Ankerdine Hills, 1912.

Photograph (Many thanks to Major [Retd] Janet Brodie-Murphy) taken from orchard above the Post Office where I lived. I used to walk here in my youth and there were always vermin hanging from the branches, crows, squirrels etc. shot by either the gamekeeper or one of the farm hands to keep the cherry trees safe. I also had permission of Henry Walker to shoot here when I was in my late teens and twenties and shot many rabbits which we had stewed. Sometimes they would have Myxomatosis and although I would shoot them we never ate them.

Myxomatosis is a disease caused by Myxoma virus, a poxvirus in the genus Leporipoxvirus. The myxoma virus causes a severe and usually fatal disease in European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Myxomatosis is an excellent example of what occurs when a virus jumps from a species adapted to it to a naive host, and has been extensively studied for this reason. The virus was intentionally introduced in Australia, France, and Chile in the 1950s to control wild European rabbit populations.

As I write this Covid19 is a prominent feature of the human population where a virus has jumped between species, we now know how the rabbits felt!

An interesting house that can be seen on the Ankerdine Hill, (the first one in the Bridge Coppice) stands just below what was the farm bailiffs house and had disappeared from any times that I can remember.

Also the 'knob' where picnickers frequented can be seen clearly at the top of the hill. As I have said elsewhere, they obviously used to keep this area open to allow for the magnificent panoramic views across the valley.


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