The Wild Boar and the Football Pitch
15th November 2013
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The Wild Boar which roam in the Forest of Dean, have been blamed for a number of incidents, from traffic accidents to damage to gardens and other private property. This week, it was reported that wild boar have twice, in the space of a week, dug up a football pitch belonging to Gloucester Northern Senior League side Soudley AFC who are located on the edge of the Forest. The club estimate the damage will cost more than £1,000 to repair and the pitch will be out of action until Christmas. 

Earlier this year the Forestry Commission decided to install a fence around the Beechenhurst Lodge picnic area following damage sustained to the site by boar searching for food. With fewer nuts to eat, the boar will root through grassed verges and picnic areas in search of worms and insects.

Wild boar have roamed in the Forest of Dean since 2004, when they were reintroduced following an absence of 700 years. However, following complaints of damage to gardens, danger to dog walkers and riders and boar-related road accidents, a cull was introduced.

Wild boar are large and potentially dangerous animals but if you come across a boar in the woods they will normally flee from you. Although their eyesight is poor, wild boar hear and scent very well. They will know you are in the woods long before you know they are there, and will make themselves scarce. However, if people have been foolish enough to feed the boar, they may come up to you thinking you are going to feed them. These tame animals should not pose a threat to you, but may take a dislike to your dog.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe:

  • Avoid walking through dense undergrowth where wild boar may be encountered at close quarters. 
  • If you see wild boar, do not approach them; if possible leave the area by the same route you approached by, or make a detour giving the animals a wide berth. 
  • If you see wild boar and you have a dog off the lead, call the dog to heel and put it on a lead immediately. 
  • If you have a dog off the lead and it chases wild boar or will not return when called, stay at a safe distance and continue to call the dog back; do not approach the boar. 
  • Sows with young piglets are potentially more dangerous than other boar because they may attempt to defend their young. They have a prolonged breeding season but most litters are born in spring. Avoid walking in areas known or suspected to be occupied by wild boar during this period (February to May). In particular, avoid dense woodland or other thick cover as such areas are favoured as resting and breeding sites. 
  • In many cases, if boar are seen from a safe distance, it may be possible to simply wait until they have left the area of their own accord before proceeding.
About the Author

Martin F

Member since: 22nd December 2011

I have recently purchased the best of the Forest of Dean and Chepstow from the previous owners Paul and Sharon James. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming months and assure...

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