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Visiting the deer park at Dunham Massey

A family in the medieval deer park at Dunham Massey, with two young fallow deer in the foreground
Visitors in the medieval deer park at Dunham Massey | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Dunham Massey has all the elements of a great medieval deer park. Walk through the grounds in the company of thousands of ancient trees, enjoy the wide vistas on accessible paths and spot the roaming fallow deer herd. A park perfect for a relaxing walk or energetic exploration with the kids - dogs on leads are welcome too.

Wildlife at Dunham Massey's deer park

A Site of Special Scientific Interest, Dunham Massey's deer park is home to a herd of fallow deer, as well as owls, bats, buzzards, woodpeckers, meadow ants and rare species of beetle.

When the rangers last surveyed the park for wildlife, they counted over 227 different species that call it home. Some of the UK's rarest species of beetle can also be found here.

There’s plenty of space to explore. Please do so with awareness of the many species that live here. For climbing and picnics, head to the North Park where you can find accessible picnic tables and the Log Pile natural play area.

Dunham's deer throughout the year

Early summer

June and July

The new fawns are born – they're able to stand up within minutes of being born. The natural instinct of the deer is to protect their young, so it’s even more important at this time that you give them space, especially if you have dogs with you.

Fawns are rarely seen in the first few weeks of their life. They stay in the deer sanctuary, away from the busier areas of the park. They won’t venture further into the park until later in the summer. If you do spot a fawn, it’s a magical sight but you should keep your distance.

It's normal to see a fawn alone

Don’t worry if you see a fawn on its own. They rely on their mothers for milk, so they’re often left in the long grass so she can spend time grazing.

If you are concerned about a fawn, then please let one of the park guides or rangers know. But please don’t get too close or try to touch the fawn, as there’s a risk that the mother may then reject it.

Fallow deer in the parkland at Charlecote Park, Warwickshire.
A herd of fallow deer in summer | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Help us to look after the deer

If you take a walk around the wider park, you’ll almost certainly see the deer munching on grass or reaching up to eat the low-hanging leaves.

If the deer get too stressed, they often retreat to the deer sanctuary. These areas are closed to the public and are marked with signs.

Here are some tips to help keep the deer calm and safe at Dunham Massey:

Please don't feed the deer

Please do not approach or feed the deer. They are wild animals and it's important they remain wild. If not, it can cause all sorts of problems for visitors and for the health of the deer.

Enjoy your picnic outside of the deer park

Please do not picnic in the deer park. Picnic areas are available in the garden and the North Park away from the inquisitive deer who may steal your food.

Put all your litter in a bin

Please put all your litter in one of the rubbish bins or take it home with you. This will stop the deer eating human food and plastic and getting ill.

Always keep your dog on a lead

Please keep your four-legged friends on a lead in the deer park to avoid spooking the deer. Dogs are free to roam off leads in the North Park.

Please don't cycle in the park

Only children under five are allowed to ride their bikes inside the park walls. If you cycled to Dunham Massey, you can lock up your bike in the car park.

Never light a barbecue

Barbecues are not permitted anywhere at Dunham Massey.

Deer resting on the lawn at Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Discover more at Dunham Massey

Find out when Dunham Massey is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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