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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.

Keep Up-to-date

Members and non-members can receive emails about events in the parks. To subscribe, please enter your email address below.

‘Dogs on leads’ to be compulsory during deer birthing season in Bushy and Richmond Parks

From Monday 18 May until Monday 6 July, dogs will be required to be on a lead in all areas of Richmond and Bushy Parks.

Baby deer

Over the next few weeks, 300 baby deer will be born in Richmond and Bushy Parks. The season marks a vulnerable time for female deer, who hide their young in bracken and long grass to conceal them from dogs and other perceived predators.

Deer are excellent mothers and they will be on constant high alert, unable to relax if they see a dog in the vicinity. During the deer birthing season, protective mother deer have been known to give chase and attack dogs, even if they are at a distance and not acting aggressively.

Deer are instinctively frightened of dogs, and this fear has not been helped by recent events, in which 21 separate incidents of dogs chasing deer in Bushy and Richmond Parks have been recorded since the end of March. Of those recorded, two incidents resulted in deer sustaining fatal injuries, including a heavily pregnant deer just weeks away from giving birth. A further two incidents put visitors in harm’s way by causing a stampede of deer through park visitors and their families.

Bushy park map Above: areas in Bushy Park to avoid with dogs

Simon Richards, Park Manager at Richmond Park, said: “Unfortunately, deer worrying is not a new occurrence, however over the last few weeks we’ve received many reports on the issue. We are about to head into deer birthing season, where female deer will fear dogs harming their young and will act defensively.

“We believe strongly that if dogs are not on leads, we will see an increase in dogs chasing deer, a heightened risk of female deer attacking dogs, and a higher incidence of new born deer killed by dogs.

“It is important to emphasise that we always advise that all dogs, irrespective of how good their recall is, be kept on leads during deer birthing season. This is for the wellbeing of our deer, and for the safety of dogs and visitors. This year, for the avoidance of doubt, we will be making it compulsory. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to stress it’s a temporary measure that will end on the 6th July. We thank all our visitors for their support with these measures.”

Recently, park management have also noticed an increase in visitors walking their dogs in more remote areas of the parks. This is likely to be because of social distancing, however many of these remote sections of the park, are also quiet refuges for deer and where they give birth. To help dog walkers plan their route in advance, The Royal Parks has published maps which show the deer nursery areas, so that dog walkers know the areas to avoid.

Advice to dog walkers:

Keep your dog on a lead at all times, and in all areas of the parks.

Avoid the nursery areas shaded in orange on the maps. These are typically areas of bracken and long grass where newborn deer could be concealed. These will be signposted but it’s wise to plan your walking route in advance.

If a deer charges, let go of the lead so the dog can run away.

Advice to all visitors:

Give deer plenty of space. Always keep 50 metres away

Avoid nursery areas. Deer may act defensively towards visitors if they inadvertently get too close to their young.

Do not touch a new born deer, even if it’s on its own. It is not abandoned, it’s mother will be grazing nearby.

To report an injury to a person, dog or deer, please contact:

Richmond Park: 0300 061 2200 or email richmond@royalparks.org.uk

Bushy Park 0300 061 2250 or email bushy@royalparks.org.uk

If you witness a dog chasing a deer, immediately call the on-call police for Richmond and Bushy Parks on 07920 586546

(Photo of hind and fawn: Amanda Cook)

CORONAVIRUS

The Royal Parks welcomes visitors but warns it’s not ‘business as usual’

The Royal Parks welcomes visitors to the parks to boost wellbeing but warns that a relaxation of lockdown measures does not mean ‘business as usual’, and they should plan their trip in advance as well as respect other visitors and the parks.

Staff are working hard to open sports and outdoor catering facilities by putting safety measures in place to protect visitors and staff. But some services, including toilets, remain closed. Visitors are warned not to rely on public toilets and to plan ahead.

Visitors are also asked to show respect to others and to the natural environment, so that the parks remain pleasant places for everyone to enjoy.

People must continue to follow Government guidance around social distancing. They are permitted to meet with one person from outside their household, as long as they stay 2m apart, they can exercise in the parks as often as they wish, and they can spend time sitting in the sunshine.

BBQs are not allowed: Fires are a hazard, especially in the current dry conditions, putting an additional strain on the emergency services and potentially harming wildlife. Visitors are asked to take their litter home with them, as it can harm wildlife and spoil the park. People are also reminded to keep their pets under control, advising that dogs are kept on a lead.

