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The FieldThe Field

The Field April 2019

Published by Time Inc. (UK) Ltd The Field is a monthly glossy magazine dedicated to those brave souls who shoot, fish and hunt way beyond the call of duty. Since 1853, its staff has selflessly brought its readers the cream of rural life, be it pheasant shooting, dry-fly fishing or the distinct merits of Cheval Blanc. If you love field sports, errant terriers and very foxy friends at hunt balls, The Field is for you.

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let’s not be shy about fieldsports

SINCE the Fates dislike assumption I’ve never carried a goose bag fowling. That superstition left me, aged 18, walking off the marsh and through the town with a monstrous Canadian gander slung over one shoulder, the slipped gun over the other. Since flight ends early in September I met only three dog-walkers but each said good morning and eyebrows remained unraised. Young men carrying guns and dead things were not an uncommon sight in my Westcountry town 40 years ago. Nor were the salmon boys landing their catch on the jetty, while the butchers’ shops vied for custom with displays of pig carcases and a plethora of pheasants in feather come the game season. There was no making of statements here. Fieldsports and the very visible origin of meat were merely…

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field notes

A former teaching assistant, office administrator and engineering trainee are among the six apprentices enrolled on Holland & Holland’s new two-year training programme. The new recruits, aged 18 to 27, were chosen from 350 applicants and include three women. While women have worked previously as engravers, this is the first time that they are being trained across the whole production process. “We believe we have found six amazing individuals. We hired three young men and three young women with the right aptitude, commitment and raw talent to make a difference,” said Michael White, Holland & Holland’s manufacturing director. The company has developed a bespoke, NVQ, manufacturing-based programme for the apprentices, none of whom has had any previous gunmaking experience. This is being combined with hands-on, engineering-based assignments in the new training facility…

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cuckoo’s migration path key to survival

New research by the BTO shows that the route a cuckoo takes to migrate is an important factor in its survival from the UK to tropical Africa. Nearly all the birds (97%) tagged in the cuckoo monitoring scheme that took the eastern migration route via Italy survived. But only 56% of those that took the western route via Spain made it across the Sahara into West Africa. Plentiful food in the Po Valley in northern Italy was considered essential in providing fuel for the 2,500-mile flight. “There are likely to be several factors driving the decline of the cuckoo in the UK, but the choice of route taken during the southerly migration is likely to be an important one,” said the BTO’s Paul Stancliffe. Cuckoos arrive in the UK this month but their…

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in brief

RARE PLANT SAVED Since a team from the Plantlife-led Back to the Brink project drove a five-tonne tractor armed with a muck grab over a colony of rare marsh clubmoss in Dorset, a thriving colony of 12,000 plants has re-established in the disturbed bare ground. Resembling a tiny spruce tree, the plant has declined by 85% over the past 85 years due to loss of heathland habitat. THELWELL ON SHOW An exhibition of Norman Thelwell’s iconic cartoons is on at the National Trust’s Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire until 22 April. Titled Thelwell: Laughter and Landscapes, there are 80 works on show from the family’s private collection, many of which haven’t been shown in public before. They include wartime sketches and detailed landscapes of the Test Valley, where the artist lived in his later…

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art in the field

“I love to show them boxing and fighting and jumping. They are fantastic to watch” SCULPTOR and ceramicist Paul Jenkins wonders why his bronze and pottery hares are so popular. “I didn’t realise people would like my work so much – I’m still shocked. I have always been able to make a living out of it and that surprises me because I didn’t expect to do that. People are collecting them now. I don’t really know what makes them so popular.” Looking at his gawkily beautiful creatures in mid-jump or boxing together in a flurry of paws and ears, it is easy to see why they are loved – and also to gain an insight into what makes humans generally so intrigued by hares. In every part of the world where hares live,…

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#the field

MOST VIEWED Bounding hound Pictures from the February issue Blencathra hunt report have been popular online. This shot of Colonel clearing a fence, taken by Duncan Ireland, caught Fielders’ attention. “Perfect shot,” admired one. “Loved hunting with them in September. Great shot,” added another. Fielders were also delighted to see Blencathra huntsman Barry Todhunter pictured, the pack’s seventh huntsman since 1826. “Best huntsman in the country,” commented one. “The legend...” added another. INSTAGRAM Breeksit This super outtake by Hamish Mitchell for our January issue Ballynatray shoot report prompted an in/out debate amongst Instagram Fielders. “Breeks should be tucked into the socks,” declared one. “Outside is the formal way,” countered another. “Out, then have nice wool garters to hold them up,” added onemore. Othersweredistracted by another concern. “Those mustard socks are killing me,” admitted one to…