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 can be white to sandy coloured and becomes more white 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 the hotel as they graze past them.
Tel: 01765 689224
Swinton Estate Office, Swinton, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4JH