Summer wildlife at Longshaw

Look out for swallows skimming over the fields in front of Longshaw Lodge

Ranger Chris gives his hints and tips on the best places to find summer wildlife at Longshaw. Take the time to notice nature and discover the simple ways you can help us to look after the wildlife that make their homes at Longshaw.

Red deer roaming

The best place to spot red deer is in the meadows. They hide there while the grass is high, and even though they can be large, they are well camouflaged in the tall grasses and sometimes only their antlers show. Red deer are often best spotted around dawn and dusk, and are often seen in the meadow opposite the main Woodcroft car park entrance. Be sure to keep all dogs on leads and keep your distance to avoid any disturbance and to keep you and the deer safe. 


Bat and bird gazing 

Another exciting mammal to try and spot in the evening is bats, which roost in trees around Longshaw. In the summer, they’ll be making the most of the abundant insect life here. Try a wander around the woods behind the Longshaw Cafe, where you may also be lucky enough to see a badger.

Swallows are a spectacular sight and Longshaw is a lovely place to come and watch them.  Ranger Chris recommends a walk along back drive (between the Longshaw Cafe and Wooden Pole car park) where they can be seen zipping around catching flies and thoroughly enjoying life!

The pied flycatchers and redstarts are in Padley Gorge, and the green woodpecker can be heard yaffling (sounds like maniacal laughter), and seen in the woods and glades around the estate. Please take all your litter home with you so that you keep their homes safe and free from pollution. 

A pied flycatcher considering an uncorked nest box
Pied flycatcher
A pied flycatcher considering an uncorked nest box

Northern hairy wood ants

The northern hairy wood ants are very active in summer and are best spotted on the orange route (follow the orange arrows from outside the cafe). If you're having a picnic across the Longshaw Estate, make sure to check where you settle, the ants won't be best pleased if you sit on their home and may decide to steal your sandwiches! You can best indentify ant homes by large mounds of soil piled above surface and the ants busily scurrying about with lots of jobs. 

We're home to lots of wood ants
Close view of wood ants 
We're home to lots of wood ants

A world in miniature 

Wander down to the Longshaw pond and you might spot dragonflies and damselflies. The four spotted chaser can be seen in June whereas the common hawker will be seen a little later in August. Amongst the smaller damselflies which we have on the pond are the azure, the common blue, the large red and the emerald which can be seen in late summer. Like butterflies, they’re best spotted on a warm sunny day.  And look out for our rangers, who monitor dragonflies from April to September to ensure we’re doing the best we can to keep their populations healthy. Please help us to look after the wildlife that lives in and around the pond by keeping your dog on a lead, taking all litter home and not feeding the ducks. The pond is a home for nature and not for recreational use - thank you for understanding.