Haddon’s Medieval Park is a true rarity. From a 14th century deer park to a modern sanctuary for nature, surprisingly little has changed since it was once a playground for the Tudor aristocracy.
The park was not only land for sporting pursuits, it was also a valuable source of venison, fish, rabbits, and grazing as well as providing wood for fuel and construction, and remained a prized commodity until the Civil War.
The aftermath of the Civil War saw many deer parks sadly disappear from the English landscape as estates sought to gain more profit from their land through agriculture. Haddon, though, persisted until around 1782 when the park was, like many others, converted to field systems.
Whether through luck or forethought, the park’s medieval essence, features, and landscape thankfully survived – largely thanks to its extended prior use – and allows us now to return it to its original, productive, and beneficial state.
Remarkably almost half of the park has been untouched by agricultural systems for at least 900 years and as such it is of hugely significant scientific and ecological interest.
In 2009 Lord Edward Manners decided to restore Haddon’s Medieval parkland and converted all the land within it to organic management and entered a Stewardship Scheme which reverted two thirds of the farmed land back into Parkland woodland pasture.
Today, over 500 native trees have been planted, and sheep and rare-breed cattle roam free – all adding to the dizzyingly diverse range of habitats in such a relatively small area.
At Haddon, we are committed to restoring this landscape, protecting the, often rare and endangered, flora and fauna, and also making the park accessible for visitors to learn about, and experience this unique natural environment.
Enter the Medieval Park here.