Autumn wildlife in Yorkshire

Autumn’s a great time of year to go wildlife spotting. As the season advances, you’ll see vibrant colours interspersed with the signs of nature all around you. With nature reserves, woodland and sweeping coast and countryside take a closer look at the autumn nature all around you.

Red deer in the shelter of woodland

Wild deer at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal 

Autumn means rutting season for the deer of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Keep a safe distance and marvel at the red deer in particular, as they bellow and display their dominance in the park. Wild roe deer are also a feature at Hardcastle Crags, you might spot them in the woodland if you’re out for an autumn walk.

Corner of a red bricked hall with orange leaves on the floor

Birds, mammals and mushrooms at Beningbrough 

As the season change, so does the wildlife in the garden at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, with some moving in, some moving out and others planning for winter. Go on a parkland walk to see a range of fungi sprouting through the longer grass and emerging on the trees.

Squirrel with a nut in its mouth

Autumn wonders at Nostell 

From jelly ear to turkey tail, you’ll find plenty of fungi bursting to life in Nostell’s gardens and parkland. Whilst you’re exploring, look out for jays, squirrels and nuthatches feasting on seeds from wildflowers and conkers, acorns and beechnuts on the forest floor. Don’t miss the colourful reflections on the lakes, where you’re also more likely to spot herons and wrens at the water’s edge this time of year.

Visitors bird watching

Spot migratory birds

Make the most of the opportunity to spot birds you wouldn't usually see as they pass though on their annual migration. On the Yorkshire Coast you might be lucky enough to spot waxwings and dunnock. Inland places including Beningbrough Hall and Nostell Priory see the arrival of birds including mistle thrush, fieldfare and redwing. Look out for them on the edge of the parkland at Beningbrough, where they love feeding on apples.

Fly agaric fungus (Amanita muscaria) toadstool

Fungi in abundance 

Head to Hardcastle Crags for a dramatic display of fungi. From shiny, brightly coloured waxcaps to the flamboyant ‘chicken of the woods’ (often seen on the base of trees, an orange cauliflower-like fungus). There are numerous species with over 400 spotted by local naturalists.

mountain hare sitting on snow, Dark Peak, Derbyshire

Mountain hares and other mammals 

Marsden Moor is home to many mammals including voles, weasels, stoats and mountain hares. Although rarely seen, the mountain hares are shy nocturnal creatures that you might spot on an early morning walk or under a dusk sunset.

Late autumn colours reflected in water at Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Colourful trees 

There are lots of brightly coloured views to enjoy whilst out walking in Yorkshire. As horse chestnuts shed their conkers, acorns drop from oaks and fallen beech nuts crunch under foot, take a look up and around you at the transformation of the season. A walk to Janet's Foss in the Yorkshire Dales will reward you with dramatic colour changes, migratory birds and a myriad of fungi or gaze at the reflections in the ponds at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.