Wildlife

You'll be surprised how many species of bat have made the castle their home © Jim Hallet

You'll be surprised how many species of bat have made the castle their home

Bats in the castle

Want to know more about bats?

At Dunster we have dedicated a room in our new crypt exhibtion to bat information and our bat cam screen showing them hanging around in their summer roost.

Want to learn more about bats? Visit Bat Conservation Trust.

Dunsters dancing lesser horseshoe bats

Deer

Deer in the Dunster parkland © Dave Wood

Deer in the Dunster parkland

The species of deer which can be seen in the grounds of Dunster Castle is that of the red deer, one of the largest of its kind.

These deer would be the ancestors of those that were kept by the Luttrell family in their deer park.

Red deer live in single sex groups for most of the year, meeting only for the rut.

Birds of prey

Watch out for soaring buzzards © National Trust

Watch out for soaring buzzards

Birds of prey can be seen or heard at all times of the day at Dunster Castle. The buzzard's distinctive cry can often be heard overhead. Look out for them as they lazily circle above the parkland in front of the castle. While owls can be heard to cry at night alerting their mate to their location.

Dippers

Dipper in the river along the mill walk © David Wood

Dipper in the river along the mill walk

Down in the River Gardens dippers can be seen all year round bobbing from stone to stone in the river Avill. They leave tell-tale droppings on stones, which indicate if they are present at a site.

Dippers can hunt under water using a special third eyelid that protects the eye when submerged.

Robins

Look out for our friendly robin at the Ticket Office. © Dave Wood

Look out for our friendly robin at the Ticket Office.

Look out for the robins that can be seen all year round in the gardens of Dunster Castle.

Commonly identified by its red breast, robins are relatively unafraid of people and are likely to perch near if they believe a tasty treat might be to hand. Look out at the ticket office where they wait for biscuit crumbs.

Greater spotted woodpeckers

Listen out for their distinctive tapping © Alison

Listen out for their distinctive tapping

Listen out for the greater spotted woodpecker that gives itself away by its distictive vibrating rattle produced by repeated strong blows against the tree trunk.

Sometimes you might spot it on dead trees which it prefers for nesting.

Green woodpecker

You might see a Green woodpecker on Green Court © northeastwildlife.co.uk

You might see a Green woodpecker on Green Court

If you are an early visitor to the castles gardens you might be lucky enough to spot the resident green woodpecker having its breakfest fest of worms out on Green Court. Or during the day listen out for its distinctive loud, laughing call in the gardens and parkland.

Common garden birds

So many different birds visit our gardens © RSPB

So many different birds visit our gardens

The variety of birds that visit your garden also visit us here in the park land and gardens of Dunster Castle. Blackbirds, blue tits, sparrows, finches, gulls and many more birds all visit the park and gardens on a regualar basis.

Toads

Look for hopping toads in the River Garden © North Pennines, AONB

Look for hopping toads in the River Garden

Common toads are Britain's largest and heaviest amphibians. They can be found in fields, under hedgerows, in gardens and woodlands in fact almost anywhere you would find a supply of insects. They are difficult to spot as they can remain motionless for hours at a time but look for them as you walk in the gardens.

Insects

Bee and hoverfly on a flower © Dave Wood

Bee and hoverfly on a flower

Insects, such as bees, can be seen flitting between the flowers in the gardens of Dunster Castle. Insects help to pollunate the plants but our resident bats just like to think of them as dinner!

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