Viewpoints from your doorstep: 3. Naishes Wood
Welcome to the eighth in a series of pictorial guides showcasing Warden Mike’s top ten favourite viewpoints, all selected from our ‘Greenspace on your doorstep’ directory.
Number 3: Naishes Wood in Hampshire
Up until recently I had believed that rabbits had been introduced to England following the Norman invasion of 1066. More specific evidence suggests the time of the Plantagenets who ruled this realm from 1216 (Henry III) until 1485 when Richard III was killed in combat at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
In 2017 a rabbit’s tibia bone was identified at Fishbourne Roman palace in Chichester, Sussex. It is believed to have been kept as a pet!
Romans keeping pet rabbits doesn’t alter my belief that our wild rabbit population of today is descended from the mediaeval rabbits introduced from the Continent. We know that they were closely guarded in warrens as a luxury meat for the nobility; and that, apparently, these delicate rabbits were incapable of digging their own burrows!
Necessity eventually became the mother of invention because, following massive human depopulation, caused by the Black Death in the 14th century, warrens fell into neglect and the rabbits – ancient forerunners of the WWII Prisoners of War in the movie The Great Escape – dug their way out into the surrounding countryside!