Early morning visitors, or those walking through the forest at dusk may be rewarded with a sight of a roe deer grazing on the fern or plants growing under the trees.
They are quite small, extremely agile and easily spooked, so you’ll need to be quiet to see them! Sherwood Forest also has a herd of native red deer, thought to date back to the times when it was a Royal hunting forest. These deer are much bigger, and in late summer, the males have an impressive set of antlers.
We plan to have cattle in more areas of the forest in the future, creating more of the wood pasture which would once have been the natural landscape here at Sherwood. Grazing in the right numbers at the right time can help to increase habitat diversity, support important wildlife populations, encourage natural regeneration and keep important open habitats just that – open. It keeps certain foliage in check whilst promoting the health of others, and ensures a good spread and mixture of plants grow along the forest floor. There are signs throughout the forest showing you where the distinctive long-horn cattle are grazing. No prizes for guessing where their name comes from…
Natural grazers like rabbits, hares and deer all create different conditions for different wildlife. Even their poo provides homes! We have a range of dung beetles – look out for sleepy-looking dor beetles in late spring – they often make their sandy burrows in patches of rabbit droppings.