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The Poacher

Peareth’s Cover was the favourite haunt of the village poacher in the mid 1900s. He was a real countryman: "He could cut your hair or lay a hedge." He talked freely about those times in his later years but although now deceased, discretion prevents his name being recorded here.

He mainly poached rabbits, not being greatly interested in pheasants or the occasional deer. He disliked foxes and would kill them at every opportunity. He used snares and a gun but mainly nets – 80 to 100 yards long, set with wooden sticks in the cover of darkness. Dark windy nights were the best. Buttons were cut off his coat to prevent snagging. After the nets were set he would release his dog to round up and drive the rabbits into the net. His largest catch was 29 rabbits, using two nets, both 80 yards long. He paid for rabbit rights on one area of farmland and he would return home from that direction in case he was challenged. He equated a rabbit to two and a half pints of beer...

(Main photograph: Fishpond on The Manor's estate, 2021)

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