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The Deer Park at Petworth House and Park

View over the lake with surrounding trees towards the house at Petworth, West Sussex
Petworth House and Park, West Sussex | © National Trust Images/John Miller

The 700-acre Deer Park at Petworth is one of the finest surviving and unspoilt examples of an English landscape designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Boasting far-reaching views of the South Downs, the historic park is an ideal place to escape the crowds, take an invigorating walk and let the children run wild. Petworth Park is open for you and your dog to enjoy every day of the year.

A historic herd

The magnificent herd of fallow deer have called Petworth Park home for over 500 years; they were reportedly hunted by Henry VIII on his visit to Petworth in the 1520s. Today between 700 and 800 deer grace the parkland. You may be able to glimpse a few as you explore.

Ancient trees at Petworth

Petworth Park is home to an assortment of ancient and veteran trees, some of which are nearly 1,000 years old. Here are some highlights to look out for:

  • Three ancient oak trees, one of which was a sapling during the Norman conquest of 1066 and is likely older than any of the buildings at Petworth.

  • The ‘Beelzebub’ oak dates back to 1779 and marked the parish boundary; it has been suggested that its name came from the superstition that land outside the parish was dangerous.

  • Sweet chestnuts up to 600 years old, some gnarled and twisted from lightning strikes.

  • A hollow common lime tree, at least 500 years old but able to continue as a hollow shell for hundreds more.

How the Park is managed

The grounds are managed sustainably for wildlife and are protected under a Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England. Please be mindful of the environment and follow the Countryside Code when you visit.

Fallow deer stags at Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
Fallow deer stags at Petworth | © National Trust Images/Adrian Holloway

Autumn in the park

Beech trees add a russet glow to the landscape, and the scarlet oaks turn a vivid crimson. Last year we planted ten more scarlet oaks in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, to create more dramatic vistas and rich autumn colour in this historic parkland.

Many birds can be seen this time of year including stonechats and meadow pipits, and you may spot flocks flying south for the winter.

Autumn is the best time to try our themed walking trails, plus there’s a chance to experience a dramatic deer rut too, on our deer rut guided walks.

Geese by the lake at Petworth, West Sussex
Geese by the lake at Petworth | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Water safety

Please refrain from entering the water in Petworth Park. The water quality isn't tested and there is a high risk of waterborne diseases and toxins in standing water. There are also underwater obstructions and no lifeguards to watch over your safety; swimming is not permitted.

The rotunda with yellow daffodils in the foreground in Petworth's pleasure garden.

Discover more at Petworth

Find out when Petworth House and Park is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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