AN early morning walk at Arlington Court, encountering some of its most beautiful wildlife inhabitants, takes place on Sunday. The National Trust Property is hosting a dawn Deer Walk, as part of the Great British Walk initiative, encouraging people to get outdoors and discover their countryside.
"Autumn is a great time of year at Arlington and is often considered the best season to visit," said Murray Sharpe, outdoor manager at Arlington. "The trees come alive with orange, gold and red leaves; exotic-looking fungi haunt the woodland and I can practically guarantee seeing a deer on my way into work."
The walk is ideal for those wanting to learn more about these lovely creatures.
"The Arlington estate runs to over 2,700 acres which includes open parkland, woodland and meadows – a perfect habitat mix for wild deer," said Murray. "Often, on early mornings or at dusk in October, they can be seen on the front lawn of the house, presenting a fantastic photo opportunity."
The mating season for red deer runs from the end of September through to November, and is known as the rut. Stags (male deer) will fight with their antlers (which is where the saying "to lock horns" comes from) and bellow across the valley to show their dominance.
The victorious stag earns the right to mate with the herd of hinds (female deer).
The last heiress of Arlington Court, Rosalie Chichester, who passed the estate to the National Trust in 1949, had a desire to make the parkland into a nature reserve. She refused to allow any form of hunting on her land, including fishing the river.
Today, the deer population is managed by a professional stalker, ensuring the herd remain at a healthy and sustainable number.
To help promote walking on the estate the Arlington tearoom is offering a hearty casserole and pudding for £9.95 until October 27. On October 13 and 19, the casserole will be made with venison.
Staff at Arlington Court host two morning deer walks on Sunday, October 13 and Saturday, October 19 as part of the National Trust's Great British Walking festival.
The deer walks begin at 8.45am and will be approximately three miles long. Cost: £4 (adult), £2 (child). All ages are welcome. For more information, or to book a place on a walk, phone Arlington Court on 01271 850296.