I've only seen a real live badger on two occasions - both in recent years and both in the town - although I have, of course, seen numerous carcases at the side of the road.
But whether the animal is seen as cuddly or ferocious, there are many farmers who see the badger as damaging to thier livelihoods. You see, the badger can be a carrier of bovine TB. The government, in its collective wisdom and acting partly as a result of pressure from farmers, has instructed that badgers be culled from two areas to see if that reduces or even eliminates outbreaks of tuberculosis in cattle in those areas.
It may be that I'm just a soft-hearted townie but I can't help thinking that the elimination of badgers from any area as a result of deliberate extermination is wrong. My brain tells me that if badgers are removed from any limited area, no matter how large or small, other badgers will simply move in from neighbouring areas and everything will be back to square one. Surely the only foolproof way of dealing with this problem would be the complete elimination of badgers from these islands? And just who do we think we are if we even contemplate such drastic action?
I have every sympathy with farmers trying to scratch a living from the land, especially dairy farmers who are paid (by supermarkets) less for their milk than it costs to produce it, but I cannot agree that a cull, even a limited cull, of badgers is the answer to this problem. If, indeed, the badger is the problem in the first place.
I am certain that there are badgers in Stanmer Great Wood. This year, for once, there are also foxgloves. The seeds have been lying dormant for years until this area was cleared and coppiced and now the flowers are in bloom.