A group of pigs were abandoned on common land earlier this month, apparently after their owners decided they could no longer care for them.
The five animals, including a heavily pregnant sow, were left on Aldbury Common, on the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate, on June 12.
National Trust rangers put up warning signs around the area and checked the pigs each day, making sure that they had plenty of drinking water.
But the charity has warned that the animals were close to a number of busy roads which they could have easily walked onto.
Lawrence Trowbridge, lead ranger at the estate, said: “All sorts of things have been dumped at Ashridge but we were really surprised to see live pigs left behind.
“We were very concerned, not only for the welfare of the pigs but also for road users and regular visitors to the area.
“Many local people have been very positive about the pigs being there and this is encouraging. In the long-term, reinstating livestock grazing is an important objective for the estate.”
Fortunately the pigs had access to plenty of food at Aldbury, with thousands of acres of vegetation to eat.
They also began to root around in the soil to find grubs and plant roots to eat, which was actually positive for the health of the woodland floor.
It is believed that the pigs were domesticated as they were very friendly, with residents in the Tom’s Hill area and regular visitors all being very welcoming to the unexpected guests.
Kevin Taylor, a local rare breeds farmer from Chesham, volunteered to collect the pigs who are now living at the rare breeds farm.
One of the rescued pigs was a heavily pregnant sow and she was rescued in the nick of time as, in the days that followed she gave birth to eight piglets in her cosy new home.
Mr Trowbridge added: “Around a hundred years ago it would have been perfectly normal to see pigs rooting about on Aldbury Common.
“Local people would exercise their common rights which often involved bringing their animals up onto the common to graze.”