Wildlife

Fallow deer

A noble buck deer © Colin Sturges

A noble buck deer

Large groups of these beautiful animals roam freely over the Estate. In October, during the 'rutting' season, we run guided walks early in the morning, which is the best time to see the males locking antlers in their bid to win possession of the females.

Badgers

Badgers at dusk © Alison Deighan

Badgers at dusk

Dusk is the best time to see these shy creatures as they emerge from their setts to play and forage for food. The main points to remember when badger spotting is to be very quiet and to be downwind of the sett area as they have excellent senses of smell and hearing. Even though their eyesight is poor, they will see you if you move around.

Muntjac

A Muntjac buck in a woodland glade at Ashridge © Phil Bray

A Muntjac buck in a woodland glade at Ashridge

Originally from China, these small deer were introduced into England by the Duke of Bedford in 1900. Due to a series of escapes and deliberate releases, together with their prodigious breeding, they are now found throughout the south east of England and are spreading ever further around the country.


 

Birds of prey

Majestic Red Kite hunting © Barry Boswell

Majestic Red Kite hunting

There are an increasing number of red kite to be seen in the skies over Ashridge as the Chilterns is one of the areas where these recently re-introduced birds have become widely established. These graceful bird are unmistakable with their reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. You may also see buzzards and sparrowhawks.

Butterflies

Duke of Burgundy butterfly © Carolyn Wise

Duke of Burgundy butterfly

There are many butterflies to be found around the Estate, some of which are rare. Our main resident in this category is the Duke of Burgundy which flourishes on the Ivinghoe hills. Our conservation volunteer groups maintain this important chalkland habitat to ensure their survival.

Bats

Pipistrelle bats at Ashridge © NTPL

Pipistrelle bats at Ashridge

Although bats are mammals, they are our only flying one so deserve their own slot. In the winter, they hibernate; informative walks take place in June and July each year, led by the National Trust's Matthew Oates.

Foxes

Fox in the snow at Ashridge © Alison Deighan

Fox in the snow at Ashridge

As you would expect, there are plenty of foxes at Ashridge and they can sometimes to be seen in daylight. In fact, nowadays there are more foxes in large cities than in the countryside. This urban colonisation began in the 1940s.

Songbirds

Wood warbler at Ashridge © David Hutchinson

Wood warbler at Ashridge

Apart from blackbirds and robins, there are numerous other songbirds to be found here and amongst them is the wood warbler. The best time to see it is from April to August in sheltered woodland.

Mammals

There are large herds of fallow deer, which you're quite likely to see whilst walking here. There are also muntjac, badgers, foxes etc. At dusk you may be lucky enough to see bats among the trees.

Birds

Picture of a Red Kite in flight

It would be difficult to list all the birds that live on the estate, but a firm favourite is the red kite. It can be seen hovering above the meadows and hills, looking for a tasty meal on the land below.

Insects and molluscs

It would be easier to list the butterflies you can't find here. See our downloadable PDF for where to spot the rarer varieties. It can be fun to make a list of all the butterflies and bees you do see.

Wild flowers

People come from miles around to see the vast carpets of bluebells in Spring. It's the sweet smell as well as the colour that attracts everyone.

We have powered mobility vehicles available to hire.

Fungi

You'll need sharp eyesight to spot the types of fungi that grow among tree roots, but there are many that grow in more open places.

Hundreds of varieties have been recorded at Ashridge - see how many you can spot.

There's so much to see

  • Battle of the titans © Colin Sturges

    Majesty among the trees

    These noble animals are a wonderful sight, in October when they can be seen and heard rutting.

  • Butterfly walk

    There are many different butterflies to be found here. Download our butterfly walk to get started...

  • Wildlife habitat

    The estate is home to a wide range of wildlife. Download our article and learn why they live here...

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