Wild About the Forest is just really one man (Matt) one woman (Felicity). two dogs (Freya and Spark) and a Land Cruiser. We are based in the village of Barr on the northern edge of the Galloway Forest in South West Scotland. We love wild places and wild things and we want to take you to enjoy them.
The People (and dogs)
I’m a wildlife lover, avid fly fisherman, occasionally hunter gatherer and wannabe adventurer. I grew up on sheep farms in the back woods of Northumberland, but I have chosen to make my home in the beautiful Stinchar valley. I’ve been lucky enough to see all sorts of wildlife in all sorts of places from Dwarf Reindeer and Arctic Foxes on Svalbard to Green Turtles and Risso’s Dolphins in the Philippines. I love wild beautiful places and wild things. As well as taking people to see wildlife and wild places I’m active in protecting them. At the right times of the year I’m busy dealing with Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Mink and Grey Squirrels.
I also love wild places and wild things, though I prefer to stay warmer and drier than Matt does. I’m from Reading originally but have lived in Scotland for nearly 20 years. I love the simple of beauty of common British birds and animals, like the kestrel or the Heron. My wildlife highlights would probably be seeing Otters and Minke Whales in the Shetlands or watching the great flocks of Barnacle geese on the Solway. You might well see me out and about with a pair of binoculars, but you are more likely to find me in the kitchen making sure you have a hearty packed lunch or tasty dinner to enjoy.
Freya and Spark
Freya and Spark are our dogs. Freya is a black and white collie springer cross and is possibly the nicest, maddest and cleverest dog you will ever meet. She is a friend to everyone and no use for anything except a bit of tracking. She is much to smart too work for humans and if you try and get her to she will just take off and riot about the place.
Spark is a small red Cocker Spaniel and is a real one man dog, unless you are Matt she just isn’t interested. She is a working dog who makes a living for herself in the winter months on Pheasant and Partridge shoots. She has an exceptional nose and is amazingly tough working busily through snow, sleet and driving wind.
The dogs live a good simple life, sleeping in an outdoor kennel and running miles everyday through the woods, fields and over the hills. They are always lean, always dirty and always happy.
In the time before they built monsters for the school run Toyota built proper Land cruisers, Big, tough chunky off road capable 4x4s. That’s what we use, a Land Cruiser J95 Colorado. She makes mincemeat of the toughest tracks, pulls anything that needs pulled and carries up to 7 passengers.
We are based in the Village of Barr which sits high up in the Stinchar valley in the South West of Scotland (it’s just east of Girvan, not a far form Ayr if you are trying to find it on a map). This puts us just on the Northern edge of the Galloway forest and we work mainly in the Northern part of the Forest park (if you’ve still got that map we work inside the triangle made by Newton Stewart, Dalmellington and Girvan) and in the valley of the river Stinchar.
The Forest Park is high, wild and thickly forested with conifers it is cut through with streams and has large areas of open hill ground. Red and Roe deer abound in the forest, Otters live on the rivers and Birds of Prey nest in the trees and on the moors and cliffs. There are fantastic places for wild camping , walking, swimming and fishing if you know where to look.
The Stinchar valley has a different character, softer, greener and more agricultural. Deer, badgers and a wealth of birds are found in the woods and hares, foxes, rabbits and hedgehogs are common in the fields. The River itself has resident trout and in the summer a profusion of Salmon and Sea trout swim up it to reach their spawning burns.
On occasion we head down to the coast to see basking sharks, seals and seabirds and you’ll find us kicking around the area from Turnberry to Ballantrae.