272 Ugbrooke outwork

The outworks of the Danish Camp at Ugbrooke might easily be mistaken for the pale of a mediaeval deer park.

The question that exercises my good friends from Devonshire, on the other hand, is ‘where the deer were at Ugbrooke?’ ‘Did they wander freely over all the extensive parkland, or were they contained in smaller paddocks?’ The Danish Camp and its outworks are clearly substantial enough to have held deer, effectively in a paddock, but simply because the earthworks were there, does it follow that they were used as a pale? The question therefore is not whether the Danish Camp was actually a hill fort, but, given that it and its outlying earthworks are still used as boundaries and given that they are substantial enough to have been deer-proofed, does it follow that they were used as pales for a deer park?

I welcome such questions, because it seems to me that we should always keep a lookout for deer in the parklands of the great Capability Brown. Pictures so seldom show the lie of the land and the limits of the landscape: were there deer, where were they and how were they managed? At risk of generalising in reply to the questions that were asked specifically about Ugbrooke, these seem to me to be three worthwhile questions to ask of any landscape.

There was, in Brown’s day, an interest in deer contained in small paddocks – an interest that was maintained into the 19th century: Woodchester, Uppark, Rycote, Moccas and Milton Abbey amongst many others, had paddocks beside or within the area known as ‘the park’. I’d be glad to have a full list of these paddocks and to know where each sat within the parkland and whether all were visible from the windows of the house.