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Top spots to see hares

Two brown hares face each other on a hillside in late evening or early morning.
Brown hares in springtime | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

There are three main species of hare in the UK – brown, mountain and Irish. One of the great sights of spring is the so-called ‘mad March hare’. The usually shy and reclusive brown hares can be spotted ‘boxing’ in open fields throughout the mating season. Rather than competition between males, this behaviour is actually females fending off unwanted attention from testosterone-fuelled males. Here are some top places to spot hares.

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire
Head to the Camp Ground at Charlecote to see if you can spot the resident drove of hares. They might look like rabbits, but they’re much larger and faster – with their long back legs they can reach speeds of 45km per hour. Keep those binoculars handy during your visit – you can often see them from the parterre, particularly in the spring.Spot Charlecote's resident hares
Dark Peak Moors, Derbyshire
The Dark Peak moors are a great spot for mountain hares. These are hardy creatures, adapted for the tough moorland conditions. They’re shy and nocturnal, so your best chance of spotting them is on an early morning walk or under a dusk sunset.Visit the Dark Peak Moors
Divis and the Black Mountain, County Down
Although populations in Northern Ireland have declined substantially in recent years, Irish hares can still be found at Black Mountain and Divis near Belfast, where the mix of rush pasture, meadows and heather make up a habitat that provides them food and cover all year round.Visit Divis and the Black Mountain
Durham Coast, County Durham
The Durham Coast is a wonderfully varied landscape, from coastal bays and headlands to grassland and wooded valleys. There’s plenty of wildlife to be found here, but spring is a particularly good time to spot hares. As mating season gets under way, these usually shy creatures are at their most visible – if you’re lucky you might spot them ‘boxing’ in fields and on woodland edges.See hares boxing on the Durham Coast
Hare Hill, Cheshire
Whilst the garden may be called Hare Hill, the hares themselves are shy creatures. If you’re lucky you may spot one during your visit, but if not there are several carvings of hares for you to find throughout the garden.Follow the trail of carvings at Hare Hill
A carved wooden hare in a lying down position, set in amongst green grass and leaves
A carved wooden hare at Hare Hills in Cheshire | © National Trust Images/David Levenson
Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
The north side of the lake, known as the wilderness, is the most natural part of Kedleston's parkland. It’s the perfect place to spot birds such as owls and woodpeckers, and maybe even an elusive hare or two.Explore Kedleston's wilderness
Lyme Park, Cheshire
The open spaces of Lyme Park are perfect hare-spotting territory during early spring. You can head up to The Cage, a hill-top hunting lodge with great views across the park, to see them ‘boxing’ as well as racing and chasing one another.Visit Lyme
Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
We care for over 5,500 acres of unenclosed moorland at Marsden. Although it can look bleak and inhospitable, the landscape is home to a vast diversity of birds, mammals and insects. If you’re very lucky you might spot one of the shy mountain hares that live on the moor.Spot mountain hares on Marsden Moor
Orford Ness, Suffolk
Scattered across the Ness are the resident population of brown hares. Keep an eye on the vegetated ridges, and you may well spot a sudden lolloping movement as the one of them explores their surroundings. They’re even easier to spot in spring as the males and females take to ‘boxing’ at each other during courtship.See resident hares at Orford Ness
Rhossili, Gower Peninsula
Our team have been working hard to restore the Vile – one of the UK’s few surviving medieval strip field farming systems. The project includes restoring field boundaries, which act as corridors for farmland wildlife and provide homes for invertebrates and birds. There’s plenty more wildlife to see here too, including hares.Spot hares on the Gower
Sherborne Park Estate, Gloucestershire
With woodland, open farm fields, ancient trees and water meadows, there are a huge range of habitats for wildlife at Sherborne Park Estate. Look out for raptors flying overhead and, if you’re lucky, you might spot a hare in the quieter areas of the estate.Look out for wildlife at Sherborne
Tyntesfield, Bristol
The team at Tyntesfield take great care of habitats on the estate, which support a whole host of wildlife from bats to fungi. There are also hares living here, and in 2016 the team even found three leverets (baby hares) taking shelter in a flowerbed.Look out for hares at Tyntesfield
Two small baby hares in the flowerbeds on brown earth surrounded by green leaves and a white flower
Baby hares (leverets) in the flowerbeds at Tyntesfield near Bristol | © National Trust Images/Peter Hall
Uppark, West Sussex
At Uppark the outdoor spaces are carefully managed to encourage wildlife to make their homes here. The grassland and woodland edges are perfect habitats for native brown hares who often come out in the mornings and at quieter times to feed. Visit in March or April and you might be lucky enough to spot these special creatures.Look out for hares at Uppark
White Horse Hill, Oxfordshire
White Horse Hill is rich with wildlife and birds of prey such as red kites and kestrels are a common sight. If you’re lucky you might even spot one of the resident hares – they’re best seen in March when they begin competing for mates.Spot wildlife at White Horse Hill
Wimpole, Cambridgeshire
Wimpole has an abundant population of brown hares due to its mix of different grasslands, lots of arable land and woodland for shelter from predators and the elements. Why not pay a visit and see how many you can spot?Visit Wimpole
Yorkshire Coast
The Yorkshire wolds and coastline are a stronghold for brown hares in the north. They’re fairly shy creatures, but you can try to track them by looking out for tufts of fur caught in brambles and fences.Visit the Yorkshire coast
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