Shakily, I transferred the data-card from the camera to my laptop, where sure enough, the footage revealed a glossy, chestnut animal. A creature who paused, sniffed the air, and arched its back, before springing lightly onto large paws. Silently, we watched our two minutes of film again and again in the dark, dinner uncooked, the stove unlit. That a creature so elusively exquisite had returned to our neck of the woods was thrilling. Pine martens rippled through our minds.

Read more in the October 2019 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine

Photograph by Mark Molloy