A journey of wildlife discovery at Castle Ward

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Winter is a great time to experience something new, and at Castle Ward we have the perfect setting to discover and learn more about wildlife. A gentle stroll on a peaceful morning may introduce you to some of our most stunningly beautiful and interesting wildlife.

Home to one of Northern Ireland's rarest mammals, the pine marten lives in the woodlands and loves to eat insects, small mammals and berries. They are the size of a domestic cat with a bushy tail and cute face. Although they're very shy many visitors have spotted them dashing elegantly across the pathways between the adventure playground and the Stableyard. They are also frequent visitors to the caravan park camping pods.

Hidden in the trees close to the Victorian Sunken Garden a tawny owl calls daily. Although you may not be fortunate enough to see him, if you listen carefully his harmonious call will delight your heart. They are common across Great Britain and large parts of Europe, but have until now been absent from Ireland. It's the first time the bird has ever been spotted in the wild in Ireland and its presence has caused quite a stir amongst staff, bird watchers and media over the past few months.

Space to explore

In the early morning, as the mist rises over Castle Ward house, Irish hares can be seen frequently playing on the classical front lawn. While on the other side of the house, on the gothic lawn, a family of pheasants are often seen probing for insects and worms with their bills.

With 21 miles of trails there is plenty of space for walking, cycling and other outdoor activities all year round at Castle Ward. A book from the second-hand bookshop with a coffee and posh scone from the cosy tea-room will complete your visit, and who knows, if you keep your eyes peeled you may spot some wildlife on your journey back to the car.