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Fleet of foot

Posted 3 February 2014 by Andrew Gardner google authorship button

Fox in Sussex

Fleet the fox could probably put most of us to shame. In less than a month he walked 195 miles just going about his daily life of looking for food and somewhere to sleep. And most of that was in a wet December when I for one did not walk nearly as much as I would've liked.

Brighton-born Fleet is believed to have been forced out of home by a territorial dispute with his son. He was tagged by university researchers as he set off on his tour of Sussex, heading first into the South Downs National Park and the town of Hassocks before turning east to the coastal town of Rye - click here to see our selection of properties here. He tended to follow roads, railways and rivers but sensibly skirted around floods. While that sort of behaviour isn't unusual, the distance he covered certainly is, especially for an urban fox  not used to the countryside, and is the furthest a fox in this country has ever been known to travel. What happened next? Well, unfortunately we don't know as Fleet ditched his collar at the beginning of January, but we hope he found himself a nice rural retreat.

Perhaps he headed for Hastings Country Park to check out the work that's been done to expose ancient stone outcrops by removing a lot of vegetation? Winter was chosen for the work as it's least likely to disturb birds that nest and forage among the gorse, including stonechats and yellowhammers. There are some lovely walks of various lengths in the SSSI itself, and if you prefer more of a challenge the '1066 walk' takes you the 31 miles from Pevensey Castle to Rye, though obviously after all the recent rain you will need to check for route information before you set off and watch out for cliff areas that may have become unstable - there have been collapses in the area, as well as at Birling Gap, so do take care.

But if you want to keep up with Fleet the fox you'll have to walk there and back. Several times. What you can do that he didn't, however, is stop off at a friendly country pub or nip back to your cosy holiday cottage for the night (click here to view our Sussex properties). I know which I'd choose!