Duelling Stags

Autumn sees the start of the deer mating season, and that means it’s competition time for stags! Hear the crash of antlers as these powerful beasts battle fiercely for control of the herd. The rutting call of the dominant males is so loud it can be heard for miles around.

If you want to see these majestic creatures in-action, then Boldrewood Deer Sanctuary, where you’ll see the rangers feed them twice daily, is the place to go. Please bear in mind that all deer, including ones in parks, are wild animals, and stags are powerful animals with sharp antlers.


Winter Waders

Autumn is a brilliant time for wading birds which migrate to the UK from Scandinavia and Northern Europe in the Autumn. They gather in astounding flocks containing thousands of birds and settle in our intertidal and wetland habitats.

If you want a quiet and relaxing day out, sitting in a cosy little hide whiling away the hours watching the birds is one of the most serene experiences you can get. Great places to head to are Keyhaven Marshes and Lymington Marshes.



In mid September, around 600 pigs are turned out onto the New Forest in an ancient, but essential Commoning tradition. For a minimum of 60 days, the pigs eat the acorns and nuts which can be poisonous to the New Forest Ponies, but they love them!

The pigs are let out all over the New Forest’s Common Land, so you could turn a corner anywhere and come across a group of snuffling little piggies snacking on acorns.


Redwings and Fieldfares

These gorgeous little birds in the Thrush family migrate to the UK from Northern Europe to escape the worst of winter. Redwings have a distinctive swash of red on their underwing and Fieldfares are larger with blue/grey heads and a distinctive ‘chacking’ call.

They’re lovely birds to see and hear, so keep your eyes peeled and listen out for these winter visitors next time you’re out on a pleasant woodland stroll.


Reclusive Reptiles

Out the corner of your eye you spot a mottled brown slow worm curled up on the side of the quiet woodland path. As you stop, it slowly unfurls and silently winds it’s way back into the undergrowth.

The New Forest is home to all six of the UK’s amazing reptile species, and Autumn is your last chance to see them before they hibernate for the winter. They still need to forage for food ready for their long winter sleep, meaning you can still see them if you scan the side of forest paths or sunning themselves on rocks. Just keep your distance from Adders!

A good place to see reptiles is the New Forest Reptile Centre


Howling Owls

It’s late at night… all is quiet… then suddenly “keee – wiitt!”.

Whether out in the woodland or even in our towns, the screeching calls of the Tawny Owl are a familiar sound to man of us, but it’s the Autumn when they really make their presence known.

It’s around this time that the young who fledged earlier in the year are on the hunt for their own territory to hunker down in over winter, and be ready for the springtime mating season.

If you want see and not just hear them though, you’ll stand the best chance around sunset on a warm and dry night. Listening out for Tawny’s can be a serene and relaxing way to spend a quiet evening, just remember wrap up warm, take some sturdy walking boots and a torch!


Your own wildlife base-camp

If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to head out in search of all this amazing wildlife, then look no further than our campsites!

Holmsley is still open until the 31st October and Setthorns is open all year round, so you can go exploring at any time of the year.

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