Good evening and welcome to The British Deer Society

South West England

South West England

Branch information and events

Information on the British Deer Society (BDS) South West England branch including events, news, and contacts.


 Sunday 8th March 2020  Members Day 2020

Branch Contacts

Chairman Carmen Hocking
Secretary Sharif Adams

South West Branch Committee

The SW Committee meets several times a year at various locations around the South West. The meetings cover the management of Branch funds and property. But also, event planning plays an important part of the Committee’s work.

If you feel inclined to join in then please contact any member of the team. Details in the Deer Journal or this website.

Branch Areas

Postcode Area
BA1 - BA11 Bath
BA16 Bath
BA20 - BA22 Bath
BS Bristol
EX Exeter
PL Plymouth
TA Tauton
TQ Torquay
TR Truro


Members Day 2020

The next Members Day is planned for Sunday 8th March 2020 at Prideaux Place, Padstow, Cornwall. PL28 8RP.

We are pleased to hold the event at Prideaux Place and warmly thank Mr and Mrs Peter Prideaux Brune for welcoming the SW Branch of the BDS to their lovely Elizabethan house where the family has lived unbroken for in excess of 500 years.

The House is a treasure with a cornucopia of Cornish history and a guided tour will be available to all Members attending. Also, the historic deer park will showcase its herd of Fallow Deer with a special feeding for members to view the deer a very close hand.

The event will commence with reception and coffee at 10.30 am followed by several Guest Speakers who will cover a variety of deer-related topics.

The Branch AGM will be held before lunch which will be a brief opportunity for all to elect the Officers and Committee for a further year.

Booking forms will be mailed out to all Members prior to the event.


Our Member’s Day and AGM was held on the 8th April 2-19 at the Countryman, Sandford Courteney, near Okehampton.

The well-attended gathering was welcomed by Chairman Martin Lamb before we were entertained and educated by our speakers. Charles Smith-Jones talked about his experiences writing about deer and David Ireson gave us an interesting insight into Living with Deer through the ages.

Following the formalities of a brisk AGM, we had the pleasure of welcoming PC Martin Beck, the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary Wildlife Crime Officer. His riveting talk about rural crime, in particular, deer poaching, was overall to quickly before it was time for a carvery lunch. In the afternoon the proceedings continued with an excellent UK DTR talk and dog tracking demonstration.

The Committee elected on the day were:

President: Rosemary Bethell

Chairman: Martin Lamb

Vice Chair: Carmen Hocking

Secretary: Sharif Adams

Treasurer: Carmen Hocking

Training Officer: Paul Messenger

Committee: Ryan Brentnall, Hamish Dawe, Rob Durrant, Gary Elliot, Dom Moore

Martin Lamb subsequently resigned from his post. As per our Constitution, Carmen Hocking is now Acting Chairman and Treasurer.  Following a Committee Meeting Paul Messenger is now Acting Vice Chair in addition to Training Officer having been proposed for the position by Carmen and seconded by Hamish Dawe.

Rural crime meetings

It has been a fairly quiet time for the South West Branch with no shows or training to attend. I have represented the BDS in two Devon & Cornwall Rural Crime meetings also attended by BASC, the NGO, D&C Constabulary and the Deer Initiative. The initial meeting was to introduce PCs Beck and Collins to the other countryside and wildlife agencies, to expand on the rural crime initiative to the heads of the regions and to discuss what is being put in place by D&C and how we can be of assistance. Operation Poacher has gone live.  Dorset Constabulary are way ahead of the game and will be in on future meetings to guide the team on how best to move forward, something that the BDS South West is very much at the forefront of.


We have received two very kind donations from David Ireson for the sum of £100. David gave two speeches to a group of naturalists who donated £50 each for his speech and David has passed this on to the South West Branch. David will also be one of our guest speakers discussing living with deer since the ice age.

Forthcoming events

The South West Branch will be announcing dates for events such as Deer Walk & Talk showing novice stalkers, photographers and interested parties areas out in the field with browse lines, racks, rutting stands and couching areas. There will be dates for High Seat Building workshops and a Best Practice Day here in the South West. There is plenty going on this year and members can keep up to date on the BDS website by clicking on About Us, Regions the South West Branch, or via our Branch Facebook page. Email to be given access to this closed members-only Facebook page. Thank you to all of you for your continued support, your South West of England branch committee work hard to bring you these events. Please support them and come along and enjoy the day and meeting new people.