Wanlass Park from the air MYD4451 (c) YDNPA, 2023
Wanlass Park was one of the seven deer parks belonging to the Medieval Lordship of Middleham. It was known as the park of West Witton in the 13th century, acquiring its present name in 1465 to distinguish it from newer parks in the area at Capple Bank and Penhill. It was originally enclosed with a stone wall which surrounded an area of 60 acres. It was stocked with deer for hunting and venison. The park would once have had a hunting lodge placed on a high point where the lord’s men could keep an eye out for poachers. By the later middle ages, such deer parks were mainly given over to the grazing of sheep and cattle.
Moorhouse, Stephen (2003) ‘The anatomy of the Yorkshire Dales: deciphering the medieval landscape’ in Manby, T G et al (eds) (2003) The Archaeology of Yorkshire: an assessment at the beginning of the 21st century. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No 3 pp298-362
Location From West Witton take the narrow lane that leads to the church (north side of the A684). Drop down the hill until you come to a junction (about 150 metres from A684). Take the lane to the left and keep going for a half mile. The park is all around you.
Public Transport Details Nearest town/village: West Witton. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.
Accessibility The track has been surfaced in the past but is no longer in the best of condition. There are long stretches where there is more pot hole than surface. There is a steep slope down past the church: the track then levels off somewhat; it continues to fall steadily over the next half mile.