Bradgate: A medieval deer park

photography ยท Sep 17, 2023


Deer Parks are an interesting bit of English history. Starting in the Anglo-Saxon era and becoming more popular after the Norman conquest. The well-off land owners of the time began enclosing areas of forests and fields. They did this by creating an encircling ditch and placing a wooden fence or stone wall on the outside of this ditch with the idea that deer would not be able to jump out but would have the opportunity to jump in. At one time it was estimated that 2% of the land area of England was covered in these types of deer parks! [read more info on wikipedia]

Bradgate park located in Leicestershire was first recognized as a bit of land owned by the Manor of Groby. Some websites seem to indicate that the deer park was first mentioned in writing circa 1241 but I haven't been able to find a solid reference for this.


Anyhow onto the good stuff. I woke up around 5am to arrive at Bradgate park just after 6:30am, 30 minutes before sunrise. These are some of the favorite photos I was able to capture. You'll see both Farrow and Red deer. I hope you enjoy.

View from Bradgate park looking down onto Cropston, a warm foggy morning. The sun has just begun to rise.

A view of trees and a windmill off in the distance. Heavy fog makes building hard to distinguish.

Hills of ferns in the park with a large boulder.

Three spotted deer standing in tall grass. A doe has its nose pressed up close to it's fawns neck.

A view of the crumbling Bradgate house with deer standing in front grazing.

A group of fallow deer laying in ferns and tall grass.

A fallow deer buck standing and staring at a doe that is laying in the grass.

A very sleepy looking all white fallow buck.

A red deer laying in medium grass. A crow standing on its back picking at bugs on the deer's face.

Two red deer in a field with a hill in the background. Old John tower sits atop the hill.