Stourhead's wildlife

A close up of an Adonis Blue butterfly

Stourhead's 2,650-acre countryside estate is home to a variety of wildlife. Get outdoors in our woodland, downland and farmland. See if you can spot any of our ranger team's top 10 animals and plants.

Bee orchid

This plant gets its name from its distinctive flower, which looks like a resting bee. The chalk downland of Whitesheet Hill is the best place to see them at Stourhead. The bee orchid usually flowers between April and July.

Tree sparrow

This bird's population has been in decline since the 1970s but a small number have been encouraged at Stourhead. With the support of tenant farmers, 37 pole boxes were put up in the sparrow's natural nesting areas, with great results.

Roe deer

This beautiful animal usually lives in woods. Take our King Alfred's Tower walk through Stourhead's woodland to see if you can spot one. They're often active during twilight and first light, and move very quickly - so can be difficult to spot.

Marsh fritillary

This rare butterfly lives in a limited habitat of chalk and limestone grassland. The chalklands of Whitesheet Hill are an ideal home and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one in June.

Adonis blue

This species of butterfly lives exclusively in chalk downland areas and can be found at Whitesheet. The male butterfly is the metallic blue colour, but the females are a less-conspicuous chocolate brown.

Early purple orchid

The early purple orchid is the first of many to adorn the grassland here
A close up of early purple orchids in the grassland

This is the first British orchid to flower each year. It usually blooms between April and June. At Stourhead you're most likely to see one around Zeals Knoll or on the Whitesheet downland.

Grey partridge

Strictly a ground bird, it can often be found in lowland arable areas. Once very widespread, it has undergone serious decline over the years. Take our farmland walk across Stourhead's estate to see if you can spot one.

Golden plover

The golden plover is a migratory bird and usually found in Britain during the winter. You will see them in large flocks on Stourhead's open farmland, along with lapwings.

Red kite

The red kite can now be seen in central England and Scotland as well as Wales
A red kite soaring high in the sky

The red kite - from the eagle and hawk family - was saved from extinction in the 1980s and 1990s. This bird can occasionally be seen gliding over the Stourhead estate.

Bats

Eleven of the 18 UK species of bat have been found across Stourhead's estate, particularly around the main lake and in the woodlands. Key species in these areas include the Daubenton and Soprano pipistrelles.