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THE DISTRIBUTION AND STATUS OF FALLOW DEER IN SUFFOLK,WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE SOUTH-WEST JEFF MARTIN Introduction Fallow deer (Dama dama) are fairly common creatures of the Suffolk countryside (Plate 1), but apart from their place in the history of the County’s deer parks (Hoppitt, 1999), little is known of their past. In the south-west of the County, where there are some historical data, recent observations suggest that fallow deer have been under-recorded in the past, and that this abundance may be atypical with the rest of Suffolk. This paper sets out to review the distribution and likely origins of fallow deer in south-west Suffolk, so highlighting some important and pressing conservation issues. In the following review the area under examination is comprised of the following 10-km squares; TL 64, 65, 66, 74, 75, 76, 84, 85 and 86. For the purposes of convenience and the possible standardisation of future recording, squares TL 64, 74 and 84 encompass parts of north Essex, and squares TL 64, 65 and 66 includes parts of Cambridgeshire. A concise history of fallow deer in Suffolk Fallow deer were introduced into Britain by the Normans shortly after the Conquest. They were kept and hunted in parks, forests, and chases, of which East Anglia was well endowed. This is reflected by such places as Hatfield Forest, in Essex, and Staverton Park, in Suffolk, and Rosemary Hoppitt (1999) has recorded some 130 deer parks in Suffolk which are dated as being in existence between 1086 and 1602. Most of the medieval forests and deer parks have now faded into history and often all that we are left with are incomplete documentary records and evidence of their past presence in the form of place names such as ‘Park Farm’ and ‘Park Wood’. I have listed such place names which suggest a link to fallow deer for each 10-km square, as taken from the Explorer (1:25 000 scale) Ordnance Survey maps (Table 1). I have included the word ‘lodge’ as this is often, but not always, synonymous with hunting, though not necessarily with fallow deer. Whilst I have no doubts that many of the ‘lodges’ in this region have a history with the hunting of fallow deer, I would urge caution when contemplating this link. Table 1. TL 64

65

66

74

75

76

84

85

1 1

3 1 2 1

1 1

1 1

1 2

3

2 1

4 3 1

2 2

4

2

5

7

10

9

Park Park Farm Park Wood Park Grove Pale or Pale Green Lodge Laund or lawn Total

1

86 Total

1 4 1 4

7

6

4 1 7

4 7

1 1 6

18 12 4 1 1 24 3

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Table 2 Deer Parks in Suffolk (as per Whitaker, 1892)

Locality

Numbers Locality

Numbers

1. Ickworth Park 2. Livermere Park

300 120

7. Orwell Park 8. Redgrave Park

200 60

3. Flixton Hall Park

220

9. Polstead Park

80

4. Helmingham Park

260

10. Campsea Ashe Park 60

5. Shrubland Park

150

11. Somerleyton Park

6. Woolverstone Park

400

35

The Ickworth herd formerly numbered 600 animals. With the exception of Woolverstone Park, which may have been represented by Wherstead, Bentley or Holbrook, none of the parks which were presented by Cantor (1983) were on the list as presented by Whitaker, He mentioned two parks which also contained red deer. Helmingham Park, which held 72 animals, and Somerleyton Park which held 20. Helmingham is Suffolk’s only remaining deer park and this park still holds fallow and red deer. We know that from the Norman period through to the end of the medieval, which is usually defined by historians as the time of the accession of Henry VII in 1485, many fallow deer were kept as park animals (Cantor, 1983; Rackham, 1989) but by the time of Henry’s accession many of those parks were no longer extant, with some converted back to arable and pasture. During the Tudor period there was a resurgence of interest in deer parks, and this revival was usually driven by the rising and affluent merchants and lawyers of the day, who regarded these parks as status symbols rather than places to hunt deer. According to Cantor (1983) these were not as intensively managed or as securely enclosed as those of the medieval period, and by the 19th century many had been disparked, due to changing family circumstances, or to the wider economic problems of the time. Towards the end of the Victorian period a review of the extant deer parks throughout England was carried out (Whitaker, 1892) and the locations of those in Suffolk is provided (Table 2) along with their distribution (Fig. 1). By Whitaker’s own admission though, he probably over-looked some parks, and perhaps this included Suffolk? Previously Shirley (1867) had also listed the extant deer parks in Suffolk, which were Heveningham, Helmingham, Hengrave, Redgrave, Ickworth, Flixton, Woolverstone, Orwell, Christchurch (Ipswich), Livermere, Somerleyton, Polstead, Shrubland and Campsea-Ashe. This was three more than Whitaker had reported. Most of the parks in Suffolk that Whitaker mentioned were disbanded at the outbreak of the First World War or shortly afterwards (Cham, 1984), and

