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Lyveden through the seasons


Lyveden New Bield at sunset in the snow © Mark Bradshaw

Winter is when most wildlife will head for bed for a few months to await the return of spring. See if you can spot any evergreen species of tree that are enduring the cold. Keep an eye out for the first snowdrop of spring.

Whilst most animals won't be seen at this time of year, see if you can spot any telltale tracks in the snow.


Look out for the first rabbit of Spring  © Alison Deighan

As the winter fades away, Lyveden comes to life in an array of spring colour. The woodland floor is alive with wildflowers such as violets, bluebells and cowslips, the county flower of Northamptonshire.

Young rabbits and squirrels begin to emerge from their winter lairs, and tadpoles, caterpillars and insect larvae start to appear in and around the moat.


A rabbit at Ashridge © Gillian Day

The orchard flowers are joined by fruit, well on its way to being ready to pick. In the woodland, orchids and primrose are in full bloom.

By now, the larvae and caterpillars have grown up into damselflies, dragonflies, stunning butterflies. Rabbits, squirrels and even a few fallow deer are also more prominent. In the air, skylarks and swallows can be seen and heard around Lyveden.


Is there anything so tempting as a pile of crunchy autumn leaves? © Robert Morris

Lyveden in autumn is a paradise of red, yellow and gold leaves. Look out for the biggest, smallest or brightest coloured leaf. The remaining orchard apples are perfect for picking.

Whilst most of the wildlife gradually begins to retreat in preparation for winter, hares and other creatures can still be seen if you look carefully.

Red Kites

Red Kites can regularly be seen catching the thermals above Lyveden, with their reddish-brown body and distinctive forked tail. Their mew-like ‘weoo-weoo-weoo’ call can be heard across the Rockingham Forest, where they were re-introduced in 1995.