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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Bushy Park is noted for its acid grassland. What you may think are fields of molehills are actually ancient anthills. The acid grassland is an important habitat for conservation as it is quite rare in this part of the country and it supports biodiversity.
In the park you will find wild flowers such as sheep’s sorrel, harebell, heath bedstraw, tormentil and in the wetland area the rare mudwort ( a set of names that one thinks could have been used by Shakespeare as characters in one his comedies).
The park also has a wide variety of fungi many of which are found attached to or surrounding trees.
Trees are especially prominent in the several planted avenues: Horse Chestnuts, Limes and Hornbeams. There are many oak varieties, and some of the veteran oaks are thought to date from the original planting in the time of Henry VIII. Hawthorns are also abundant and these, together with Limes, provide a habitat for mistletoe, which is at its best seen in the winter when the bunches are dramatically outlined against the sky.
Britain’s largest mammal species, the Red deer, forms one of two herds in the park. The other herd is of Fallow deer, a smaller species introduced to Britain by the Romans. There are around 320 deer in total in the park. The deer grazing keep the park grasslands cropped and this is what enables plant diversity and does not damage the anthills.
Other mammals in the park include common shrew, field vole, bank vole, hedgehog, woodmouse, rabbit and 9 species of bats.
The park has SSSI status for its acid grassland and for its rare insects and invertebrates, of which many are threatened or rare species. In summer you see many butterflies including Small Heath, Skipper, Beautiful Small Copper and the rare Double Line moth. The park also has over 150 species of solitary bees and wasps and beetles such as Stag, Rusty Click and Cardinal Click.
Reptiles include grass snake, common toad, common frog and smooth newt. You may also spot terrapin in the ponds, but these are interlopers.
Fish in the ponds and watercourses include perch, rudd, roach, carp, chub and bream.
Birds include hobby, kestrel, sparrowhawk, three types of woodpecker, kingfisher, little owl, tawny owl, ring-necked parakeet, heron and many water birds including the exotic-looking mandarin duck and Egyptian geese.
Summer ground-nesting birds which come to the park are skylark, reed bunting, meadow pipit and stonechat.
These ground-nesting birds are vulnerable to disturbance by dogs and during the summer nesting season parts of the park are designated for dogs to be kept on leads. The birds are already under threat from loss of habitat elsewhere so dog-owners are requested to be certain they do not add further problems to these birds’ survival.
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.