Studley Royal Deer Park
Although dating back to medieval times the deer park we see today owes much to John and later to William. This was the parkland surrounding their seat, Studley Royal House and was laid out to provide a beautiful scene with long distant views to Ripon Cathedral and the Vale of York.
The Aislabie walk enters the deer park through an intriguing door through the wall. If you are lucky it will not be long before you see a herd of deer. Three species live in the park, Red Deer, Fallow Deer and Sitka deer add up to around 500 head living a fairly wild existence. If you bring a dog on your walk please keep it on a lead and try to leave the deer in peace. This is particularly important during rutting time, in the Autumn, when the stags can be aggressive.
You are more likely to see Red Deer and Fallow Deer as Sika follow a more solitary existance for most of the year. Although each species seems to herd on their own you do occasionally see youngsters from the other species hanging around the edge of a herd. In this picture there are two young Red Deer with a larger group of Fallow Deer. Also notice the albino. Fallow Deer.
Studley Royal House had a difficult history. The first Studley Royal House was destroyed by fire in December 1716 and was rebuilt by John Aislabie who had inherited the estate in 1699. Perhaps John spent some of his ill gotten gains from the South Sea bubble on rebuilding his country house. The Aislabie line was extinguished in 1845 and the estate passed into the hands of the De Grey’s. In 1923 Clare George Vyner bought the Studley Royal Estate, including Hackfall on the death of his cousin, Earl de Grey, the 2nd Marquis of Ripon. Sadly the house burned down again in 1946 and was demolished. All that remains is the substantial stable block which was built between 1728 and 1732 and is now a private house. It makes you wonder how splendid the main house must have been if this is how they housed their horses.
The Deer Park is now owned by the The National Trust. There are rights of way through the park so you can enter and pass through free of charge. If you are starting the Aislabie Walk at the recommended start, the Lakeside Car Park then you will enjoy it at both the start and end of the way. The Car Park is run by the The National Trust and in 2016 is £6 pay and display for the whole day or £4 for up to 3 hours. There are particular days when the deer park and therefore the car park is very busy. Nice crisp , sunny days between Christmas and New Year are a case in point. It is possible to park in the main visitor centre car park free of charge but please be aware that the entrances to this car park are locked at night and you may therefore get stranded without access to your car.