Published: 22 February 2024

One of the many reasons why our visitors love Holker Hall so much is that it provides a chance to get back to nature. While the gardens are cultivated (attracting no end of pollinators), the deer park is a lot less tame. Along with fallow deer, who you can’t really miss, there are plenty of other animals who live on the estate. So, who might you meet on your next visit to Holker Hall?

The Animals of Holker Hall

Fallow deer

Fallow deer aren’t strictly native to the UK. But they’ve been here so long (introduced by the Normans around 900 years ago) that they are considered naturalised. And we think they are simply wonderful. With their graceful form, soft-brown colouring, white spots, and tufty little tails, they are elegant and charismatic. And when in the rut, the males are utterly majestic. You can see them all year round at Holker Hall, but they are quite shy and would prefer it if you didn’t get too close. And with up to 63kg of weight behind them, those antlers are also something to be reckoned with! So, enjoy them from a respectful distance.

East Indian Cayuga Ducks

If you venture near Holker Hall’s Pagan Grove and Woodland Gardens, you may encounter our family of East Indian Cayuga Ducks. Described as a ‘heavy breed’ (quite rude, we think!), the Cayuga is a pretty calm and easy-going kind of duck. So, as long as you’re peaceful, they’re quite happy to socialise. Although characterised by their black plumage, if you catch sight of a Cayuga in the sunlight, you’ll notice its feathers sparkle into iridescent green, completely changing its appearance. Listed as ‘at risk’ by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, Cayuga’s aren’t a common sight in the UK, so we’re very proud to have this little flock call Holker Hall home.


OK, so no gardener really wants to welcome rabbits. But they are an inescapable part of country living. And if we’re totally honest, we don’t really mind seeing those long ears and fluffy tails hopping around the shrubbery from time to time. They are undeniably cute. And we have enough vegetation to share.

Birds of prey

Although we can’t claim responsibility for the local bird population, you will often see birds of prey from the Holker deer park, and even from the main gardens on occasion. There are 19 species of prey birds in Cumbria. They don’t all visit Holker (that we’re aware of!), but you will sometime see kestrels, red kites, and honey buzzards around the estate. And when they do appear, the regular garden birds will fall mysteriously silent!


Holker is a dog-friendly business where we allow visitors to bring their fury companions along. All we ask is that they remain on leads, you pick up after them, and please do not let them enter the hall. Oh, and one other thing – please do let us come make a fuss of them!

Based in the countryside, the list of animals you may see around Holker Hall is obviously far longer than five. There is an array of garden birds, mice, voles, shrews, hedgehogs, stoats, hares, squirrels,foxes, and a multitude of different bats. Not to mention the bees and butterflies. So, you never really know who or what you might see on your next visit. The only thing that is certain is that you will almost definitely, see something or someone worth seeing.

We’re back on March 20th, so get planning your next visit to Holker Hall.