Deer park pale of Poundisford Park.
Reasons for Designation
Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house, castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features, including hunting lodges (often moated), a park-keeper's house, rabbit warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Some parks were superimposed on existing fieldscapes and their laying-out may have involved the demolition of occupied farms and villages. Occasionally a park may contain the well preserved remains of this earlier landscape. Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks, between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility. From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed and by the end of the 17th century the deer park in its original form had largely disappeared. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks were a long-lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of medieval nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern countryside. The deer park pale of Poundisford Park survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development and landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 August 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument, which falls into seven areas, includes the deer park pale associated with Poundisford Park and lies in the area between the settlements of Staplehay, Pitminster, Fulwood and Poundisford. The park is approximately 5km in circumference and the pale survives, somewhat differentially for almost 4km of the overall length. It has been cut in places by a motorway, smaller roads and various buildings or gardens and elsewhere more modern hedges have replaced the original pale bank and ditch. It is best preserved to the south and generally survives as bank measuring from 4m up to 7m wide standing up to 2m high with the accompanying external and on occasion an internal ditch visible in places. Poundisford Park had its origins as a medieval deer park which was enclosed in around 1150 and divided into two estates in 1546. The formal gardens which now surround Poundisford House were initially laid out in the 17th century and restored in 1928. The gardens around Poundisford Lodge date to the 19th century. Poundisford Park is registered Grade II.