Wallabies on the Roaches.
The rocky escarpment of the Roaches on the border of Staffordshire is not the sort of place that you would expect to encounter Wallabies, however over the years there have been many sightings of these elusive creatures. The responsibility lies with Henry Courtney Brocklehurst who was the brother of Sir Philip Brocklehurst of Swythamley Hall who owned the Roaches and the surrounding land.
In the 1930s London zoo set up Whipsnade zoo fearing that there may be an outbreak of disease, this would ensure some of the animals would survive. Courtney Brocklehurst being a member of the Zoological society decided to build on this idea and thought it would be beneficial to set up a smaller reserve of some of the animals at Roche Hall at Upper Hulme on the Roaches. The animals transported to the Roaches included three Yaks, one Nilgai Antelope, Deer and some Wallabies.
It was five of these Bennett’s Wallabies that managed to escape and over the years a small breeding population of around 50 managed to become established, although there have been reports of Wallabies becoming established in other parts of the country it was my belief that the wallabies on the Roaches had probably all died out in the late 90s due to the exposed location of the area. Not only would they have to contend with the inclement weather at this altitude but there may have been another cause for their decline because from 2004-5 there was a flurry of big cat sightings in this area and it may have been this that caused the reduction in their numbers. In fact the following e-mail was sent to me only a couple of days ago and is as follows:
I was up at the mermaid pool the other day and i looked out into the distance it was about two miles away from the pool and i saw a black animal .It was not a cow or sheep because it was on its own walking calmly across the field in the distance and it was quite big.I would say about the size of a panther and i kept looking for it in the same place but it dissapeared bearing in mind it was near the mermaid pool.