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Figure 1. Location of Suffolk’s deer parks as per Whitaker, 1982. many of the deer were killed in the ‘general deer slaughter of 1915’ (Morley, 1930). Only the parks at Helmingham in East Suffolk, and Ickworth in West Suffolk, survived this disparkment, although Ickworth was abandoned in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War. As it was only established as recently as the 18th century, this was one of the County’s most recent parks but Helmingham, Suffolk’s only remaining deer park to the present day, was established sometime during the 16th century (Podd, 2009). However, it should be noted that parts of Staverton Park are now the homes of red and fallow deer herds. It seems that the fallow deer have been encouraged into the park from the surrounding woodland through the use of deer leaps which are incorporated into modern wire fencing. In Suffolk, the odd sightings of fallow deer in the post First World War era were rare so it seems, and Morley (1930) was ‘greatly astonished’ to see the first fallow deer that he had ever seen within a wood which was five miles from Ipswich. This is likely to have been to the south-west of Ipswich in the Old Hall complex of woods that are known to have been one of his favoured haunts, and where Beaufoy (1946) saw a buck fallow deer on 13th April 1946. It was suggested that all of these deer came from the park at Woolverstone.

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A history of recording fallow deer in Suffolk Precise records of free ranging fallow deer in Suffolk were absent in the record until a report emerged from the south-west of the County in the mid1950s (Payn, 1956). In it were listed a number of parishes where they were present ‘in some numbers’. The report was clear in the belief that these deer had originated from Ickworth Park. The first attempt to map the distribution of all of Suffolk’s deer was carried out a few years later and their distributions plotted on a 10-km square basis by Cranbrook and Payn (1970). This showed an irregular but wide pattern of distribution for fallow deer and it is one that still prevails today. The authors identified a number of additional parishes in south-west Suffolk where they had been seen since Payn’s earlier account, and they thought that the Cavendish area was of particular importance. They also reported a herd of around a dozen in the Kentwell Hall woods, between Stanstead and Bridge Street and they firmly considered that ‘Here again there is an association with the park herds at Livermere, Ickworth and Polstead’. They were also of the view that numbers of fallow deer were building up in other parishes and they highlighted the parks identified in Whitaker’s (1892) study as a source of those deer. Fourteen years later Cham (1984) reported on the status of Suffolk’s deer and concluded that some of the descendants from Ickworth Park ‘are now seen over a wide area between Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Haverhill and Long Melford’ (Fig. 2), and that the numbers and range of fallow deer in south-west

Figure 2. Distribution of fallow deer in Suffolk (after Cham, 1984)

