On my visit to Charlecote this week it was so nice to see West Park open again to visitors. For those who don't know, West Park has been closed to allow the Does to give birth to their fawns in an area that they felt was safe to do so. With the last of the the fawns now having safely arrived, this area of the park has now re-opened.
The does and the fawns are very jumpy at the moment but that is to be expected as it is the Mothers being protective but also the fawns working out what these strange two legged creatures walking around West Park are so if you spot them, it is best to stop and watch rather than move closer at a faster pace. I always get excited when I spot fawns and I have to really hold myself back from charging ahead. I have learnt through experience that animals don't react well to this. I can't blame them really.
I love walking up the avenue as you never know what you might see. As you walk from the stone bridge that crosses the Rive Dene and head for the line of trees, you can not always see what is ahead to the right of you. At the beginning of the Avenue you might see the Jacob sheep with their lambs which are growing very fast. They were moved from Polo field where they were born into West Park a couple of weeks ago to graze. The sheep are now spread out but tend to stay close to the bridge and over to the left side of West Park between Polo and the River Dene.
As I was walking further up the Avenue I spotted a group of fawns relaxing on the grass. I knew if I made any sudden movements they would be gone so I just stayed where I was, then slowly moved into the nettles under the tree to watch them from there, hoping they did not see me. I don't advise you to do this unless you have thick clothes on and being as warm as it is at the moment, it probably is't the best idea. I am a little crazy though as those who know me will tell you, so there I was, sat quietly watching these beautiful animals and I think I only got stung twice! :) Believe me, that is really good going for me but oh what a view, well worth the odd stinging nettle.
This group of sheep had ventured further up the avenue than most of the others and they had stolen one of my hiding places. It is a big old hollow tree, halfway along the avenue which I see children playing inside sometimes too.
I love walking through West Park, it is such a relaxing place to walk and you really feel like you are getting away from the stresses of everyday life. I can walk around it all day or just find a place to sit under a tree, relax and take in the view and the passing deer. I lose so many hours in West Park and it also has my favourite view of the house from there.
The view from West Park taken in the winter just as the sun was going down.
I could have sat there all day watching new fawns. Such beautiful creatures. I call this next photo 'The babysitters'
But alas...I had been spotted and they can move very quickly even the fawns with their little new legs. I love the way they run, it's like a bouncing kangaroo sometimes. You watch them as they go up and down in the long grass.
Just around the bend in the avenue I spotted another group of fawns and does but I did not have time to hide before they saw me.
Up they got and down and across the avenue they ran.
I don't like it when the deer run but as I said earlier, they are very jumpy right now. I was so lucky to get the photos I did that day and I walked away very happy but not before I had an added bonus of seeing a couple of the black/chocolate coloured fawns. One is in the picture below.
As most people who like to take photos know, you can't really see how good or bad a photo really is until you get home and look at it on a big screen. What looks good on the little screen on the back of your camera can look really bad once it is loaded onto your pc. I really liked the images I saw on my camera and I have to say that I was really happy with them when I got home. Not only did I get to see these amazing creatures up close but I came away with some photos that I was really happy with.
If you go into West Park, look out for the other wildlife too. There is so much to see. This was one of the many herons at Charlecote Park coming into land on the far bank of the River Dene.
A squirrel I spotted climbing up a tree.
Oh and I spotted people too :) It is really nice to see visitors enjoy a wander through West Park again.
This was one of the many guided walks through the park. There are few walks through the day. The meeting place is just outside the Victorian Kitchen. There is a blackboard attached to the metal railing which gives you the times of the walks. A volunteer will meet you there at the appointed time and be able to answer your questions and show you around. If you are worried that the walk might be too long for you, speak to the guide as they are lovely people and will try to fit the walk around you if they can.
Then of course if you don't want to go for a walk in West Park to see the deer, there are always the dancing bucks in the Main Park area :)
'Let me lead, put your leg on my right shoulder.'
You don't realise how big the bucks really are until then stand on two legs.
Photos copyright Jana Eastwood