England RFI

My parents are planning a family trip to England including my wife, brother and I. They are going to London and various tourist sites.  I think we will be staying in either the Cotswolds or near Salisbury part of the time.  I would love to look for some mammals while I’m there. I would be happy with any UK species. I have a special interest in ungulates so roe deer, Reeves muntjac and Chinese water deer would top my list.  I’d be happy with rabbits, hares, badgers, hedgehogs, or anything else. I won’t have a lot of time but if anyone could recommend good areas, a guide or be willing to show me some spots, let me know. —Matt Miller

12 Comments
  1. Profile photo of Jon Hall
    Jon Hall 10 years ago

    Hi Matt,

    WHen are you leaving? I can take a look in some books when I am back in Paris to suggest some good spots. But Muntjac are quite common around London – I have seen them along railway lines inside the M25. You need to go to Norfolk to see Chinese Water Deer I think. Hedgehogs – I used to see them more often in the suburbs of London than in the countryside.

    Badger watching hides are scattered around the place and I expect you can find places around Salisbury to see them (Wiltshire is quite a good place to look for Hares.. just try spotlighting at night along quieter roads through farmland). Rabbits are everywhere.
    Jon

  2. Author
    Matt Miller 10 years ago

    Jon,
    Thanks for the response. I won’t be leaving until early May, so there is plenty of time. I’d appreciate any recommendations for spots. Have you been to the New Forest? Thanks, Matt

  3. Derek Shingles 10 years ago

    It’s good to know that people are coming to England and want to see animals. I live near Norwich in Norfolk, England.
    If you want to see Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer, the Broads area of Norfolk is the place to visit. We regularly see both on walks around the local nature reserves, of which there are many. We also see Roe and there are a few small herds of Red around, which we sometimes see, and a larger herd near Minsmere in North Suffolk. There is also a herd of Fallow Deer at Holkham Hall in North Norfolk, which is open to the public.
    Rabbits, hares and foxes can be seen anywhere and there are seals around the coast.
    Norfolk, particularly the North Norfolk coast is famous for it’s birds which is a wonderful area to visit in May.
    The City of Norwich has a Norman Castle and a Cathedral making it an ideal place to visit, and is within easy distance of Cambridge.
    I would be happy to supply you with more details of specific places to visit for both tourism and nature if you decide that you would like to visit this area.

  4. Author
    Matt Miller 10 years ago

    Derek,
    Many thanks for your response. This is really good information. It sounds like you have some great spots. Right now, being one of five in our group, Norwich is not on the itinerary. If I can get there I will let you know. –Matt

  5. Richard Webb 10 years ago

    Matt, Muntjac are easy around London and you can see Chinese Water Deer within 30 miles of London. The Potsgrove area in Bedfordshore should turn up Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer during an evening visit. Depending on the timing of your visit, you could easily combine this with a visit to Wendover Woods to look for Edible Dormouse and with any luck Badger on the same evening. If you were staying in London you’d only need to sneak off for one evening. June-September is best for the dormouse.

    When are you planning your visit? Depending on timing I could possibly meet up with you.

    Richard

  6. Author
    Matt Miller 10 years ago

    Richard,
    Many thanks for the tips. Right now, it looks like we will be there April 29 – May 9. I should know for sure by next week at the latest. I’ve read your trip reports on this site and it would be great to meet up with you if you’re around. In any case, I’ll check out these locations. Cheers, Matt

  7. Author
    Matt Miller 10 years ago

    Alas, my family canceled this trip. Sorry to bother everyone, but I have saved the information for future reference. I’m sure I’ll get there at some point.

  8. Author
    Matt Miller 10 years ago

    Well, in this strange saga, the trip is back on. I have the flight tickets. Richard, are you around in late April? Would love to go out mammal watching if you’re around. –Matt

  9. Profile photo of Jon Hall
    Jon Hall 10 years ago

    Matt, I recommend you try to get a copy of this book by Richard Moores. Where to Watch Mammals in Britain and Ireland. A&C Black, London.

  10. Profile photo of Jon Hall
    Jon Hall 10 years ago

    I actually wrote a longer comment – which hasn’t appeared – to say that you could see 5 deer species in the new forest – red, roe, fallow, sika and muntjac quite easily I think and you could check with the UK bat conservation trust to see if there are any bat walks happening in London or elsewhere during your stay. You won’t get great views but you should see a few different species in flight that will be safely ID’d using a bat detector. Do you know where you are going after London yet? Jon

  11. Author
    Matt Miller 10 years ago

    Our itinerary right now is London->Warwick area->Salisbury. I will have time to spend in the New Forest. And I have a free day in London when I may head out the Epping Forest or some other place to look.

    I am ordering a copy of that book.

  12. Author
    Matt Miller 10 years ago

    Thanks to all who replied and pointed me to spots and books. Despite limited time for wildlife watching, I had a good time. I saw all 3 of the species I really wanted to see–roe deer, muntjac and Chinese water deer, plus various park deer on the really nice Woburn Estate. I also had excellent views of water vole, brown hare and of course hundreds of rabbits.

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