Search
Close this search box.

Watch autumnal wildlife in the Peak District

Make the most of the season by exploring the sights, sounds and smells of autumn in the Peak District, by train.

Red deer – Grindleford and Hathersage

At this time of year, you might be able to hear the awesome bellows of red deer stags as they compete to win a harem of female deer. Stags bellow at each other (which sounds a little like a lion’s roar) and fight with their antlers in a spectacular autumn sight. You’re especially likely to hear this eerie sound near open moorlands around Surprise View near Hathersage, or in the woods near Padley Chapel near Grindleford. Early morning is the best time to catch the sound, so consider getting an early train.
 
Remember to always respect wildlife and give red deer plenty of space.
Birds of prey – Glossop and Hadfield
 
Shorter hours of daylight can tempt some birds of prey, such as short eared owls and little owls, to hunt earlier in the afternoon. The moors and open spaces around Glossop and Hadfield are a good place to look out for raptors; look out for the round wings and large wingspan of buzzards and short-eared owls and the hovering flight of kestrels.
 
From Hadfield station you might like to take the Longdendale Trail, a mostly level walk with spectacular views of the moors and reservoirs. From Glossop, you could take a more challenging hike to Doctor’s Gate and the moors around Bleaklow.
 
Moors for the Future Partnership have an app called Explore Moor which helps you identify Peak District moorland wildlife, including birds of prey.
Fungi – Buxton
 
October is the perfect time of year to see weird and wonderful fungi. The woods which surround Buxton are a great place to spot them. Corbar Woods are the closest to Buxton station, but there are lots of other woodlands to choose from too. Head to Buxton Civic Association’s website to plan your walk: Woodlands – Buxton Civic Association
 
Look out for delicate Candlesnuff Fungus growing on tree stumps, bright yellow Chicken of the Woods, explosive Earthballs and fairytale Fly Agaric toadstools. Remember not to pick or touch any fungus if you’re not 100% confident that it is safe to do so – better to admire them from a respectful arms-length.
Autumn colours – New Mills Newtown
 
From New Mills Newtown station, it’s an easy, family-friendly walk along the Peak Forest canal to Goytside Meadows Nature Reserve, where you’ll see spectacular autumn colours. 
 
From the station, head down Albion Road a short distance, then take the first right onto Victoria Street and bear left onto the canal towpath. Follow the towpath for about 180 metres, then go through a black metal gate to enter Goytside Meadows Nature Reserve. Explore the reserve at your own pace, enjoying the sights and smells of autumn. Look out for fungi, acorns and conkers.

Let us know what you see!

Where have your wildlife-watching wanders taken you this month? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and TikTok.

More updates