As I'm working at the weekend, I took a day off yesterday. I caught a bus out to Baslow and wandered through Chatsworth Park, savouring the warm autumnal sunshine.
From the woods to the east there came a spine-chilling guttural roar: a Red Deer stag declaring that he was in the mood for love! This has to be the scariest sound made by any wild animal in the British Isles. It sounds like a sound effect from Jurassic Park. You could be forgiven for thinking that something large and carnivorous was heading your way.
I walked in the direction of the roaring and soon spotted a group of hinds sheltering under the trees. As I watched, a stag with a fine set of antlers came crashing through the undergrowth, chasing a young rival off his patch.
I had to remind myself that this is not a truly wild herd: they are, presumably, farmed by the Chatsworth estate for venison. However, at this time of year they behave very much like wild deer. It would be a foolish stockman who tried to come between a stag and his hinds when the rut is in full swing.
Elsewhere in the park there a couple small herds of Fallow Deer: not as fearsome as the Red Deer and looking rather elegant in the dappled sunlight.