Somerset Wildlife Trust

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October update from Chris & Beau

The Somerset Community Barn Owl project aims to get a nest box in each of the county's 335 parishes and boost the numbers of breeding barn owls. 

First breeding barn owls for project!

We're very excited as today (Oct 18) we confirmed the first owls had bred in a project nest box producing four baby owlets. The project is not yet a year old and a breeding pair have already successfully nested producing a clutch of four owlets at the Viridor landfill site, near Puriton, in Sedgemoor. A member of the Viridor team sent us a photo of one adult barn owl on the sill of their box in September and shortly after another followed showing the four owlets.

Our 100th box

During the past three months we have reached the important milestone of placing the 100th box of the project and are now well over a third of the way through with over 140 boxes installed across Somerset. 

Our 100th nest box went up in South Somerset thanks to Dave Morris, a long-time volunteer with the Hawk and Owl Trust. As a parish councillor, Dave plans to use the opportunity to encourage the council to look at the bio-diversity of the area and as a springboard to help all wildlife in the parish of Kingsdon, near Somerton.

Thank you for your patience!

Applications for boxes have now exceeded 500, with more than 190 landowners having already been visited. Thank you to everyone whose gotten in touch and for your patience. We're trying to group visits together geographically so we're not zipping from one side of the county to the other. All enquiries have been logged and we will be in touch when we have a cluster in your area.

Schools and community groups

We have now visited 52 schools and other children’s groups since the project began, and these visits have been very popular and well received.

In August we held two workshops for children with disabilities, which included a talk, pellet dissection and box building.

The original funding from Viridor Credits allowed us to visit up to 60 schools during the three years of the project. We found that the interest from schools was significantly more than we could cover so Somerset Wildlife Trust secured extra funding from Western Power Distribution to allow us to offer an additional 20 school visits.

In September we were joined on two Mendip training days by groups of workers from the nearby quarry, which included talks, walks around the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Chancellor’s Farm, and box-building workshops.

somwildtrust3-12-6 vincent evans

Chris Sperring, MBE, Conservation Officer Hawk and Owl Trust and Vice President of Somerset Wildlife Trust with Beau


First box being usedsml

September - if you look closely you can see one barn owl sat on the sill of a box we put up on a strip of woodland adjacent to Viridor landfill site, near Puriton in Sedgemoor

viridor barn owl boxsml

October - The projects first successful breeding barn owls - pictured is a clutch of four owlets huddled together on the sill of the Viridor nest box. Lets hope there's plenty of voles to sustain them

Upcoming survey

Following a public talk held at Minehead College in September we’re looking for volunteers to help with a barn owl survey on Exmoor.

The survey will be led by Chris Sperring on Saturday, November 24, 3-5pm, meeting at Nutcombe Bottom car park. Booking essential on 01823-652413 or . For more detail click here.

Where are the 140+ boxes?

You can view the complete up-to-date list of parishes that have boxes and where we are still seeking suitable locations.

You can also see all the schools and clubs that are supporting the project.