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We spent four nights at The Shippen, a most comfortable and well equipped conversion of what was an old farm building. The welcoming cream tea much appreciated. But it was the long walk we did with Jon Valters who owns the nature reserve that made our stay. His intimate knowledge of the reserve and his enthusiasm for nature conservation made a great impression on us, and enhanced the walks we did on our own, when we saw a fox on the old railway track, several deer and any number of wild birds. Those
that came to the feeders in our garden included bull finches, coal tits, marsh tits, great spotted woodpeckers,and nuthatches and in the surrounding woodland we saw goldcrests, jays, tree creepers, badger setts and any number of ravens which croaked overhead, and we even glimpsed a kingfisher darting across the river. Next time we hope to see the dippers, and if we are lucky, and the otters and as it will be spring,
wildflowers will be an added attraction. We cannot recommend Coombe Mill highly enough.