Martyn Burkinshaw, Landscape Manager from Petworth gave us a talk on the Development of English Deer Parks and Petworth.
Petworth Park emerged originally from the area known as Coney Park. Then the addition of Lyttle Park, introduced particularly for hunting deer. Then Petworth Common was added, and finally the area known as Outwood. The arrival of Capability Brown heralded more formal gardens and the pleasure ground garden. Little has changed from 1760 when the works had mainly been completed until present day.
Deer Parks are recorded from Roman times, when the deer were prolific but died back when they left England. The fallow deer were re-introduced by the Normans around 1066. By the 1500s there were over 3,000 deer parks in England alone. It was regarded as an English obsession and the owning of deer showed your status, but were also a source of fashionable food. Later in the 16th century there was a decline, but in the 18th century, things had changed again and there was a rise of landscaped deer parks!
With a herd of over 900 fallow deer, views to the North and South Downs, plus wide open lawns, Petworth has to be one of the most popular National Trust venues in the South East for family leisure time.