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Suffolk had ‘increased markedly’. Stephen Cham also pointed out that numbers were particularly high in the area surrounding Cavendish, and he did not challenge the assumption by Cranbrook and Payn (1970) that these originated from Polstead, although he believed that the deer from the former park at Livermere had moved north-west into the King’s Forest. This seems likely, rather than for them to try and cross the formidable barriers to the south, namely the A14 road (then the A45) and the Cambridge to Ipswich railway line which runs parallel with it. The town of Bury St Edmunds, and its surrounds, would also have been off-putting. In his report, Cham drew attention to 10 former deer parks in Suffolk from which he believed the present day fallow deer originate. In his list of parks he included Henham, where some of the earliest records of wild fallow deer in Suffolk originate. He pointed out that in 1914, part of the park herd escaped and that their descendants can still be seen not only around Henham, but also around Dunwich and Stradbroke. The possibility that Henham was a medieval deer park was raised by Cantor (1983) although this appears to be unlikely, and Whitaker did not include this in his list. Stephen Cham also chose to omit the parks at Redgrave and Somerleyton, which Whitaker included. To date, no further efforts have been made to specifically record Suffolk’s deer although 28,000 mammal records were gathered during the course of the Suffolk Mammal Survey, which ran from 1993 until 2008 (Bullion, 2009). This survey revealed that there were four main concentrations of fallow deer in the County (Fig. 3), the largest of which appears to be based around the Tunstall/Woodbridge complex of conifer woodlands. There was another frequenting the hinterlands of the northern shores of the River Orwell, while another was to be found further south on the Shotley Peninsula. Elsewhere there were pockets of fallow deer scattered across central Suffolk some of which may possibly have originated from places such as Shrubland Park and perhaps Polstead Park. However, according to Whitehead (1949), the deer at Polstead were killed off in 1940. If this is correct, then that would account for the overall lack of fallow deer records in that general area to the present day, and as a consequence fallow deer from Polstead are unlikely to have been the source of those in south-west Suffolk. In addition to these locations, quantities of fallow deer were recorded to the north-west of Bury St Edmunds and also to the south-west of the town, around Ickworth Park, from which there was a spread of fallow deer stretching to Haverhill. No explanation was provided for the present day distribution of fallow deer in Suffolk, other than to re-iterate what has previously been stated, which is that the main populations of fallow deer are still to be found in the vicinity of the former deer parks as described by Whitaker, even though most of the escapes from those parks took place nearly a hundred years ago, with the last occurring at Ickworth some 60 years ago. Since 2009, I have managed to obtain further records from that region and these are also included in Fig. 3. These indicate that fallow deer are more widespread and common in this region than had been thought.

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6 Fallow deer -2008 Fallow Deer 20080

9

8

7

6

5

4

6

7

8

9

0

1

2

3

4

5

Figure 3. Distribution of fallow deer in Suffolk (data from SBRC). The possible origins of fallow deer in south-west Suffolk Before describing the distribution and possible origins of fallow deer in southwest Suffolk, it is important to set out briefly the topography and general environment of this remote area. Even by modern day standards south-west Suffolk is an isolated place, and up until the Second World War the region was even more remote. Travel would have been mostly on foot, horse, carriage or cart, although there was a local train service which ran along the Stour Valley from Marks Tey, in Essex, through to such towns and villages as Sudbury, Cavendish, Clare and Haverhill. This single-track line was closed in March 1967. Only very small amounts of motorised road traffic were around in the early parts of the 20th century and even in the 21st century there are only a few main roads, which even at the busiest of times tend to be relatively quiet, when compared to roads such as the A14, A11 and A143 for example. It is a wide and open landscape, sprinkled with quite a number of small to medium sized woods and in many places a surprising abundance of hedgerows (Plate 2). Here and there small towns and villages dot the landscape and the low numbers of lanes which filter through this region usually contain little traffic. It has an interesting and escalating topography which contains little standing or running water, but which has the highest land in East Anglia, of which I include Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. This rising backcloth has been described as ‘The East Anglian Heights’ (Steggall, 1979).

