Lighten up in Tatton’s parkland
January is the perfect time to blow away the cobwebs and work off the Christmas pudding in the historic parkland at Tatton Park, in rural Cheshire East.
There are two parkland events this month to encourage visitors to pull on their walking boots and experience the wildlife of this stunning 1,000-acre deer park.
On Sunday, January 15 enjoy some winter wildfowl watching at the ‘Allen Bird Hide’ overlooking Melchett Mere. Members of Knutsford Ornithological Society and a Tatton ranger will be on hand to help visitors to identify different species of birds and also to help inquisitive twitchers use a telescope for fantastic, close-up views. Winter Wildfowl is a free, drop-in event between 11am-2pm for both beginners and experienced bird watchers. Park entry charge of £5 per car applies.
The hide is positioned on one of the most beautiful areas of the parkland, at the water’s edge of Melchett Mere off Knutsford Drive and provides a stunning view across a 500 metre stretch of water into the meadow and rough grassland of the deer park.
Winter visitors to the mere include many species of wildfowl including; goldeneye, teal and tufted ducks. Cormorants, shovelers and little grebe are often sighted and a juvenile whooper swan has recently been seen on the mere. Visitors may be lucky enough to see a smew, a rare duck which has in the past been spotted at Tatton in early January. Bird feeders around the hide also encourage many woodland birds such as finches, tits and the impressive great spotted woodpecker.
If deer are more to your delight, join the rangers on Tuesday, January 17 for a Deer Walk and Light Lunch.
Tatton Park is one of the best places in the North West to see these extraordinary animals up close (and not quite personal). A deer park since 1290, Tatton is now home to over 400 Red and Fallow deer, who roam freely within its 1,000 acres of parkland.
Enjoy a walk through the stunning winter parkland and learn more about the deer and their habitat from Tatton’s expert ranger team. The walk will finish with a light lunch at the Stables Restaurant. This activity takes place from 10am-12pm and costs £12 per person (minimum participant age 16 years). This activity must be booked in advance; please call 01625 374428 or email email@example.com
Park manager, Phil Lucas said: “Winter can reward our visitors with some of the best views of the Park’s wildlife, with many migrant birds attracted to our two beautiful meres. At this time of the year large numbers of deer congregate awaiting their morning feed of carrots, they provide an unrivalled spectacle -not to be missed.”
The bird hide is open during normal parkland opening hours (shut 30 minutes before closing time). In low season (until Friday, March 23, 2012) the parkland is open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm, last entry 4pm. Binoculars are not provided. The bird hide has been donated by Cheshire Portable Buildings with support from a grant by Tatton Park Trust and the Builders’ Arms Angling Club.
Photo by Gary Cross