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HER Number:MDV8276
Name:Whiddon Deer Park, Moretonhampstead


Whiddon Park was created in the 16th century by Sir John Whiddon, who also built Whiddon House. The park is surrounded by a 2.5 metre high granite wall which encloses an area of about 80 hectares including a walled enclosure for a warren. The park appears to have ceased to function as a deer park in the late 18th century when the herd of deer are listed for sale and to have been used for other agricultural purposes. It was repopulated with deer in the 19th century, in 1892 it was home to some 40-50 fallow deer.


Grid Reference:SX 724 895
Map Sheet:SX78NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMoretonhampstead
Ecclesiastical ParishMORETONHAMPSTEAD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX78NW32
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 445551
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NW/46
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 85003

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • DEER PARK (XV to XVI - 1500 AD (Between) to 1599 AD (Between))

Full description

Donn, B., 1765, A Map of the County of Devon (Cartographic). SDV339776.

Whiddon shown as a house on the map, though no park shown.

Polwhele, R., 1793-1806, The History of Devonshire, Vol 2, 73 (Monograph). SDV21030.

Whiddon (Whiddonpark House: SX 720892, the seat of the Whiddon family from the time of Elizabeth I, appears to have been built in the early part of the 17th century. The family died out in 1761 and Polwhele describes the place as ruinous and the park virtually destroyed.

Whitaker, J., 1892, Deer Parks and Paddocks of England, 46 (Monograph). SDV102678.

(SX 72458931) Whiddon Park (Deer Park) (NAT) Whiddon Park, 195 acres surrounded by a fence or wall, averaging 10 feet in height.

Royal Air Force, 1947, CPE/UK/2082, 4393 (Aerial Photograph). SDV343041.

Field boundaries and ridge and furrow are visible within the deer park.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 361 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Whiddon Park was created by Sir John Whiddon (died 1575) when he built Whiddon Park House.

National Trust, 1978, National Trust Management Plan for Castle Drogo. Appendix 3 (Un-published). SDV350327.

Whiddon Park was built by Sir John Whiddon (died 1575). According to local folklore it was built by a private landowners army. The herd of deer, numbering about 100, were advertised for sale in the Exeter Flying Post in 1787. The park is listed, however, by Lysons as existing in 1822 and in 1884, in the 'Western Antiquary', volume 4, it is described as occupying a foremost place amongst 'eminently beautiful parks'. In 1892, Whitaker gives the size of the park as 195 acres and the population as 40-50 fallow deer. The wall at that time averaged 10 feet high.

National Trust, 1982, Castle Drogo (Leaflet). SDV277065.

Parts of the wall still stand 2.7 metres high, with a coping course along the cop. There are no deer now. The walled area within the park may have been a warren. A small quarry within the park provided granite for Castle Drogo.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1982, SX78NW/32 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV350325.

(30/03/1982) Whiddon Deer Park (name confirmed) (verbal) presently of 117 1/2 acres (National Trust OS 25”) lies mostly on a steep south-west facing slope. It has a roughly dressed granite perimeter wall rising from 1.4m. to 3.3m. high and averaging 0.9m. thick. It is at its highest where the Park adjoins Whiddon Wood inside the enclosure centred at SX 725894. The 7m. wide and 1m. high bank following the inside of the wall here is a further obstruction for deer as it extends over the area where there is a good run up to the wall. (See illustration with SX 78 NW 37).
The wall has been recently repaired though the coping visible (see Ground Photograph) appears original, as does the tree lined entrance to the enclosure at SX 72448950. This is aligned on Whiddon Park House. The small ruinous building just inside the entrance was still roofed in 1884 (OS map). The general condition, construction and size of this Deer Park makes it unlikely to be original (see Whitaker (1892) and Polwhele (1797) but is possibly the work of Napoleonic P.O.W.'s, as suggested by local tradition, although its course may, in part, follow that of the original Park.

National Trust, 1985, Castle Drogo, 7 (Report - Survey). SDV224362.

The park was probably created at a similar time to Whiddon Park House although the present 2.5 metre dry stone granite wall surrounding the park was not constructed until a little later. The wall enclosues an area of 80 hectares including a walled enclosure for a warren of 6.5 hectares. The style of the park, on rough ground away from the house, is an indication of its age. After circa 1700 most new deer parks were built on good ground immediately surrounding the house.

Gallant, L., 1986, Deer Parks and Paddocks of England (Un-published). SDV656.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 251 (Monograph). SDV325629.

The deer park is bnounded by a granite block wall at the entrance to the Teign gorge.

Pugsley, S, 1994, Devon Gardens, 129, 131-2 (Monograph). SDV672.

Parsons, 1994, National Trust Archaeological Site Monitoring Report. Whiddon Park (Un-published). SDV350328.

Site visit 10th April 1994. A small leat, circa 200 metres long, has been dug across and down hill from an area of springs at SX726889 to the stream leaving the park under the boundary wall at SX728887.

Gray, T., 1995, The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources, 234-5 (Monograph). SDV671.

