The BBC's Springwatch has a new home – Sherborne Park Estate in Gloucestershire.
Following years spent based around the UK in such places as Fishleigh Estate, Devon, Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk, RSPB Ynys-hir in Wales and RSPB Minsmere in Suffolk, presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Martin Hughes-Games and Gillian Burke will make the move to heart of the Cotswolds for 2017.
Autumnwatch and Winterwatch will also be filmed at Sherborne Park, which is a working National Trust estate.
Where is Sherborne Park Estate?
Sherborne Park Estate is 10 miles north East of Cirencester. It takes in 4,100 acres of parkland, farmland and woodland. Nestled in the picturesque Cotswolds, the estate also features Lodge Park – a historic deer park and grandstand.
Although the grandstand is England’s only surviving example from the 17th century, later additions include an 18th century water meadow, five tenant farms and a disused World War II air base.
Sherborne Park will be a haven for Springwatch due to the diverse ecosystems it harbours. Aside from the water meadow where you can find otters, and the air base which is home to birds such as yellowhammers and corn bunting, there is oak parkland, riverbanks and limestone grassland to explore.
The estate also includes lots of Cotswold stone walls, which can provide a welcome environment for such diverse fauna as weasels, lizards and bats.
How can I visit the Sherborne Park Estate?
Sherborne Park is open daily from dusk to dawn. Opening times for the Lodge Park part of the estate vary due to private functions taking place. Check the National Trust website for more details.
What to do at Sherborne Park Estate?
The large estate provides scope for walks of different lengths. You can explore on your own, or take advantage of one of the walking circuits suggested by the National Trust. If you are feeling adventurous, there is even an orienteering trail, where you need to work out a two-part word by finding 13 letters hidden along the route.
Of course, nature watching is a major activity. See how many birds, animals, insects and plants you can spot as you make your way around the rambling estate.
Lodge Park is home to the unique 17th century grandstand, where courtiers once watched – and gambled on – the deer coursing which then took place in the deer park in front of them.
Click here to find out more about the Sherborne Park Estate.
Photo credit: PA/BBC