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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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Deer Walk in Bushy Park

with Ray Brodie 23 August 2008

It was a perfect day for a walk in the park with just a few billowy cumulus clouds floating across the azure blue sky and a gentle breeze rustling the magnificent trees which surround the Diana car park where around fifty of us met at 11 am.

Bushy Park Manager, Ray Brodie, led the talk by himself as game keeper. Ray began by pointing out the wonders of watching the wild fallow deer bounding freely through the high grasses like gazelles in the Savannah and made us realise just how lucky we are to be able to experience this amazing spectacle so close to London. As he spoke we all turned just in time to catch a glimpse of fallow deer gracefully leaping over the long grasses behind us far off in the distance.

There are just two species of deer in Bushy Park, red (cervus elaphus) and fallow (dama dama). Fallow deer can be found in most counties in England and Wales, and there are large populations in pockets spread across Scotland. This species of deer was introduced by the Normans and quickly became established in the wild in hunting forests and chases. There are no really accurate estimates, but there must be tens of thousands of these deer in Britain. Fallow deer grow to a height of about 1m at the shoulder and males weigh 85-90 kg, females 50-60 kg. They can live to around 20 – 25 years in the wild but in Bushy Park they live 14 – 15 years.

Wild populations of our native red deer can be found in the Scottish Highlands, north Devon, the Quantock Hills, the New Forest, East Anglia, the Lake District, the Peak District and The Brecon Beacons (Wales). There are also many herds in parks like Bushy throughout the UK. Those in the Lake District are native and the rest originate from park or deer farm escapees. The male can reach about 140cm at the shoulder, and the female approximately 120cm. Adult males can weigh up to 200kg. They too live to around 20-25 years in the wild. Both the red and fallow deer live in isolated groups and range over large areas and spend only a short time in one area. Deer are herbivores and graze all types of ground vegetation and browse shrub layers in a wood and on the growing shoots and leaves of holly, chestnut and beech trees, hence the ‘browse line’ in Bushy Park. This can be noticed on all the trees in the park which have a perfectly flat bottom to their branches, about two metres from the ground, which is the maximum height the deer can reach. It was quite amusing to learn that Ray often receives calls from the public asking why and how he manages to keep the trees in Bushy Park so neatly and regimentally trimmed. He doesn’t! The deer do this job for him!

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.

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Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Thursday, 21st Sep 6:22 pm

Nature trail in the Woodland Gardens

Latest report

A perimeter walk of Home Park led by Nicholas Garbutt was enjoyed by over 45 people on 2nd September.Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

Full report...

Information Point

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.