Celebrate the turn of the seasons with the wildlife spectacle of the year on the Eastern Moors
As the purple heather fades, the days shorten, and migratory birds leave for warmer climes, it’s easy to think the wildlife spectacles of the year are winding down. If you’re a red deer on the Eastern Moors, however, things are just hotting up. From mid-September to November, stags (males) will complete in the annual rut. The powerful, antlered stags will aggressively defend and compete for hinds (females) by bellowing, parallel walking and occasionally locking antlers.
The Eastern Moors are home to a completely wild herd of red deer, thought to have once been escapees from Chatsworth’s domestic herds. As Britain’s largest native mammal this iconic species is a common but incredible sight when walking on the moors. As a native species, the deer play a role in the conservation work of the Eastern Moors Partnership by naturally grazing the moorland vegetation. At this time of year however, the up-to-190kg stags only have one thing on their mind and will barely sleep or eat while they try to impress the hinds.
If you want to see red deer in the wild this is the time of year to do it, and the Eastern Moors is the best place to be. Right on the edge of Sheffield and Chesterfield and close to the Hope Valley, Big Moor provides the perfect staging ground of the rut where big groups of hinds and competing stags can be seen (and heard) day and night.
This October you can join the Eastern Moors Partnership through a series of events marvelling and celebrating the red deer and the turn of the seasons. You could take a short ramble up to White Edge where the deer are best viewed, accompanied by our rangers with expert knowledge of the wildlife and landscape. Or come along to the first ever Eastern Moors Autumn Festival; an intimate event aiming to bring the local community together out on the moors, culminating in the annual bonkers-but-brilliant Bolving Championship.
Red deer at dusk, Friday 4th October, 5pm-7.30pm: Join our wardens for an atmospheric evening ramble up onto White Edge to observe the red deer during their annual rut. Haywood car park (below the Grouse Inn). Booking essential.
Red deer watch, Sunday 6th October, 10am-12pm & 1pm-3pm: Enjoy a walk over the moors to experience the amazing sights and sounds of the red deer as the drama of the annual rut unfolds. Curbar gap car park. Booking essential.
Autumn Festival and Bolving Championships 2019, Saturday 12th October: Celebrate the turn of the seasons with the first Eastern Moors Autumn Festival, then stick around for an evening of (slightly mad) entertainment as the Bolving Championships return for another year. Festivities, activities, food and music. Suitable for all ages. Just turn up for the festival from 3.00pm, book to compete in the bolving championship from 5.00pm – 7.30pm. £5 adult, £4 child, £16 family (2a+3c)
For the full program, more information and to book, please see www.visit-eastern-moors.org.uk/plan-your-visit/whats-on. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 2891543.