Summer wildlife at Beningbrough

Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding young at nest hole

The estate is teeming with wildlife in summer. Different habitats, including parkland, woodland, riverside and formal gardens, all attract birds, bees and butterflies with their colourful flowers and fruit trees. Here’s a guide to some of the creatures you might discover during summer.

Bee on a flower in the garden


Various varieties, such as solitary, the red tailed and buff tailed bumble bee, and honey bees can easily be spotted in the flower gardens. At different times in the year there are hives in the garden from local keepers, these encourage bees to live and work in the gardens, helping with pollination and honey is available in the shop.

How about a bug hunt at Charlecote and see how many ladybirds you can spot


Look out for seven spotted ladybirds and caterpillars around the garden or head to the insect hotel in the American garden to see who’s home. By the wildlife pond spot dragonflies - the banded demoiselle, brown hawker and southern hawker can be seen flitting around.

meadow brown butterfly on a thistle


Around the flower beds, look out for the small tortoiseshell, peacock, comma and red admiral. You might also spot a painted lady, a summer migrant to the gardens. A rarer sight is the hummingbird hawk-moth feeding on lavender and honeysuckle; its wings beat so fast you can hear them hum. In long grasses look out for the meadow brown, ringlet, and gatekeeper.

Interested to do more? Here's a few ideas of how you can help bees and butterflies thrive, through planting, building a habitat for them and tips for recognising what you're attracting.

Shiny green beetle on Tansy leaves

Home to a rarity

The beautiful iridescent tansy beetle is an endangered species and only found in three places in the UK. The banks of the River Ouse is its most northerly habitat. It lives on the yellow-flowered Tansy plant and you may spot it along the river in Beningbrough’s parkland in summer or the habitat enclosure near the orchard. Areas are fenced off to protect the plant from grazing and erosion and consequently support the beetle.

Tiger moth in grass

Keep your eyes peeled for tigers

This time last year, gardener Mark took this photo and sent it to one of the moth recorders for Yorkshire who confirmed it was a Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula) saying “Crikey. Second Yorkshire record. First one was Leeds in 2019. It’s moving north. Excellent news.” Worth keeping your eyes peeled to see if there are more and we’re curious to know if this was the first North Yorkshire record or if anybody else has noted them around.


Goldfinch searching for food

Around the garden

Among the flower borders, the chaffinch, goldfinch and greenfinch are a common sight feeding on seed heads. These nest in the walled garden, often in the fruit trees. Look out for swallows nesting on the hall and the summer house. You might also see the spotted flycatcher, which nests in the ivy and vines along the carriageway.

Nuthatch on a branch

In woodland

In the old oaks of the wilderness play area, or around the outer areas of the American garden, nuthatches can sometimes be seen. Here, the scratchy-sweet melodic song of the blackcap is often heard, although the birds usually hide under cover. Similarly, the two-note song of the chiff-chaff is a common sound in the American garden.

A swallow flying low over the water

By the river

In the riverside area of the parkland, swallows and sand martins are often seen feeding over the water. You might notice colonies of sand martin nests on the opposite bank or the occasional flash of colour from a kingfisher. There are green and great spotted woodpeckers around this area too - you might hear them first.

If you want to know a bit more about what you can see or hear, head to the handy guide on bird spotting and bird song

Follow the Countryside Code 

With more people than ever enjoying our coast and countryside places, we’re asking for your help in looking after them during your visit. Please help us protect wildlife and landscapes by following the Countryside Code, which includes taking any litter home with you and not lighting a barbecue or campfire.