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Can you 'bolve' like a red deer stag?

Last modified: 22 September 2014

Red deer stag bellowing in dawn backlight

Image: Kaleel Zibe

The annual red deer rut is fast approaching and what better way to see this amazing natural spectacle than on the atmospheric Eastern Moors, part of the Peak District National Park.

Expanding on the success of last year’s Red Deer Season, the National Trust and the RSPB have added two new events to complement the ‘Red Deer, Love & War’ walk for adults, and the family friendly ‘Red Deer Watch’.

This year, families and individuals can soak up the atmosphere as the daylight prepares to leave the moorland during a Red Deer at Dusk walk.  After a short walk up onto Curbar Edge from the Grouse Inn, participants will look out for the stags displaying to the hinds, with the spectacular moorland landscape as a backdrop.

For those looking for something a little wacky, there will be a Red Deer Bolving Competition. Bolving is another word for bellowing; the noise the stags make to attract a mate and let other stags know they mean business. Those wishing to take part in the competition will try their luck at becoming the Eastern Moors Red Deer Bolving Champion 2014.

The event has been sponsored by the Grouse Inn, with a meal for two on offer for the competition winner. Whether taking part in the competition or just watching as the bolving gets underway, there will be plenty of other family activities, including games and a short walk onto the moor listening out for the red deer stags.

Katherine Clarke, Visitor Services Manager for the Eastern Moors Partnership, said: “Red deer are our largest British wild mammal but so many people don’t realise they are here on the Eastern Moors. They are so camouflaged people walk straight past them.

“The deer rut is a time where the deer are possibly at their most visible and we want to give people an opportunity to view them at their finest.  We hope people will join us and find out more about this stunning beast living right on their doorstep.”

The Red Deer Season events aim to help people to discover more about what goes on during this action packed season, including how to age a stag, what happens to their antlers when the fighting is over and who will get the girl.

The rutting season takes place from mid September to the beginning of November on the Eastern Moors. Stags compete for access to the hinds – the female red deer - by engaging in elaborate displays of dominance. Hinds give birth to single calves from late May to June.

The Eastern Moors, part of the Peak District National Park, is an upland landscape rich in wildlife, from elusive water voles to captivating adders, golden-ringed dragonflies to the mighty red deer. As a site with almost entirely open access and a network of bridleways and footpaths, plus internationally renowned climbing edges, the Eastern Moors is a place where people can get close to some of the UK’s most beautiful wildlife.

The Red Deer Season events start with the Red Deer at Dusk, Thursday 9 October, 5pm – 7pm, followed by the Red Deer Bolving Competition, Saturday 11 October, 5.30pm – 7.30pm, Red Deer, Love & War, Wednesday 15 October, 9.30am – 1pm, and finishing with the Red Deer Watch, Saturday 18 October, 10am – 12pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm.

Booking is essential for all events.  The cost is £5 adults, £3 child, £14 family (2 adults, 3 children), except for the Red Deer Watch which is just £3 per person including adults.

To book a place, please contact the team via or by calling 07738 738844.

For all events, please wear appropriate outdoor clothing for the weather, long trousers and sturdy footwear. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Please be aware that there are no toilets on site except for the Red Deer Bolving Competition. The events are not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.


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