Wild deer on the Arlington estate
The Arlington estate provides the perfect habitat for herds of red deer who visit the estate throughout the year. But with over 2,700 acres for them to hide in, it's not always a walk in the park trying to spot one.
Dropping in on the herd
The red deer can be spotted at Arlington all year round, but you're most likely to see them in the autumn, particulalry early mornings during October. At this time of year the annual rut in happening, which is when the male stags compete to breed with the female hinds. You can often hear them roaring as part of their tactic to intimidate other males. You need to be very quiet when approcahing the deer and try to stand downwind of them. Deer have very poor eyesight, but their sense of smell and hearing are heightened because of this, which can make them elusive.
Managing the crowd
At any one time there may be around 70 deer living on the Arlington estate, but as the herds are wild, we can never be sure how many there are. Each February the ranger team undertake a deer count early in the morning, covering as much of the estate as possible to see how many deer there are on that day. The estate also has a deer stalker, who manages the herd, culling sickly and injured deer to ensure the health of the deer. Miss Chichester, the last owner of the Arlington estate was totally against any form of hunting, not even allowing fishing on her land. In the early twentieth century she had a deer fence erected around the estate to protect the deer from any poachers. Whilst the fence has now mostly gone, poaching does still happen on the Arlington grounds. If you notice anything suscpicious whilst out walking at Arlington, please do tell a member of staff.
Creating the perfect home
Bordering the Exmoor National Park is one of the biggest assets for Arlington Court in terms of wildlife. Many of the herds of deer who roam Arlington probably also spend some time on the moors, and may visit Arlington for a bit more shelter. The ranger team carefully manage the woodland and parkland at Arlington to esnure the deers' habitat is protected. Along by the river deep in the woodland there are a couple of 'wallows' where the deer go to bathe and roll in the mud. This is to cool their skin and to help manage tics and other pests who make their homes on the deer.