INVESTIGATIONS are ‘ongoing’ into the cause of a fire which caused ‘significant damage’ to a historic deer shelter on Monday.

Fire crews from Kendal and Milnthorpe were called to the blaze at the Buck House deer shelter on the Dallam Tower Estate in Milnthorpe at around 6:30am on April 26.

According to a Cumbria County Council spokesman the fire was ‘well alight on arrival’ and was extinguished by 9am, with crews remaining on scene to damp down and make the area safe.

“Fire investigations are ongoing in conjunction with police,” said the spokesman.

“The 300-year-old structure suffered significant damage but was not completely destroyed.”

A Cumbria Constabulary spokesman added: “Anyone with information can call police on 101.”

Julian Oston, land agent for Dallam Tower Estate, appealed for anyone with information to contact the police.

“We would appeal to anybody who has seen anything to contact 101.” he said.

“From our point of view, it’s a very old iconic building so it’s tragic that this has happened.”

The incident has left the Milnthorpe community shaken and local councillors have expressed their sadness at the damage caused to the well-known structure.

Councillor Pete McSweeney, South Lakeland District Council member for Arnside and Milnthorpe ward, said: “It is a great shame that such an iconic, listed building has been so badly damaged.

“It is a well-known and much-loved landmark on the A6 near to the Beetham – Milnthorpe boundary.

“If anyone has any information on how the damage was caused, they should contact Cumbria Police on 101.”

Jen Scrogham, vice chair of Milnthorpe Parish Council, said: “It’s devastating.

“It’s a historic building, let’s just hope it gets repaired.

“It’s upset a lot of people, it’s absolutely tragic.”

And local historian, Roger Bingham, expressed his sympathy to the Dallam Tower Estate company, adding his hope that the building can be restored as soon as possible to ensure the well- being of the deer herd and to preserve a ‘much valued landscaped feature.’

“The herd dates back to the seventeenth century but the deer-shelter was probably built in the early nineteenth century when the park was extended by Daniel Wilson of Dallam Tower,” he said.

“The central part consists of a traditional barn constructed of limestone rubble about two storeys high.

“It is this part which has been burnt out.

“Fortunately a slate roofed awning carried by fat doric pillars surrounding the lower storey, when viewed from the main road, appears to be intact.

He added: “Although I know many deer parks I cannot recall any similar deer houses.”