The latest updates are as follows. Please check the website www.royalparks.org.uk before travel for the most up-to-date information on each park:

Tom Jarvis, Director of Parks at The Royal Parks, said: “We welcome visitors to enjoy the parks for relaxation and exercise. But please remember: we’re still in the middle of a crisis and must work together to show kindness to others and to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“If areas become crowded, people may be asked to move on. We urge everyone to respect that and to be kind in their response to staff who are working hard to keep the parks open. And please look after your parks - take your litter home with you so that the parks remain a tranquil oasis for everyone to enjoy.”

“These are challenging times. Please respect others, especially at the park gates; please be kind to the workers who are working hard to keep the parks open and safe, and please be kind to the police, who are trying to save lives by enforcing the Government’s advice.

“We know how crucial it is for people’s physical and mental wellbeing to have access to these valuable green spaces, and we’re doing everything we can keep them open for those who need them. But we’ve got to work together to follow the rules or we risk losing them completely.”

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skylark WILDLIFE GOES ON IN THE PARKS. Click here and download our May diary to find out more


CALL FOR PHOTOS OF THE PARKS

Thank you to all who donated photos for this year’s 2020 calendar which proved very popular and sold out completely. We now invite you to submit photos showing views, fauna and flora across the seasons in both Bushy and Home Parks for our 2021 Friends Calendar.

All profits from the calendar go towards supporting projects in the parks. Projects in previous years which the Friends have supported include Barn Owl Manor in Home Park (a specialised nesting box for barn owls) and the restoration of the Water Gardens.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS

Bushy Park wins an apple tree from space

A joint bid from Bushy Park, the National Physical Laboratory and the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks has successfully won a competition to acquire an apple tree sapling that has been grown from a pip taken by astronaut Tim Peake to the Space Station. The pip is from the apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, home of Sir Isaac Newton, where a falling apple inspired him to discover gravity and other laws of motion.

The competition was run as a collaboration between the National Trust, the UK Space Agency and Kew Gardens to inspire generations of future scientists, engineers and horticulturalists.

In excess of 50 entries were received and our joint entry was one of seven winning bids. The other winners include the Eden Project, Jodrell Bank and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, so a prestigious group.

This link will take you to the official press release by The Royal Parks.

The photograph below shows Assistant Park Manager Bill Swan, holding our sapling, with Tim Peake.

Tim Peake with Bill Swann


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Royal Parks’ receives further £750k boost to protect wildlife in heart of London

A project to protect and increase wildlife across 5,000 acres of London parkland has received a £750k boost, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The new award will allow The Royal Parks’ Mission: Invertebrate project to continue for a fourth year during 2020. Launched in 2017, Mission: Invertebrate supports wildlife across the Royal Parks by helping ‘bugs’ such as bees, butterflies, beetles, worms, slugs and snails to thrive. The project carries out expert research to investigate populations of insects and other invertebrates across London’s eight Royal Parks, as well as transforming habitats and providing opportunities for people to learn about the vital roles these tiny creatures play and the environmental pressures they face.

Since the project began, new habitats including wildflower meadows, orchard, earth banks and pollinator-friendly planting have been added to the parks. More than 10,000 London school children and 19,000 members of the public have also discovered park wildlife through free or low-cost activities.

The Royal Parks already receive a combined 77 million visitors a year. With London’s population predicted to soar to 9.3 million by 20211, Mission: Invertebrate is enabling The Royal Parks to act now to increase awareness among Londoners of the wildlife on their doorsteps, to protect the parks’ precious habitats and to work with organisations to help improve biodiversity across the city.

This year, by unearthing the secrets of the ground beneath visitors’ feet in some of London’s busiest parkland, The Royal Parks hopes to shine a spotlight on the importance of soil health in improving urban green spaces. The project will focus on measuring and improving the health of soils across the Royal Parks. This often-overlooked habitat not only supports a wealth of invertebrates, it is also vital to the growth of the city’s trees and plants, to help prevent flooding, to protect parks and gardens from heatwaves and drought and to help clean our water.

Far from being wastelands for wildlife, towns and cities support a great diversity of invertebrate life and have the potential to act as sanctuaries for rare and uncommon species. The variety of gardens, allotments, urban nature reserves and parkland provide a unique mix of food and shelter for pollinators and other invertebrates, and the Royal Parks are uniquely positioned to provide linking green corridors through the heart of London, offering an anchor for wildlife amid some of the city’s busiest areas.

Dr Alice Laughton, Project Manager for Mission: Invertebrate, said: “We are absolutely delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are continuing to support our work. Invertebrates are not always at the top of everyone’s list of favourite creatures, but if you care about plants, trees, and other wildlife, it’s vital to protect invertebrates. This new funding allows us to study soils in urban parkland and the role that invertebrates play in soil health. It’s another important step in getting under the skin of urban ecology to ensure that conservation efforts in the future have the strongest impact possible.”

