Top tips for spotting wildlife at Charlecote Park

Child with binoculars on bridge at Charlecote Park in Warwickshire

Here are our handy hints to increase your chances of spotting hidden nature and help you to get the most out of your wildlife watching adventures at Charlecote. There's so much to see here at any time of year and we'd like you to be able to make the most of this beautiful corner of the Warwickshire countryside.

Be prepared

  • Bring binoculars – you’ll often see the young deer or birds if you keep your distance.
Binoculars and patience are all that's needed to see the shy young fallow deer
Binoculars and patience are all that's needed to see the shy young fallow deer at Charlecote
Binoculars and patience are all that's needed to see the shy young fallow deer
  • Bring a magnifying glass – bugs, flowers and lichen are just as interesting as the big things. Be careful on a sunny day though as magnifying the sun’s rays on to wildlife can kill it.
  • Bring a camera or notebook and pencil and do your homework with a little research on the web or at your local library.
  • Pick up a pocket guide – our shop at Charlecote and the National Trust online shop have plenty to choose from.
  • Wrap up warm and visit in winter - some things are much easier to see when the leaves have fallen from the trees.
Look out for the undulating flight of the greater spotted woodpecker
Winter is a great time for birdwatching at Charlecote Park when the trees are bare
Look out for the undulating flight of the greater spotted woodpecker

Keep a low profile

  • Leave your dog at home if you're here for wildlife - bring them for walkies another day.
  • Don't be seen – bright clothing can alert deer or other animals to your presence; even your shadow can disturb bugs and insects.
  • Don't be heard – waterproof clothing can be quite noisy so you may need to keep still for a while before creatures are brave enough to show themselves.
  • Don't be scented – suntan lotion in particular can be strong, you may find an unscented type is better.
  • Get comfy – bring a rug so you don’t get a damp, numb bum. Some of our visitors wait for hours to see a kingfisher.

Use your senses

  • Keep a good look out – many creatures large and small are excellent at camouflage. Droppings or flattened grass tracks can lead to hiding places.
If they can't see you, can you see them? This tawny owl is well hidden
Look carefully and you might spot a tawny owl in the parkland at Charlecote Park
If they can't see you, can you see them? This tawny owl is well hidden
  • Listen very carefully – aircraft from the nearby airfield can be distracting but birdsong at a different pitch can always be heard.
  • Think like wildlife – they look for shade under the ancient trees in the parkland on a sunny day and come to drink from the river when the weather is dry. Wet weather brings bugs and worms to the surface and birds make the most of this. Some birds fly low for insects while others perch high to see their prey and feed on berries in the autumn.
  • Take an expert - join one of our guided walks and talks or special events.
Take a look at the What's On page for parkland walks and discover more
Discover more wildlife with one of Charlecote's organised events
Take a look at the What's On page for parkland walks and discover more

Care for the natural world

  • Keep your distance - try not to frighten wildlife by getting too close or being noisy. You'll see lots more if you keep still for a few minutes.
  • Our deer are unpredictable wild animals and should not be approached. The bucks' antlers are large and pointy and they startle easily.
  • Conserve what you enjoy for others to enjoy, take your litter home and share what you’ve spotted on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Get involved and volunteer with us.
To discover more about our work and wildlife join a free park walk with one of our volunteers
Volunteer leads park walk for visitors at Charlecote Park
To discover more about our work and wildlife join a free park walk with one of our volunteers

Memories are magical

  • Bring a notebook and jot down what you’ve seen and heard or try a quick sketch.
  • Keep your camera handy and remember to keep the sun behind you for a better picture. A flexible tripod can be very useful.
Late-flowering sedums are an important source of nectar for red admiral butterflies in the gardens at Charlecote.

Recording Charlecote's butterflies 

Butterflies are among nature's most important pollinators. See what you might discover on a stroll through our gardens and parkland - and find out how we're working with the British Butterfly Trust.

Reap the rewards

With a little patience and perhaps just a pair of binoculars, you'll be rewarded with a wealth of wildlife at any time of year at Charlecote.

We're open from 9am to 6pm (dusk in winter) and you'll certainly see more at the start or end of the day when it's quieter.

Stay in our holiday flat and enjoy out-of-hours Charlecote all to yourself
Visit Charlecote at the start or the end of the day and you'll find it's much quieter
Stay in our holiday flat and enjoy out-of-hours Charlecote all to yourself