A Sanctuary For Deer

Woburn Abbey Deer Park is one of the largest conservation parks in Europe, and its 3,000 acres are sanctuary to more than 1,200 individuals from nine species. Only two of those species are native to Britain, the other seven originating from Asia, including the critically endangered Père David's Deer which was saved from extinction in its homeland thanks to a reintroduction from Woburn in 1985.

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the reintroduction and is being celebrated in a new exhibition in the North Court of Woburn Abbey. 

Image for Our Conservation Work Milu in Our Deer Park

Saving Père David Deer

Woburn is home to the largest herd of Père David's Deer in the UK, which can be seen roaming freely within the grounds. 

The Père David Deer (Milu) were first discovered by Père Armand David, in the Imperial Hunting Park in Beijing. He was a missionary who visited China in 1861 and carried out scientific work, especially in zoology and botany. There is no detailed knowledge of how some of the deer ended up in Europe at the end of the 19th century, but during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1901 the remaining deer were destroyed.

The 11th Duke of Bedford obtained 18 Père David deer between 1894 and 1903 from various Zoological Gardens in Europe. The Père David deer remaining on the continent disappeared during World War I, leaving those at Woburn as the only surviving herd. There are now upward of 220 in the Park at Woburn.

Since 1947 deer have been exported from Woburn to Whipsnade Zoo, Devon, Ravensden Zoo, Northamptonshire and as far afield as Germany, Austria and Japan.

The most important export occurred in 1985 when a herd of 22 deer were given to the People’s Republic of China by the Marquess of Tavistock, later the 14th Duke. Two years later in 1987, a further 18 were sent.   The aim was to reintroduce them to their native habitat, and they continue to thrive with their herds now numbering several thousand.

Celebrating 30 years, 1985-2015

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Limited edition prints have been created and are available for purchase. They feature Père David deer in Chinese conservation reserves today. All descend from the deer gifted from Woburn to China in 1985. 

 These very limited edition photographic prints are created using Giclee fine art printing process on high quality archival art paper. The prints are hand signed and numbered  by The Duke of Bedford on the front of the print. A certificate of authenticity is included with each, with the name, date and number of the print. To purchase a print, please enquire via email to enquiries@woburnabbey.co.uk

Vulnerable Species

Chinese Water Deer were introduced to Woburn by the 11th Duke of Bedford in 1896. They bred well and herds were established at other locations in the UK. The numbers of this species in their native China have declined over the last century, meaning there may soon be more Chinese Water Deer in the UK than in their native country. 

The Barasingha Deer are also classified as a vulnerable species. They can be found in native habitats across central and northern India and Nepal, however they are already extinct in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Woburn's Barasingha Deer can be seen in the grounds around the Paris House restaurant. They do not run with the other deer in the main park as they could potentially cross breed with the Red Deer.

 

Events & Exhibitions

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Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford

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Open to the public between 23rd March and 28th October 2018, the new exhibition explores the fascinating relationship between Repton and one of his greatest clients.
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Carriage Tours - June

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens
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Teddy Bear Festival

Leading collectors, experts and the top names in the industry will be bringing along a fine selection of rare and famous teddy bears. There will be antique artist and modern bears for you to browse and buy.
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How to Run a Stately Home: Talk and Lunch

Join Simon Pestell, former Butler to The Duke and Duchess and now the Abbey’s Head Housekeeper, to find out ‘How to Run a Stately Home’.
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Flower Painting Study Day

Join us for a day of flower painting as we turn one of the rooms in the Historic North Court of Woburn Abbey into an art studio for the day.
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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2018

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Now in its 9th year, the ‘Gardeners’ Garden Show’ has become an important diary date for gardening enthusiasts. Set in 42-acres of the Abbey’s beautifully landscaped gardens, the show offers unparalleled access to award-winning exhibitors and nurseries that have been handpicked by Woburn. The displays are complemented by an array of live entertainment, artisan foods, shopping, demonstrations, informative talks and gardening advice, tips and tours.
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VIP Garden Show package Saturday 23rd June

We invite you to enjoy a very special day out at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show with our exclusive Art and Horticulture package.
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VIP Garden Show package Sunday 24th June

We invite you to enjoy a very special day out at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show with our exclusive VIP packages.
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Rose Study Day

Studying and appreciation of roses with David Austin’s Rosarian Michael Marriott
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Twilight Parkland Tour - July

Experience the grounds of Woburn Abbey in a whole new light on this exclusive out-of-hours tour of the parkland and gardens.
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Carriage Tours - July

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens
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Open Air Theatre - The Tempest

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all male theatre company, invite you to join them this summer for Shakespeare’s spellbinding masterpiece, The Tempest.
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Bee Walk

Discover the importance of attracting bees to your garden and, more importantly, how to attract them.
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Twilight Parkland Tour

Experience the grounds of Woburn Abbey in a whole new light on this exclusive out-of-hours tour of the parkland and gardens.
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Brunch with Queen Victoria

Follow in the footsteps of the Queen and her 1841 visit to Woburn Abbey. Enjoy a delicious lunch in the Duchess' Tearoom followed by an in-depth talk with time to explore the Abbey at your leisure.
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Buterfly and Bugs Walk

Discover the beautiful butterflies to be found in the Abbey Gardens and find out how you can attract more species to your own garden, during this guided walk.
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VIP Picnic Carriage Tour in Woburn Abbey Deer Park

Experience a picnic like no other - in The Bedford Estate’s private traditional wagonette drawn by a team of four magnificent horses.
Image for Twilight Parkland Tour - August

Twilight Parkland Tour - August

Experience the grounds of Woburn Abbey in a whole new light on this exclusive out-of-hours tour of the parkland and gardens.
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Carriage Tours - August

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An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens
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Bat Walks

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Bat Walk

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Life in a Noble Household

Discover what it was like to work in a great Ducal household from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
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Bat Walk

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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Bat Walk

Take an exclusive tour of the Woburn Abbey Gardens at night and learn about the nocturnal activities of the bats living in the gardens.
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tri for life triathlon

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tri for life presents The Woburn Abbey Triathlon. One of the UK’s most loved triathlons, it has become famed for its iconic venue and unrivalled family experience.
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Dining Like A Duke

From the earliest times, the consumption of food has evolved from the basic requirements to survive into one of the grandest expressions of wealth and style.
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Adam Frost: Intro into Garden Design

Have you ever wondered how to approach designing your own garden, what you need to know to be a garden designer or the skills involved?
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair Evening Champagne Reception

This exclusive Evening Champagne Reception will be hosted by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford. Browse over 50 stalls of inspiring gift ideas whilst enjoying a glass of Champagne and canapés. All proceeds from the event tickets will go to the NSPCC.
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NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair

The NSPCC Luxury Gift Fair is an annual event and a highlight of the Woburn calendar.
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Treasures of the Library & Afternoon Tea

Enjoy a private view of some of the treasures housed within Woburn Abbey’s extensive library collection.
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Brunch with Queen Victoria

Follow in the footsteps of the Queen and her 1841 visit to Woburn Abbey. Enjoy a delicious lunch in the Duchess' Tearoom followed by an in-depth talk with time to explore the Abbey at your leisure.
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Housekeeper's Know-how

Ever wondered what it takes to preserve and care for a great stately home and its treasures? Join us as we begin our annual ‘deep-clean’ to find out more.
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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

A masterclass in Christmas flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.