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Discussion Forum - Events - Capability's Overview May 17

Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Thu 30th Apr 2009, 7:13
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
A feature of Capability’s Overview challenge (see Events setion for details), besides an unique opporrtunity to walk off-footpath through private estates, is that the route goes through the Sledmere Estate deer park giving the walkers a rare view of the 300 plus red deer herd – and if the soon-to-be mums among the 200 or so breeding hinds look particularly satisfied it is because they were subject to some special attention in last autumn’s rutting season.

On our walks over the Wolds at the time it was noted that sheep were around longer than usual in some places and were not where they are usually to be found in others. This was because of the restriction on livestock movements brought in to combat the Blue Tongue disease. The restriction applied to the Sledmere deer too, and came just at the time when the herd’s stags had been retired in line with the herd management policy.

As the new stags could not be moved in, five lucky young studs were hired in from North Yorkshire. Results are awaited with interest. As the walk is a week later this year some early arrivals are just possible (so tread carefully as hinds may leave new fawns lying in the grass if they move away). In addition to the 200 breeding hinds and the five new stags there are around 120 followers (that is last year’s new fawns). John Southwick, the Sledmere farm manager who, as a churchwarden, helps organize Capability’s Overview is responsible for the herd which provides him with another popular annual event – that is at the estate’s Christmas Fair when he sets up a special feeding station for the deer and runs Father Christmas’s tractor and trailer bus service from the front of Sledmere House to take children for a special visit to the deer.

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