Deer, oh deer - on safari at Snettisham, in Norfolk

Forget, just for a minute, little Bambi. Instead, take a look at Rufus, half a ton of antlered stag 12 inches from your face. Yes, he's a poser - but he manages an air of menace as he struts his stuff with olders and betters, William and Harry.

These three are leaders of the pack at Snettisham Park Farm, where the Red deer safaris are a regular summer draw for families.

Transported by tractor-drawn trailer, visitors can get up close to the stags and 60 breeding hinds with their calves, now about two months old, in 40 acres of enclosed rolling grassland.

'This is a place where you can observe wild animals in a natural but enclosed environment,' says Trevor Walters, tourism partner at Snettisham Park Farm, a working arable and livestock unit perched above the Wash on the West Norfolk coast.

'The deer are wild – they're outside all year, fending for themselves – but they see us as meals on wheels, so we can get close to them at this time of year.'


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The Red deer, first introduced to Snettisham from their native Scotland in 1986 as part of an innovative business diversification plan, are a key element of the farm – but only a part of it.

The 329-acre Park Farm also rears Suffolk and Texel sheep and grows milling wheat, malting barley and sugar beet.

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'It's a working farm, but with our lambs and the deer, we are able to offer a unique experience,' says Trevor, an agricultural college graduate who came to the area 25 years ago.

Spring lambing is another popular attraction at the farm, and through to the end of this month(Aug) the well-known Richard Savory sheep show will also be at Snettisham every day as an addition to the deer safaris.

And so… at last it's time to meet Bambi, running free with his mum (who won't be shot any time soon) and the rest of the herd.

These little creatures – just a month old when we visited – are irresistible, gambolling around in safety from predators, with the biggest danger learning to swim in either of the two ponds which also attract a range of birdlife, including shelduck, oyster catchers and Egyptian geese.

'They're a bit timid just now, but you have to remember these are wild animals,' says Trevor, whose tourism portfolio also includes 2.5 miles of tracks and trails, an adventure playground and a tea room. 'It all helps us to give people an experience they won't normally get.'

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