Deer diary: The Attingham herd

Bucks in the deer park at Attingham Park.

Attingham’s Deer Park was created in 1798 as part of Thomas, 2nd Lord Berwick’s grand improvements to the Mansion and grounds. Today, around 200 fallow deer, descended from the original herd live in the park. Take a stroll along the Deer Park, Woodland, or World War II walk for a glimpse of Attingham's popular residents.

Deer diary: Winter

From the middle of November Attingham’s Rangers start to feed the deer their daily winter rations to help them through the winter. We start feeding the deer in November to get them used to being fed before winter really gets underway. Initially the bucks will hang back from the feeding, they are still resting after the autumn rut, but over the first few weeks will start to join the heard.

" This is a really important time of the year for us as we start to see the full numbers in the herd as they all begin to join together to feed. Listen out for the young deer calling out to their mums – it sounds like a high-pitched squeak - as this is the first time the does will begin to move slightly away from their youngsters as they feed."
- Colin Morris, Area Ranger, is Attingham's deer herd manager

The deer are fed whole fodder beet and deer nuts. Over the summer, the grass to the east side of the Mansion was roped off and allowed to grow, before being cut and baled and made into deer nuts (compressed grass).

Attingham's Rangers feed the deer during the winter months
An Attingham Ranger feeding the deer herd
Attingham's Rangers feed the deer during the winter months

Deer feeding takes place in different places across the estate throughout the week but on Saturdays and Sundays from now until March 2019, and during the Shropshire School Christmas holidays and February half-term you can watch the deer being fed at 2pm in the Deer Park. 

A love of deer

The deer have always had a special place at the heart of Attingham. Thomas 8th Lord Berwick was particularly fond of the deer and fed them daily, with special favourites eating out of his hand. Thomas lived at Attingham from the early 1920s until his death in 1947. Following his wishes, his ashes and those of his wife Teresa (who lived at Attingham until her death in 1972) were placed at the memorial in the Deer Park, in a glade with views of the estate.

Following on from Thomas, the deer herd are today carefully managed by Attingham's rangers.

Thomas, the 8th Lord Berwick, feeding the fallow deer
The 8th Lord Berwick out in the Deer Park feeding the fallow deer
Thomas, the 8th Lord Berwick, feeding the fallow deer