Apart from the many garden birds, depending on the time of year you may well see pheasant, rabbits, mallard duck, barn owls and green woodpeckers – with sightings of muntjac deer, hare and fox. The growth around the track and fringes of the site is deliberately left un-manicured as this encourages birds, insects and butterflies. Teasels attract flocks of goldfinch, wild mallow is a magnet for butterflies and swallows love skimming the pond water. There’s no imported fish in the ponds (which are fairly newly created) which now host families of moorhens, mallard ducks and myriad water creatures such as frogs, toads, newts, water boatmen, dragonfly, damselfly etc.
There is a ‘Pond Life’ guide in each property as well as a Guide to British Birds, Wild Flowers and Trees + Suffolk Wildlife Trust information.
“We so enjoyed looking out for the ducks and moorhens each day”
Further afield, there’s a plethora of ‘nature sites’ from the RSPB Sanctuary at Minsmere to Benacre Reserve, which includes reedbeds and lagoons, together with woodlands and heathlands on higher ground. Lots more information in the properties.
“Over a week at BG and surroundings, we saw blue tits, coal tits & great tits, swallows, chaffinch & goldfinch, chiffchaff, garden warbler, crows, blackbirds, pied wagtail, skylarks, house martins, tree sparrows. Barn Owls, buzzards & kestrels, collared doves, dunnocks, jackdaws, robins, wrens, mistlethrush” (Ed. These guests were staying in the Coach House, which is a particularly good spotting place as it’s right by the pond)
In May Belle Grove plays host to two pairs of turtle doves which is fantastic considering they are on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species having suffered a 91% UK population decline since 1995.
Brilliant wildlife writer Simon Barnes lives locally and often gives local wildlife talks.