Seeing deer, especially in the wild can be a highly rewarding and beautiful experience for our little naturalists. Here are a few hints and tips for spotting in the wild and also some places we would recommend if you want to get up close and personal.
Species you may see
Only two species of deer are native to the UK; Roe Deer found on farmland or woodland across the UK, and Red Deer found predominantly in the Scottish Highlands. Four other species may be seen including; Muntjac, Fallow, Chinese Water Deer and Reindeer. These species are introduced or escapees from private collections.
Tips for spotting in the wild
The best time is dawn or dusk when the deer are looking for food.
• Move quietly so as not to scare them.
• Stay hidden if you can and remain downwind if possible.
• Deer poo, hair caught on fences and tracks are a good way to know if deer have been in the area
• Remember your camera and binoculars.
Where to see deer
Spotting deer in the wild can be difficult. Check with your local nature reserve warden or wildlife clubs for the best places near to you.
If you want to ensure success, then here are a few places to see deer, where the odds are dramatically improved:
Reindeer Centre; Cairngorm, Scotland
The 150 strong Cairngorm Reindeer Herd is Britain’s only free-ranging herd, found in the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland. These tame and friendly animals are a joy to all who come and see them. There is a daily guided visit to the reindeer with additional afternoon visits during the Summer months.
Woburn Abbey Deer Park; Bedford, Bedfordshire
Woburn Abbey Deer Park covers 3,000 acres and is home to nine species of deer making it one of the largest private conservation parks in Europe. You can take in the scenery as you drive through on your way to the Abbey and Gardens or enjoy a walk on one of the public footpaths.
Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary; The New Forest, Lymington, Hampshire
Spotting deer in the New Forest isn’t always easy, but at Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary there is a purpose built viewing platform overlooking a large meadow area where a herd of Fallow deer regularly gather. The deer are fed daily during spring and summer so are more than happy to remain in view.
There are also graded walks, a picnic area in the tall trees, and an information cabin. If you don’t want to stray too far from your vehicle, it’s an ideal place to take a packed lunch and just enjoy the forest atmosphere.
The Scottish Deer Centre; Fife, Scotland
Set in 55 acres of countryside this collection includes 14 species of deer from around the world. They host daily tours and feeding events. If you fancy seeing some more animals then they also have a wolf pack, birds of prey, otters and other rare Scottish species including the wildcat.
Unless you visit a deer park or centre, then deer viewing isn’t guaranteed. So best of luck and let us know which species you see!