Every now and again I take a picture of roadkill. My wife looks at me in exasperation as I take pictures of various animals which have been flattened and split open before their time. I accept that it is something of a strange habit.
On this particular day we trod a path involving 15 miles of tarmac. There is a certain amount of tedium in this. We gladly accept objects of interest when they present themselves. Sometimes these points of interest happen to be obscenely mutilated members of the wildlife community whose very existence has been horrifically compromised by a metal monster of the modern age.
I am afraid that I myself have contributed to roadside casualties. My first was a sparrow in Hampstead, many years ago. As I drove up Finchley Road towards Jack Straws Castle the little bird hopped out into the middle of the road. There was nothing I could do – there was another car right behind me. For the second or so it had left I stared at it, willing it to fly off again. Of course, this was the worst thing to do. As I stared at it I am convinced that I also, subconsciously, lined my wheels up to squash it flat. That is exactly what happened. There was little bump which was insignificantly small compared to the guilt I felt in creating it.
The roadkill which exhibited itself to us today was a slightly odd example. This time it was a pheasant. It showed us its lunch (thereby rather putting me off the thought of eating my own) and its eye stared at me from a strangely curious position – it was clasped in its beak. It was almost as if the pheasant’s eye had popped out as the car had run over it and that the bird, in its one final, desperate act had sprung after it, caught it, and then dropped dead.
Sometimes, roadkill is morbidly fascinating.
Eyecatching, you might say.
As we reached St Leonard’s Grange we found the ruins of an enormous medieval grange barn, reputed to be one of the largest barns in Europe in its day. It stood some 300 feet long and over 50 feet wide and was used by the Church to collect the tithe (one tenth of your annual produce or earnings) which were then used to support the Church.
At St Leonard’s Grange we turned west and began our long road walk to Lymington. The beasts of the New Forest kept us company at various points. There were the pheasants of the fields (who, because they were not pheasants of the road, had their lives in tact).
The horses were very friendly. Pleased to meet you!
In fact this horse was so friendly it decided to walk with us for a while. It didn’t journey far with us, preferring ultimately to stick with its friends rather than with us. However, its company was very much appreciated for as long as it lasted.
Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Road out of Buckler’s Hard: N 50° 47.692 W 001° 25.357
- St Leonard’s Grange Barn: N 50° 46.898 W 001° 25.470
- Horses: N 50° 46.729 W 001° 25.800
Walk #69 Statistics (of which this post forms the seventh part):
- Date of Walk: 14 April 2014
- Walk #69 total distance covered: 16.91 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 593.35 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!