Deer are our largest wild land animal in Britain. The Ennerdale valley is home to Roe deer with the occasional transient herd of Red deer moving to and from South Cumbria
Roe deer became extinct in England during the 18th century and only returned to Ennerdale during the latter half of the last century. Prior to this it was Red deer which were the only deer to be found in the valley. Today the valley is thought to hold around 60 to 100 Roe deer.
Where to see deer
Deer can be found in the valley all year round but they can often be difficult to spot, can you see the 3 deer in the picture to the right?
Early morning and late evening are the best times of the day to see deer.
Look for the signs of deer presence such as hoof prints, droppings and flattened vegetation where they have laid down at night.
To protect some of our young native broadleaf planting from grazing by deer, especially in the eastern valley, we have erected deer fencing around the areas of planting.
Deer no longer have any natural predators such as bears, lynx or wolves which are now extinct in Britain. Without management deer numbers increase to a point where they can have a detrimental impact on plant species diversity and lead to deer starving due to lack of food.
In Ennerdale the Forestry Commission employs a wildlife ranger to cull around 20 deer, mostly Roe, a year through shooting.
By managing the deer population we ensure that important habitats such as Oak woodlands and wet meadows develop free from over grazing and that the deer population remains healthy and avoids starvation during periods of severe weather.