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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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Saturday Walk: The Water Gardens

Saturday Walk: The Water Gardens

Saturday 20th March 2010 with Ray Brodie, Park Manager, Bushy Park

Report by Pieter Morpurgo 21st March 2010

Unusually for the Friends’ walks, the weather was a bit drizzly, but nearly 50 people turned up to listen to Park Manager Ray Brodie, as he led us around the Water Gardens. The cascade was flowing again following the repair to the leak in the north wall earlier in the month. Ray explained that it had been caused by the earth settling down after the main restoration. Work has not finished, though. There are still features to be added; for example the arches, it is believed, had paintings in them, so there is a plan to have a competition to find new paintings to fill in the alcoves. The finials on top of the walls and stoop basins are to be replaced. The annual appeal of the Friends this year will hopefully provide money for at least a couple of them.

At the moment the two walls look different; the right hand wall has been rebuilt using as many of the original bricks as could be found. The left hand wall is modern but made of the same brick. Already it is toning down and will over time lose its “new” look. The cladding of the walls originally was made mostly of coral. Now it would not be acceptable to use coral, so the walls have been left undecorated, apart from a few metal reeds which adorn the base. When the silt was removed from the bottom pool, a brick pavement was discovered at the base of the cascade. Despite being 300 years old it was in perfect condition, but is now hidden from view again.

Ray also took us across the cascade in the Longford River to the Brewhouse. This building has been conserved, but has no use at the present time. It may just be possible to use it as a micro brewery, but it would need to have plumbing and sewers installed. Currently it houses some excellent display panels telling the history of the Water Gardens and the Brewhouse. The meadow next to the Brewhouse is where the grain was originally grown. It is now used as a wildlife meadow, cut once a year, but leaving a ten metre surround to nature for the ecology and wildlife. There were five pools or ponds in the original 18th century plan. The third pool is in front of White Lodge, the final area of water is the Canal Plantation, recently cleared, but not open the public, and Ray showed us where the fourth pool was. It will be marked by a mown area of grass so that we can see the entire series of pools from the Pantile Bridge all the way down to the Canal Plantation. With his usual expertise and enthusiasm, Ray gave us a wonderful tour of the area. He was warmly thanked.

Report by Pieter Morpurgo March 2010

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, 23rd Nov 8:00 pm

The Royal Parks in the Great War. Talk by David Ivison

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.