Arlington Road West is a curious road. It is a spiteful road on tired legs, a false flat road that rises slowly from the Priory to the Raceway, and flanked either side by woodland. Local Doggers and Cottagers use the copse on the Michelham Priory side, and through the trees there is a byway that meets Hempstead Lane before arriving at the A22. I rarely use that byway. On Wednesday and Saturday evenings the air is thick with the scent of hot rubber and exhaust fumes as the Arlington Raceway hosts it’s usual summer meetings.

Last week a badger was run down and lay, legs and feet aloft, supine. Lifeless. Mortuus est. Over the week the body blackened and seemed to stain the tarmac a powdery black which spread, and continued to spread during the week, from the corpse like spilled black powdered tempera.

Yesterday the body was gone. Just the powdery staining remained. I have heard that in English folklore it is said that Badgers carry out funerals for their dead – in my imagination I see a Cete of Badgers arriving on the scene one night; in the darkness clucking and clicking their tongues, growling and chattering amongst themselves in low tones, then dragging the body through the bracken into the woods for a ceremonial burial and a suitable period of mourning.

I expect the reality to be different. A council employee, a spade and an incinerator.

This beautiful creature had to die, a death at the wheels of a speeding motorised vehicle.


*dead badger image culled from