Grim’s Dyke is an attraction to many of our visitors. Not only does it have a rich history, but the building architecture and garden design also play a big part in that attraction. However, another reason Grim’s Dyke is popular is down to the wonderful wildlife the grounds attract.
Whether you’re a bird watcher, nature lover, entomologist or keen wildlife spotter, Grim’s Dyke will have something to hold your interest. Here’s a description of the most popular wildlife around Grim’s Dyke.
Muntjac Deer are one of the oldest known breeds of deer. They’re small, stocky and, due to slightly higher haunches, appear hunched over. These exotic-looking deer can grow to 52cm at the shoulder and weigh up to 16kg. Also known as Mastreani deer they give a repeated loud barking call – something that gives them their alternative name – the barking deer.
Facially, Muntjacs have a ginger forehead with black lines. These lines run up to the antlers on the bucks, but in the does they create a diamond shape on their forehead. The colouring of a Muntjac varies during the year, with them appearing a russet brown in summer, whilst in winter, they turn a shade of grey/brown.
Muntjacs have visible upper ‘tusks’, that are really downward-pointing canine teeth, and they use these for fighting. The bucks have short unbranched antlers, that can grow up to 10cm long. These antlers can be regrown. Male Muntjacs can live up to 16 years, whereas the females can live up to the age of 19, although this is rare.
You’ll often see a grey squirrel during the day, simply because this is when they’re at their busiest. They’re busy foraging for food, both on the ground and in trees – as well as the occasional bird feeder!
Squirrels have no need to hibernate as, due to their varied diet, they always have food available. They also store nuts and seeds, burying them to ripen and be uncovered when the need arises. They love seeds and nuts, but will also easily eat fungi, catkins, flowers, rosehips, shoots, bark and bulbs. They’ll even raid bird nests for eggs and young.
Great Crested Newts
We’re delighted to have the largest of the UK’s native species of newts in our lake. The Great Crested Newts grow up to 17cm in length and can be spotted during the mating season – March to June.
If you do want to go newt spotting though, please bear in mind, it’s an offence to disturb, injure, kill or capture them – and this applies to all life stages from egg to full grown.
This stocky, medium-sized owl can often be found in the woodland at Grim’s Dyke. Otherwise known as the Brown Owl, it nests in tree holes and hunts at night. Although silent in flight, you’ll often hear the male calling hoo…ho, ho, hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. The female will reply with her distinct kew-wick sound.
The Tawny Owl is stocky and his light coloured body has dark brown streaks all over it. 15-18 inches in length, this stocky owl has a large rounded head and lacks the usual ear tufts seen on other owls.
The UK has several species of hawk-moth, but it’s the Elephant Hawk-moth that is the most exciting. Found in gardens, woodland and the open countryside this moth loves honeysuckle! It can be seen flying from dusk through the night, from May to July.
This impressive-looking moth is bright pink and olive green, with a wingspan of up to 6cm.
With this list of the most popular wildlife around Grim’s Dyke, we’re sure you’ll find something to capture your interest. So why not visit, book a stay and go for a walk around our beautiful grounds and discover the amazing wildlife for yourself!
Would you like to know more about the Grim’s Dyke gardens? Discover their Victorian heritage here