From seal spotting to butterfly sighting, the gardens and countryside of Coleton are perfect for discovering wildlife. The micro-climate created by the coastal valley and shelter-belt of tall trees makes this area a bit of a haven for nature.
What can you see?
This woodland is at the top of the garden, on the path to Scout Point. Look out for...
Deer graze in the woodland (normally early in the morning). Look out for them in a quiet moment
Grey squirrels live in the trees and can often be seen in the branches or darting across a path
In the field behind Paddock Wood you can often spot a rabbit or two
On the estate
Bats roost in the roof spaces of the motor house (to the right of the drive as you arrive).
On sunny days you can spot grass snakes that live in the wall behind the lower terrace pond.
When the team clear the main ponds after Christmas they come across eels living there.
Heron, buzzards and peregrines can be spotted as well as swallows that nest in the Motor House.
Top tips for a wildlife-friendly garden
Our garden team have told us how they encourage such wonderful wildlife into the garden:
- Leave areas wild where you can and encourage nettles and ivy to grow
- Buddleias attract bees and insects, and Verbena bonariensis are fantastic because they self seed everywhere
- Grow a good range of plants, trees and shrubs. It's not just flowers that are good for wildlife - birds nest in trees
- Ponds are fantastic for all sorts of wildlife - newts, eels, frogs and fish of course, but also insects such as dragonflies
- Create a compost bin - not only is it great for recycling, but creates a wildlife haven for worms, woodlice and much more
The West Bank
This is a rare area of unimproved grassland where large anthills have been undisturbed for hundreds of years. Wild flowers and fine grasses growing here attract insects and butterflies.
The walls of the terraces are home to lizards, which love this sun trap near the house. The terraces also shelter tender, sun-loving plants such as the banana-scented michelia.
The ponds are home to all sorts of wildlife, from newts to goldfish. During the school holidays our gardeners and rangers run pondemonium sessions, where kids can discover the wildlife living in the deepest depths.