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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.

We are always pleased to receive feedback. You can contact us by clicking here.

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AGM Talk: Restoration and Renewal – the ongoing Story

A talk by Ray Brodie, Bushy Park Manager 25th February 2011

Ray reminded us that Bushy Park is an important sanctuary for wildlife. A full ecology report started in 2004 is ongoing and has discovered a rare species of beetle not seen for 150 years. Last year another 5 red book beetle species were recorded. Also, the importance of the red and fallow deer to the ecology of the Park cannot be underestimated.

Back in 2002, a successful bid was made for Heritage Lottery Money, in total £7.2 million has been spent on 67 diverse and dispersed projects.

The Water Gardens is a great success story which was added to by the restoration of the Brew House. Ray Allen, the gardener in the Water Gardens, has the unenviable task of removing blanket weed and algae and last summer the added problem of Canadian pond weed. 16 buckets of bacteria have recently been added into the ponds with some success against the blanket weed.

Water lilies are to be planted in the river from the Water gardens up to Pantile Bridge which will improve the water quality.

The grass is improving all the time with additional seeding and some use of fertiliser. An area of some concern is the area under the large London Plane tree where grass growth is limited.

The Woodland gardens and Broom Clumps – Restoration of the Pheasantry Woodland gardens started when Mark Bridger was head gardener and is continued by Chris Nickerson. The colour of the new paths initially caused some comment, but has now toned down; there is a new hedge line along the perimeter and new camellias in the Waterhouse Plantation. 20 very important gardening volunteers work alongside trained gardeners.

The Welcome Centre has had the biggest impact on the Park, with the café attracting large numbers of visitors. The Volunteers from the Friends who staff the Information Point at weekends and bank holidays have made a positive contribution to this success story.

There is concern that some young families ignore the ‘No ball games’, ‘No climbing tress’ , trample on the emerging bulbs etc. Ray is concerned that all signs are negative and would like to find some way of educating parents and children.

There is to be a Google Park View and the Royal parks are on YouTube, but there is nothing like a ‘real life’ visit to appreciate the beauty of the Woodland gardens.

The Diana Fountain is now fully restored and has been awarded Grade 1 listed status. Diana herself has been gilded and is complete with bird-scarers.

It took 2 weeks to clear the pond and carry out desilting etc. Between 260 and 300 large fish were taken out and will be replaced. Blanket weed is again a problem and lilies are to be planted in cages which can shelter smaller fish. Cormorants are a problem in this part of the Park.

Ray touched briefly on the matter of Car Parking. The upper Lodge car park is to be reduced in size and will open weekends and Bank Holidays. Work will commence at the beginning of April 2011. The long-term aim is to remove this car park. There are approx. 116 spaces in the new Clapperstile car park; the way in is through the NPL entrance in Queen’s Road. Also the new car park in Broom Clumps is heavily used all the time.

Tree planting has been an important part of the Restoration project -100 whip-planted trees (the young tree is encased in a tube within the wooden crate) have been planted.

The Oak Processionary Moth (brought in on trees imported from Holland) has been found in several places in the borough of Richmond. So far only one nest has been found in the Park towards Hampton Wick which has been dealt with. Recently 5/6 nests have been found in the NPL grounds. The caterpillar has hairs which carry a toxin and can be blown on the wind causing serious irritation to skin, eyes and bronchial tubes of man and animals. The oak trees may suffer serious defoliation, but the trees do recover. Removal of the nests is carried out in June – this entails someone climbing up to the top canopy of the tree and spraying the nest with hairspray!

Horse Chestnut trees – ongoing concern about the effects of bleeding canker and the leaf minor. The clearing of fallen leaves and burning them was not completed due to the snow before Christmas. More leaf clearing will resume this spring.

The Comprehensive Spending Review

There is concern as to how the 36% cut in government funding will affect Bushy Park. Several jobs are under threat and the funding for the Education and Community Engagement post (Hannah Pritchard) will be withdrawn. This post is a legacy from the Restoration Project and has developed to involve many local schools, Further and Higher education, family networks, Community groups, guided walks and a group of enthusiastic and valuable volunteers, all managed by Hannah. An ongoing investigation is looking to see if another organisation will take over.

Ray explained that £130,000 could be saved by removal of the litter collection – people should be educated to take their litter home.

In answer to a question, Ray announced that a few small events are planned for the Woodland gardens ,but no pop concerts!

What happens next?

The 2012 Olympic cycling road race route will pass through Bushy Park on the way to Box Hill. A test event will take place on Sunday August 14th this year.

Plans have been announced to transfer The Royal Parks from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to The Greater London Authority after the Mayoral elections and the Olympics.

There is general agreement that any change must not adversely affect the aim of protecting the environment of the park.

Ray stressed the importance of The Friends support now and in the future.

Many thanks to Ray for his most interesting and informative talk.

Jane Cliff, March 2011

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

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.