On Saturday 25 Feb we took a step back in time with our ‘Poettree in the Park’ event and shared a rare opportunity to explore the Medieval Deer Park at Shute.

Adults and children joined us for a special Nature Poetry walk that combined creativity, history and nature.

The main goal of a nature poetry walk is to soak in the beauty of our surrounding environment and then turn that experience into something creative that we can treasure. Writing poetry requires inspiration, and nature is the perfect backdrop for us to find that spark.

Graham Jones, National Landscape Ambassador and local tree enthusiast, shared his enormous knowledge of trees, helping to identify different species using buds and bark. Roe Deer were spotted, rare lichens were pointed out by one of the participants and we saw the delicate magenta female flowers of hazel just emerging.

Children enjoyed completing Shute Deer Park scavenger hunts and collecting oak leaves to create a giant oak leaf collage. Other participants on the walk read out poems they had chosen or created.

The highlight was pausing to admire the celebrated 900-year-old King John’s Oak, the oldest tree in the park.  8-year-old Eben, from Shute village, read out the poem he had written specially for the deer park as King John looked on, resplendent in his winter attire, with plenty of fresh growth as he enters his next millennia.

National Landscape manager Chris Woodruff got creative too, writing his own verse to capture the day.

The walk was a wonderful way to get active in nature, with group feedback that they learnt so much and really appreciated the opportunity to be in such a special place.


This event is linked to our Saving Special Species nature recovery work and is part of a programme of special activities marking the 60th anniversary of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.




We thank the Bird family, who own and farm the deer park for kindly giving us access to a special landscape that is usually closed to the public.