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Have you seen the Easter Bunny?

Can you tell a Mad March Hare from an Easter Bunny?  Now spring has arrived, The Mammal Society is appealing for the public to record and report all sightings of a wild rabbit or hare. Hares may be declining in parts of the UK, while rabbits have been hit by myxomatosis and other viral diseases, says the Mammal Society. People are being asked to send in photographs of rabbits and hares to help map the UK population, whether it be in a London park, a Norfolk field, or on a Scottish mountain.

Dr Fiona Mathews, the new chair of The Mammal Society, says, ‘Rabbits and hares are easy to spot, particularly in spring when vegetation is low.  People tend to assume that because they see them, these animals must be everywhere.  In fact, some areas have very low populations and we need to find out whether they are suffering the same declines as many other farmland species. They are part of the ecosystem and lots of other animals depend on them, either through grazing of habitats or as a food source for foxes or birds of prey.’

The Mammal Society is producing the first National Mammal Atlas in over 20 years. This will provide vital baseline data on mammal distribution, which will support future conservation and research projects.  Sightings can be uploaded via The Mammal Society website or via the dedicated App, ‘Mammal Tracker’. Whenever possible, please also submit a photograph to allow your sighting to be verified by an expert.


Derek Crawley, who is co-ordinating the new atlas, explains how to tell a hare from a rabbit, ‘Rabbits and hares are quite straightforward to tell apart.  Hares are usually solitary or seen in pairs, whereas rabbits are often found in social groups.  Hares are larger, have long limbs and lollop along whereas the rabbit has a bobbing gait.  They usually look skinny compared with the rounder shape of a rabbit.  The ears are also distinctive: those of hares are longer and have black tips.  Finally, the eyes of hares are amber whereas rabbit eyes are dark brown.  If you are lucky enough to spot a rare mountain hare, these have grey coats in summer and are white in the winter, and their ears do not have black tips.” 

The Mammal Society has produced field guides for the Rabbit and Brown Hare to help you to be absolutely sure of your sightings.  

So, cameras at the ready and be sure to record any hare and rabbit sightings whilst out on your iFootpath rambles...


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Sunday, 18 March 2018
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The length of our walking guides is given in miles and rounded to the nearest full mile (whole number) for simplicity. For short walks (of less than 2 miles) or walks that have a length that ends in .5, a more accurate walk length may be given in the first section of the walk introduction. For example, the Length in the header may be listed as 6 miles, and the introduction may confirm that the exact length of the walk is 5.5 miles. The walk length is calculated from the GPS file that was created by the walk author GPS tracking the walk whilst walking, using the iFootpath App GPS Tracker, meaning it is very accurate. Our bespoke tracker is particularly detailed and plots a walkers position about every 10 seconds. The tracker is calibrated to match two other reputable map and walking sources, Ordnance Survey and Nike. As with all standardised walk and map lengths, the distance does not take account of hills and slopes, just the distance you would measure using a piece of string on a flat map version of the terrain, so hilly walks will feel longer than stated. If you track the route using another GPS App or Tracker App or Fitness Device, you can expect the distance you record to be different due to different calibrations. This is particularly true of those Apps and devices that count your motion and steps – these can only guess the distance you have travelled with each step and so are much less accurate.

Grade (Boots)

The grade of a walk is an indicator of how difficult the terrain is that you will encounter along the way. This does not take into account the walk length but does suggest how challenging the walk will be. It takes into account things like hills, path surfaces and obstacles (like stiles, gates, steps and rock scrambles). An easy walk, graded as 1 (and shown as 1 Boot) indicates a walk that is essentially flat, has no sharp hills to climb, has no stiles, is easy to navigate (probably along a well-worn path) and is suitable for most levels of fitness. A difficult walk, graded as 5 (and represented by 5 Boots) indicates a walk that is strenuous and involves steep ascents and/or descents. It may be technically challenging involving difficult terrain or obstacles that require scrambling with your hands. Please note that the grading for walks is subjective and open to interpretation and should only be used as a guide when selecting a walk.

NOTE: Do be aware that the level of stamina required for any walk will vary depending on both the walk length and the difficulty grade - you should only walk within your limits.

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