Houghton Hall Estate
My good friend Julian Stoyles is the Deer Parkmanager at Houghton Hall, Norfolkand he has worked there for just over 2 years now. I met Julian when he was the Head Deer Keeper and Stalker at Holkham Hall, and we have worked on various projects over the last few years including a chefs visit with the Craft Guild of Chefs to Houghton looking at game and deer management and also helping him with new ideas for his extensive selection of game products. Houghton is one of those fantastically beautiful stately homes tucked away in the Norfolkcountryside, owned by the 6th Marquis of Cholmondeley. The Houghton estate is home an International Horse trial which takes place every year between the 21st and 24th May.
Julian manages a herd of some 500 fallow deer on the estate, part of that herd are very special. Houghton has the largest herd of white fallow deer in the country, they are a sight to be seen these stunning animals can be found roaming around the grounds adding to Houghton’s special ambiance. The rest of the deer roam around a massive area of enclosed parkland and every now and then as you walk through the park you will get fleeting glance of them as the prance away avoiding the eyes of visiting humans. As well as the fallow within the park,red deer and some more exotic species can be found, Pere David’s being one them. Pere David’s are one of the largest and most endangered deer species in the world and were nearly extinct in their nativeChina if it had not been for a herd of animals brought over toWoburn. These animals were then bred and used to return their species back to the wild and also set up other breeding projects like this one at Houghton. As well as the deer in the park Houghton also has a large amount of wild fallow, muntjac and roe roaming through the countless acres of woodland that makes up a large part of the estate.
I have helped Julian many occasions stalk deer in these woods to fill the larder and also as part of a book I am writing on game. Houghton produces some of the best venison I have ever tasted, this is due to the dedication of the people that work there and many of the surrounding restaurants bear testament to this as their menus are graced with not only with Houghton venison but Houghton game and some top quality free range rare breed pork, beef and lamb. Julian is passionate about what he does and has over the last few years developed some stunning products such as his smoked venison, game, sausages, fresh venison cut to order and many other products from other wild game to rare breed organic free range animals. Houghton products can be found in farm shops in the surrounding area and can be ordered directly from the estate at very competitive prices. Houghton is quite literally a jewel in the English countryside.