Wildlife at Helmingham Hall

The delights of experiencing the gardens, borders, blooms and productivity of Helmingham would be enough to leave an impression on any visitor interested in nature. But there is yet more for the naturally-inclined to see at Helmingham Hall.

A wide diversity of wild flora and fauna call Helmingham Hall home, and yet still more creatures arrive and depart with the changing seasons, making us one of the most diverse sites in the UK in terms of wildlife. This is not only due to the way that the landscape is managed and the resources that exist in plentiful abundance but also to the age of the site and its prime location.

The gardens themselves offer nectar in profusion, with ample access to cool, clean water and sufficient shelter for any discerning wildlife in a range of habitats. Surrounded by grazed, grassland pasture, it has become a permanent ‘island’ home for many animals, and an essential port of call for more mobile and migratory species.

We are blessed with the usual familiar garden wildlife: hedgehogs, slow worms, common frogs and toads, blue tits, great tits and long-tailed tits, chaffinches and goldfinches, House Martins, swallows, Robins, Blackbirds, thrushes and wrens, honey and bumble bees, red admiral, peacock and tortoiseshell butterflies, shield bugs, grasshoppers and dragonflies.

But we also observe rare and interesting species such as large skipper, blue, brimstone and speckled wood butterflies, vapourer, oak eggar, hummingbird and privet hawk-moths, banded demoiselle and willow emerald damselflies, adonis, cream spotted and eyed ladybirds, Roesel’s bush-crickets, ruby-tailed and spider-hunting wasps, tree bumble bees, pea mussels, water scorpions, whirligig beetles and great crested newts, kingfishers, little egrets, tufted, mandarin and shelducks, barn and little owls, turtle doves, treecreepers, spotted flycatchers and buzzards, the occasional otter, weasels and pygmy shrews. A recent bat survey (2011) recorded seven species, and the long-eared bat, hard to pick up on detectors, has also been observed in our grounds.