Sadly the “native" foxes of Lakeland appear to have become almost extinct in the very late 1890s or possibly early 1900s.
No research was ever done on them and little documentary evidence is available. They pass briefly through the written reports of fox hunts prior to their demise and no doubt somewhere in a valley-head farm a glass case holds a stuffed one gathering dust and forgotten. It is certain that their spread was much greater than Lakeland, and they almost certainly lived in the Welsh mountains and Scottish highlands as well as Devon, and doubtlessly other counties. They are even mentioned in a reference to a chase in Ireland. It makes me wonder if they are, or were, the original British fox. I must admit to my shame I know nothing of the history of today’s red fox, other than its apparently rapid colonization of the Lakeland fells in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
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