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  1. Introduction
  2. |
  3. The Friends and The Water Gardens
  4. |
  5. Photos
  6. |
  7. Restoration Videos
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Chair’s Welcome

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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The Friends' Water Gardens Tour - Report & Photo Album

Pieter Morpurgo

Just three weeks after the contractors left the site, the FBHP committee were given a tour of the completed Water Gardens by Upper Lodge. Ray Brodie, Bushy Park Manager was delighted to have been handed back the keys, so that the Water Gardens can become part of the park again.

There are two gates into the area. Ray led us through the gate nearest Hampton Hill, which is at the top of the upper pool. It was tantalizing to hear the water cascade, but not yet see it. That was to be the climax of the tour. The management of the water courses is very complex. The water falls through a concealed pipe from the Longford River into the upper pool, which as the pipe is under water the surface of the upper pool is very flat and calm. Ray showed us where the valves are to control the water flows. All of them are governed by gravity. There is no power needed. Water from the Longford is controlled by wooden boards in much the same way as the original design in the early 18th century. There are overflows from both pools back into the river alongside which is a favourite habitat for Kingfishers, although we were not lucky enough to see one on this visit. The water levels are so precise that it remains constant in both pools. Across the bridge that leads from the Water Gardens to the Brewhouse, there is a lovely view along the Longford River with little water falls reflecting in the winter sunshine.

The Brewhouse is still closed. Major work is still going on there, but we were able to walk around it and study the beautiful brickwork. There are hopes that it might one day be made into a brewery again. A business plan is being put together. We had some fun trying to decide the name of the beer. Suggestions ranged from Bushy Beer, to Allotment Ale, or Longford bitter.

After looking at the Brewhouse meadow from behind the fence – the meadow won’t be open to the public – we returned to the Water Gardens and walked round to the front of the cascade. What a sight! Although there were some leaves on the top of the wall, the water was falling over in a thin sheet of water and down onto the five new granite steps and down into the lower pool.

The view that most visitors will get when they enter from the south gate (to be called the Foster Gate after one of the instigators of the whole project) will be a view of the whole site framed by a giant London Plane tree right up to the Pantile bridge in the distance. It is a remarkable transformation in just a few months. The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks have been recording the whole period with a special camera, and the results of that will be able to be seen shortly on the web site.

It was mainly due to the work in the early 1990s by the FBHP that the restoration was seen to be a feasible proposition, as we did much of the early archaeological work, so all the Friends should be delighted that the transformation from a rundown wilderness to its restored state has been so successful. Ray is quite rightly very proud of this beautiful new area of the park, which will open to the public for the first time since it was built in the early 18th century in early summer next year. Although the construction work is finished, the area has been seeded and landscaped so must be allowed to settle down over the winter, but when it is open, it will add enormous pleasure to a walk in the park.

Why we need more Friends

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.

Join us today!

Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Latest report

On Saturday 8 June 2019 from 11am to 3pm members of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks will be at the SHAEF memorial (near SHAEF Gate) and at Teddington Gate to help you envisage the scene 75 years ago when General Dwight D Eisenhower and his staff in Bushy Park were planning the campaign to liberate occupied Europe.

Full report...

Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre next to the Pheasantry café is where our volunteers help visitors 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 Visitor Centre section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.