Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Deer Hunting in Lyme Park

Lyme Park as seen from the Fallow Deer Park.  The funny statue in the pond is supposed to be Mr Darcy in honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of "Pride and Prejudice".  We thought it was a bit odd.

Lyme Park has two herds of deer, Fallow Deer and Red Deer. On our first visit to see the house and gardens, we spotted the Fallow Deer from the back of the garden.  There wasn't enough time to go out looking for them that day, so we returned a week later.  The weather was good, no rain and not too hot.  We asked at the information booth where to hike to see deer and the lovely woman gave us a map and some deer hunting tips.  She also said there were 1359 acres in the Deer park, so if we didn't see any, not to feel too badly.

Fallow deer taking a rest.

Line eating.

Watching us watching him.

We walked out of the car park, around the back of the house and down Lime Avenue, which runs through the Fallow Deer Park.  These guys were not hard to find.  They were either laying down sleeping or standing up eating.  We counted about 25 of them, though the grass was rather high, so more may have been down which we couldn't see.

The gate in the rock wall going out from the Fallow Deer Park.

Walking the road on the outside of the wall.  It's a bit steeper than it looks.

Continuing on outside the fence we came to a cross over, well more of a ladder really, to get back inside the fence.  The warning on the gate said to watch for cattle.  As soon as we were over, there they were.  Scottish Highland cows, one red and the other three, black.  They were not interested in us at all.

Bill crossing over the on the ladder.  The gate to the side was locked to prevent the cows from getting out, but it did have a large opening so dogs could come in without climbing the ladder.

Love the long bangs!  These were youngsters, the adults get really long hair and long horns.

Walking farther, we had to cross over another fence.  Step up on a board, over the fence, step on a board on other side.  There are no warnings of be careful, or watch your step or any such nonsense.  Up the steep hill was The Lantern, built by the owners as a follie, a place to have a drink or a bite to eat, rest and relax.  It was probably easier to get to riding a horse than walking up the hill.

Step up and over and down.

The Lantern, a follie, built as a fun place. The couple on the steps were having lunch,  we had a snack of cookies and water while enjoying the views.  The hill is very steep!
 
Enough resting, on with the hunt!  We walked out of Lantern Wood, crossed over another rock wall and entered the Red Deer Sanctuary.  We walked down a hill in rather tall grass, looking onto Crow Wood behind another rock wall.
 
There was something not quite right about the grass near the fence.  You can make the picture bigger by clicking.

That's not broken branches; those are antlers!

Something wasn't quite right about the grass near the wall.  I asked Bill what time it was, 1:30.  Then I looked through the binoculars to verify what I thought was there.  RED DEER!  Two stags, both with big antlers were lying down in the grass for a midday snooze.  All that was showing were the tops of their antlers, which looked a bit like broken tree branches

He stood up to check us out, but was very unconcerned.


Looking back after turning the corner.

Bill set up his tripod, while I walked on down the hill, running parallel with the deer, to see if they would get up.  The biggest one did.  He wasn't threatened, just curious.  He walked along the rock fence to where it turned the corner.  A wire fence continues the same direction, so he very lazily jumped over it, to continue walking down the rock fence.  Beautiful.

Follow the paths to The Cage.  It is visible from most areas of the estate, so is a good landmark.

The Cage was originally a hunting lodge..  It's a big building, so there must have been a lot of hunters.

Bill took several pictures of him, then he was joined by the other stag, who, I guess, realized he had been left.  Bill switched to video, so we don't have pictures of the second guy.  We watched the two of them for several minutes.  We decided to walk up to The Cage, while continuing to look for the herd.

The Red Deer does and fawns grazing in the far corner of the sanctuary.
 
Knowing the Red Deer herd to be about 400, they had to be somewhere close by.  Finally, off in the distance, we saw them.  They were down near the reservoir grazing, about 100 does and fawns, no stags.  Our deer hunt was a success!

Walking back to the front of Lyme Park.  What a deer hunt!

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