Sun terrace at Undercastle Cottage, New Forest
One of the sun terraces overlooking the Hampshire Avon River at Undercastle Cottage

Come to Undercastle Cottage in the New Forest in the summer months for a wildlife watching holiday. The National Park is well-known for its rich and vibrant wildlife, and there’s plenty of it to see from the cottage.  

The New Forest is a haven for wildlife

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The New Forest National Park is one of the largest remaining wildwoods in Western Europe. There are 220 square miles of heathlands, woods, villages and coastline where wildlife thrives. Come summer, streams, lakes and ponds are teaming with life.

Why wildlife is special at Undercastle Cottage

Otter in a river
Otters often play in the Hampshire Avon River

When you stay at Undercastle Cottage, look in our three garden ponds for newts and frogs. Take a quiet pew on one of the sun terraces, and you’re likely to see voles and rabbits pottering about on the riverbanks and graceful swans gliding past. Our most favourite sight is to watch the wild otters playing in the river – and they often do!

There’s a riot of wildlife in summer

A New Forest Butterfly
Brightly coloured butterflies and dragonflies are a common sight in the New Forest in the summer months

In summer, the magenta and lilac heather plains are sprinkled with intricately patterned butterflies and moths fluttering above grasshoppers, crickets and the incredibly rare and endangered cicadas. A whopping 74% of the UK’s dragonflies and damselflies live and flourish in the New Forest. Find them zipping at high speed across the ponds and lakes in aerial combat before claiming a perch to rest and reheat in the summer sun.

Wildflower meadows and deer playing peek-a-boo

A deer in the New Forest
Keep still and quiet if you want to see wildlife – particularly deer

Don your walking boots and head out with your camera in hand to see something new every day. Throughout the forest are wildflower meadows flecked with some of the 700 hundred varieties of delicate, colourful blooms that grow here. Sightings of Roe, Red, Sika and Muntjac deer are frequent in the forest.

As dusk draws in..

Of course, the famous New-forest ponies, cattle, donkeys and the odd pig or two are very familiar sights not only in the forest but in the towns and villages as well. Venture out at dusk, to bats shooting through the sky, foxes and badgers scampering about and if you’re really lucky, spy elusive Pine Martens. They were once assumed extinct in the UK, and are now living and breeding in the National Park.  

Bird song and whirls in the sky

The New Forest is also designated as a Special Protection Area attracting masses of birds. See the classic dazzling Kingfishers, woodpeckers and owls to the rare woodlark, nightjar, Dartford warbler and honey buzzard. There’s also a healthy population of stunning birds of prey twirling high in the sky, including buzzards, goshawks, hobby hawks and hen harriers.

Walk, learn, look and see

A walking tour in the New Forest
Wildlife walking tours are a fantastic way to see more of the forest and learn about the animals that live in the National Park

For more information about the flora, fauna and where to spot some of the more timid New Forest wildlife, there are local providers who offer guided wildlife walks. Choose either a private bespoke walk or, join a scheduled group. The guides are usually lovely local people and ex-National Park rangers who know the area inside out and specialists in their field. Try Wild Heritage, Wild New Forest and Fuzzacker Walks.

Come and see for yourself…

pond at Undercastle cottage
One of the spring fed ponds at Undercastle Cottage

A stay at Undercastle Cottage means you’re surrounded by beautiful forest scenery and abundant wildlife 24 hour hours a day. It’s a relaxing and luxurious retreat, deep in the forest and the perfect pad to relax and while away the hours with no disturbance other than the sights and sound of nature.