Deer park and rabbit warren at Newnham Park


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020169

Date first listed: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Deer park and rabbit warren at Newnham Park
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Nov-2018 at 03:54:16.


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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Sparkwell

National Grid Reference: SX 55420 58220


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. 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 landscape. Where a deer park survives well and is well-documented or associated with other significant remains, its principal features are normally identified as nationally important.

Despite slight erosion damage from stock and natural causes, the earthwork pale surrounding the deer park at Newnham Park will preserve important features relating to its construction and use. Stratified archaeological deposits are likely to survive in the ditches and banks forming the pale, and will add of considerably to the future understanding of the park. Warrens are areas, occasionally associated with deer parks, set apart for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares. They usually consist of an enclosure to contain and protect the animals, with pillow mounds or buries constructed to house the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the warren. They date from between the 12th and 19th centuries, with most examples dating from the 17th century onwards. The warren immediately north west of Newnham Park is well-preserved. Its enclosure bank and associated ditch will contain stratified deposits relating to its construction and use. The animal pound to the north west of Newnham Park is well-preserved; its embanked funnel shaped droveways off Park Lane, and its relationship with the rabbit warren, are unusual features.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument includes a post-medieval deer park and associated rabbit warren, lying on the west side of the valley of the Tory Brook, 1km north of Plympton. The park was constructed by the Strode family to complement their new mansion at Newnham Park in about 1700. The deer park survives as an earthwork park pale enclosing an area 955m from east to west and 1520m from north to south. The pale takes the form of a large earth bank measuring between 2.5m and 5m wide, with a stone rubble inner face from 1.3m to 2.5m high, capped with horizontal slate slabs, falling to an inner ditch between 2.5m and 5m wide and 1.5m deep. This construction varies, with the bank and ditch larger, and a wide outer ditch, where the pale crosses the floor of the Tory Brook valley at its north end, while the stone type and technique of construction of the wall varies from large granite boulders at the north west end, to small slate rubble laid vertically on the east and west sides, and river boulders towards the south. A small quarry cuts into the park pale's outer ditch towards the north end of the monument. As the floor of the quarry is likely to contain archaeological remains of the pale and is close to an extant portion of the bank, the quarry in included in the scheduling. Several gates in the pale have heavy mortared stone piers with convex faces, 2m high, often with stops for outward opening gates. An arch 4m wide took the pale over the Tory Brook at the north end of the park, with dressed granite quoins 1.2m wide, while two leats serving ornamental ponds in the garden of Newnham Park House, and feeding Loughtor Corn Mill south of the park, pass through stone-lined culverts in the park pale at two locations. These measure 1m wide and 0.5m high with roofs formed with granite slabs. The leats survive as earthworks 2m wide and 1.3m deep, with banks 2m wide and 1.5m high on their downhill sides. The lower leat, of mid-19th century date, is lined with stone for part of its course. In the valley of the Tory Brook, the ditches of the park pale cut across the dumps and channels of medieval tin streamworking debris, while a leat which runs close to the park pale on its east side served Wheal Mace, a 19th century tin mine, whose workings lie within the park to the west. This leat is 1.5m wide and 0.6m deep with a bank 1.5m wide and 0.5m high on its downhill side. A rabbit warren lies immediately north west of the deer park in Coney Park Plantation, and measures 150m from east to west and 185m from north to south. Its enclosing bank measures 3.5m wide and 0.7m high, with remains of a stone rubble inner face 0.5m high, dropping to an inner ditch 1m wide and 0.3m deep. To the north and south of the warren, droveways from Park Lane, which runs down the west side of the park and warren, lead in to a sub-rectangular pound to the east, 73m from east to west and a maximum of 130m long from north to south. Its enclosing stone-faced banks are 2m wide and up to 1.8m high. All modern track surfacings and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 34874

Legacy System: RSM


MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

End of official listing