Sections of two deer park pales and watering pond at Killerton Park


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017193

Date first listed: 25-Nov-1999

Date of most recent amendment: 26-Jan-2018

Statutory Address: Killerton Estate, Broadclyst, Exeter, EX5 3LE


Ordnance survey map of Sections of two deer park pales and watering pond at Killerton Park
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1017193 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Jan-2019 at 13:49:07.


Statutory Address: Killerton Estate, Broadclyst, Exeter, EX5 3LE

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Broad Clyst

National Grid Reference: SS 96959 00506, SS 97207 00541


Two deer park pales and watering pond, probably post-medieval in origin, but dating principally from the C18 onwards.

Reasons for Designation

The two deer park pales and associated watering pond at Killerton Park, which date from the C18 or earlier, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

Survival: * The sections of park pale survive well and will allow a valuable and very complete insight into the domestic economy and pursuits of the occupants of this private estate. Potential: * The earthworks will retain archaeological material relating their construction and more generally on the use of later post-medieval deer parks at a period when they were becoming less fashionable across the country as a whole. Documentation: * The history and evolution of the deer park is well documented both historically and archaeologically which enhances our understanding and significance of Killerton’s deer park. Group value: * With the scheduled monument Dolbury Hillfort, the Grade II* listed Killerton House and the Grade II* registered park and garden, as well as a number of other listed buildings which together illustrate well the historical development of Killerton.


Deer parks were areas enclosed for the management and hunting of deer and other animals, and formed one of the main hunting grounds of medieval England. As deer can leap large distances they had substantial boundaries known as pales, which normally comprised a bank, topped by a fence, hedge or wall, with a ditch on the inside, though not all these elements were always present. The pale was broken by gates and occasionally by a deer leap, which allowed deer to enter a park but not leave it, thereby increasing stock numbers. Existing natural features such as water courses were sometimes used for sections of the boundary. Deer parks contained a mixture of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of cover and grazing for deer. They also required a supply of fresh water for the deer. Although typically associated with high-status sites, most parks were situated some distance away on the margins of previously cultivated land. Nevertheless, there are numerous examples, especially from the C16, which were created adjacent to the lord or aristocrat’s dwelling, over existing farmed and settled areas.

A deer park was established at Killerton probably in the post-medieval period and possibly associated with the original house which was built perhaps as a hunting lodge around 1570 by Edward Drewe. The property was sold in 1602 to John Acland of Columbjohn who carried out alterations and additions to the house. The deer park which was situated largely to the north of Killerton House (Grade II*) is first depicted on mid-C18 estate maps extending from the edge of the Culm floodplain to the north to the southern edge of Dolbury Hill to the south. The map evidence indicates that there was a livestock funnel at the south end of the park and a possible keeper’s cottage (Dolbury Cottages, now ruinous) in the north-west corner by the C19. The evolution of the deer park is complex, and it underwent a number of extensions and contractions over the centuries. In the early C19 a new layout was planned by estate bailiff John Veitch for Sir Thomas Acland. The entire park was shifted eastwards and a picturesque woodland with ornamental walks was established in the former deer park to the west of Dolbury Hill. Meticulous accounts were kept of the amounts spent when the work commenced in 1810; for example, the watering pond was sunk on 12 August 1810 at a total cost of 10 pounds and 4 shillings. As depicted on the historic estate mapping (mid-C18 and early C19) the two main phases of deer park pale are represented by substantial earthworks, though it is considered (SouthWest Archaeology, 2016, see Sources) that timber and subsequently metal fencing defined some parts of the park boundary, particularly for the later phases. Archaeological monitoring during repairs to the park pales in 2015-2016 has indicated that the western pale was built prior to the mid-C18 and is of a one phase of construction. The eastern pale was built in several phases; its southern section may represent a ha-ha or fence referred to in early-C19 plans, and its northern section which is on a different alignment may have been added later. The deer park probably fell into disrepair in the first half of the C20, and the Killerton Estate was donated to the National Trust in 1944.


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes two lengths of deer park pale, one (west) dating from the C18 or earlier, whilst the other (east) is late C18/early C19 and was upgraded in the later C19. Both sections represent part of the surviving pales of a former deer park lying within the grounds of Killerton Park (Registered Grade II*). The eastern park pale has a contemporary, purpose-built watering pond at its northern end.

DESCRIPTION The western park pale, is some 923m long and extends southwards from the River Culm following the lower western slopes of Dolbury Hill to the Bear’s Hut in Killerton Gardens to the north-west of Killerton House. It is a substantial structure, comprising a bank between 1-2m high, formed of densely-packed earth, with a drystone revetment wall of coursed local stone on its eastern side; the latter possibly added at a later date. The park pale also has a wide, flat-bottomed ditch and an opposing earthwork bank which varies in width between 3m and 5m; forming a barrier with a maximum width of 13.5m. A single narrow gap in the pale leading into Columbjohn Wood is probably original, but other occasional gaps in the bank are considered to be relatively modern. A short section of about 30m in Park Wood is no longer upstanding, having been replaced by a cottage garden wall in the later C19.

The eastern park pale, which appears to have been constructed in the late C18/early C19 at which time the entire deer park was shifted eastwards, is approximately 1160m in length, running south from the floodplain of the River Culm to the northern slopes of the Dolbury Hillfort. It comprises a curving bank of relatively loose soil with a drystone revetment wall on its east side, built using the same local stone as the western park pale. Parallel to the park pale bank is a shallow ditch, some 5m wide, and an opposing earthwork bank. The northern section of the pale differs in its construction and form to that found to the south and may represent a different phase of construction, an extension of the park pale, or be a substantial, later repair. This section of the revetment wall consists of more roughly-shaped and loosely-coursed stone which is laid horizontally rather than vertically. The gateways through the bank are considered to be relatively modern. Towards its northern section, the eastern park pale appears to cross a short length of bank which may represent the truncated remains of an earlier park pale. At the northern end of the eastern pale is a watering pond which, although partially infilled, is visible as a shallow depression that seasonally contains water. It measures approximately 37m east-west by 16m north-south. A leat that supplied water from the river to the pond has been infilled and is not included in the scheduling. Some sections of the deer park boundary were defined by wooden paling or metal fencing; the former depicted in contemporary illustrations; yet although they do not survive; their former presence is marked in some places by slight linear depressions or ditches. However, these features are not considered to be of national importance and are not included in the scheduling.

EXCLUSIONS All fencing and gates, cattle grids and modern timber bridges and steps are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29691

Legacy System: RSM


Devon & Dartmoor Historic Environment Record, MDV60411, Deer Park Pale at Killerton
Hegarty, C, Knight, S and Sims, R, 2014-2015, East and Mid Devon River Catchments, National Mapping Programme Project
LUC, November 2012, Killerton Park Parkland Plan
South West Archaeology, February 2016, The Deer Park, Killerton, Broadclyst, Devon. Results of a Desk-Based Assessment & Walkover Survey, Report No.160212
South West Archaeology, February 2016, The Deer Park, Killerton, Broadclyst, Devon. Results of Archaeological Monitoring, Report Nos.160621 and 160203

End of official listing