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The Return of the Roe Deer: The Derby Telegraph interviews naturalist Christine Gregory

Friday, 1 July 2016

Christine Gregory gives us a clue as to why she is so passionate about British wildlife in this sneek preview of a longer interview she has done for The Derby Telegraph.

Are you passionate about all wild animals and how did your interest in them develop?

As a teenager I used to creep around the forests soon after dawn or at dusk looking for and most often finding – that most magical and beautiful of creatures – the roe deer. I have had so many breath-stopping moments with them – just by sneaking and waiting and hiding and finding out their favoured spots and following paths. They can be quite inquisitive and come towards you. They have a sharp warning bark that can be quite alarming when you’re on your own in the dark. As a painter I have always worked outside and when you sit still for long enough, wild animals don’t notice you or perceive a threat so you can have some incidentally lovely moments. I was once (over forty years ago) sitting painting in a clearing surrounded by foxgloves and slowly realised that there was a roe deer fawn close by sleeping. It almost seems like a dream now. The big thrill for me is that there are now roe deer in the woods nearby, so after their total extinction in England and Wales the reintroduced ones in the south and the populations in Scotland have been slowly expanding their range to meet here in the middle of Britain. Last week I spent half an hour watching a family of stoats playing peepo in a woodpile. The more you are out, the more you see and the more you see the more addicted you become. I’ve spent thirty years trying to photograph an otter in the wild and while I always see them up north it is always at a distance. I have also seen a wildcat and what a privilege that was. 

A young roe. © Christine Gregory

A Derbyshire stoat. © Christine Gregory

Christine is the author of two Vertebrate books, Brown Hares in the Derbyshire Dales and The Water Vole. Look out for her series of talks this coming autumn.

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