What if the weather forecast is poor?
The booking will still go ahead unless conditions are forecast to be dangerous (yellow or red weather warning). You can take great photos in the rain!
What birds am I likely to see?
The hide is new, so the birds are still discovering it, but we have very regular visits from jays and great spotted woodpeckers, plus small woodland birds such as tits and nuthatches. The species list is growing almost daily at present.
Whereabouts are you?
We are located in Carmarthenshire, equidistant from Carmarthen, Kidwelly and Llanelli, just 20 minutes from Junction 49 of the M4.
Are there any other bird photography opportunities in the area?
If you would like to spend the morning here and the afternoon elsewhere, WWT Llanelli is within easy reach, as is the popular birding location of Kidwelly Quays. The 1330 end for morning sessions gives you time, in the summer, to get to the Red Kite Feeding Station at Llanddeusant in the Brecon Beacons who feed at 1500 BST. We are also ideally placed for a stop off en route to or from Skomer Island.
Can I get to you by public transport?
There is a local bus stop, and the nearest railway stations are Kidwelly or Carmarthen. We will be happy to collect you from either.
Is there any local accommodation?
For short stays The Baltic Inn is the closest accommodation. If you want to stay longer then Faerie Thyme is very close and offers camping and glamping (closed until 2022). There is plenty of accommodation available in Carmarthen, 20 minutes drive away.
Is there car parking on site?
Yes, in our large farmyard. Please note this is a working farmyard so park sensibly.
How far is the hide from the car park?
The hide is a five minute walk over rhos (rushy) pasture, which has a tendency to be wet. The ground is uneven in places, can be boggy, and there might be cattle and / or horses on the route (all are friendly but please don’t try to interact with them). The way to the hide is downhill, up hill on the way back, but the route isn’t steep.
What facilities are in the hide?
The hide is equipped with comfortable office chairs and coat hooks. We provide a vacuum flask of hot water, tea, coffee and milk. Please bring your own mugs, snacks, lunch and cold drinks.
Are there any toilet facilities?
You are welcome to use the facilities in the farmhouse (just inside the front door), or to “spend a penny” in the cover near to the hide.
Will the birds definitely show?
There are never any guarantees with wildlife, so we cannot promise particular species or numbers. We have so far spotted over 30 bird species on the farm and a wide variety of these visit the feeders, including jays and woodpeckers. If, for some reason, there is reduced activity at the hide we will inform you so you have the opportunity to cancel or change your booking at no additional cost if you so wish.
Are the feeders bad for wildlife?
No, we take the welfare of the birds and wildlife into consideration in every aspect of the hide. The feeders are cleaned regularly, and are allowed to run out for one or two days a week, meaning that birds are not dependent on them, and they are simply a supplementary food source. It is no different to feeding the birds in your garden.
Can I fill up the feeders?
We will make sure the feeders are full when you arrive. If they need refilling during the day then you are welcome to top them up from the feed bins behind the hide. It will, of course, take the birds a few minutes to return afterwards.
Can I change the perches?
Most of the perches are fixed, but we have arranged some which you can change if you wish. You will be briefed on this when you arrive.
Can I bring my non-photographer partner with me?
Yes, of course, at the standard rate for two. The birds are a pleasure to watch either with or without a camera.
When can I enter and leave the hide?
Full day and morning sessions start at 0830, Afternoon sessions at 1400. You can exit the hide at any time, either to leave the site or to photograph the wildflowers and insects, but bear in mind that every time you leave the hide you will disturb the birds.
When and how do I pay?
Your session is secured by paying the deposit; payment in full is due by the date of your session. If booking within three weeks of your session, full payments due immediately. Payment by bank transfer is preferred. Our bank details are:
Account name: Sue Dudley
Sort Code: 23-69-72
Account Number: 22971802
Can I bring my dog with me?
Sadly we can’t allow dogs on the farm due to our livestock, with the exception of registered assistance dogs.
What else is at Black Orchard?
Black Orchard is based at Berllan Dywyll Farm, a small farm managed for wildlife and biodiversity. With traditional wildflower meadows, ancient woodland and rare lowland rhos pasture Berllan teams with flora and fauna. We also produce rare breed, free range pedigree Large Black pork and free range, multi-coloured eggs, both of which are available to purchase by hide customers. Dexter beef produced by our cattle who work hard maintaining the rhos pasture and conservation grazing will also be available soon.