Birds and the bees

A black swan at the Chartwell lakes © Jon Primmer

A black swan at the Chartwell lakes

The first blacks swans from Australia were given to Sir Winston Churchill in 1927 by Sir Philip Sassoon. Ever since Chartwell has always had two black swans with one pair gifted by the government of Western Australia where the black swan is a state symbol. They can be very territorial so we kindly ask you to keep your distance.

Birds and the bees

The Silver Appleyard and Saxony ducks at Chartwell © Jamie Harris

The Silver Appleyard and Saxony ducks at Chartwell

Sir Philip Sassoon also gifted some Carolina and Mandarin ducks as well as some South American Rosybills. The garden team keep up the tradition of keeping exotic ducks and the lakes have been home to Silver Appleyard, Saxony, Indian Running and Muscovy ducks.

Birds and the bees

our honey bees busy working at Chartwell © NTPL /Andrew Butler

our honey bees busy working at Chartwell

The beehives joined us in 2010 and they now live in the orchard at Chartwell. They provide an excellent way to pollinate plants around the garden like our apple trees which increases the amount of apples produced. We check on them from time to time and have been known to sell their honey at the Chartwell shop.

The butterflies

The butterfly house at Chartwell

Churchill was enthusiastic about butterflies and the raising of chrysalis. He converted the summer house into the butterfly house you see at Chartwell in 1946 with help from expert Hugh Newman. Churchill also planted 'butterfly plants' like buddleia to attract more butterflies. The house was succesfully recreated in 2010 and is home to peacocks and painted ladies.

Fish tales

Churchill used to relax here whilst feed the golden orfe

The golden orfe pond was one of Churchill's favourite spots. He first encountered orfe in the 1930's and liked them so much they became a fixture at Chartwell and would often sit at the chair feeding his fish. Once on a drive to Southampton to board a ship he told the driver to turn back half way as he had forgotten to feed them.

Woodland critters

One of our local dormice found during a survey

The woodland area behind the garden is a natural habitat for dormice. They have a long period of hibernation which is why we encourage den building and we have a perfect example found behind the swings. They are able climbers, nocturnal with furry tails.


Some mushrooms by the pond at Chartwell

Lots of different types of land at Chartwell it makes for an interesting and diverse range of fungi. You'll find them growing in the woodland especially on trees as well as in moist areas by the lake. We ask that you take care as some varieties can be dangerous.