Rutting deer in the Midlands
This is the time of year that stags minds turn towards breeding, when they flex their muscles and eye up the competition.
The stags have spent all summer growing a new set of antlers with the sole purpose of using them as weapons to fight off competing males and win the right to mate.
The rut is underway and can be witnessed at Attingham Park in Shropshire, Belton House in Lincolnshire, Calke Abbey in Derbyshire (red and fallow deer) and Charlecote Park in Warwickshire. Some of these herds have been on these estates for 300 years and many of them have a darker, melanistic colouring as well as the more common spotted form.
Head up to Big Moor on the Eastern Moors in the Derbyshire Peak District where from a layby or footpath you may get great views of huge red stags crashing their antlers together and making their eerie calls.
Less frequently seen are the smaller but lovely roe deer, usually seen just one at a time by early risers visiting Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, Croome in Worcestershire, Dove Dale in the Peak District and Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.