Building a badger sett

Building a badger sett

Michael writes:

We’ve been working on an unusual and rather interesting project – an artificial badger sett.

As part of our works at Crossrail Anglia for principal contractor Costain, we were asked to install a sett for a colony of badgers.

The existing sett was discovered next to the sidings at Shenfield where new track drainage is being installed. We have therefore created a new home for them, which we will monitor for the next few months to ensure they move in safely and comfortably.

We worked with environmental company RSK to create a sett that we hope will meet all the requirements for the badgers to relocate.

Makging a chamber in the badger settWe built a series of wooden nesting chambers using untreated wooden posts and plyboard. Badgers are used to coming across wooden tree roots, so they don’t mind wood.

The chambers are linked using plastic drainage pipe, with bends and different levels to help airflow within the sett. Warm air comes out through the upper holes and cool air through the lower holes, while the bends protect young cubs from draughts. We also created some blind-ending tunnels, as a natural sett would have, where the badgers are extending it.

VGC-badger-sett-chamber-carpentryThe artificial set is covered by a good layer of topsoil to insulate it, and we will plant prickly bushes around the holes to help protect the badgers. We are also adding straw and hay which they can pull inside for bedding, as well as spoil. Some of this material will be collected from the existing sett, so the area will smell appropriate and encourage them to move in.

Contracts manager Michael Condon
Author: Michael Condon, contracts manager

The logistics of getting materials to the isolated site were very challenging. Site engineer Aasim Khan and the team worked hard to get the right materials and follow all the specifications to make the new sett correctly.

It has been a really interesting new project, and I hope we will be able to see the results in the next few months.


There is more information about building a badger sett on the Badgerland website.

There is also an informative pdf on the Scottish National Heritage website.

Note: By the end of 2016 photographic evidence showed that the badgers were using the new sett.