Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve and deer park with 630 Red and Fallow deer roaming freely since 1637. The deer have played a major role in the park’s history and have shaped the landscape too. Our special grassland habitat depends on grazing and the parkland trees have a distinctive ‘browse line’ as the deer eat all the leaves and twigs growing below about 1.5 metres. Deer grazing also prevents tree seedlings from growing, keeping the grassland open.
During the autumn the deer ‘rut’ (breeding season) takes place. The Red stags and Fallow bucks compete for females (known as hinds and does respectively). At this time, the large males roar, bark and clash antlers in an attempt to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible. The young are born from May – July and are hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass. The young are very vulnerable at this time and their mothers, being sensitive to disturbance, will defend their babies.
The deer are wild animals – please keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and be aware of your surroundings so that you do not come between two rutting stags or a mother and her calf. Don’t touch, feed or attempt to photograph the deer at close range.
London Multi-Entry Multi-Directional VVIP Visitors Guide © Simon Newbound