West Park Closed: Deer rut!

We have closed visitor access to West Park over the coming weeks to allow for the deer not to be disturbed during the rut.

West Park - Closed for Rut

This is a vital part of the calendar year for the deer as being continually disturbed will delay the rutting season and this delays fawning in June and fawns are born too late and are unable to go through the next winter with enough body weight. Also the males (bucks) are full of testosterone and they are trying to hold a group of females (doe’s) to something known as a “lek” which is an area of ground marked off by a buck by heavily scenting the area to deter any other bucks from coming in. This can mean that the bucks are unaware of people approaching and can be dangerous both to the deer and people.

The public footpath across West park will remain open but we do remind visitors that you must stay on the highlighted footpath and please do not disturb the deer.

Our Park team will be reviewing the rutting frequently and we will let visitors know as soon as the park is able to be re-opened. Do keep an eye on our website and twitter feed for up to date news.

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You can sometimes see the herd in other areas of the parkland.  We would ask you to show respect to these beautiful and strong animals and please do not approach them closely.

Here are our top tips for viewing the deer:

  • Do not approach them. Give them space and remember that they are, although beautiful, wild and unpredictable animals.
  • Be patient. And whilst you’re quietly viewing the deer also enjoy the peacefulness of our parkland.
  • Use a long range lens. If you are a keen photographer, a long range lens can help you capture some stunning close up images. Take a look at some our own volunteer photographer has taken on her blog.
  • Join a volunteer-led* walk. We frequently have walks you can join, just ask at reception when you visit or call us to find out more. [* Please note, these are dependent on volunteer availability]
  • Pick your spot! You can often see the deer in other areas of the park. At the moment the paddock is a good place because some of the deer like the orchard just on the other side of the River Dene. Again, ask our team when you’re with us and we’ll make sure you’ve the best chance of seeing them.

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Find out more about our deer by watching this introductory video from the Fallow Deer Project group.

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