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

Image for Humphry Repton: Art & Nature for the Duke of Bedford

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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Christmas Flowers with Jonathan Moseley

This event is now sold out - Jonathan Moseley will be at Woburn for 3 workshops in 2019.
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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? While we’re closed for the winter, our housekeeping team invites you behind-the-scenes for an exclusive glimpse into what it takes to complete Woburn Abbey’s annual ‘deep-clean’
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Carriage Tours - April

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for Adam Frost: Introduction to Planting

Adam Frost: Introduction to Planting

Find out how to approach designing the beds and borders in your garden. Whether you are starting from scratch or want to refresh existing areas of your garden, Adam will share the essential things you need to know to get started.
Image for Spring and Easter Flower Celebration with Jonathan Moseley

Spring and Easter Flower Celebration with Jonathan Moseley

Celebrate the arrival of spring with this masterclass in spring flower-arranging with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
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Humphry Repton Study Day

Immerse yourself in the life and work of the last great landscape designer of the 18th century.
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Carriage Tours - May

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
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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’.
Image for Summer Flowers Sensation with Jonathan Moseley

Summer Flowers Sensation with Jonathan Moseley

Celebrate the wealth of opportunities summer offers for growing and arranging flowers with floral expert, Jonathan Moseley.
Image for VIP Garden Show package Saturday 22nd June

VIP Garden Show package Saturday 22nd 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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Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2019

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Early Bird rates can now be booked on-line for the Gardeners' Garden Show.
Image for VIP Garden Show package Sunday 23rd June

VIP Garden Show package Sunday 23rd June

We invite you to enjoy a very special day out at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show with our exclusive VIP packages.
Image for Carriage Tours  - June

Carriage Tours - June

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for How to Run a Stately Home: Talk and Lunch

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’.
Image for Carriage Tours  - July

Carriage Tours - July

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.
Image for Carriage Tours  - August

Carriage Tours - August

An exciting experience back by popular demand, enjoy a tour in a private carriage around the grounds and gardens of Woburn Abbey.