Monday, 31 March 2014

A brilliant South-West day out

We have a small flat so my lovely husband didn't want *stuff* for his birthday. I scouted around the internet for an experience to give him as a birthday present and settled on a Hawk Walk with West of England Falconry. Spoiler alert: it was amazing!

We lucked out with the most gorgeous warm spring day (after a week of grey, drizzly cold weather). We managed to navigate our way out to the the falconry centre located in a ridiculously beautiful Somerset village.

Jay from West of England falconry and Harris hawk
Jay (who runs the place) was friendly, relaxed and obviously knowledgeable.

We admired some of the various birds in their aviaries then got kitted out in falconry gloves and vests with bits of meat in one pocket. There were plastic gloves for the squeamish, but having brought up on a farm, I was comfortable picking up the meat with a bare hand.

We followed Jay and Mogwai the Harris Hawk on a short walk up a pretty woodland track to a field where we took turns to hold out food and have Mogwai swoop in from a tree to our glove.

Harris hawk
As you can see, he is such a beautiful bird and such a gentleman (gentlebird?) that I never felt worried about having a bird of prey inches from my face. I even got to stroke his breast feathers. We probably over an hour in the field, enjoying the sunshine, admiring the beautiful rural views, chatting about local history and interacting with Mogwai as he got his lunch and some exercise.

Young burrowing owl
Once back at the falconry centre, we were invited in to met Arthur, the young burrowing owl. Isn't he just the cutest thing?! Evidently he snuggles up on the couch with Jay when he's watching TV. I kind of really want a baby burrowing owl...

Lake surrounded by trees in Somerset, England
We left our car parked in the village and had a short scenic walk up the Bristol-Bath cycle path to an excellent local pub for a well-earned lunch.

It was a brilliant day out and best of all, it was much more reasonably priced than many other falconry experiences (which are also usually in groups).

So, if you're in the area, I recommend you book well ahead and experience an incredible day out!


  1. I posted on this long ago, so doubt you saw it, but what you did- pet a baby owl- is one of my life dreams. A marvelous gift and I so enjoyed your first-hand report.

  2. Have you managed to pet your owl, Duchesse? Surely there must be somewhere near you for owl petting? That was a super-cute owl, and quite happy sitting in our hands and walking over us and pecking our zippers and watches.


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