Nature & Wildlife
Wildlife is a vital element of the Trentham experience, we have a long-term commitment to nature conservation and to providing an environment where flora and forna flourish.
The estate has a broad range of habitats popular with birds. The River Trent, brooks, water meadows, lake and islands boast an impressive range of over 50 species feeding through the year. A heronry, which at the last count, there were 42 breeding pairs! Resident kingfishers and dippers are popular with photographers. Along with native waterfowl and gulls we have a family of Black Swans who have settled and breed at Trentham along with summer migrants nesting or feeding.
Photograph: Ian Eardley
If you’re feeding ducks and geese, please avoid feeding bread as this lacks the nutrients they need to survive. It would be better to feed grains of bird seed or even cut up green vegetables instead. Bird feed can be purchased at the News Kiosk opposite the Gardens Entrance.
You could discover over 40 species of birds when you walk through the woodlands where goldcrests, tree creepers and long-tailed tits flit amongst the 250 year old trees. Listen for the drumming of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers or the summer migrant rarities such as Pied & Spotted Flycatchers, Redstarts, Wood Warblers and Tree Pipits.
On our heathland listen to the calls of Yellow Hammer, Skylark and Bullfinch. Buzzards, Kestrel, Sparrowhawks, Barn and Tawny Owls all hunt all year round on the estate with the occasional Red Kite visiting. With such a well-stocked lake of fish you never know what am eagle eyed visitor might spot with all the raptor reintroduction programmes across the UK.
The garden is also host to all our favourite bird species including robins and Mistle and Song Thrush who fill the gardens with their song at dawn and dusk.
Planting thousands of flowering plants, sowing meadows and conserving ancient trees means the gardens are buzzing with pollinating bees and hoverflies. 19 types of butterfly and many months make seasonal appearances including Purple Hairstreak feeding on the oaks.
16 types of dragonfly and damselfly can be found around the wetter areas of the estate. Our woodland is like a terrestrial reef, rich in rare species with over 66 species of Biodiversity Action Plan at risk species identified within the Site of Special Scientific Interest ‘Kingswood’. Like a coral reef is sensitive and fragile, so too are these ancient trees and we ask visitors to leave dead and decomposing, with its fungi and insects where it has fallen as it plays a vital role in the lifecycle of many endangered species.
There’s plenty of animals who call Trentham Estate home, our newest addition being Jacob and Hebridean sheep!
Jacob sheep can be traced all the way back to the first Hebrew Bible. It is said that Jacob worked without wages for his uncle and father-in-law Laban, for fourteen years for the love of his wife Rachel. He agreed to continue in Laban’s service on the condition that he was allowed to keep as his share of the flock; all the speckled and spotted sheep. Hence the name Jacob sheep.
They can live all year round on what vegetation they can pull, even being capable of rooting through a foot of snow to find food. They seem to prefer grazing rough moor grass, birch scrub, bracken and balsam instead of lush grass, so Monument Walk is the perfect home for them! Our Hebridean sheep will be located in the North Park.
The land currently home to our Jacob sheep could in future be used for other rare breeds to graze, forming part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship scheme, an agreement which has been underway at the estate since the formation of the agreement in January 2014.
If you are walking your dog at Trentham, we ask that it is kept a short-lead at all times, other than in the dedicated dogs off lead area, to avoid any attacks on sheep which we have experienced in the past.
A recent introduction to the estates conservation team are 4 Aberdeen Angus cattle who support our sheep with grazing our Heathland and Parklands.
Trentham is home to a herd of wild, Black Fallow Deer. Fallow deer are the third largest deer species in Britain, and are around 70-90cm high at the shoulder. The breeding season, known as the rut, occurs in October, when male fallow deer (known as bucks) roar and fight to win females. The fawns are born in May-June. Fallow are typically a woodland dwelling species but will happily spend time out in open fields, which is why you can often see them in the parkland and woodland at Trentham!
You may even spot signs of otters, badgers, voles, shrews. Or be lucky enough to see bats, foxes, stoats, weasels and hedgehogs as you walk around too!
The amphibian population is very evident in the high numbers of predators successfully breeding on site. Frogs, toads and smooth newts flourish in the many pools and lake margin and their spawning activity in the spring causes an influx of egrets and otter sightings.
These are our least spotted residents with Adders on the heathland and grass snakes occasionally spotted in the gardens and lakeside.
Take a closer look
We are now providing binoculars for hire from our Visitor Centre for you to use within the gardens to help you get a closer look at the wildlife on site without disturbing it.