Heritage Open Days at Hidcote

Lily pool at Hidcote in early autumn

This September Hidcote joined organisations from across the UK in celebrating Heritage Open Days, with an online exclusive look on Facebook and Instagram at the Hidden Nature that can be found throughout the gardens here at Hidcote.

Heritage Open Days 2020: Hidden Nature at Hidcote

With the variety of plants growing in the gardens, it is no wonder that Hidcote also has such a large diversity of wildlife and nature that resides across the property. The garden’s mixture of rooms, woodlands, grasslands, ponds and barns have proven to be the perfect habitat for a wide range of wildlife; which we explore below through photos and information collected by staff, volunteers and nature experts throughout the years here at Hidcote.

Information on how you can book your ticket to visit Hidcote can be found here.

 

Grass snakes (Natrix Helvetica)

Here at Hidcote we believe that we have at least one family of grass snake living within the grounds. However, as grass snakes are only active between April and October, they can be difficult to spot. This summer, with the grounds quiet through lockdown, our staff (and then our visitors once we reopened) spotted a couple of regular visitors to the Lily Pond. This female (the larger) and the young male (the smaller) we believe live somewhere near the Hidcote compost heap, and that the lilly pond may be their favourite sunbathing spot.

A grass snake in a pond
A grass snake in a pond
A grass snake in a pond

Did you know?

The grass snake is the UK’s largest snake and also the only egg laying UK snake. They are completely harmless, although they do discreate a bad smell to put off predators when they feel threatened.

 

The pollinators

One of the things many of our visitors like to photograph on their visit to Hidcote is the busy bees and butterflies in action, collecting pollen and flittering about the garden. But it’s not just bees that help the garden to flourish. Moths, wasps, butterflies, flies and beetles are just as important – and Hidcote’s insect community is thriving.

Butterfly at Hidcote
Butterfly at Hidcote
Butterfly at Hidcote

Did you know?

Insects are great at garden pest control. Insects like wasps and Ladybirds eat aphids voraciously, keeping the population down and helping to protect them plants.

 

Badgers

Signs of Hidcote’s badger family can be spotted across the gardens, from their homes dug deep in the mud to the evidence of their nightly feasts on the lawns. Recently, one of our older badgers took the opportunity during lockdown to move to a new house at the other side of the garden.

In 2016 our staff and nature experts were lucky enough to capture the badgers on video, when we put out night cameras to see what they were up to.

 

Did you know?

Badgers can eat several hundred earthworms a night.

 

Newts and other water life

With two ponds, a stream and a bathing pool, Hidcote is spoiled for choice when it comes to habitats for our amphibian life. Our lily pond is home to Great crested newts (GCN), smooth newts, water boatmen and dragonflies, while our stream is home to a high number of toads.

Newt in the pond at Hidcote
A newt swimming in the pond at Hidcote
Newt in the pond at Hidcote

Did you know?

There are three species of newts native to the UK? great crested newts (GCN), smooth newts and palmate newts. Great crested newts are sometimes known as the “Warty” newt due to the rough texture of their skin.

 

Visiting Hidcote

We also have our fair share of countryside wildlife, which we may spot throughout the day on your visit, including squirrels, dormice, ducks and muntjac.

White roses at Hidcote

Please book ahead before visiting 

The garden, Winthrop's Café, and the main shop at Hidcote are open and you’ll need to book your tickets online or by calling 0344 249 1895 by 3pm the day before your visit. Members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. We'll be releasing tickets every Friday. Please note we’ll be turning people away who arrive and haven't booked. We're looking forward to welcoming you back.

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To see more of our hidden nature at Hidcote you can follow us on social media.

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See the highlights of hidden nature at Hidcote on Instagram.

Twitter

We'll be sharing hidden nature from Hidcote on Twitter too.