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Red deer

Red deer

The red deer is Britain’s largest land mammal and it is a true native species. Numbers are maintained at around 90 in the Crown lands of the New Forest. They are also found in East Anglia, Exmoor, north-west England and Scotland.

Red deer can be seen in various parts of the New Forest. They are herding animals and spend most of the year in the woodland areas, although they may sometimes come onto the open heath. Red deer are not found around the Beaulieu area where Sika deer are more likely to be seen. The Forestry Commission aims to maintain the herds in the west of the Forest, to avoid the risk of cross-breeding with Sika.

Richard, Duke of Bernay, the elder brother of King William II, was gored to death by a New Forest stag.

Please make sure that you stay on the main track at all times and keep dogs under close control while in the deer conservation area. Always keep your distance – binoculars are essential! Do not approach the deer – they are wild animals.

ID Tip


The red deer is a rich red-brown animal about the same size as a cow with a pale brown patch on the backside. Many males, known as stags, have more than 10 points (also called tines) on their antlers, while a ‘Royal’ has 12 points. The female is a hind and the young are called calves, while a male in its second year with its first antlers is a brocket.

Lead Ranger


'To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of July.'

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