Spirit of Suffolk: A UK Safari Review
Updated: Feb 16
I have recently had my adventure where for 4 hours myself and my partner have been taken around a quaint peninsular in a Land Rover in Suffolk with our tour guide Phil in search for some of Great British wildlife. We enjoyed it so much that I thought I would right a summary of our experience and the motivation it has given us to get out and see more.
It was Christmas 2019 (a distance memory) were my partner gifted me an experience to discover some of the British wildlife right on our doorstep but are unseen by most. I had received a voucher to book and see what Phil called the Suffolk big 5, which consists of ‘badgers, foxes, hares, owls and deer. Although, he cannot guarantee everything on the list he knows the locations to go and what to look out for. Well unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the poor weather at the time it has taken to May 2021 to book a date and despite the spotty weather we had decided to go for it and hope for the best.
So with my new trendy (according to their online reviews and my opinion) Nocs Waterproof binoculars, my compact digital camera and excitement we met at the start of the peninsular to begin our tour. We received a warm welcome from Phil who pleasantly introduced himself and then detailed the journey we would be going on. Although, most of it was done by car there was also a short walk to see a bit more. Luckily, Phil is very agile in his car and is able to manoeuvre the thin country lanes and stop in the right spots to see some incredible creature.
We start the journey and quickly go through to the country lanes between farm fields. Our first spot is the British Hare, which stood out with it reddish fur and black tip ears (the picture does not do it justice) poking among the farmers crop. Although we saw many of these throughout our tour I cannot think of a time I have seen them before. We saw them jump around a little and as we went on saw plenty more in every field looking up, running through the field before lying down out of site. Through these lane we also saw Sparrows, Goldfinches, Robins and more darting in and out of the road side hedges, where much of our wildlife live. Occasionally we would see among the hares the odd rabbit, partridges and female and male pheasant in all their colours and glory. We also saw a little Muntjac Deer and pheasant slowing out vehicle as it crossed our path.
Further along among the farmers field in the distance on the far edge of the fields in front of a small woods we see our first heard of farrow deer, again a pleasant sight. On the way to our next area, we hit a stroke of luck as I managed to spot what turned out to be a slow worm. I spotted it and thought it looked strange but as it was in the middle of a muddy country drive thought it was likely to be a bit of wire. We got out to see the slow worms tongue flicker out and slowly move on to the local bush. Another first experience for me.
After this we head towards a small old hamlet, where Phil gave us the history, which was interesting. On our way to the final destination we also passed a bridge and spot a Tuft duck to add to our growing list of wildlife spotted. We reach the hamlet and drove up by a row of trees, not sure what we were looking for until Phil pointed out a Little Owl sitting proudly on one of the stretched out branch. These owls are rather small but still incredible, after a while it got spooked by the some dog walkers and fly’s off. Luckily it lands on a wood fence just around the corner, again we watch the little owl for some time and takes some pictures before we leave.
We park up and take a short walk to a quiet area. Again seeing some Greylag and Canada geese, squirrels, dark pheasants, some local horses and some interesting looking trees. It was a nice to break the drive and get out and be among nature for a while. We come back and head to our final destination, on our way stopping again to see a different herd of farrow deer and a distinctive melanocytic one standing out among the rest. Another beautiful wildlife spot.
We finished our evening by parking up on a hill overlook another and into a small valley oversees two bushy patches. It was a great position although far away but you could see the hills and these habitat hotspots perfectly, especially with some binoculars. Immediately we saw a Roe deer staring dead at us from the middle of the valley by the bushes on the edge of the farmers field. After starring for a while we did not see anything else until I spot a fox that seemed to suddenly appear right onto of the badger set, I pointed it out and watch it walk across the hill and under a row of bushes along a farmers field. Before long, Phil pointed out another fox from the other bushy patch that slowly walked off to the same direction. After a little, more time my partner pointed again to the Roe deer just in front of the bush line at the bottom of the fields, which had moved, whilst looking at this I noticed something in the tree/bush line, a white floating head. I focused in on it and it came a little further out and then I was sure. I had just seen my first wild badger. We continued to watch the two deer and the badgers behind them come in and out of sight for some time. Then to finish the evening we had cups of teas and listens to the cuckoo. A great wildlife tour, rekindling our passion for nature and wildlife.
The afternoon was an incredible experience and I couldn’t thank our guide Phil enough. He did a great job to show us some incredible wildlife and I hope he continues to do this career he is clearly so passionate about. He now specialises in wildlife photography tour, which I would encourage you to book and enjoy.
We enjoyed the tour and all it taught us about finding incredible wildlife, right on our doorstep. We learnt a lot about where to find them, what to look for, what to avoid and much more, all to help you find these animals without unethically attracting them. This experience ignited something inside myself and my partner to take the time and explore more of Britain and its wildlife, which I will hopefully show with you over the years to come.