The deer rut is a spectacle of nature – one that's best viewed with binoculars at a safe distance so you don't miss a thing. It's best to leave your dog at home during deer rut season, and please take special notice of any signs put up around parks where we care for deer.
Please note that not all places or car parks will be open and some trails may have changed due to social distancing guidance in order to maintain visitor safety. Please check the property homepage of the walk you'd like to explore before travelling.
In England, we're pleased to have been able to keep our gardens, parks and outdoor spaces open through the current lockdown. From 2 December, we'll be able to reopen some houses and welcome you to sit in our cafés again. In tier 3, indoor areas will remain closed and cafés will be takeaway only. Please follow your area's tiering system and government guidance when planning a visit.
Following Welsh government guidance, all places in Wales are now open for Wales residents, and we're pleased to be welcoming many of you again.
In line with Northern Ireland Executive circuit break restrictions, our gardens and parks in Northern Ireland will open from 28 November. All houses, shops and visitor centres will stay closed during the circuit break until 11 December, and cafés will be takeaway only.
Before visiting, please always check local and national government guidance on travelling. You can check the property webpage in case of local restrictions. We're following government advice closely and will reopen more places as soon as we can.
The competition heats up for deer rut season
We spoke with Charles Harding, deer warden at Holnicote Estate. During deer rut season, he comes face-to-face with the action. He explains more about how you can also witness this spectacle, and discusses the finer details of what goes on.
What happens during a deer rut?
The stags round up the hinds and make sure everyone knows that they’re ‘theirs’. They try and make themselves look bigger to opponent stags by charging around, rolling on the ground and in mud – this is to ward off their rivals.
They’ll put on loads of weight to store up energy from August to September, but while the ruts are happening in October they won’t eat for a month as they put all their energy into winning as many hinds as they can.
What can we look out for?
You’ll see stags running back and forth, usually parallel to one another, bellowing out as a challenge to each other. There can be bust ups when they lock antlers and physically challenge one another, which can be a sight to see.