Whitcliff Deer Park (also known as Whitley Park, Whitecliffe Park)6917

Berkeley, England, Gloucestershire, Stroud

Brief Description

This is the last operational medieval deer park of the many deer parks noted in the Severn Vale in the 16th century.

History

The park was enclosed during the reign of Henry III and enlarged in the 18th century when a high brick wall surrounding the park was built.

Visitor Facilities

Only on public footpath and an alterative permissive footpath that goes close to Park House to create a loop in the northern part of the deer park.

Detailed Description

The park lies on a ridge of land between the River Severn and the Cotswold escarpment. It is largely rough grazing though there is a line of ancient oaks. Another line of trees was planted in the 19th century; copses and scot firs.

It is surrounded by a brick wall 2 metres high. There are locked pedestrian gates into the park. These pedestrian gates have a bar over them at 2.2 metres in case the deer are tempted to jump over the gates as they are not 2 metres high. However the public have to climb up steps to a platform a metre high to gain access to the park from the public footpath.

Some stretches of the wall have been replaced with a fence of a similar height as the wall and supported on brick pillars on the line of the wall. This may well be because the wall blew down.

There are hatches intermittently at the base of the wall. They open into the park. Being over a metre in width but only a half a metre high it is possible that they are for hounds to pursue their prey whilst containing the deer.

Across the Little Avon river from Berkeley Castle are the kennels. The hounds can be exercised in the deer park by taking them out a private lane behind Ham and across a public road to enter the deer park adjacent to the listed lodge.

Deer cotes were situated adjacent to Park Farm ST67859570 and near Bevington ST66169653.

A moated site below the hill probably held a hunting lodge. It was superseded by another built at an altitude of 41 metres just below the summit of the hill. A later replacement created the banqueting house Park House in full visibility of Berkeley Castle. It would have provided an excellent vantage point to view a chase. The Berkeley estate no longer owns Park House.

Features
Deer Cote, Banqueting House
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Only on public footpath and an alterative permissive footpath that goes close to Park House to create a loop in the northern part of the deer park.

Directions

Leave A38 at Stone and park just before reaching Ham.

Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Ham and Stone
History

Detailed History

Lord Maurice de Berkeley converted Whitcliff wood into the Whitcliff deer park. However, the custom was that woods were not enclosed, so many tenants and certain freeholders enjoyed common pasture in them. A document dated 1270 suggests that although several people accepted his offers of compensation he failed to achieve his object by negotiation. The more recalcitrant commoners brought an action in law against Maurice de Berkeley's son "to theire small comfort and less gaine".

In 1347-1348 the woodward sold scorpio - strips of oak bark used to tan leather - from Whitcliff Deer Park worth 13s 4d. Trees were being harvested as well as venison.

A high brick wall surrounding the park was started in 1770 and took seven years to complete.

Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Owners

  • Berkeley Estate

    The Estate Office, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9QL
References

References