Welcome to the Blog of Cutler´s Wood, an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland in the Kent North Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Cutler´s is 42 hectares (ca. 103 acres) of native broadleaf woodland managed primarily as wildlife and flora habitat but also to provide some timber from coppice rotation which is used for traditional fencing and woodfuel. Adjacent to Cutler´s Wood is Cutler´s Farm, made up of the farmyard with barns and 6 hectares (ca. 15 acres) of pasture land, which presently is used for sheep grazing.

Bordering onto the Forestry Commission´s Kings Wood to the south west, privately owned Stanner´s Wood to the north west, The Woodland Trust´s Park Wood to the north and the privately owned Ridge Wood and Felborough Wood to the east, this area makes up over 2000 acres of connected woodland and one of the largest woodlands in the South East of England. This whole area was once part of a royal hunting forest for deer and boar.

Edward Hasted´s map of Cutler´s area published 1798 but showing the area apparently around 1778. Cutler´s Farm seems not to have existed yet.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Wild Boar or The Feral Pig ??

Whilst walking through the woods last August (it was at around 11:00am) we came to the edge of the woodland adjoining the open fields of the neighbouring farm, when my wife suddenly said that there was a dog walking about in the field. Turning to see what she was talking about, we realized that this was not a dog but a boar. The boar calmly crossed the field in front of us at a distance of about 70 metres before disappearing back into the woods. It was in no hurry and was just ambling along without seemlingly, a care in the world. I tend to think that he simply didn´t see us, as boar don´t have good eyesight and that perhaps the wind direction had not given us away. Since that time I´ve found out that there are quite a few boar in this region of Kent and they are seemingly breeding sustainably. Cutler´s Wood borders farmland but also borders Kings Wood and other woods, together making up over 2000 acres of woodland offering ideal habitat for boar. Whether this boar was truly wild in the sense of European wild boar that have always been wild or whether domestic ancestors had some part in his existence we shall never know. Wild Boar or Feral Pig ? Whatever their credentials I welcome them as extra (and historically natural) diversity to the woods. They may do some damage by rooting around but deer cause damage too and most people accept that deer belong to the countryside, even though control of numbers is necessary. We may, in the absence of natural predators, one day have to control numbers of boar too but they belong here just as deer do (maybe more so than deer, as fallow, sika and munjac deer were all introduced to Britain).