Charlecote's wildlife haven

House martins on ledge at Charlecote Park

Any time of year and every type of weather is perfect for spotting wildlife at Charlecote. Birds, bugs and animals all find their ideal habitats and conditions in our grounds, and you’re bound to see something interesting when you visit.

Our carefully-managed ancient riverside meadows are full of birds, beautiful wild flowers and insects – stroll along the mown paths or take a seat on a bench and see what’s out and about today.

Pop in to the spinney behind the stables and watch the birds on the feeders from the shelter of our wildlife hide.

Rarely still, the grey wagtail finds insects along the Avon's banks
Grey wagtail in parkland at Charlecote Park

The parkland is quieter on a Wednesday out of school holidays - the perfect time to enjoy the riverside tranquillity.

Come birding

For many months of the year, the swooping swallows and house martins are among the first birds you'll see at Charlecote.

" Spotters' Guide - It's easy to tell the difference between swallows, swifts and house martins. Swallows have very long tails - think of the double "ll" in swallow. House martins have white bellies, and swifts are darkish brown all over."
- Joy, Park Ranger

Take a seat on one of the benches around the parkland and pause for a therapeutic moment or two. Watch for the undulating flight of a woodpecker, or a flash of blue from a jay or even a kingfisher.

We have one of the largest heronries in Warwickshire and you’ll see the herons swooping back to their nests or standing statuesque at the river’s edge throughout the year. White little egrets seem happy here too, often to be seen on the lake.

You'll often see herons along the river in the parkland
Heron flies along river in parkland at Charlecote Park

Listen for the mewing of an overhead buzzard or the jagged laughing call of a green woodpecker. If lots of birds are twittering anxiously there may be a kestrel nearby.

Young coot chicks aren't the cutest wildlife but they are entertaining to watch
Coot and chicks on lake at Charlecote Park

Bats at twilight

If you're here for one of our evening events do look out for the bats swooping around for insects around the outbuildings. Check our What's On pages for events with the Warwickshire Bat Group.

We have two UK BAP Priority bat species living here – lesser horseshoe bats and brown long-eared bats.

Bugs and mini-beasts

What better way to get children outdoors than with a bug-hunt?

The adult Dor beetle can eat its own weight in dung every day, cleaning up the parkland for us!
Adult Dor beetle in parkland at Charlecote

You may find it’s easier to name the bugs you spot than you would think. Found in decaying timber in the parkland are longhorn beetles (their horns can be longer than their bodies), cardinal beetles (bright red), as well as rhinoceros beetles (with a little 'horn' on the front of their heads) and stag beetles (their mandibles look like antlers).

A damselfly rests with wings closed, while a dragonfly will hold its wings open
Damselfly by river Avon in parkland at Charlecote Park

Along the river, you’ll easily see darting dragonflies and damselflies. Look closer and you may spot tortoise beetles on the water mint at the edges or red mason bees excavating holes in the river bank to collect mud for nesting.

Listen for the whispering sussurus of grasshoppers in the long grass on a warm day and see if you can track one down.

Watch butterflies dance among the flowers in the gardens until the last warm days of autumn, and it’s always fun for children to count ladybirds.

Hare today…

We have a drove of hares living on Camp Ground - another UK BAP Priority mammal. With their long back legs, any confusion with rabbits is soon dispelled as soon as they start to run, reaching up to 45km per hour. Keep those binoculars handy – you can sometimes see them across the river from the parterre.

If you spot a hare you'll see that they are larger than rabbits, with sandy-coloured coats
Hare in Camp Ground at Charlecote Park