We are planning a short trip to the UK in two weeks. After visiting my sister-in-law in London, we have about 5 days left to explore the country by car. Maybe some of you can give us tips for this trip?
Many of the mammals that can be seen in the UK are also (easily) seen in Belgium, our home. The goodies (otter, marine mammals, wildcat, pine marten, mountain hare…) seem to be largely confined to Scotland. Unfortunately, as we have only 5 days to spend, it’s quite far to drive up and down there. Also, we have no snow tires, and we would like to avoid winter weather conditions if possible.
Right now we’re thinking of trying to see some of the introduced deer species (muntjac, Chinese water deer) which are absent or difficult to spot in Belgium. We’ll probably spend some time around Bedfordshore as this seems to be a good location for deer species. We’re a bit reluctant on visiting deer parks (for example http://www.woburnabbey.co.uk/) because we fear that the animals in these parks are not wild at all. Is this indeed the case? The deer around here are fed in the winter (and probably also during other seasons) and they seem to have limited dispersal options, but they roam freely, so we consider them wild. Is the situation in the deer parks more or less similar, or are these deer truly “caged”. And even if larger species are to be considered semi-wild, how about the smaller species? Maybe they are wilder but just benefit from the protection that the park offers them?
Other mammals that we’d like to see are for example water vole and shrew (possible in wintertime?), pine marten and otter (any good locations more to the south of the country?), badger (we have them in Belgium too, but if we could see them from up close it would be worth a detour!) or any other interesting wildlife (for example owls, starling flocks, …).
Any tips would be highly appreciated and if someone wants to join: you’re welcome!
Thanks a lot in advance!
Tim and Stefanie