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The assumption from all previous commentators is that the fallow deer of south-west Suffolk have originated from Ickworth Park. If this is so, then it would appear that the expansion to Haverhill has been more rapid, and more widespread, than from all of the other deer parks which featured in Whitaker’s report. However, this explanation is too simplistic, and there arises the likelihood that other factors have been involved. In neighbouring Essex Chapman (1977) reported that he had marked a number of fallow deer, and that the furthest distance known to him of one that had traveled in that county was 5km. After the deer had left the estate where they had been marked, very few sightings of those deer were made despite the sending out of hundreds of letters to members of the public asking them for information (Chapman, 2011). Putman (1988) found that fallow deer bucks range over an area of around 50-250 ha whereas females ranged over 50-90 ha. Elsewhere, in Northampton, recent radio-tracking has established that the year round range of female fallow deer in agricultural landscapes with small woodlands was 178 ha, and for males 202 ha (Langbein et al., 2008). This report stated that there is no evidence of widespread or long-distance fallow deer dispersal, and that being a herd animal, they will tolerate a build-up in numbers to a very high density. By using observations of some fallow deer in Essex which had extended their ranges from three unrelated populations, Chapman (1977) calculated that the approximate range of the deer concerned increased by 0.6 km per year. When this is applied to south-west Suffolk we can see that it is reasonable to assume that fallow deer did indeed reach the Cavendish area from Ickworth at the time when Cranbrook and Payn carried out their study, but it is open to speculation whether they would have arrived there in such numbers and in so short a time, given the information regarding the dispersal of fallow deer that we now have. We are left then, with a situation in south-west Suffolk which from all of the previous reviewers suggests that fallow deer have spread out from Ickworth down to the south and south-western parts of the County, and that they did this quite rapidly. If this is what happened, there then remains the question as to why this range expansion has not occurred elsewhere in Suffolk? There is a possibility that some of the fallow deer in south-west Suffolk came to the County via north-west Essex, for by the end of the 1960s fallow deer had spread north from Epping Forest and had nearly reached the Essex/ Cambridgeshire/Suffolk borders (Chapman, 1977). This movement was aided by deer from Hatfield Forest. By the time of the new millennium John Dobson (1999) had shown that fallow deer had reached the Cambridgeshire border, whilst the colonisation of Suffolk also appeared to be close at hand, if it had not already taken place. The possibility arises therefore, that the population of fallow deer in south-west Suffolk has not only originated from the former deer park at Ickworth Park, it is likely to have come from Essex; a county with a strong history of fallow deer, and probably Cambridgeshire. On some high land, just a few kilometers to the west of Ousden, groups of fallow deer may be observed, from time to time, moving freely along the hedgerows between Cambridgeshire and Suffolk in either direction.

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Are there ‘ancient’ deer in south-west Suffolk? There also exists the possibility that some relic and isolated populations of fallow deer from those parks as listed by Cantor (1983) and Hoppitt (1999) hung on in some places following the demise of their deer park, and I draw attention to those parks which once existed in the vicinity of Cavendish (Fig. 4). If they did, then it is unlikely that they would have been recorded by naturalists in that area, for there were none. In the parish of Hundon, in south-west Suffolk, there once stood three deer parks, and they represented one of the most extensive areas of land given over to deer parks during the medieval and early modern period. These were disparked during the early 17th century, but at various other times during the medieval and later periods there were other parks in this region at Southwood (Great Southwood park farm) and Combey park associated with Desning/ Gazeley, Lidgate (Cropley Park), Badmondisfield (Wickhambrook), Great Bradley, Hawkedon, Cavendish and Chevington. Clearly this part of Suffolk was once an important place for the parking and hunting of fallow deer and, given the remoteness of south-west Suffolk, it seems entirely possible that in the absence of predators and disturbance, some long-standing populations of fallow deer may have clung on in this region after their parks were disbanded, and long before Whitaker carried out his study. An argument against this proposition arises from such events as the English Civil Wars, and especially the one between the armies of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. During the course of that conflict there were some severe problems which affected much of the countryside. In the late 1640s there was a series of bad harvests, coupled with high prices and an economic depression. Amidst all of this there was the problem of the disbanding armies, not so much as those caused by the well disciplined ‘Model Army’, but from the mutinous forces whose pay was very much in arrears. These ‘troops’ extracted money and provisions from wherever they could, whether in the towns or in the countryside (Worden, 2009), so it seems likely that any edible wild animal that was found in the countryside by those troops, and indeed by those living on and from the land, would have been killed and eaten. However, in Epping Forest, Essex, fallow deer have been living in the wild for several hundreds of years (Dobson, 1999) although largely due to road traffic and other disturbances, their numbers have been periodically reduced. These are problems to which many fallow deer in south-west Suffolk do not appear to be subjected to. In consequence, and despite the plundering that would have gone on during and after the Civil War, it still seems possible that not all ‘wild’ fallow deer were killed following their release from the former parks in southwest Suffolk. To have eradicated them all would surely have deprived the land owners (and perhaps poachers?) of a regular supply of venison. Indeed it seems that fallow deer are difficult to eradicate from the landscape, for at the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society ‘Linking Landscapes’ conference on October 22 2011, Oliver Rackham stated that it was difficult to get rid of fallow deer, and pointed out that ‘Once they’re here, they’re here’. Yalden (1999) has recounted how forests became unfashionable during the Tudor and Stuart periods, and that rather than being prized for hunting, the deer were looked upon as pests, due to the crops that they were eating in the surrounding

