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. Continue reading

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New life at Charlecote Park – Fallow deer fawns

In June we welcome lots of new arrivals to the park. Our fawns.

Volunteer photographer,  Jana,  has captured some lovely images of these animals who reside in our West Park. Access to this area is restricted at this time of year to give the deer an area of sanctuary. We do run regular volunteer-led walks and special events to take people into the West park. Do enquire at reception or check our website for updates if you are interested in finding out more.

In the mean time we hope that you enjoy this clip…

Feeling festive in the park

At Charlecote Park we have over 250 acres of parkland, 180 fallow deer and 170 Jacob sheep. One of our key responsibilities is to make sure that the park is safe and that all of our livestock is fed and well. To do this we complete a full park check every morning 365 days a year.

I was looking after the park and garden on Saturday so the park check was my responsibility. Now normally I can be stuck in the office all day so a morning in the park is a special treat.

My first job is to feed the deer in West Park. This really is the best way to start the day because the herd love the deer nuts and they will let you get extra close to them. Whilst they are feeding we check the deer to make sure that they are all well and healthy.  This is key at this time of year because most of the does will be pregnant and the bucks (male fallow deer) have just come out of the rut which means that they will have lost a lot of body weight.

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After checking the herd it’s off round the rest of the Park to make sure the trees are safe – We have over one thousand parkland trees and around 250 of these are classed as ancient, veteran and notable.  We also check all of our fences on a daily basis.

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Next stop Polo Field to check the Sheep. We keep our rams and breeding ewes here. We have recently finished tupping so all of our girls are painted in red, green or blue depending in which ram they were put with. We are looking forward to lambing starting in early April

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However it’s not all about the parkland so after completing my rounds I went to help Tim, our Assistant Visitor Services Manager, put up a gazebo on the Cedar Lawn ready for the brass band. After this we popped in to the grotto to make sure that Santa and his elf was ok and ready for all of the day’s visitors.

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And finally it’s back to the office where we are met by Jana our lovely volunteer photographer. She had brought us in a huge box of delicious handmade chocolates – I think that it would be considered rude not to try one (or two!)

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So the brass band is playing Christmas tunes, Santa is in his grotto, the deer are fed, my multi coloured sheep are happy, all is well in the park and we have a lovely big box of chocs.

Some days I think that I have the best job in the world!

Lisa, Park & Garden Manager

Deer Sanctuary…

We’re supported in all areas of our work by a dedicated team of volunteers. In this post, Park Volunteer, John updates us on a recent area that the team have been working in…

Recently we have been installing new signage along the public footpath and around the deer sanctuary. The 18 new footpath signs have disctinctive yellow caps on the posts and standard marker arrows. These show even more clearly the footpath route that must be followed by members of the public crossing the park. It is important that people adhere to the footpath as deer management, which includes shooting, often takes place and to deviate from the footpath could be dangerous!

As West Park is currently open to visitors to Charlecote Park, the 10 new signs now more clearly show the area set aside for the deer sanctuary. Being wild animals, the deer sometimes get skittish with excessive human contact and it is essential an area is provided where the deer can seek sanctuary to prevent them becoming too stressed. Visitors should not enter the deer sanctuary.

Continue reading