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Pengethley, Herefordshire

An ancient tree in the parkland at Pengethley
An ancient tree in the parkland at Pengethley | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Pengethley is home to 48 hectares of parkland, woodland, and farmland surrounding Pengethley Manor, most of which lies within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Archaeology

Dating back to at least the 16th century, Pengethely is presumed to be the site of a historic deer park, with archaeological excavations suggesting a history that dates as far back as the 13th century.

During the early 1970s, Archenfield Research Group undertook archaeological excavations just south of St Dubricius Church and found the remains of what
appears to be a medieval manor house.

The oldest structure found was a medieval stone building built around the mid-thirteenth century. While it seems to be a single dwelling, archaeologists haven't ruled out the potential for this structure to be part of a much larger deserted medieval village associated with the Church.

The excavation also found two more buildings constructed during the 15th - 17th centuries, suggesting that occupation of the site continued throughout this period.

Taylor's map of 1754 was the first map to identify Pengethely Manor and park. The boundary identified on this map has been interpreted to be a “park pale”, therefore suggesting the presence of a possible historic deer park.

View across the landscape at Penegthley with ancient tree and Pengethley Manor in the distance
Pengethley Manor is situated within the parkland at Pengethley | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Wildlife

Veteran oak, ash and hawthorn trees can be found throughout the parkland, as well as other notable species such as wych elms, sweet chestnuts, and sycamores. There is even an ancient oak tree at the centre of the site, just west of the pond

The pond itself is supportive of many invertebrate and amphibian species, including tadpoles, dragonflies, and several types of water beetle. Mink and fox prints have also been spotted in the mud beside the pond.

In the later months of the year, fungi flourish throughout the parkland with puffballs, waxcaps and bonnets appearing throughout the grass and wooded areas.

A row of ancient trees in the parkland at Pengethley
A row of ancient trees in the parkland at Pengethley | © National Trust Images/John Miller
Two visitors exploring the garden in spring at Quarry Bank, Cheshire

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