and nights wildlife are about in abundance.
Anyway, why not give it a go. Due to this decision it has made Darren work even harder. New plans have developed, and fabulous ideas have arrived. The first being our Wildlife hides. To enable our guests to get close and personal with our wildlife we would need hides. This is what I am going to focus on in my blog today and provide pictures to show its development.
We have lots of wildlife at Finders Keepers and are still discovering new visitors every day. Our mission is to develop our grounds to entice new creatures and provide homes for our visiting furry guests. Guests can visit and stay with us to relax, wildlife watch, or just walk and enjoy the foliage, plants and trees. Autumn and Winter is the perfect time to do this. We have a large selection of birds, red squirrels and pine martins which are fabulous to watch from our hide, but for me my favourite is getting close to our ground visitors such as our Wild boar, badgers, foxes, hares, deer, and coypu. We have managed to catch them on our wildlife video cam so now have a desire to see them in the skin.
Finders Keepers consists of 13 acres of mixed land ranging from woodland, rough grounds, and gardens. The rough ground by our 3-acre lake has not been tended to for many years which has resulted in it becoming very overgrown and very wild – great for our wildlife. Clearing of brambles started a year ago to allow shrubs, trees and plants space to flourish and to allow access for our guests. Don’t worry, we will not be removing it all. Our dream is to have walks through the grounds and woodlands with hides and viewpoints. This will enable guests to take a flask and a pair of binoculars and enjoy nature at its best. Thankfully we have workaways who are coming next year to help us design the walks, build our owl and bird boxes and homes for our hedgehogs. We also require duck houses designing, building and locating for our 8 ducks. More on these to follow as the winter season gets going and designs start to form.
Our first hide, yet to be named, has been positioned in our furthest field which is also yet to be named. We have discovered a track used by our families of boar. The hide has been positioned next to the track but also on the side of a large field of varied vegetation which is very popular with many other animals, especially the birds, plus a perfect location for a view of the lake and the families of Coypu.
Darren designed the hide from old scaffolding posts to ensure safety and stabilisation. After weeks of designing, redesigning and lots more thinking he came up with this final design. It still has work to be done such as a full staircase, but it is erected and in place to enable the wildlife to settle in around it. To enable it to fit into the surroundings we chose to build it out of old wood removed from a local barn which has turned out perfectly. It looks like it has been there years.
You enter the hide via a staircase which is yet to be fitted and Inside the hide there are 2 chairs with cushions and a table for your belongings. The hide is raised so that you feel safe plus it has been covered by camouflage netting. On chillier evenings we offer throws to our guests plus we provide all equipment such as spotters scopes, binoculars, hot water bottles and flasks.
We have yet to try out the hide due to other work underway but will be updating the blog in Dec when I return to try it out.
We are open to any suggestions if there are any wildlife enthusiast out there with great ideas. Plus, we are open to visitors if anyone wants to come and look at what we have done so far.
Thank you for listening and I look forward to updating you soon re our duck house.
Au revoir and A bientot