A deer field adventure inspired by the ice age.

Posted on March 23rd, 2018

We have 13 deer at Coombe Mill, 10 are native to Coombe Mill and 3 came from a city zoo in London a few years back. The Londoners as they became known have always been brave with the guests, almost too much so for wild animals, but our timid native deer remain as shy as ever. When the tractor and trailer arrives with the children each morning on the feed run the Londoners come down in anticipation of breakfast while the locals hide up in the trees, only daring to venture out when we have left and the food already eaten! I was determined to find a way round this during the cold bleak winter period. I began leaving their food in the usual place inside the field, then walking up into the trees towards the shy herd. This flushed them out and sent them running down towards the food where they would stop and feed. Thrilled with my invention I persuaded Farmer Nick to try it with the children over half term; the result was as I hoped for the deer with an added play bonus of a deer field adventure for the children.

A deer field adventure inspired by the ice age

A trek for little legs

To me it is no distance up the field, but for little legs it can be quite an expedition and it was a struggle to get everyone up before the confident Londoners ate all the grain!

 

feeding the deer & going on a deer hunt

The ice age brought to life

Once up in the trees it is like a scene from just after the ice age. Huge moss covered granite boulders are left where the glaciers retreated and melted, old oak trees provide a natural canopy sheltering the floor below from sun in summer and rain in winter. This is a part of the world that looks quite untouched by mankind and a perfect hiding place for the deer. It is where they will cub in summer and where they retreat from the open fields when they feel unsure. With us up in the trees the deer duly came down to feed.

kids watching deer

Nature’s Playground

The children watched, captivated for a time, then the beauty of their surroundings took over. A deer field adventure began with boulders to climb and jump from, trees to peep through, tag to be played.

 

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To top it all a little rabbit sat waiting to be stroked. It one from our wildlife trail, but one of the Dad’s told the children he was a real one frozen there from the ice age, it was a freezing morning after all and it’s stone structure made this seem quite believable!   

rabbit statue

The deer had long since eaten all the grain we had put down and had snuck up past us into the top field where they watched the children at play from afar in their favourite part of the field.

deer watching the kids play

Eventually we persuaded them to move on and they raced down at twice the speed they climbed up still wielding sticks scavenged from the top.

running down the deer field

Sometimes I wonder how feeding the animals in the morning can possibly take close to two hours, then I look back on my photos and moments like this and it is easy to see where half an hour disappears on a child led feed run!  

A deer field Adventure inspired by the ice age

Country Kids