MSO9088 - Dunster Park, a post-medieval deer park (Monument)


A deer park containing woodland and plantations, created in 1755 by the Luttrells. Deer were moved to the site from Marshwood Deerpark.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

Dunster Park (deer park) [NAT]. [1] In 1755 a new park was created at Dunster, which lay to the south of the medieval park (MSO9086) and on higher ground. [2] The new park comprised 348 acres with a paling 2130 yards long. Deer were transferred to it from Marshwood park (Somerset HER entry PRN 33450; see External Links) in 1756 or 1757. [3] Additional bibliography. [4] Deer park, approximately 100 hectares. Features include a wooded hillside and plantation. Registered Park and garden grade I. [5] The 1840 Tithe map shows the deer park to be largely open with two main tracks crossing it. It is likely the the deer continued to be managed as such into the 20th Century. It is probable that the deer park ceased to function with the death of Alexander Fownes Luttrell in 1944, if it had not already been abandoned prior to this date. A walkover survey was carried out by Wessex Archaeology to record the remains of the 18th Century park pale, this highlighted eight distinct characters for the wall (see report for details). Where the boundary has survived in good condition it is approximately 2.5 metres wide at the base and 1 metre at the top and is approximately 1.25 metres high. [11] The deer park is 300 plus acres and roughly heart shaped. It is bounded by a stone faced bank, topped by coppiced beech with may have been planted in 1755. The bank was complimented by paling on three quarters of the bounday, possibly in areas where there was no bank. The park enclosed former farmland, which allowed for the incorporation of mature trees, giving a sense of antiquity to the park. The main approach to the park, the 'Carhampton Gate Drive' gave access to the most significant view points in the park. [12] An early 20th Century postcard captures a view from the parkland in the early 1900s. [13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14] A parkland plan sets out the history, significance and current condition of the eighteenth century deer park at Dunster, and advises on its future management and restoration under a Countryside Stewardship agreement. It includes an archaeological survey. [15]

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1974. 1:10,000 scale map: 1974. 1:10000.
  • <2> Monograph: Maxwell-Lyte, H.C.. 1909. A History of Dunster and of the Families of Mohun & Luttrell. 2. P. 1 and 2, 342-5.
  • <3> Article in serial: Dixon, J.. 1980. Somerset Parish Survey 3: Carhampton. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.
  • <4> Monograph: Whitaker, J.. 1892. A descriptive list of the deer-parks and paddocks of England. Ballantyne Hanson. P. 130.
  • <5> Monograph: English Heritage. 1984-. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. English Heritage. Somerset, revised 26 August 2004, Part 37.
  • <6> Article in serial: Unknown. 1842. Unknown. Gardeners' Magazine. 18. P. 489.
  • <7> Monograph: Jones, B.. 1974. Follies and Grottoes. Constable.
  • <8> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books.
  • <9> Monograph: Sales, J.. 1981. West Country Gardens. Sutton, A..
  • <10> Monograph: Thomas, G. S.. 1979. Gardens of the National Trust.
  • <11> Report: Anonymous. 2011. Dunster Deer Park: Outline landscape and archaeological evaluation. Colson Stone.
  • <12> Report: Felus, K. + Phibbs, J.. 2004. Dunster Castle, Somerset: A Survey of the Historic Landscape. Volume I: Development and Analysis.
  • <13> Photograph: F Frith and Company Limited. 1910-1925. General view looking towards Dunster showing the castle on the left and St George's Church on the right, taken from Dunster Park in the east. Unknown. Postcard.
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36936, Extant 18 May 2022.
  • <15> Report: Nicholas Pearson Partnership LLP. 2022. Dunster Deer Park Parkland Management Plan Final June 2022. Unpublished.

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11134
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO9430
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE35
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36936
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33441



Grid reference Centred SS 2991 1424 (1679m by 1749m)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (13)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Feb 15 2024 9:57AM


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