About Speckled Wood Wildlife....
Speckled Wood Wildlife provides nature tours and courses around South Wales, supported by sites around the UK and longer-term, in Europe. Founded by Roo and Nicky in January 2020 as a husband and wife team, we want to inspire others to develop a greater understanding and awareness of the natural world around them. Our passion is delivering field-based days and we're blessed in Wales to have a range of rich & diverse habitats to share.
We operate as guides and offer a wide range of day and weekend trips, coupled with evening online courses to cater for all interests, experience levels and budgets. We only use our own photos and videos in our business and are continually building our library as we share and enjoy more wildlife. Our unique selling point is to provide this in an affordable and family-friendly format.
As a Founders and Directors, we have over 20 years experience from our other roles in running residential field trips (in the UK, Europe and further afield). Married since 2003, their first date was to see a Snowy Owl in Suffolk. Having lived in East Anglia, St Andrews (Scotland) and now South Wales for the past 18 years they have settled near Pontypool, in easy reach of the Black Mountains, the Forest of Dean and many specialist sites for butterflies, dragonflies and birds.
Forty years ago my parents bought me a pair of binoculars and I got hooked on birding! I doubt they, or I, had any idea how that would snowball in to a passion for natural history that has taken me to over 50 countries around the world watching and studying wildlife: birds, butterflies, dragonflies, orchids, through to surveying coral reefs and rocky shores. Ive led or co-led over 50 overseas field trips and too many guided day trips all around the UK to be able to count. These trips have ranged from pure recreation to educational as part of my long-term career as a lecturer in biology.
species of bird, hundreds of species of butterfly and dragonfly around Europe, a range of stunning orchids, from my local patch near Pontypool, the wonderful countryside of South Wales, the wider UK from North Wales to Scotland, the mountains and coasts of Europe, through to the rainforests of South America. Now I’d like to share that through the courses, local trips and longer tours of North Wales, Scotland and destinations in Europe run through Speckled Wood Wildlife.
Underlying all this is a strong desire to share my passion for natural history to like-minded people of all ages. There’s nothing more fun than showing someone something they have never seen before, whether it’s simply to identify a new species or understand the details of its ecology. I’ve been incredibly lucky to see so much myself: almost 4000
Having been a passionate environmentalist all of my life, I trained in Marine Biology (to PhD level) and moved into a career working for environmental charities supporting a range of conservation and community growing projects. My passion has always been informal learning and running a field studies centre in Abergavenny gave me the perfect opportunity to develop my teaching skills. I then worked for a range of social enterprises leading on business development, giving me a whole host of business and financial skills. In 2017 I was made redundant, but re-focused and gained my training qualification to enable me to set up as a freelance trainer. Now I mix my passions of the environment with delivering training, and setting up Speckled Wood Wildlife is the realisation of many years of dreaming. As a supporting guide for trips and the main back office support for the business, my passion is wildlife videography to help people enjoy and experience wildlife through our online courses and via social media.
Phoebe & Alec
As a family we've always spent a great deal of time in the outdoors, enjoying nature, walking, photography, wild camping, and generally going on holiday to places with mountains! Both of the children have had some amazing close up experiences with nature including handling mountain ringlets, deaths head hawk-moths, and feeding carrots to Marmots. Now aged 16 and 13 they get involved from time to time with day trips, Phoebe loves art including watercolour painting and Alec is always keen to demonstrate how to safely handle wildlife for closer inspection.