Penallt Big Cat

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from the Monmouthshire Beacon 25th May 2011

The Wye Valley is known all over the world for its rich variety of flora and fauna, but a Penallt man has spotted something not native to these parts. Businessman John Funnell was driving along the Wye Valley road away from his father's farm in Penallt last Tuesday (17th May), with his wife Harriet, when he saw the animal.

"I was just about to turn left towards the bridge for St Briavels when I saw it about 20 feet in front of the car," said John. "It was a panther. It walked across the road and jumped six feet over a bank into the woods. This was in daylight, at about 9.10 pm."

John, the marketing director for Global Business Events in Newport, drove over to the spot where the big cat had vanished but did not get out of his car. He estimates the panther jumped over a six-foot bank from a standing start.

"It couldn't have been a deer or a dog because they would have needed a run-up," he added. "Loads of people around Penallt have said they have seen one and I was only in the pub two days earlier telling them not to be so silly and that it was nonsense."

"It was definitely a panther – it was black and it was massive. I would probably have convinced myself otherwise if I had been on my own but my wife saw it too and she is very level-headed."

Dewi Jones, of Monmouthshire County Council (MCC), said the council had received no reports of a panther in the Penallt area.


from Prue Evill October 2010

Unexplained sighting of a “Big Cat?” at The Brook in the Blackbrook valley

On Monday, 18th October 2010 at about 8 am, I drew back my bedroom curtains from a window which overlooks the back of my house where there is a small orchard surrounded by a 4 – 5 ft. fence. My neighbour's sheep were in this field but all except one were lying down at the top of the field. To my amazement a large animal was approaching the fence near the house.

My immediate reaction was that its movement resembled that of a cat. The one sheep that wasn't lying down was watching this animal cautiously.  It stood by the fence (approximately 50 – 100 yds from my position). It was taller and slimmer than a sheep with no long fur on its legs.  It had a long narrow face with upright pointed ears and a long furry tail with dark coloured bands round the end. Its colour was light grey (which, of course, does not tie in with the normal colour of a big cat).

lynxI immediately phoned my next-door neighbours as I was worried about the safety of their sheep and they came round almost immediately. Peter went into the field above where the sheep were and Trish came through the field below. By this time, the animal had moved  slowly along the fence and my view of it was blocked. As neither Peter nor Trish saw anything, it must have left the field by jumping over the fence and wall into the footpath. Immediately I got downstairs I went into the field to see if there was any trace of it. Unfortunately – nothing.

I wonder if anyone has seen this unexplained animal; if so, I would like to hear from them. I promise you, I had been awake for over 2 hours so was not dreaming! My young springer spaniel has been very reluctant to go into this field since this incident which I find most surprising as it normally takes a lot to faze her!

I got in touch with Danny Nineham, Jess & Ian Rabjohns and Stephanie Tyler all of whom thought my description sounded like a lynx – but of course, not the long banded tail.