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Figure 4. The medieval deer parks of Suffolk 1086 – c. 1602 as per Hoppitt (1999) countryside. Eventually, this and other events, led to the extinction of the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and the virtual extinction of the red deer (Cervus elephus) in Britain, with those that are seen now in Suffolk, and elsewhere in southern Britain, being the results of introductions. The question then arises as to why the fallow deer were not exterminated, but have remained present in the British countryside since Norman times? Yalden (1999) has further pointed out that although fallow deer were poached, or killed to protect the woodlands for timber, they were also protected by those who wished to hunt them. In the New Forest, in Hampshire, for example, the fallow deer there were subject to the Deer Removal Act of 1851. A census in 1670 considered that there were 7593 head of fallow deer, but this Act ensured that virtually all were destroyed. Although most were killed, some managed to evade the slaughter and by around 1900 they had recovered to around 200 beasts. Today the herds are controlled and their totals amount to around 1000. Returning to Suffolk, it may also be that some deer were either retained, or re-introduced, by estate owners who wanted the animals to adorn their estates where perhaps they had not previously owned any, as well as having a ready source of meat to hand. There also remains the possibility that some estate owners kept a few deer simply because they liked them and that over time these animals escaped and dispersed themselves into the countryside. For example, in the 1990s a small herd of fallow deer, which were possibly imported from Sweden, were enclosed in a wood on the estate of Shrublands,

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to the west of Ipswich. Sometime in the first decade of the new millennium, the then owner sold the estate and moved away. The deer were then released into the wild (N. Chapman, pers. com.). Reflecting upon the fact that with one exception (Woolverstone Park) none of the deer parks which Cantor reported were featured in Whitaker’s list (Table 2), it is interesting to speculate on the origins of the deer which inhabited the parks which Whitaker described. Some might have been imported into the County, but were they all? Post-war farming and deer Clearly the numbers of fallow deer have increased in south-west Suffolk as they have in many other parts of Suffolk and the UK, and the reasons for this would appear to be straightforward. Since the early 1950s there has been a shift from mixed farming to a rÊgime of intensive cereal farming, with the seeds being sown in autumn rather than spring. These sowings produce young, tender succulent shoots before the winter sets in, and this has provided a regular super abundance of grazing during the winter months. Largely free from disturbance throughout much of the year, deer can utilise the landscape to their full advantage. In winter they use the woods for shelter during the daytime and venture out in to the fields at dusk to graze upon the cereal shoots. In summer, when the less palatable wheat is growing, they have no need to leave the relative shelter of the woods, for the spring growth within and around the woods and hedgerows usually provides plenty of food. Sometimes the does will rest up in the wheat fields, undisturbed and away from the rest of the herd, to give birth to their fawns. Herd sizes Large herds of up to 40 are sometimes to be seen on the Shotley Peninsula (Bullion, 2009) but Cham (1984) reported herds of sixty at Henham, in 1973, and regular herds of between fifty and a hundred in the Tunstall and Rendlesham Forest areas. In the winter of 1981/82 a group of 60 were seen at Nacton. However, these are not as great as some of those in West Suffolk. There, the largest herd of free-ranging fallow deer ever recorded in the County was registered late one night in November 1983, when a herd of 200 was observed to cross a road near Bury St Edmunds. It took ten minutes for the animals to pass (Cham, 1984). More recently, I have received reliable reports of herds numbering up to up to 115, although it may be that herds up to the size of 200 will not be seen again, due to the controls which are now in place. Some estate managers that I have spoken to, have informed me that up to 4050 fallow deer are shot each season on their lands, but there appears to be no co-ordination of the total number which are shot each year, and so the actual total of deer that are culled could be considerable. Conservation Populations of deer in the UK and Suffolk are now at such high levels their presence in the countryside is a wildlife conservation issue of paramount importance. The presence of fallow deer can wreak havoc upon the ground and shrub flora as well as the woodland coppice re-growth. Plant species such as the nationally rare crested cow-wheat (Melampyrum cristatum), a plant mainly of woodland edges, is largely confined to north-

