Dartington Deer Park sees fallow deer arrive for Easter

New park inhabitants help bring history to life

Visit our Deer Park microsite

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.

Fallow deer arrive at Dartington. Photo: Into the Woods Photography
One giant leap… The fallow deer arrive at Dartington. Photo: Into the Woods Photography

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.

Visit our Deer Park microsite.

Read more about conservation at Dartington

 

7 thoughts on “Dartington Deer Park sees fallow deer arrive for Easter

  1. Dartington is such a vibrant , tranquil ,beautiful place to visit , the deer are a fantastic idea and I’d always thought that Dartington was so amazing that having Deer would be such a good idea, look forward to seeing them on my next visit. Well done Dartington. Thankyou for making it come alive with even more wonderful ideas.

  2. I think the whole project is ecologically ill advised. Extra paths and tracks will result in over use of the estate and have a negative environmental effect on the wilder ares of the estate. Also there are deer already in the woods and surrounding area, importing a whole new herd will have consequences in terms of management and culling, as there are no natural predators. How will local residents and children feel about that?

    1. Hi Roni,

      Your point is fair but perhaps not fully informed. These deer have been put into a fenced area in what was a field used for livestock. So they’re not going to place an additional burden on the estate, they’re simply replacing one managed animal species with another within this specific 17 acre space.

      We will manage this new herd as we manage the existing wild deer population, we evaluate the population in the context of what the land can sustain and then we have professional marksmen take out the appropriate number. The carcasses are then available to us for use in the White Hart and Green Table cafe.

      You are correct in that this does not always prove popular with a certain element of the population and we respect their opinion but we don’t hold that view organisationally. Specifically with this project we’ve restored a historic Deer Park Wall and there’s a story to tell there about our cultural history that these deer at going to be a part of.

  3. The deer are beautiful and wonderful to see but if local children and adults have access to them and their pasture, is there a risk of them being exposed to Lymes disease? My husband was bitten by an infected deer tick in woods in Dartington and was very sick from Lymes for several months.

    1. Hi Diana,

      We’re very sorry to hear about your husband but glad he was diagnosed, received treatment and has recovered.

      These deer are going to be kept within a fenced area so that people can observe them, from the other side of the fence, when they come to see the Deer Park Wall but they’re semi-wild so they are unlikely to interact with visitors through the fence.

      However, we do have wild deer across the estate, along with other wildlife, and ticks carrying Lyme disease can be found across the UK so it’s always a good idea to look out for the symptoms when people find they’ve been bitten by a tick.

      There is more information, if anyone would like to know more, on the NHS website http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lyme-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx

  4. What an exciting easter event! It’s great that you put so much effort into making the park a place of learning and enducation for children and everyone you visit, what a wonderful way to honour your long heritage. It would be great to see more of that history coming to life on your web page, there is so much you could do to capture the Dartington experience more vividly here online!

    1. Thanks for these nice words Madison! You are right to say we can do more online – it’s on our radar. Just in case you haven’t seen it, this section of the site does offer a decent starting point with a fair few features to explore. But we always want to do more.

Leave a Reply to Diana Rippon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *