September 18th – Still surviving and developing is the fascinating green tunnel over the desire-path behind the canal overflow at Clayhanger. Now completely overgrown and just the right size for an adult to squeeze through, it’s a fascinating product of what I suspect is a regular dog walking route.
I hope this continues to be used – it’s such a lovely, happenstance thing
October 1st – Talking of hedgerows, there’s a feature of them – and similar thickets – that not many notice. This hole is a sign of regular use as a thoroughfare, yet it’s too small for anything human or most things canine. It’s a fox path.
Foxes have a territory which they walk most nights – it encompasses their food sources, possible mates, sources of territorial conflict and so on. They are surprisingly regular in the routes they walk, and paths through undergrowth and scrub are well worn and used. Like desire paths created by humans, they often join two places by the shortest means, but also provide a quick route of escape, or shelter for hunting forays. Fox paths appear to be passed down from parent to cub, so that many are decades – if not centuries – old. As they’re established, other animals use them, like badgers.
This one leads off the canal towpath at Clayhanger above the Big House, down an almost vertical bank for 20 feet or so, and to into their garden. It’s been here for 20 years, to my knowledge.
Wonder if Reynard will be on the beat tonight?