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west Essex (Adams, 2008)) and also south-west Suffolk (Sanford and Fisk, 2010), where it is highly vulnerable to deer grazing. In neighbouring Cambridgeshire Rackham (2006) has highlighted the effects that fallow deer have had on the oxlips (Primula elatior) in Hayley Wood; this nationally important plant has strongholds in north-west Essex and south-west Suffolk. Elsewhere in south-west Suffolk Peter Payne informs me that in a private wood where he is studying the flora, ‘Amazingly there are still a large number of oxlips left in the ancient wood parts (of this wood) but the wood anemones and early purple orchids have been eaten and are greatly reduced. I am currently nurturing 4 broad-leaved helleborines in the wood and the best has flowered well this year, but they all needed to be netted. One which I did not for a week was eaten’. These are just a few examples of the damage that is being caused through deer grazing. Elsewhere Dolman et al., (2010) have highlighted the damage that browsing by muntjac deer are having on coppice re-growth in the Bradfield Woods, and which they felt was having a detrimental impact on many songbirds, and especially the migrants. The cropping of nectar-producing plants by fallow deer must surely have an impact on all sorts of insect species, which in turn will have an adverse effect upon migrant and other woodland bird species, many of which are in decline. There will also be a negative effect upon small mammals, such as wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and shrews (sp.). Fallow deer are herd animals and the combined damage that a herd can inflict as they move through a habitat can be severe. Conclusions and thoughts Cranbrook and Payn (1970) were perceptive in their recording of deer in Suffolk, although in the light of more recent information, which was not available to them at the time of their report, their view on the origins of fallow deer in south-west Suffolk are perhaps not as straightforward as originally thought. It now seems likely that the deer they commented upon originated from a variety of sources, which are likely to have included Ickworth Park, Cambridgeshire and Essex. Perhaps some were even escapes from various Suffolk deer parks earlier than those which Whitaker reported? Deer parks have been present on an ongoing basis in Suffolk from 1086 until the present day. Emparkment has been followed by disparkment, which means that fallow deer have been escaping into the Suffolk countryside on an ongoing basis for nearly a thousand years. It may be argued that as parks were closed down, the deer in them were all killed, but perhaps some were just allowed to wander off into the countryside? Fallow deer are now common in many parts of Suffolk (Bullion, 2009) but further investigations have established that fallow deer are more common and widespread in south-west Suffolk than was formerly thought. Although populations of fallow deer in Suffolk have been attributed to the presence of the former deer parks reported by Whitaker (1892), no active deer park was reported by him from the south-west of the County. The nearest was in midwest Suffolk at Ickworth. There is a suggestion that fallow deer have remained in the localities of some of the parks which Cantor (1983) and Hoppitt (1999) described and this is also relevant to other parts of Suffolk and perhaps in neighbouring Essex?

