Wonderful winter wildlife

During the cold winter months, wildlife across the estate are putting their various coping mechanisms into practice to ensure their survival.

The season of abundance has come to a close and winter is here, while you're out enjoying winter walks across the estate, wildlife is never very far. Learn about the various coping mechanisms that different animals have developed and remember to look and listen out for their signs during your visit.

Hibernation, Adaptation and Migration

Shugborough is home to many animals, and will remain so during the winter. While we have the luxury of a cosy visit to the tea-room after a winter walk for a hot chocolate, these animals have developed different techniques to get through the winter. Many began preparing in the autumn, when energy resources such as berries and seeds were plentiful. Squirrels were busy creating caches of seeds which they can now revisit when food is scarce.

In order to conserve energy until food supplies are abundant again, dormice, hedgehogs and bats enter a deep sleep over the winter known as hibernation. Their body temperate and heart rate are kept low to ensure that enough energy is maintained until they wake again.

As you scout the horizon, you may notice the small grassy nests of the harvest mice. Although these mice do not hiberate, they become less active and stay toasty and warm in their nests.

Many of the birds you would have seen earlier in the year will have flown south for some well earned warmth. However, if you look around, you may be able to see kestrels and buzzards circuling up in the sky. Listen our for their haunting cries overhead. 

When you wonder around to enjoy the estate on your winter walks, please make sure to have your dog on a lead, so that we can leave these animals to rest.

How we help

Scrub clearing - As the trees and bracken dwindle over the winter months, our rangers venture out into the grassland and heathland to clear the scrub that gathers.  

By removing the grass, they promote the growth of special grassland species, so you will be able to enjoy a beautiful green landscape when you wonder through our parkland. 

Instead of creating bonfires to remove the scrub, we create habitat piles. Dead woody materials are a great habitat for sheltering invertebrates and hibernating reptiles and amphibians. So, be sure to keep an eye out both high and low to see what animals you can spot as you walk thorough Shugborough, as the outdoors is always alive.