The diversity of deer here at Faccombe Estate
The deer at Faccombe Estate are an integral part of this landscape and a much-loved feature of this idyllic Estate. However, as seen across the country the deer population has grown rapidly in recent years. The deer require careful management to ensure damage is limited to woodland, crops and those existing wildlife that make the Estate their home.
Deer are naturally cautious animals that move in smaller groups to avoid humans. Often they can be spotted amongst trees and open land at various points throughout the year. Here at Faccombe, we are rich in a variety of species, of which also form an ornamental deer park.
There are three common species to be spotted around the Estate; Fallow, Roe and Muntjac.
Fallow deer come in four varieties of colour tan (commonly spotted), menil (paler than tan), melanistic (black) and white. We are fortunate to have a number of white deer that form part of the ornamental deer park.
Arguably the most common native deer, they are slender, medium sized deer mainly brown in colour. They can change colour slightly, with more red tones in the summer and darker grey into the winter.
Muntjac deer are the smaller sized species across the Estate. They are stocky creatures with native origins of Asia. They are believed to have escaped into the countryside from Woburn, yet now are found across England and Wales.
Joining the white fallow in the deer park are the Sika deer. They are similar to fallow in coat colour, yet vary from pale yellow/brown through to red/brown with white spots in the warmer months, followed by dark grey and black in the winter.
During the summer, male deer grow an impressive set of antlers. These can grow at a rate of 2.5cm per day and are first protected by a soft velvet covering. When growth is complete, the velvet is rubbed off and the antler is then deemed as ‘clean’. Typically, older deer cast and clean their antlers first.
The Estate approaches deer management as a purposeful and fulfilling task, whereby the aim is to effectively maintain deer to their best potential for the given environment. The Estate are fortunate to have many knowledgeable individuals on site, particularly noting the keepers, deer manager and private deer park warden.
Dick Bird has been an integral part of the Estate for over 50 years, he has been looking after the deer in the private park for over 10 years. Dick tends to the deer each and every day, feeding and checking on their general wellbeing. Over the years, the deer have grown to trust Dick and they can often be found trotting behind him seeking for feed and attention.
With special thanks to the Deer Manager for the various photographs.