White, in 1850, noted the 'ancient mansion and a wood park of 300 acres'.

Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.), 1997, Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 1, 12-13, Illustration (Monograph). SDV341166.

Swete describes Whiddon Park as of 'the wildest and most romantic Nature'.

Devon Gardens Trust, 1999, Devon Local Register, 147 (Un-published). SDV170167.

Devon Gardens Trust, 1999, Devon Register Review. Whiddon Park (Un-published). SDV357746.

Whiddon Park is a large remnant of the manor house of the Whiddons. The estate was bought by the Drew family of Castle Drogo. Located at the entrance to the Teign gorge, the park is probably a medieval deer park. The surrounding wall which is carefully built using large pieces of granite rubble may also be medieval. It stands up to 3.0 metres high in places. There is a ditch on the inside of the wall and a gateway through it to a drive from Whiddonpark House. Recommended that the park is added to the Register as a Grade II item.

Exeter Archaeology, 2009, The National Trust Teign Valley Properties. An Archaeological Survey, 4, 7, 14 (Report - Survey). SDV350323.

Deer park of 80 hectares established to the east of Whiddon House. It is defined by a granite wall, 2.7 metres high with, in places, an internal ditch and external bank. Within the park, on top of the hill, is a small warren enclosued by a tall granite wall. Within the deer park are two buildings known as deer culling huts. This function is considered unlikely, given their small size, and it is suggested they were used as shelters or for storage. The character of the early deer pakr cannot now be clearly reconstructed but there was an avenue of trees leading to the warren which was visible from the house. From the later 17th century the deer park appears to have been utilised for more diverse agricultural practices and an area of ridge and furrow is visible to the south-east of the warren where the land was recultivated. A number of walls were constructed south and west of the warren by and during the 19th century. Located mostly around springs these are thought to have been intended to prohibit cattle from wet and boggy ground. There is also evidence for 19th/20th century quarrying within the park.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

The warren in Whiddon Park survives well and unusually for Dartmoor is associated with a deer park. Archaeological and environmental information relating to the farming of rabbits will survive within the pillow mounds. See schedule document for full details.

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 04/07/2022 (Website). SDV364039.

Whiddon Park marked and named on 2" drawing though subsequently mis-named on the published 1st Edn. 1" (citing Ordnance Survey 2" drawing 1802-3 and OS 1" 1809).
"The house (Whiddon Park) was built by Sir John Whiddon (d.1575)....His deer park, entirely walled in granite blocks..." (citing Castle Drogo, Devon 6, 1981, (M. T. Trinick).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV102678Monograph: Whitaker, J.. 1892. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Unknown. 46.
SDV170167Un-published: Devon Gardens Trust. 1999. Devon Local Register. Devon Local Register of Parks and Gardens of Local Historic Interest. A4 Stapled + Digital. 147.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 361.
SDV21030Monograph: Polwhele, R.. 1793-1806. The History of Devonshire. The History of Devonshire. Unknown. Vol 2, 73.
SDV224362Report - Survey: National Trust. 1985. Castle Drogo. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 7.
SDV277065Leaflet: National Trust. 1982. Castle Drogo. National Trust Field Guide.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 251.
SDV339776Cartographic: Donn, B.. 1765. A Map of the County of Devon. Unknown. Map (Paper).
SDV341166Monograph: Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.). 1997. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 1. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Sw. 1. Hardback Volume. 12-13, Illustration.
SDV343041Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. CPE/UK/2082. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4393.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108312 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV350323Report - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2009. The National Trust Teign Valley Properties. An Archaeological Survey. Exeter Archaeology Report. 6794. A4 Comb Bound. 4, 7, 14.
SDV350325Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1982. SX78NW/32. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV350327Un-published: National Trust. 1978. National Trust Management Plan for Castle Drogo. Appendix 3. National Trust Management Plan.
SDV350328Un-published: Parsons. 1994. National Trust Archaeological Site Monitoring Report. Whiddon Park. National Trust Archaeological Site Monitoring Report. Unknown.
SDV357746Un-published: Devon Gardens Trust. 1999. Devon Register Review. Whiddon Park. Devon Register Review. A4 Single Sheet.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 04/07/2022.
SDV656Un-published: Gallant, L.. 1986. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Manuscript.
SDV671Monograph: Gray, T.. 1995. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. Paperback Volume. 234-5.
SDV672Monograph: Pugsley, S. 1994. Devon Gardens. Devon Gardens. Unknown. 129, 131-2.

Associated Monuments

MDV33342Parent of: Wall of Whiddon Deer Park (Monument)
MDV44336Related to: Beech tree avenue, Whiddon Deer Park (Monument)
MDV20578Related to: Rabbit Warren in Whiddon Park, Moretonhampstead (Monument)
MDV77352Related to: Whiddonpark farm, Chagford (Monument)
MDV8277Related to: Whiddonpark House, Chagford (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6046 - Archaeological Survey of National Trust Teign Valley Properties (Ref: 6764)

Date Last Edited:Jul 4 2022 3:40PM