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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 Longford River

A Talk by Richard Flenley, Thursday 24th September

Richard began the talk by looking back 15 years when a meeting in this hall led to the Heritage Lottery Fund Project which has finally resulted in the wonderful restoration of The Water Gardens.

Water in Bushy Park, Home Park and Hampton Court has always been a key feature, supplied by the Longford River. The source of this chalk water river is off the River Colne to the west side of Heathrow. It flows through Feltham and Hanworth to the Pantile Bridge (19 Km) continues through Bushy Park (3.5Km) and Home Park (2.4Km) and so to Hampton Court.

There are records of the existence of the river by 1337, but excavation during the construction of Terminal 5 may date it as early as 5th. Century AD. Charles 1 wanted to improve the water supply to Hampton Court, so in 1638 Nicholas Lane laid out the plan for this artificial river. It was constructed by Edward Manning with a budget of £4,000 and took only 9 months.

Later, in the 19th century it was called the King’s River, then in 1868 ‘The Queen’s or Cardinal’s River’.

From Ravesbury the Longford runs parallel with the Duke’s River which continues into Syon Park.

The Longford has peculiar angles and bends particularly from the Pantile Bridge through the Park. One theory is that it follows old raised ground relating to raised field works, even old plough marks and that ridge and furrow is visible in approximately 25% of Bushy Park.

The section through Hanworth Park, previously a moat, is culverted over and discussions are ongoing as to bringing it out of culvert in the future.

The river at Feltham is a good resource for vegetation such as flowering rush, many dragonflies can be seen, signs of mink and possibly water voles.

North of White Lodge additional reed beds have been planted, the habitat has improved with a kingfisher bank and historic hedgerows.

Richard went on to give a brief overview of considerations which had to be taken into account in order for the Water Gardens to be resurrected. There were 4 main components – Historical Research, Archaeology, Geography and Fit, Funding and Constraints.

Congratulations go to Kathy White for her perseverance during the whole process and recognition of the important part played by The Friends.

We all look forward to Kathy White’s talk on The Water Gardens on Thursday October 22nd.

Many thanks to Richard for his interesting and informative talk and his valuable contribution to the HLF Bushy Park project.

Jane Cliff, October 2009

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.