Charlecote's fallow deer
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It’s believed that there has been a herd of fallow deer at Charlecote since at least the mid 1400s. A red deer herd was also introduced by Henry Spencer Lucy in the late 1840s but today we have only the fallow deer.
Local legend has it that a young William Shakespeare was caught poaching deer here and was hauled up before the local magistrate – the first Sir Thomas Lucy. He is said to have immortalised Sir Thomas as the fussy Justice Shallow in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The deer live in West Park which was previously closed to visitors, but we are increasingly allowing visitor access here and, of course, you can join one of our guided park walks throughout the year. Book ahead for one of our deer park safaris in October or a 'Park to Plate' guided talk and meal for a truly unique experience.
Playing their part in the environment
We believe that Charlecote Park has been an enclosed Deer Park since the Elizabethan period. In order to ensure that the deer are maintained in the best possible health we need to make sure that the land can sustain the numbers of deer and sheep that we have here.
The deer contribute to the grazing of our ancient pasture to sustain the plants and wildlife that co-exist there, and we maintain a fine ecological balance to ensure that everything benefits.
Managing the herd
Deer numbers go up every year and we need to reduce them to keep the numbers at a sustainable level. Between September and March we therefore cull some of the herd. This is done by trained staff in a way that causes very little stress to the animals when the parkland is closed to visitors. The superb venison produced is sold in the Gatehouse shop and used in the Orangery restaurant.