I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.
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Chestnut Sunday is the biggest day in Bushy Park’s calendar. Each year, on the Sunday closest to 11th May, people come from all over London and the South East to join in our local tradition of celebrating the blossom on the magnificent horse chestnut trees in the park.
Chestnut Sunday has evolved through its long history but the central feature is a parade down Chestnut Avenue, leaving from Teddington Gate and arriving at Diana Fountain. These days the parade features vintage bicycles, WWII military vehicles, horse rangers, marching bands and Harley Davidson motorcyclists so there’s something for everyone!
Once the parade reaches Diana Fountain there’s a traditional fairground with a galloping horse carousel and plenty of other rides and stalls. In recent years, historical re-enactment groups have put on dramatic displays including the Ancient Greeks, Elizabethan England, the American Civil War and a musket firing battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers.
There’s a strong tradition of live jazz music being provided by local school jazz bands, and there are lots of interesting stands provided by local groups including the RSPB, the park’s gamekeeper and tree surgeons, local bee-keepers, local history groups and, of course, the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks.
Timings may vary from year to year, but in general the Parade leaves Teddington Gate at 12.30pm and the event continues throughout the afternoon. Refreshments are available from a variety of stalls, but many people continue the tradition of bringing picnics to share with friends and family.
With more members our voice is stronger when we campaign to protect the Parks, and with more subscription income we can do more to provide information and education about the Parks, their wildlife and their history.
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A Nature trail in the Woodland Gardens on Saturday, 29th April
On a beautifully sunny Saturday morning about 50 people turned up for the Ponds Walk in Bushy Park led by Jane Cliff.Full report...
The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre café is where our volunteers help visitors to find out more about the parks and where visitors can purchase souvenirs of your visit to support our work.
Click this panel to visit our Information Point section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.