Just over a week ago Head Gardener at the Trewithen Estate, Gary Long, spotted what he describes as a very large black cat-like creature as he was making the short journey from home to work. It was such a fleeting glimpse he thought nothing more about it.
Four days later, Gary made an eerie discovery. One of the garden's rare plants, a Clethra barbinervis, a Japanese shrub with long fragrant blooms, had been savagely damaged.
The lower branches, some over an inch thick, were broken and the bark chewed off with bite marks on the stem. The main trunk had been scarred by claw marks up to a height of five feet.
Gary said: "It's bizarre. I've never seen that kind of damage to a shrub. The marks on the trunk are too fine to be dog claws, too high to be a domestic cat and too big to have been made by anything smaller. The moment I saw the damage I instantly remembered seeing the black creature on Friday morning. I'd thought nothing of it at the time other than to be a bit surprised to see what I was sure was a black cat but seemed more the size of a dog. Now I'm wondering if it was the Beast of Bodmin or one of its relations.
"No one at Trewithen is worried about it at all. Whatever the ‘Beast' is, it's clearly a timid creature that shies from human contact, but I may have to think about protecting some of our rarer species if there is any more damage like this."
Gary has asked anyone who has help or advice to offer, or who has made similar sightings, to post their comments on the Trewithen Facebook site which is easily accessed though the website www.trewithengardens.co.uk
Ends: 27 June 2011
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