Prinknash Bird & Deer Park, near Gloucester

Prinknash Bird & Deer Park sits on a hillside between Cheltenham and Stroud, looking down onto a beautiful, green valley towards the city of Gloucester and mountains of Wales. Popular with all ages, the Park is a peaceful spot to picnic and wander around free-roaming animals. 

From what began as a private collection of waterfowl, cartoonist and artist Philip Meigh took on the 10 acres of grounds at Prinknash (pronounced with a silent ‘k’) in the 1970s, with the vision of creating a stunning backdrop for his birds. He started by restoring the monastic fishponds from neighbouring Prinknash Abbey, which were once used to supply Gloucester with fresh fish. 

Copyright @Sara Chardin

Today, the Bird Park has a wonderfully quirky feel. Visitors can wander through the landscaped parkland with its lovely lakes and ponds, occasionally happening upon delightful follies, which were designed by Philip to maximize the views of the park. The follies, especially the Tudor-style Wendy House, are particularly popular with children. 

Children will love meeting the two miniature donkeys, Toffee and Treacle, and the oh-so-cute pygmy goats. It’s possible to feed and stroke the tame fallow deer, as well as see the three resident reindeer– Rudolf and Prancer and their son Comet. 

Still in tune with its humble beginnings, Prinknash Bird Park’s impressive and colourful collection of waterfowl includes snow geese and Bahama pintail ducks. These are joined by poultry, golden pheasants and two kookaburras, Bill and Bong, who live in one of the aviaries. Notice the calls of peacocks as you make your way around the park. You may catch sight of the free-roaming Indian blue peacocks or the delicate white peacocks.

The oak-framed Visitor Centre sells homemade biscuits, chocolate, crisps, ice creams and hot and cold drinks. It offers a lovely spot to sit upon one of the balconies and gaze out over the park and valley. 

During December, the Park is transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland after dark, when the trees and lakes are flooded with coloured lights. Tickets for this must be purchased in advance. 

A visit to Prinknash Bird & Deer Park probably won’t take up a whole day, so why not combine it with a visit to neighbouring Prinknash Abbey or nearby Painswick Rococo Garden? 

Admission fees apply.

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Prinknash Park, Cranham, Gloucester GL4 8EX | 01452 812 727 | www, 

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