About the project

Wall Works

The Heritage Revealed Project includes the conservation and repair of Dartington’s historic Deer Park wall.

Dartington’s Deer Park Wall was built in 1738. The wall is of mortared limestone rubble and was built along the outside of the original medieval Deer Park pale (a fence made from wooden stakes to keep the deer in). The wall was built using stone from the Dartington estate, and lime mortar and was commissioned from a local builder. The length of the remaining sections of the wall is approximately 1,475 metres.

The programme of works includes scrub clearance, ivy removal and clearance of collapsed trees, followed by cleaning of stones from collapsed wall sections for re-use, sourcing and replacing missing stones (where possible from local quarries), stabilisation, resetting fallen or loose stones, lime mortaring, patch re-pointing and repairing or stabilising capping.

The works are being undertaken by specialist contractor Sally Strachey Historic Conservation and overseen by historic building conservation experts Philip Hughes Associates.

Sam Wheeler from Philip Hughes Associates said ‘We’re using traditional heritage methods to conserve the wall, such as lime mortar, in keeping with the methods used at the time of the wall’s construction in the 1730s. If you’re walking nearby, you’ll notice blankets are used to protect the wall’s capping while the lime ‘cures’. We lay the stones perpendicular to the wall’s direction to bridge the two sides, actually in a stronger construction than the original wall.’

deer park wall repairs

Footpath Improvements

We are upgrading the existing footpath around the Deer Park to make it an accessible trail for ‘Tramper’ all-terrain mobility scooters (already available for public hire at Dartington) and all-terrain buggies. We are also installing a new footpath to the Deer Park’s rare and important Viewing Platform and upgrading the current footpath where it passes close to the river to enable the route to be accessible year-round.

Interpretation Scheme

The project’s interpretation scheme will tell the story of Dartington’s Deer Park during both medieval times and more recently. You can now experience this for yourself – see our Trail Map page for guidance on visiting the new trails.

We know that the Deer Park and its surrounding landscape is highly valued by our visitors for its natural and peaceful qualities. We will make sure that interventions in the Deer Park will be unobtrusive enough to be appropriate in the sensitive setting, whilst still able to be seen and enjoyed by our visitors. Natural materials, wherever possible sourced from the estate itself (e.g. timber), will be used to complement the setting.

From planning to launch: project timeline

Autumn 2015: Preliminary community engagement workshops

In a series of open-access events, we consulted with our community to assess the feasibility and aims of the Deer Park project.

Spring 2016: ‘Phase 1’ initial work starts

High-priority repairs are carried out by building conservation specialists Philip Hughes Associates and SSHConservation.

Spring 2016: HLF Grant awarded

Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £622,600 is secured for Phase 2 Deer Park Wall conservation and repair works

Autumn 2016: Remaining funding secured

£376,010 in match funding needed to complete Phase 2 Deer Park Wall conservation and repair works is secured.

Autumn 2016 - Learning and Participation Coordinator joins project

We welcome Lizzie Mee to the Deer Park team.

Autumn 2016: ‘Phase 2’ Deer Park Wall conservation and repair works begin on site

Autumn 2016: Project Progress Tracker installed in Dartington's new Visitor Centre

Autumn 2016: Training of Heritage Guides begins

Autumn-Winter 2016: First schools' heritage learning sessions take place at Dartington

Spring 2017: First Deer Park Family Fun Day

Spring 2017: Launch of primary schools' onsite heritage learning activities

Spring 2017: Launch of new children's backpacks

Spring 2017: Seventeen fallow deer arrive at the Dartington Deer Park

Community Day, 1 June 2017: Further family activities in Deer Park as part of Dartington's annual community event

Summer 2017: Creation and installation of signage, information boards, and interactive installations.

27 July: Public opening of new Deer Park with activities, accessible trails and interpretation

Spring 2018: Deer Park Wall restoration work completed, public event

Freshly-cast pewter arrowheads and their rubber mould, as created by KEVICC students

Secondary students’ arrows ready to fly in Dartington Deer Park education programme

Over 220 students from King Edward VI Community College (KEVICC), Totnes, have been spending time on the Dartington estate as part of a project combining historic and contemporary craft skills. Read More >>

SoundArt at the Deer Park

SoundArt Radio are working with the Dartington to help deliver outreach work to schools and families as part of our Deer Park project. Head to their website to listen to their first podcast about the project and their pageant recording from Community Day. Read More >>

Fallow deer arrive at Dartington. Photo: Into the Woods Photography

Dartington Deer Park sees fallow deer arrive for Easter

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. Read More >>

A pupil demonstrates the best bit about getting hands-on at the Deer Park

Primary school children explore cob, wattle and ancestral treasure at Dartington’s Deer Park

The Dartington Hall Trust recently welcomed 57 primary school children, their teachers and volunteers from St Margaret's Academy in Torbay to its first pilot workshop for primary schools in its Heritage Lottery Fund supported Deer Park project. Read More >>

Volunteers from the Language of Totnes School help clear and clean Deer Park wall rubble

Works starts to conserve Dartington’s Deer Park Wall following funding success

Work is now underway to breathe new life into Dartington’s 66 acre medieval Deer Park after The Dartington Hall Trust successfully met its £998,000 fundraising target in September. Read More >>

Deer Park Wall Phase 1 restoration

New heritage attraction gets green light – nearly!

The Dartington Hall Trust has secured new funding of almost £750,000 to repair and conserve a historically significant area of the 800-acre estate – a medieval Deer Park and its 18th century Grade II listed stone wall. Read More >>

Deer Park Wall Phase 1 restoration

Initial work starts to repair and conserve Dartington’s historic Deer Park Wall

Thanks to funding secured from Natural England, Dartington has started initial work to repair and conserve the historic 18th century Grade 11 listed Deer Park Wall on the estate. Read More >>

Potential design for an 'interactive point of interest' area at the Deer Park Wall

It’s done! Our final stage Heritage Lottery Fund application is now in

Dartington has submitted the final stage grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its major ‘Heritage Revealed’ project, based around Dartington’s historic Deer Park area. Read More >>

Visualisation of how the Deer Park Wall development could look. (c) Lacey Hickie and Caley Ltd

The Dartington Hall Trust wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

The Dartington Hall Trust has received initial support for its ‘Heritage Revealed’ project from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Read More >>

Get involved

The Deer Park project is all about opportunity. If you think you would like to learn more about history or conservation, get out and meet new people or just try something new, take a look at our volunteering opportunities.

Volunteers from the Language of Totnes School help clear and clean Deer Park wall rubble

Find out more