Wildlife at Chartwell

Chartwell's gardens and wider estate is absolutely teeming with wildlife from the Golden Orfe fish in our ponds, the cattle who play a vital conservation role, to the black swans Churchill brought here himself.

Black swan at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Black Swans 

Black swans were first kept at Chartwell in the 1920s after they were gifted to Churchill. Please help us take care of our black swans by giving them some distance and not feeding them. Wildfowl are sensitive and may peck if they feel uncomfortable. Thank you.

A grey heron perches on a wooden bridge at Chartwell, Churchill's lakeside chair in the background

Grey Heron

The grey heron is a regular visitor to Chartwell's lakes and ponds, often spotted on a roam around the estate. This large bird is distinctive as it flies low over the water, looking for a tasty fish for its next meal.

A herd of Angus-Hereford cross cows in the field at Chartwell

Conservation cows

Belonging to a neighbouring farm, these Angus-Hereford cross cows join us here at Chartwell for the summer months and are soon put to work. As they graze on the grass here at Chartwell, they play a vital role in our outdoor conservation as they graze. As our own vintage lawnmowers, the cows help us naturally keep the grass down without us potentially damaging the ground with modern machinery.

Orange tip butterfly

Butterfly effect at Chartwell 

The connection between Chartwell and butterflies is a long one, starting with Sir Winston Churchill’s love of the small creatures and one we still continue here today.

The Golden Orfe ponds in summer at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Golden Orfe Fish

Chartwell is home to the Golden Orfe fish, introduced into the ponds up by the house by Churchill himself. Churchill would spend hours in the chair by the ponds, feeding his fish and enjoying the peaceful spot. You can still see the descendants of those fish in our ponds today.

Bees in the hive

Busy Bees

The bees at Chartwell are not only found throughout our gardens, busily pollinating the flowers but also in our very own Chartwell beehives. Churchill himself kept bees here at his family home and it is a tradition we continue today, looked after by our expert volunteers.

White dovecote at Chartwell in the Walled Garden under blue skies

Chartwell doves

The Chartwell dovecot can be found in the Walled Garden down by the Marycot and the chickens. Lady Clementine once had a Bali dove as a cherished pet after visiting the island of Bali. A plaque reading 'Here lies the Bali dove' can be found on the sundial at the centre of the Golden Rose Avenue.

Chickens in the garden at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Chickenham Palace

Also in our Walled Garden is the famous(ish) Chickenham Palace. It's home to all kinds of bantam chickens, each with their unique colouring and feathering. Which one will be your favourite?