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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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Tree Walk May 18th 2013

Tree Walk May 18th 2013

Photo: David Ivison

Gillian Jonasus – Arboriculturalist, Richmond and Bushy Parks

Walking into the Pheasantry Woodland Gardens, we stopped to admire the ancient Sweet Chestnut which has been fenced off to stop further compaction of the roots and it being used as a good climbing tree. Next to this is a very old Cedar of Lebanon, the timber of which is said to be insect repellent. Along the water one of the large Swamp Cyprus trees have some of the largest aerial roots to be found.

Some Rhododendron Ponticum has been cleared in both Woodland gardens as a precaution against sudden Oak Death (not in Bushy Park yet!)

Over towards the boundary fence are several pine trees including a Californian species ‘Big Cone Pine’. The very large (size of a large pineapple) cones have been removed as they had been identified as a danger as they could fall on unsuspecting visitors.

There is a newly planted wild life hedge along the fence which has been paid for by the Friends. We have also funded some planting to replace the Rhododendrons which have been taken out.

We left the Pheasantry, entered the Park and headed along the Longford River towards Diana fountain, stopping to admire some veteran Hawthorn trees. There are 300 veteran hawthorns in the Park and Gillian shared her love of these trees with us. Walking along the water we passed a very old oak which has a crack in one branch wedged open to provide habitat for bats in particular.

Oak Processionary moth caterpillars are late developing this year and volunteers are to be trained in how to detect them this week. They produce hairs which are a danger to both animals and humans and are removed from the trees as soon as possible. (There will be plenty of information going up in the Park).

Stopping to admire a veteran Elder, the walk turned towards Chestnut Avenue. The news is not good with Leaf miner and Bleeding Canker slowly causing these lovely trees to die. Sweet Chestnuts do not suffer from disease in the same way. We walked back towards Crocodile gate where Gillian explained that the veteran Oak had been fenced off to prevent further compacting of roots and to protect walkers from the danger of falling branches.

‘Veteran’ trees have many features including pockets of decay where fungi grow, hollow trunks, pockets where water collects, cracks and holes in the bark all of which provide a wonderful habitat for bats, birds and insects.

Over 800 invertebrates live in dead wood; 264 in veteran trees of which 42 are Red data book species.

We thank Gillian for a most interesting and informative walk and for sparing the time in this very busy period in both Parks.

Jane Cliff
May 20th 2013

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, 25th Oct 8:00 pm

TALK by Kate Canning, “Friends to nature – the wonder of bees”

Latest report

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

Full report...

Information Point

The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre 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 Information Point section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.