Bird Watching (UK) - - Conservation Hen Harrier -

And so the New For­est was born. A thou­sand years later, it re­mains one of Eng­land’s most un­changed land­scapes – a con­nected maze of heath­land and wood­land: the last strong­hold of many van­ish­ing birds. The power of hunt­ing to own and dic­tate the for­tunes of Bri­tish land­scapes has changed lit­tle to this day. A ‘for­est’ has only re­cently borne any re­la­tion to trees. As any­one who has vis­ited Bow­land will at­test, trees were op­tional back in the day. A ‘for­est’ sim­ply re­ferred to the hunt­ing grounds of a king. Both the New For­est and Bow­land share an an­cient her­itage. They are not the prod­uct of mod­ern con­ser­va­tion by many, but a very un­demo­cratic de­ci­sion made hun­dreds of years ago by one or two. These de­ci­sions iso­lated vast swathes of land for hunt­ing. It seems odd that the Dartford War­bler prob­a­bly owes its sur­vival to the whim of an in­vad­ing king. When first named, the wild moors of the For­est of Bow­land held Wolves, Wild Cats and Boar. To­day, it is syn­ony­mous with wild moor­land birds – con­tentious Ea­gle Owls, Mer­lins, evoca­tive Ring Ouzels and, hang­ing by a thread, sky-danc­ing Hen Har­ri­ers. Bow­land is the last refuge of the English Hen Har­rier, and a vul­ner­a­ble one at that. It’s ironic that a land­scape cre­ated for hunt­ing should now har­bour a species hunted to extinction in its English range. But per­haps this is rather fit­ting. Hunt­ing Our an­cient ‘forests’ are among our most ‘un­changed’ habi­tats Though ex­tinct in the UK, Wild Boar are mak­ing a come­back in sev­eral ar­eas, af­ter re­leases


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