Andrew Scattergood, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks, added: “Through the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery for Mission: Invertebrate, we have been able to take major steps to create richer habitats for wildlife in each of the Royal Parks, balancing the impact of millions of visitors each year. However, there is so much more to be done to protect biodiversity through the coming decades. As London’s population grows and environmental pressures increase, this generous funding will help conserve the wealth of wildlife found in some of London’s oldest, busiest and best-loved parks.”

Click here for more information on Mission: Invertebrate, including details of volunteering opportunities, outdoor learning and free family activities.


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————————————————————————————————-Wild deer are not Disney creatures, The Royal Parks warns parents

Deer photographers

Parents are being urged by The Royal Parks not to put their children in harm’s way by posing with stags during the rutting season.

The rise in popularity of social media, and the availability of smartphones has been blamed for the rise in people taking unacceptable risks in Bushy and Richmond Parks.

The rutting season (breeding season) is now underway, in which male deer compete for breeding rights from now until November. Red stags and Fallow bucks, flooded with testosterone and adrenaline, roar and clash antlers in a bid to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible.

To prepare for the annual rut, stags will bulk up and grow calcium rich sharp antlers. Maintaining a stronghold on their harems is tiring work, and the dominant stags are hyper vigilant and aggressive to potential rivals during this time. Dogs and even humans who try to get between a stag and his females run the risk of being injured if a safe distance of at least 50 metres is not adhered to.

Over a thousand wild deer live in Richmond and Bushy Parks, and The Royal Parks are reminding visitors, especially parents with children in tow, to exercise caution. They are also appealing to photographers to use a long lens and to never crowd the deer. Dog owners are advised to walk their dogs elsewhere, as attacks on dogs are not uncommon at this time of year.

————————————————————————————————-THE TOTEM POLE

Visitors to Bushy Park may not always discover the Canadian Totem Pole in the Canadian Glade in the Woodland Gardens. It was installed there on 1st July 1992, having been carved on site at The Stockyard by a First Nation family. It is a commemoration of how Canadian soldiers were cared for at Upper Lodge in Bushy Park during the First World war.

The story of its creation and installation featured at the time in a film on a BBC schools programme, Sight and Sound. Click here to go to the short film.

  • Advice to dog walkers

    Please take this advice very seriously as we have had reported a number of incidents of deer attacking walkers with dogs , in fact they are protecting the young so doing what comes naturally but having been a recent victim it is extremely frightening.

  • Bushy Park's place in D-Day

    Bushy Park's place in D-Day

    The SHAEF Memorial, Bushy Park

    On Saturday 8 June 2019 from 11am to 3pm members of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks will be at the SHAEF memorial (near SHAEF Gate) and at Teddington Gate to help you envisage the scene 75 years ago when General Dwight D Eisenhower and his staff in Bushy Park were planning the campaign to liberate occupied Europe.

  • The Royal Parks seeks to double its volunteer rangers in Richmond and Bushy Parks

    The Royal Parks seeks to double its volunteer rangers in Richmond and Bushy Parks

    Volunteer rangers

    Following the successful launch of the Volunteer Ranger service in spring, The Royal Parks charity is launching a second recruitment drive in Bushy and Richmond Parks.

    At the beginning of the year, 25 Volunteer Rangers were recruited to operate in Bushy and Richmond Parks, from April to October annually. The service is a three-year pilot and operates on most weekends to share information with visitors about the history and nature of the park, as well as educate them on wildlife protection issues such as keeping 50 metres from the deer.

    The first stage of the programme has been so successful that The Royal Parks are looking to double their numbers and recruit another 25 Rangers in these parks.

    For more information, see here.

  • Say 'Hello' to the new Volunteer Rangers in Bushy Park

    Say 'Hello' to the new Volunteer Rangers in Bushy Park

    Volunteer Rangers

    From now until late autumn, Volunteer Rangers will be operating in small numbers on most weekends

  • Pesticide spraying for the Oak Processionary Moth

    Oak Processionary Moth is an invasive, non-native insect pest which can pose a serious threat to human, animal and tree health.

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

Latest report

On Saturday 8 June 2019 from 11am to 3pm members of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks will be at the SHAEF memorial (near SHAEF Gate) and at Teddington Gate to help you envisage the scene 75 years ago when General Dwight D Eisenhower and his staff in Bushy Park were planning the campaign to liberate occupied Europe.

Full report...

Visitor Centre

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