A short stroll from my home brings me to a shaded and little used path between the local cricket pitch and the field of purple beech and chestnut trees. Lying here recently, undisturbed against a patch of ivy, was a dead badger – a beautiful creature. I know badgers are locally common because there are extensive systems of sets (burrows) in the hedgerows and on wooded slopes nearby. Fresh chalky soil marks new excavations, and their mysterious pathways wend among the undergrowth. I have always hoped to encounter one as I walk the countryside around the village but I have never seen one alive.
I was sad to find this poor badger. It looked peaceful with no obvious sign of injury but it lay not far from the road and so may have been hit by a car. Badger corpses are often found on the roadsides. It was however an opportunity to have a close look at the animal and admire its beautiful fur with the striking black stripes on its head, white-tipped ears, and the body’s darker tough guard hairs and softer lighter underfur all fluffed up.