Summer wildlife at Longshaw

Close view of wood ants 

Ranger Chris Millner gives his hints and tips on the best places to find summer wildlife at Longshaw.

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.  

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 visitor centre, 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.  Chris recommends a walk along back drive (between the tea-room 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.

A pied flycatcher considering an uncorked nest box
Pied flycatcher

The northern hairy wood ants are active in summer and are best spotted on the orange look (follow the orange arrows from outside the tea-room).  If you’re with children, pick up an Ant Trail from the shop for lots of anty facts and activities as you do your walk.

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

Wander down to the 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.