New park inhabitants help bring history to life
Seventeen fallow deer have arrived at the Dartington Deer Park – the latest addition to a new visitor attraction being created that will bring 700 years of history alive for people of all ages, including local school children.
The fallow deer – 16 pregnant does and one buck – made the journey down the A38 from Powderham Castle to their new home, a 16 acre enclosure within the 66 acre Deer Park. There they’ll become part of the incredible biodiversity of the park that includes lizards, toads, beetles, birds, butterflies and bats in and around the wall itself, with otters, kingfishers, dippers and cirl buntings also being common sights in the wider area.
Watch: Fallow deer leap into a new life at Dartington
Families are welcome to visit the park and spot the deer this Easter in advance of taking part in a medieval pageant and hobby horse making in the area at Dartington’s annual Community Day (1 June) before the Deer Park’s official public opening in late July.
The Dartington Hall Trust estate manager John Channon says: ‘When we first started work on this project in the Deer Park, people often asked where the deer were! So we thought it a good idea to introduce a few traditional fallow deer to a newly fenced area within the deer park of old. The deer have come from Powderham Castle and will be managed by Jon and Lynne Perkin, our tenants of Old Parsonage Farm.
The arrival of the new deer is part of a £1 million project to conserve and repair Dartington Deer Park’s historic wall and open up access to the surrounding parkland with new accessible trails. Dartington secured grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Natural England and The Pilgrim Trust which together with donations from the public enabled the new visitor heritage attraction to go ahead.
A Deer Park educational programme has been underway since November 2016 bringing local heritage to life through hands on learning for children and young people. Pupils from King Edward VI Community College, St Margaret’s Primary in Torquay, Dartington Primary CofE School and Park School on the Dartington Hall estate have been making cob ovens, arrow heads, medieval wooden hurdles, winter lanterns and woodland mobiles.
The work is indicative of an expansion of the Trust’s learning programme, with particular emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ for all ages using the estate as a living classroom – an idea that underpinned the creation of Dartington Hall School by the Trust’s founders Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst almost a century earlier.