Animals

Although less obvious than flowers and birds, many animals can be found along The Ridgeway.   Foxes, badgers, deer, hare, rabbits, stoats, weasels, mice and voles are all present.   Evidence of their presence can be found but they are mainly secretive and rarely seen.    Both Roe and Fallow deer are nocturnal and shy, so the best time to see them is at dusk and dawn.   Roe deer are the smaller of the two (about 60cm at the shoulder) and are native to Britain.   A sharp bark may tell you a Roe deer is nearby. Fallow deer come from the Mediterranean, brought here originally by the Normans.

Rabbits are a common sight. Rabbits were originally introduced from Europe for meat and fur, but commercial rearing disappeared in Victorian times although the place names still survive – Streatley Warren, Kingston Warren and the numerous Warren Farms along The Ridgeway.

Stoats and Weasels are small relatives of the ferret, otter and badger. They hunt mice and voles amongst long grass and hedgerows. Stoats are twice as large (about 50cm from tip to tail) as weasels and will even tackle a hare or rabbit. Both are very active and inquisitive animals.