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During the late 1960s large groups of fallow deer were noted throughout much of this area and especially near to the Essex/Suffolk border. It was thought that those deer originated from Polstead to the east, and Ickworth and Livermere to the north, although the relationship with Livermere was later discounted. In the light of recent studies and information, the connection with Polstead is now tenuous. A DNA analysis should not be too difficult to obtain and might help to determine the origins of many fallow deer groups. The problem with this approach is that deer have been transported in the past, just as cattle are transported across the UK now, and so although obtaining samples may be fairly simple, matching them could prove a little more difficult. It has been emphasised that south-west Suffolk is a relatively remote and quiet area of the County, and it is not impossible even in the 21st century, for wild species the size of fallow deer to go un-noticed by the casual observer. Until the 1950s, when wildlife recording began in that region, all mammals had been ignored. Even in the 21st century large areas of that region are still relatively inaccessible. Coupled with an abundance of cover, in the form of small woods and copses, plus a surprising abundance of hedgerows in some places, fallow deer can not only rest up in relative peace, they can often move unseen along hedgerows from wood to wood, unless a special watch is kept for them. Only at harvest time are they likely to be disturbed. It may be that this region will eventually prove be the main stronghold of fallow deer in Suffolk. The presence of a year round supply of food, particularly in winter time, has enabled many deer to survive when at other times some would have succumbed. The move from spring to autumn sown cereal crops appears to have been the major factor for the rise in fallow deer populations. Although this is unproven, there does not appear to be any other rational explanation for the increase in numbers. This together with a relatively quiet and undisturbed environment, with plenty of cover and a lack of predators, has provided them with an ideal environment. At present it is unclear what the long term effects will be of oil-seed rape on fallow deer populations. It may be that the ready supply of food since the Second World War has meant an increased ability to re-produce, and I have received various unconfirmed reports of twin fawns being born, although according to (Langbein et al., 2008) twin fallow foetuses are rare. Historically south-west Suffolk has been a focus for the parking and hunting of deer, and there are a number of place names which are associated with this tradition. This, along with the former deer parks as described by Rosemary Hoppitt, may well have a bearing on the present distribution of fallow deer, for it seems that there still are some reasonably sized herds of fallow deer which appear to have some association to a park, even though the park ceased to exist well over a hundred years ago. It now seems likely, in view of the evidence presented, that fallow deer have been roaming free in south-west Suffolk for hundreds of years and are not just the result of deer escaping from Ickworth Park during the Second World War. These ‘wild’ populations might have been quite small, consisting perhaps no more than four or five animals who managed to secrete themselves, waiting for the right conditions that would enable their numbers to increase.

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Looking at Suffolk as a whole, the explanation that the deer parks which Whitaker recorded are totally responsible for the present distribution of Suffolk’s fallow deer does not hold water. A more detailed analysis linking the distribution of medieval deer parks with the present distribution of Suffolk’s fallow deer, strongly suggests that some of the deer herds are more likely to be linked to the parks recorded by Cantor (1983) and Hoppitt (1999), rather than just to those described by Whitaker. The future Looking at south-west Suffolk and indeed Suffolk as a whole, the presence of deer in the countryside is now an important conservation issue. The fact that we know comparatively little about their impact on other wildlife of the County is of concern. Studies have been carried out on the damage which has been inflicted on coppice re-growth by muntjac and other deer, in the Bradfield Woods complex (Dolman et al., 2010), and those authors offered suggestions on how to tackle the present deer problem. These included fencing, managing woodlands as ‘high forest’ and shooting. They were also keen to encourage the employment of either part or full-time deer managers. This kind of management, together with some well-designed wildlife surveys may well have great benefits for many forms of wildlife in this region. They placed great emphasis on deer management rather than eradication, although the likelihood of fallow deer being eradicated from the countryside is not a realistic proposition, and even if it was, would we want to totally eradicate deer from the landscape? Most people, including wildlife conservationists, like to see deer in the wild, but on the other hand most wildlife conservationists do not want deer destroying precious woodland and hedgerow plants. Acknowledgements I am neither an expert on fallow deer or on Suffolk’s deer parks, and so this paper has benefited greatly from the input of Norma Chapman and Rosemary Hoppitt. I thank them both very much for their kind support, their generous assistance, and for pointing me in the right direction when I threatened to go beyond the pale. In Essex I am grateful for the kind assistance provided by John Dobson. His helpful correspondence has helped to widen the picture in that often overlooked but most interesting region of East Anglia. David Hooton of the Deer Initiative has also been helpful in making important comment on some aspects of this paper. I am most grateful to Peter Payne for providing me with an insight into what is happening to south-west Suffolk’s ground flora in the presence of fallow and other deer. Studies such as his may well help to provide the information that is needed to sustain populations of deer at a manageable level, whilst enhancing Suffolk’s wildlife. As always I am thankful for the help provided by Martin Sanford in the Suffolk Biological Records Centre. References Adams, K. J. (2008). Notes on Essex Specialities. 13: the status and distribution of Crested Cow-wheat, Melampyrum cristatum L. in Britain, now largely confined to Essex. Essex Naturalist 25: 120–127.

