We don’t see deer every day. As shy creatures they often favour those parts less frequently visited. So it may be only once in 5 days or more averaged over the year. And many times we’ve had to wait several weeks, all the time wondering if something had happened to them. But it’s now got to the point where Blacka is unthinkable without them and the knowledge that the place is truly theirs not ours. It comes down to them looking right in the landscape.
Wild animals living unmanaged with the elements, completely changes the perspective of the place. It is no longer our place in the same way. They have earned a right to be considered the authentic owners by reason of their continued occupation, night and day. They also remind us they are only the largest and most visible of the wild inhabitants. Blacka belongs to them, not to the ramblers, bikers, dog walkers, twitchers and certainly not to the managers whose true habitats are the office desk and the awayday meetings.
It’s a week since I saw 9 stags here and much longer, more than a month from the last sighting of hinds. This morning 7 hinds were browsing to the south of Cowsick. The sight was profoundly beautiful and satisfying, demonstrating that it is possible to show a world with minimal human intervention where natural animals inhabit a landscape that looks absolutely right for them. A year ago this was a regular haunt but who’s to say one year must be like another with wandering free-spirited wildlife?
The hinds characteristically looking down on us from the brow of the hill is another precious moment confirming again their status as holders of the land. Later looking back we could just make out their shapes as they relaxed lying down in the leggy heather. Can anyone doubt their value in adding beauty to the place?
The real question, though, is why the place should have to submit to farming with cattle with the resulting mess and squalor, when deer browse here? The gentle effect of the deer on this land leaves it looking much, much more interesting and natural than the industrial scale mindless chomping of cows.
Am I right? Or am I right?