For a great day out, Mellerstain offers wonderful lakeside and woodland walks where you can enjoy the surrounding wildlife and animals, alongside a great play area for the kids to have fun in. A special highlight is the unusual Dutch-style thatched cottage nestled discreetly within the North Parkland. Outdoor footwear is recommended.
Mellerstain is a wonderful haven for wildlife and excellent habitat for all kinds of animals and birds. From April onwards, the shallows of the lake witness an orgy of frogs and toads spawning and swans will hatch their several cygnets on the island sanctuary, proudly parading them during the summer months. Numerous wild duck including teal, mallard, tufted, pochard and shoveler nest among the reeds and bulrushes and their little rafts of ducklings can be spotted eddying about. Patience and luck may even reward you with a glimpse of the jewel-like kingfisher.
Favorite summer residents are the swallows, house martins and swifts who scythe and scream about their lofty nest-sites along the battlements, while occasional bramblings, redstarts, flycatchers, garden warblers siskins and yellowhammers are all here for the quiet observer to find. Waking from their long hibernations, hedgehogs and pipistrelle bats are out in the evenings scuffling and flitting through the majestic beeches along the lakeside. Shy roe deer may be glimpsed, or a bustling badger, as well as foxes and stoats. There are even otters and mink which love to play around the waterfall.
Tooth and Claw
All this bounteous nature means there’s no shortage of prey for our numerous raptors. Tawny, short-eared and little owls patrol the night, and the spectral form of a barn owl can often be seen even during the day. Buzzards, sparrowhawks and kestrels are all regulars, as well as peregrine falcons and goshawks. The newly re-established ospreys of the Tweed Valley are even occasionally seen.
The elegant heron stops off to dine on toad as he makes his way up the Eden burn, and starlings, jackdaws, crows and jays engage in raucous banter as the evening draws in.
The estate has a number of copses, woods and plantations, each of which provide food and shelter to numerous small birds. Great, coal, blue, marsh and long-tailed tits can all be found busying themselves amongst the branches, along with many other finches and thrushes of all sorts. The dawn and evening air is filled with their odes and sonnets, and they are accompanied by the soothing notes of the wood pigeon and the collared dove.
If you are very quiet and careful, you may be lucky enough to see one of our red squirrels (now rare in the British Isles) in a colony tucked away in a mature spruce plantation. As across so much of this indigenous species’ range, elsewhere on the estate it is the dominant grey that holds sway, so it’s a real treat to see them.
We are always happy to share the rural charms of the estate, and respectfully ask you to abide by some simple rules.
– Please keep your dog on a lead at all times.
– Children to be supervised at all times.
– Please do not feed the animals, they may bite.
– Please tidy up after picnics and dispose of all litter in bins provided.
– Never light a fire or use a portable barbeque.
– Please keep to the marked paths to minimise disturbance to wildlife.
– Please consider making a small donation to help us maintain the trails.