Wrong Again?

Today, somewhere in the Wargrave – Crazies Hill area, I rode by a dead deer on the verge – quite large, with antlers, looking remarkably intact.

A badger in a garden at night

Badger in my garden

Last night, by hanging out of my bedroom window, holding a torch with one hand and a camera in the other, I managed to get a picture of a badger in my garden, happily stuffing his face with bird food.

I often hear foxes at night but that should be no surprise as the urban fox is finding life very easy.

I sometimes see muntjac and occasionally bigger (live) deer. Otherwise, the rare sighting of a vole or something similar aside, that’s about it for wild animals. Hedgehogs have disappeared, I’ve heard it said because of climate change. Every other mammal you see is farmed or kept. Riding off-road, riding ‘away from it all’ on the Ridgeway or into deeper country closer to the Thames Valley doesn’t change that at all.

If you stop and think about it, that all suggests there are very few wild mammals.

The BBC has carried a report about how little – yes, little – of England is urban. The final reckoning is 2.27% percent. When I asked friends to guess, the figures they picked were all massively higher – from 40% upwards. I’m wondering if my impression of how few wild mammals there are is similarly wrong. Sometimes, being wrong can be good.

BBC item on the extent of urbanization in the UK