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 deer herd live in the park.

The fallow deer herd at Attingham Park
Attingham's deer herd are descended from the orginal herd brought to Attingham by the second Lord Berwick in the 1700s
The fallow deer herd at Attingham Park

Deer Diary: Winter in the Deer Park 

From the middle of November Attingham’s Outdoor Team start to feed their daily winter rations to help them through the winter. We start feeding the deer at this time of year 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 of feeding will start to join the heard. 

During the winter we feed the deer in front of the visitors on weekends and in school holidays. Following the Prime Minister's announcement of the latest lockdown in England in January 2021 deer feeding will not take place in front of visitors during this time.

The Attingham deer are fed throughout the winter
A young deer at winter deer feeding at Attingham
The Attingham deer are fed throughout the winter

During the winter the deer are fed whole fodder beet and deer nuts (compressed grass). 

The Attingham fallow deer herd, in the Deer Park.
The deer herd in winter at Attingham Park.
The Attingham fallow deer herd, in the Deer Park.

 

A wild herd

Deer are wild animals, and the Attingham herd is no exception. The Ranger team monitor the herd from a distance on a regular basis as they are unable to approach them too closely. This careful monitoring gives the team a good understanding the of deer’s behaviour, and means they can identify how the herd is feeling, whether they’re hungry, calm or may have been spooked by a stressful event.

Bucks in the deer park at Attingham.
Bucks in the deer park at Attingham Park.
Bucks in the deer park at Attingham.

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 in the winter, 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 Outdoor Team.

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