Calke's red and fallow deer

Calke Abbey in Derbyshire is home to 80 red and fallow deer

Extended from its Tudor boundaries in the late eighteenth century, Calke's deer park now spans 67 acres of parkland. During the 1970s, the park walls were dilapidated and a new enclosure was created. Further changes in 1988 excluded the Pleasure Grounds. Today, visitors can walk around most of its perimeter to view Calke’s red and fallow deer.

Red and fallow deer

Roaming freely in the deer park, our herd of thirty red deer can be seen displaying their warmer winter coats in shades of grey and brown. During the summer season, they can be seen sporting a lighter red fur.

Fallow deer have a tan or fawn colouring and are covered in white speckles. Although smaller than the red deer, you’re more likely to spot a fallow deer at Calke – we have around eighty in the deer park. Look for the black horseshoe marking at the top of their hind legs.  

Seasonal highlights in the deer park

During May and June, the fallow fawns and red calves are born. You might see them hiding among the bracken until they’re brave enough to explore the rest of the deer park.

Young deer exploring the deer park at Calke
Baby deer in spring at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
Young deer exploring the deer park at Calke

Around October, the deer enter the strutting, rutting season. The rut gives rise to spectacular behaviour from the stags – look out for posturing walks as they size up their opponents and watch them wallow in mud baths.

Listen out for bellows and grunts from the stags. If you’re lucky, you might even hear the clash of antlers as they fight for dominance. 

A stag bellowing during rutting season
Hear the stags bellowing at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
A stag bellowing during rutting season

The deer shelter

Just off the driveway, you’ll see the ruins of the deer shelter. Built in 1774, it provided a winter feeding point for the deer which the Harpur-Crewe family could see from the house.

Download the deer shelter walk to discover the abandoned building and enjoy the wider Calke estate.