Long-eared lovelies that inspire festive feelings in us all
In our December issue, we have an essay in our magical creatures series about the donkey, an animal close to our hearts, and never more than at this time of year.
But while, as George Orwell once said (almost), all donkeys are equal, but some are more equal than others.
The wild donkeys of the New Forest are just a little bit special and the area is one of the best places in Britain to see donkeys in the wild. The forest is best known for its wild ponies (and is also home to wild pigs and cows) but its 200 wild donkeys are a real treat to spot.
They are hardy enough to survive all year round in the New Forest, but according to the New Forest’s management, they aren’t always popular with the neighbours and are regularly found scoffing hedges, trees and bushes around neighbouring properties. The more enterprising among them are apparently often to be found at the Foresters’ Arms in Frogham and other local ale yards and hostelries. In the village of Beaulieu they apparently gather around the Montagu Arms. Presumably when they emerge after a few ales they are wonky donkeys?
Once, a New Forest donkey wandered uninvited into a branch of Tesco, much to the amusement of Brockenhurst residents. He was found, standing in the middle of the store, looking around him in a bemused fashion. Staff managed to shoo him out by banging shopping baskets together, which goes to show what a hard time donkeys have, we think. When they’re not carrying pregnant virgins to packed inns, they’re being brutally evicted from supermarkets in the middle of a quiet look at the biscuit aisle.
So here’s to the New Forest donkeys, reminding us once more why their kind are as Christmassy as crackers and sherry, and just as cheering, too.
If you’re in the area this Christmas give them a pat and a carrot from us - but don’t give them your shopping list. They can’t be trusted.
Read more about donkeys in Magical Creatures, in our December issue, on sale now.