Last week I confessed that I was puzzled by some tunnels that had appeared in one of the the fields near my house. They were about 15 feet long, fairly straight and looked like some animal had burrowed along close to the surface leaving a small ridge of soil.
Mark Garrett kindly replied with the following information
“Moles will dig both shallow and deep tunnels and the classic molehills are the result of “deep” excavations. The soil from the shallow tunnel is just pushed upwards (or to the side) There is a good chance that your mystery tunnels could well be a mole making a shallow tunnel, perhaps returning to the field from the safety of the hedgerow now that the tractor has gone away.”
This matches my own limited research. The Readers Digest Wild Britian – Animals (a small book but very useful and readable) says of moles “Occasionally tunnels are so near the surface that the soil is forced up in a long ridge – once thought (wrongly) to be ‘love runs’ made by male moles seeking a mate“.
I think we can safely say that the mystery is cleared up – the tunnels were mole ‘love runs’. I think the odd thing is that I’ve never seen them before, despite years of wandering around the countryside. Perhaps it was a coincidence of the right moles and the right soil conditions.