Saturday, November 30, 2013

In the footsteps of The Beatles...

I have been writing this blog for, what is it? 3 years roughly and yet, I don't think I have really featured mammals yet. Well time to put that right because this update is all about a recent trip to Sevenoaks in Kent. In particular, to Knole Park and that should be a good clue to anyone who knows the National Trust property as to what I went in search of...

To avoid the traffic on the A21 and ensure I was there in good time, I left early...far too early!



Eventually, after I guess I'd walked around half a mile into the park, the light improved enough to be able to appreciate the fantastic amount of mature and ancient trees in their autumn colours...


By now I suppose it must have been about 8.30am and I got my first glimpse of what I had come to see...


Yes, the medieval herd of fallow deer were my target for the day and they were just starting to come into the light from the safety of the trees. As the light and temperature improved, more and more where visible.

This was in an area of the park known as 'The Gallops' and in this particular site the deer act as they would in the wild and you need to either be in a hide or stalk them from a distance to get photographs. Closer to the house, I understand they are quite tame and unafraid of humans.


The second one I spotted, this one was racing from one side of the gallop to the woods on the opposite side, was this very pale one and I wondered if this is what is referred to as 'white'. 

Then, I suppose about half an hour later, my first sighting of the classic looking fallow deer with those fabulous spots...

 CLICK ANY PHOTO FOR LARGE VIEW




Knole is vast...1,000 acres of wood and parkland and there are still signs everywhere of the affects of the great storm of 1987 when it lost around 70% of it's tree population.

There are between 400-600 fallow currently at Knole with a small number of Sika.

The fallow themselves are direct descendants of the 15th century herd....



I noticed that all the deer I was seeing were either female or young males, with no sightings in this area of the large stags. I loved wandering around this park so much though that I will surely return and have another day photographing those.

Although I don't like the idea of having to do so, the deer do need culling to control numbers.

This is a snap taken on my phone of the area called 'The Gallops'...



A few more shots from the day...






And so that was my morning spent at Knole Park In Sevenoaks West Kent with the fallow deer. Thoroughly enjoyable and I have no doubt I shall return soon. Something tells me that once the snow arrives, as it surely will, that it will provide another photo opportunity.

Until then next time then, I'll leave you with The Beatles in Knole Park 1967 filming for Strawberry Fields...


6 comments:

  1. Lovely place to be! and something that can be covered in a day trip from London! I must say I am quite disappointed with myself of not knowing it back when it could have been useful.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, it is a wonderful place to spend some time if you are nearby.

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  2. Spent many a happy hour at Knole Park and remember only too well the shocking devastation of the '87 storm....
    You certainly got the light right here. Stunning shots with the autumn colours and the variety of 'shades' of deer too! Didn't know there were Sika there as well. Don't remember ever seeing them, but then we are talking about more than 13 years ago...!

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    1. Thank-you. Yes, apparently there are a small number but I didn't find any either! It's a great place though and don't know why it's taken me so long to photograph the deer.

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  3. Hi JJ. Hope your well.
    Only been there the once, but was lucky to find some of the big males in full antler (there's probably a technical term for it but hey ho !!) There were plenty of females and the young males by the carpark, they were just sitting around dozing watching the people walk past. Didn't seem shy at all. Found the Sika deer as well, they were very skittish though. Keep meaning to go back but as with most things, life seems to get in the way !!
    Never knew the Beetles filmed there, couple of years before my time though !!

    Jason.

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    1. Hello Jason-thanks for your interest in the blog. Yes, think I will re-visit and try the car park this time!

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