Autumn wildlife

doormouse by an orange leaf

With the nights drawing in, we’re looking forward to cosy clothing and warm fires. But whilst we’re enjoying our hot chocolates, our wildlife are preparing for the harsh winter ahead.

Autumn is a season of abundance with plants producing plenty of berries and seeds proving food for our mammals and birds alike. Some species of birds will fly south for the winter but for our resident winter wildlife, autumn is a time to stock up on energy reserves. Mammals such as squirrels will hide away caches of seeds to revisit them when food sources are scarce.

Instead of using up energy looking for food, three particular mammals here at Shugborough will hibernate for the winter; dormice, hedgehogs and bats. Hibernation is a type of deep sleep where an animal’s body temperature and heart rate drops so they can conserve energy. When you take a trip to our play area, Explorers Wood, you can see where we have created Snugborough, a wonderful space for these animals to stay safe while they sleep. Why not visit Snugborough this autumn?

What wildlife can you spot this autumn?
Two pheasants
What wildlife can you spot this autumn?

Shugborough boasts some spectacular parkland trees, which are even more beautiful in the autumn. Do you know why autumn trees turn fiery red and bright orange? When the days grow shorter and sunlight weakens, the green pigment in the leaves breaks down, revealing a weaker yellow, and it is in fact chemical reactions that are responsible for the wonderful red colours we see.

Conservation in autumn

Autumn and winter time is when we undertake our scrub management on our grassland and heathland sites. Our ranger team reduce the amount of scrub such as bramble and birch so that our grassland can grow. This will make your autumnal stroll alive with wildlife and wonderful colour.

Instead of burning the shrub, we create habitat piles. Dead woody materials are a great habitat for invertebrates and can provide shelter for hibernating reptiles and amphibians.