What is happening and why?
The parkland at Killerton is home to important habitats, historic views and Scheduled Monuments. Over the next ten years, these will be restored and protected, while facilities for visitors will be improved, so that we can bring the park to life.
A conservation management plan of Killerton Park, commissioned by the National Trust in 2012, highlighted the significance of historic features and habitats in the park and desirable courses for management. With this research in place the National Trust secured grant funding from Natural England through the Higher Level Stewardship scheme, making this one of the biggest investments in the outdoors at Killerton.
The project will see improvement in two main areas:
Looking after historic sites
Preservation of historic sites is a vital part of restoring Killerton Park. The parkland has two Scheduled Monuments: an Iron Age hill fort and two sections of deer park pale.
The deer park pales are stone faced banks that once supported wooden paling fencing; used to keep a herd of Fallow deer in. They date back to the eighteenth century and 1810. As part of the project we will assess the feasibility of reintroducing this herd of deer.
The ‘Bringing Killerton Park to life’ project worked to remove less established trees and scrub from on and around the scheduled areas. Trees were thinned from the hill fort and from along the length of the deer park pales. Killerton volunteers helped to repair any existing damage to the pales using original stone and specialist help.
The partnership effort with local archaeologists has prevented damage to the pales and the significant archaeology of the hill fort. As a result the Scheduled Monuments have been taken off of the "Heritage at Risk" register.
Wood pasture is an increasingly rare habitat, valued for its veteran trees and the plants and animals they support. The ecological significance of these habitats has only recently been realised, and the wood pasture at Killerton has been lost under secondary woodland over the last half century.
National Trust staff, volunteers and contractors have cleared scrub, thinned trees and removed fences to reintroduce grazing, which is fundamental to the existence of wood pasture. This will create more open parkland, giving light and space to the veteran trees and making the most of stunning views.
Rangers will ensure the selection of the healthiest trees to grow on as future veterans and look at replanting native tree species in areas of plantation. Lots of parkland trees will be planted in open areas of parkland throughout the project and beyond. These trees will be protected from grazing with special tree guards made by volunteers.