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Life Experience

Knole National Trust House, Sevenoaks, Kent has deer close at hand

Knole is a magnificent former bishop’s palace with its origins dating back 600 years. It became the property of very wealthy, leading aristocrats, the Sackville family. The family still has private apartments in the vast house.

Surrounding the house are a thousand acres of parkland with 350 wild deer. The herds are very familiar with the thousands of cars and visitors arriving at Knole every year and so show little fear of humans, although it is dangerous to go near these animals. My tiny pocket Sony camera has a good zoom facility so I was able to take this picture from about 60 yards away.

There in the rutting season

When we were there on 26 October we visited the house and then walked in the park. When we were about to leave at about 4 o’clock there were about half a dozen stags only about 100 yards from the car park.

 A warden told us that earlier in the day there had been quite a lot of activity but that the stags were all exhausted by the time we first noticed them, mostly lying down. Apparently they had been “at it” for nearly a month (the rutting season) and were now beginning to calm down. Late September the stags are very fat ready to start rutting, but then they don’t eat for a month and do a lot of fighting and mating so no wonder they are exhausted. Still, they’ll have eleven months rest before they can start the fun all over again.

Over the autumn winter season only a restricted part of the house is open to visitors.

Book ahead

You have to book in advance to take your car into the parkland. Visit the website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole/lists/explore-knole-park 

Huge zoom on my tiny camera

My camera and similar are available from Amazon. Click the Amazon link for details.

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

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