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Beaufoy, S. (1946). Observations. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 6: 79. Bullion, S. (2009). The Mammals of Suffolk. Suffolk Wildlife Trust (Ashbocking) and Suffolk Naturalists’ Society (Ipswich). Cantor, L.(1983). The Medieval Parks of England: A Gazetteer. Depart. of Education, Loughborough Univ. of Technology. Cham, S. A. (1984). A Survey of the Deer in Suffolk. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 20: 10–24 Chapman, D. I., (1977). Deer of Essex. Essex Field Club, London. Chapman, N. 2011. Fallow deer on an Essex estate; observations on their biology and ecology. Essex Naturalist 28: 122–178. Cranbrook, Lord & Payn, W.H. (1970). Distribution of Deer in Suffolk. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 15: 123–127 Dobson, J. (1999). The Mammals of Essex. Lopinga Books, Wimbish. Dolman, P., Fuller, R., Gill, R., Hooton, D. & Tabor, R. (2010). Escalating ecological impacts of deer in lowland woodland. British Wildlife 21: 242– 254. Hoppitt, R. in Dymond, D. & Martin, E., (Eds.) (1999). Medieval Deer-Parks in An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (3rd edition). Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Langbein, J., Chapman., N.G. & Putman, R.J. in Harris, S. and Yalden., D.W (Eds.) (2008). Fallow deer in Mammals of the British Isles (4th edition). Mammal Society, Southampton. Morley, C. (1930). Observations. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 1: 155. Payn, W.H. (1956). Mammals of south-west Suffolk. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 9: 309–312. Podd, S. (2009). Helmingham Park – a complex development. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. XLII Part I; 38–58. Putman, R. (1988). The Natural History of Deer. Christopher Helm, London. Rackham, O. in Dymond, D. & Martin, E., (Eds.) (1989). Medieval DeerParks in An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (2nd edition) Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Rackham, O. (2006). Woodlands. Collins, London. Sanford, M. N. & Fisk, R. (2010). A Flora of Suffolk. D. K. & M. N. Sanford, Ipswich. Steggall, P. (1979). East Anglia. Robert Hale, London. Whitaker, J. (1892). A Descriptive List of the Deer-Parks and Paddocks of England. Ballantyne, Hanson and Co., London. Whitehead, G. K. (1949). Deer and their management in the deer parks of Great Britain and Ireland. Country Life, London. Worden, B. (2009). The English Civil Wars, 1640-1660. Weidenfeld & Nicolson (Orion Publishing), London. Yalden, D.W. (1999). The History of British Mammals. Poyser, London. Jeff R. Martin 17, Moss Way, West Bergholt Colchester, Essex CO6 3LJ

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 47 (2012)


R. Hoppitt J. R. Martin

Plate 1: A small herd of Fallow Deer crossing arable farmland at Theberton (p. 1.)

Plate 2: A combination of winter wheat, a surprising amount of hedgerows and small woods, south-west Suffolk provides all the needs of a thriving fallow deer population. (p. 6).

THE DISTRIBUTION AND STATUS OF FALLOW DEER IN SUFFOLK,WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE SOUTH-WEST  

Jeff Martin

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