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.
Down by the Lake
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.
We are always happy to share the rural charms of the grounds and gardens, and respectfully ask you to abide by some simple rules.
– Keep your dog on a lead at all times.
– Children to be supervised at all times.
– Do not feed the animals, they may bite.
– Tidy up after picnics and dispose of all litter in bins provided.
– Never light a fire or use a portable barbeque.
– Keep to the marked paths to minimise disturbance to wildlife.
– Please consider making a small donation to help us maintain the trails.