Here in North Yorkshire I am lucky enough to live less than 30 minutes away from a World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal http://www.fountainsabbey.org.uk/
Fountains Abbey is the largest abbey ruins in the country, a Cistercian Monastery founded in 1132, whilst adjoining Studley Royal is a eighteenth century water garden and adjoining 360 acre deer park. Deer have roamed through the park for centuries and today there are over 600 Red, Sika and Fallow deer to be seen.
This time of year a walk through the park is spectacular. Not just for the rich autumn colours but to view one of nature’s displays – deer rutting.
The stags pursue the female deer and start fighting, locking antlers in head to head combat. To hear the bellow of these animals and the sound of their antlers clashing is quite something. The parkland at Studley Royal is for the most part quite open so observing the deer and these rituals is relatively easy. Here are a few photographs from a recent visit. (click to enlarge)