Wildlife at Wimpole

Wimpole Estate has a mosiac of habits ranging from parkland with meadows and pasture, woodland and farmland. There are also rivers, lakes, ponds and historic buildings. All of these make the rural estate an especially rich area for wildlife both locally and nationally.


These trees are home for some rare deadwood invertebrates (insects) like the Golden hoverfly and Rusty Red Click Beetle which are of national importance.
The trees are also home for many bats and birds especially Jackdaws, Tree Creepers and Nuthatches.

If you are up early or going for a late walk you may also be lucky enough to see the handsome foxes or stoats that inhabit the parkland


Ranging from the lesser Woodpeckers, Marsh tits and Hawfinch to the very rare Barbastelle Bats for which the woodlands have been designated a Special Area of Conservation and SSSI.  There are also at least eight other species of bat that use the woodland too.  
During the summer months you may also see the Speckled Wood Butterfly and Green Winged Fritillary Butterfly fluttering along the woodland rides and woodland edges. If you are very lucky you can see badgers late in the evening,  when all is quiet.


Grass and clover are used to put fertility back into the soil with the main crops being wheat, barley and oats.  Without the use of chemicals many rare arable plants have started to make a comeback such as Broad Leaved Spurge, Venus in the Looking Glass, Weasel Snout and the Night Flowering Catchfly.  

Insects abound which provides food for the growing English Partridge Chicks, Yellowhammers, Skylarks and Linnets.  You should also be able to see some Hares and if you are lucky some of our Barn Owls.

Rivers, Lakes and Ponds

Although the River Rhee only runs through a small section of the Estate we do have otters visiting occasionally investigating the lakes.    Water voles still survive here along with harvest mice in the reed beds and recently a heronry has been established.  
The brook is home to many rare invertebrates but also fish such as the Bullhead, Pike, Eel and a healthy population of water shrews.  
In the smaller ponds we find frogs and toads along with grass snakes, but most interesting of all is the large population of Great Crested Newts.  All the water features are used by bats and you are always guaranteed to see them on a night walk.

Pastures and Meadows

Meadows at Wimpole are flower rich with plants like Yellow Rattle, Knapweed, Sulphur Clover  and Cowslips,  but where there are wet meadows you will see Meadow Sweet and Ragged Robin.  On the drier chalk meadows you will find such plants as Fairy Flax, Pyramidal Orchids and Clustered Bell Flower.  
All meadows have a profusion of insects and butterflies like the Marbled White, Ringlet, Skippers and Common Blues.  
Pastures tend to have fewer flowers but are rich in clover along along with Yarrow and Selfheal.  This is where you'll see our increasing flocks of birds like Starlings and Jackdaws and our large population of rabbits.


Buildings can be a host to a vast range of wildlife,  in the attics you can find numerous species of bats from the very small Pipistrelles to the very large Serotine bats that hunt for dung beetles in the park at night. 

Then of course there are the many hundreds of lichens that cloth the buildings in a rich patina,  the Map lichen are more commonly found further west, but here seen on the roof slates of the Hall.  There are also many species of moss and liverworts colonising every available ledge or dark recess, some particularly rare.  
House Martins, Swallows and Swifts find a home under the eaves or in  cracks and crevasses.


In the Spring there are many native flowering plants like the Common Spotted Orchids and Bee Orchids, Twyblades, Wild Primroses and Yellow Rattle.  However the gardens also have an exceptional display of fungi in late summer and autumn but much will depend on whether there is enough rain. 
Most notable fungi have been Devil's Boletus, Parrot Waxcaps as well as some of the more common species. 
Many birds use the garden including the Spotted Flycatcher which can be seen bobbing from the wall to take insects in flight.

Walk this way

The woodland parkland and arable land across the estate has many options for walkers.  Try some of our downloadable walks or regular guided walks.