Once again more than a dozen of the volunteers along with several dogs took a stroll around Woburn, much of it in the deer park, but only using public footpaths. The route took them from the car park (free) opposite St. Mary’s Church in Woburn and thence into Woburn park, across the deer park and in front of the Abbey. Most of this part of the walk follows the Greensand Ridge path.
There was a large group of resting red deer in the park estimated at more than three hundred (photo). Further on there were other types of deer, a couple of which had their antlers locked. There was a lot of noise and strutting going on although they didn’t actually see any more fighting.
Outside of the park the volunteers continued to Eversholt and had a break sitting under a Holm Oak, beside the cricket pitch and village sports centre.
Going north towards Ridgmont they re-entered the park at the ‘top’ of the hill. The landscape there is more wooded and full of other types of deer. There were however some groups of young red deer stags.
Overall they probably saw more than five hundred deer of various types along the 6.75 mile walk.
The deer park at Ashridge was enclosed some time after 1610, and was in two parts, one for the red deer and the other for fallow deer. By the time Peter Kalm the Swedish botanist visited the area in 1748 there was a single park supporting some one thousand deer. When the Estate was sold off in the 1920’s the red deer were transferred to Richmond Park, in Surrey.
Thanks to Peter Bushill.