Conservation

Parkland Deer Herd

Wild fallow deer on the Swinton Estate

The deer herd at Swinton Park is a wild fallow herd of about 120 that roams freely within the confines of the Deer Park. It is thought that the herd has been there since the late 1700s. Whilst it is a wild herd, the Estate ranger supplements their feed in the winter months if required and will also cull to keep numbers under control and introduce new blood lines from time to time.

Fallow deer are between the size of a roe and red deer, and the only British deer with palmate antlers. There are four main variations in coat. The Common variety is the familiar tan/fawn colouring with white spotting (becoming long and grey with indistinct spots in winter) on the flanks and white rump patch outlined with a characteristic black horseshoe. The Menil variety is paler, lacks the black-bordered rump and keeps its white spots all year. The Melanistic (black) variety is almost entirely black with no white colouration anywhere. Finally, the White variety becoming whiter in adulthood. This is a true colour variety and not albinism, which is rare.

Fawning takes place in June or July, when the females retreat to the higher level of the parkland where there is better camouflage. During the rutting season the bucks will often take a stand beside Home Lake, and in the summer evenings the herd will regularly delight guests at Swinton Park Hotel as they graze past them.

The deer park can be viewed from Swinton Park Hotel or when you visit the adjacent parkland, where you can enjoy beautiful walks upon entry with a Parklands Pass (free entry for hotel residents).

For conservation enquiries, please contact the Estate Office on 01765 689224 or email ruraloffice@swintonestate.com