The villages that surround the fine city of Canterbury are associated with Kentish beauty, countryside charm, pretty pubs, quaint architecture, village halls and a relaxed way of life. It’s probably fair to say it’s not usually associated with runaway monkeys.
‘Monkey’ ‘spotted’ & ‘Kent’ formed the unlikely ménage et trois of words that were unleashed on the internet in January 2022, as a video appeared to show a monkey, a Capuchin according to some, darting through the Kentish countryside close to Waltham. Not all the fine folk of the internet agreed it was actually a primate though, some claimed it was a cat, others a rabbit.
A little closer to home than Waltham and images of more traditional countryside wildlife were being shared about online thanks to magazine regular Amanda Hills. Amanda among other volunteers have been tasked with monitoring the Dormouse population in Bridge. “This involves checking all the boxes for nests and residents in the spring and summer and cleaning out the boxes in the winter. Bluetits are quite partial to nesting in the boxes too! Dormice make their nests from strips of honeysuckle bark woven into a ball so it helps if the boxes are placed near wild honeysuckle plants”. Over the few years they’ve undertaken this task, Amanda and co have seen the mouse count increase each year “which is exciting”.
During a cleaning out-expedition early this year on a frosty morning Amanda “armed with a stick to dig out old nests, old nut shells, slugs, spiders and rotting debris, enjoying the peace and lovely warm sunshine” wasn’t expecting to find this joyous little scene pictured above. These wood mice like myself have clearly spent winter tucked away inside with good company and a decent sized chestnut. Amanda said of this idyllic Wind in the Willows-like scene, “It was so wonderful seeing the wood mice in the middle of winter taking advantage of the boxes and looking so healthy”.