Possible Big Cat Evidence – Cinderford, Forest of Dean
Unidentified animal vocalisations and bloody paw prints in the snow have a dog walker in Gloucestershire too scared to venture into the forest...
The following report was relayed to me by a colleague over 10 years ago. It has remained buried in my records for much of the time since, but has circulated occasionally in the big cat groups of Facebook. I received the report from a fellow nurse who I worked with in a large psychiatric hospital at the start of my career.
We often shared stories to help pass the time during night shifts, and being several years my senior, and having held a life of adventure (and misadventure), with endless rich and varied experiences, she was often able to astonish and amaze her co-workers with the stories she would share during those dragging and painfully slow moments of ‘graveyard duty’, when the mind was all too often in need of a jolt of intrigue to ensure that one remained awake. She had indulged and actively participated in the disco culture of 70s, the raw punk culture of the 80s, the wild rave culture of the 90s, she had travelled the world, lived in squats, and even for a brief time resided with the West family at Gloucester’s infamous 25 Cromwell Street.
At this stage of her life though, my colleague had seemingly abandoned the hectic and chaotic lifestyle encompassed by her youth and adolescence, trading it instead for a far more peaceful and serene existence living in the remote and rural depths of the Forest of Dean.
One evening upon entering the hospital, I was met in the corridor by my colleague as we were both about to arrive at the ward. Her facial expression bore a combination of confusion, excitement and shock; she ushered me into the nursing office and recounted the following tale, not waiting for the usual lull in the ward activity in the small hours of the morning as was typically customary, instead divulging her testimony with a sense of frantic urgency, unable to keep her experience to herself.
She told me that earlier that day, between the hours of 10.00am and 11.00am (Wednesday 7th January 2009), she was walking her dogs in the woods behind Kensley Lodge in Cinderford. This was an area she knew well, frequently exercising her dog in these woods, enjoying the fresh air, diverse wildlife and scenic beauty; however, on this occasion, the tranquillity of this snowy winter morning would be unsettled and a sense of nervous foreboding would follow...
As she followed the footpath taking her usual route, she rounded a corner and chanced upon what she described as "bloody paw prints" in the snow. She photographed the bright crimson red paw prints contrasting against the brilliant white snow (above) before following the tracks through the nearby undergrowth. At the end of this grizzly trail of blood she found a number of organs and entrails, which appeared to have been chewed in places or partially eaten which she also photographed (above); evidently she had stumbled across the unwanted and disregarded leftovers of the meal of a predatory creature.
On the previous day, she was walking near to this area when she was startled by a loud noise which resembled a "wild boar with a sore throat"; the noise resonated through the ground and she could feel the vibrations through the soles of her feet. This alone, made her feel so uncomfortable that she turned around and immediately headed back home. The noise described by my colleague may seem easy to disregard, until you hear the ‘sawing’ calls of a leopard as demonstrated here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xwppv8
Maybe she had narrowly avoided an encounter with the beast...
Written by Tim Whittard.