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Attraction | Wildlife

Wonderful wildlife

There is an abundance of Wildlife to see throughout the 500 acre estate of Leeds Castle.

Woodland, Parkland and large lakes, fed by the River Len, provide natural habitats attracting great numbers of wildfowl and common woodland birds all year round.

Something to admire all year round

Wander through the estate and you are most likely to see familiar birds such as Nuthatch, Jay, Magpie, Wagtails and Great Spotted Woodpecker – if you are lucky you may even see a Sparrowhawk or a Buzzard soaring above. The River Len, which also runs throughout the Wood Garden, is home to Kingfishers, Grass Snakes and Eels.

The larger lakes provide shelter and food to flocks of Swans, Geese and Ducks and provide ideal breeding grounds in the spring and summer months. The Moat and Great Water are perfect places to see captive Black, Whooper and Trumpeter Swans all year round. Leeds Castle is also home to rarer species including Bats, Dormouse and White-Clawed Crayfish.

Duck and Swan food can be purchased from the Ticket Office, Park Shop and Knights Stronghold for £1 a bag.

This is a safe and healthy option for the birds and with all profits raised going directly to the upkeep of our Wildlife. Please DO NOT feed bread to the birds. Bread does not contain the necessary nutrients for Swans, Ducks or Geese and can make them ill. It can also rot in the water and cause unwanted surface algae which further harms the Wildlife. Other healthy food options which you can bring with you are lettuce, sweetcorn, wheat and spinach.

If you have any questions regarding the Wildlife at Leeds Castle, please contact the Falconry and Wildlife Team on or 01622 767861.

Species To See

Great crested grebe

Known for its elaborate mating displays, the adult is unmistakable in summer with chestnut and black frill around its head. Look out for young grebes with striped black and white heads riding on their parents’ backs.

Where to see: Moat and Great Water
Best time to see: Spring and Summer

Great spotted woodpecker

The great spotted woodpecker has striking black and white feathers. Most commonly found clinging to tree trunks and on the side facing away from danger, its loud drumming song is the best indication of its presence.

Where to see: Wood Garden
Best time to see: Spring


The Nuthatch is a plump, blue-grey bird with chestnut flanks and a broad black stripe running through its eye to the back of the head. No other British species descends a tree trunk head first.

Where to see: Wood Garden
Best time to see: Spring

Grey wagtail

This graceful, long bodied bird is constantly moving and has a bright yellow under-tail. Its undulating flight is often low and it has a distinctive songflight that is quite melodious.

Where to see: Small streams in the Wood Garden
Best time to see: Spring and Summer


Each season brings a different experience to the Leeds Castle estate.

Spring & Summer

Listen to the birds singing in the wood garden as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. Look out for young cygnets, goslings and ducklings. Migrating birds return every year in search of nest sites. Look out for house martins, barnacle geese and common terns.

See butterflies and bumblebees in the Culpeper Garden and Lady Baillie Mediterranean Garden. Bats and eels become more visible during the summer months.  

Autumn & Winter

During the autumn see flocks of smaller woodland birds foraging for food and wildfowl start to congregate in larger groups. In the midst of winter due to the shorter hours of daylight you are more likely to see owls and more unusual ducks such as pochard and shoveler.   

And don’t forget to have your binoculars at the ready for kingfishers which can be seen more easily at this time of year.