Each season at the park brings its own delights. In the winter it may seem as though the park is sleeping but there is still plenty to see, including the famous Lydiard display of snowdrops (Galanthus) and the yellow flowers of the lesser celandine. Spring sees the blossom and bulbs; meanwhile the blackbirds and thrushes are claiming their territories and the grey squirrels indulge in their courtship chases! High summer is a particularly busy time in the glorious walled garden whilst autumn is vivid with berries and the leaves turning bronze and gold.
The park has a great wildlife diversity: Amongst a range of reptile and amphibian species there are newts, grass snake, common lizard, toads and frogs. Mammals that inhabit the park include foxes, badgers and deer whilst the lakes provide habitat for a variety of water fowl such as coot, moorhen, great crested grebe, tufted duck, mallard duck, Canada geese, little grebe, common tern, herring gulls and swans.
There are many other bird species in the woods including nuthatches, tree creepers, thrush and pied wagtails. You may hear the loud tap of the great spotted woodpecker and at dawn and dusk the call of the tawny owl. Whenever you visit, there is so much to explore.
The peaceful parkland at Lydiard is the perfect place to enjoy autumn, to walk on a misty morning or a windy afternoon, to watch the trees turn a vibrant gold, yellow and bronze, and to see the red and orange berries forming and the shiny conkers falling.
Download our guide to the parkland and enjoy taking in the sights as you walk. Wildfowl gather on the lake – swans, geese and different sorts of ducks, some of whom will have migrated from further north. Look out for fungi, huge puffballs, ink caps, bracket fungus on the trees and the stunning Orange Mycenae that grow in clusters on deciduous logs. You may even see the “fairy rings” of mushrooms on the lawn, but remember never to eat any fungi or mushrooms you have picked unless it has been identified as edible by an expert.
Autumn is also the season of fruitfulness and a great time to gather blackberries, damsons, sloes and nuts from the trees and hedgerows. You can download foragers’ apps to help you find all these autumn treasures. Rosehips can be turned into jam or tea, and sloe and damson into gin! If you can beat the squirrels to the hazelnuts you will need to leave them to ripen at home, and sweet chestnuts are delicious roasted! But whatever you choose, enjoy the wide-open spaces, the sights and scents of autumn, and the tranquillity of Lydiard Park.