Deer diary: The Attingham herd

Looking across the Deer Park towards the Mansion 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: Summer in the Deer Park 

Spring has turned to summer and after shedding their antlers in late spring the buck’s antlers grow back over the summer, with a thin layer of ‘fuzzy’ skin over them.

Fallow fawns are born in June and the first fawns of the Attingham herd were born in the first half of the month. Fawns are rarely seen in the first few weeks of their life, and they will keep away from the busier areas of the Deer Park, retreating into the deer sanctuary, away from public areas. The fawns’ natural instinct is to remain still and quiet, hidden in bracken or long grass where their mothers, the does of the herd, can keep a close eye on them and protect them if needed.

Young fawns are rarely seen in their first few weeks, often staying still and quiet in long grass while their mothers' keep watch
A fawn in the grass in the Deer Park at Attingham Park
Young fawns are rarely seen in their first few weeks, often staying still and quiet in long grass while their mothers' keep watch

A beautiful sight – but please do not touch

Fawns give off little or no scent in the first few weeks after being born. If you spot a fawn on your visit, do not approach it, and under no circumstances touch it as human scent can be transferred to the fawn and may cause the mother to abandon the baby. If you are concerned about a fawn or any of the herd please let one of the Attingham team know who will contact the Outdoor Team.

 

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 the 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