Poll: National Trust will consider selling culled deer at Ickworth House

DEER shot on a National Trust property could be sold at an estate shop.

Heritage bosses, speaking as game keepers prepare to cull between 30 or 40 fallow deer in the grounds of Ickworth House, said they would consider the move to put visitors back in touch with where their food comes from.

The cull, which takes place annually, is designed to keep herd numbers down to about 100.

If left unchecked, overgrazing can cause significant damage to woodland and the habitat of birds and insects.

Deer carcasses from the cull are currently sent to a game dealer in Cambridgeshire.

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But, a spokesman for the National Trust said: “We carry out a deer cull at Ickworth every year, from November to February, and the meat is sold to a game dealer.

“We are, however, considering selling the venison on the estate in future.”

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He added: “The trust manages the numbers of fallow deer at Ickworth because of the damage they cause to the wild plants in the park, such as tree saplings and wild flowers.

“This damage also has a knock-on effect on other species, such as insects and wild birds which feed on the plants.”

The sale of venison on the estate would create extra revenue for the property but the trust insisted that the maintenance of deer populations would never be done to “maximise their revenue potentials”.

The National Trust has a well-established policy of encouraging people to recognise where their food comes from. An online experiment by the organisation allows members of the public to have a say in the running of a farm on the Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire, to highlight the journey from farm to fork.

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