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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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9 February 2020

We have received a report of a large dog attacking a deer in Bushy Park. Sadly, as a result of its injuries, the deer had to be destroyed.


The Royal Parks launches recruitment drive for Volunteer Rangers

Bushy Park Rangers

The Royal Parks charity is on the lookout for enthusiastic and chatty nature-lovers to become Volunteer Rangers in Richmond and Bushy Parks.

Another 25 Volunteer Rangers are to be recruited by The Royal Parks in the scheme’s second year of operation. Last year, Rangers clocked up 1,300 hours walking the vast expanse of these semi-rural parks and interacting with visitors.

Since the service began in April 2019, Rangers have engaged with over 7,000 visitors sharing their local knowledge and educating people on everything from walking routes and deer birthing season, to skylarks and ancient trees.

Jo Haywood, Volunteer Ranger Co-ordinator said: “We are looking for people with bags of enthusiasm, who enjoy being outdoors and most importantly love talking to people.

“Through engagement with our visitors, volunteer rangers make a real contribution to protecting these precious habitats. Our first year was a huge success and, for that reason, we want to recruit even more rangers for 2020.”

Volunteer Rangers are asked to provide a minimum of one three-hour shift per month and operate in pairs to engage with some of the eight million annual visitors the two parks attract.

Bea Cornu-Hewitt, who is a Volunteer Ranger for Richmond Park said: “I applied to be Ranger because I was feeling more and more ‘nature deficient.’ I needed to see more greenery and less concrete.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to spend more time in Richmond Park, a National Nature Reserve, but also to give back and help other people enjoy it as much as you do. Since becoming a ranger I’ve learnt so much about the wildlife of the park and have become a mini expert on the deer!”

Lara Haswell, a Volunteer Ranger at Bushy Park said: “The volunteer shifts work on a buddy basis, so you will never go out in the park alone, and it means that every time you are on shift you are likely to be with a different person, sharing knowledge of the park and learning different approaches to engagement. Bushy Park is my local go-to happy place, so I am delighted to be part of this initiative.”

Applications close 9 February and you can apply via www.royalparks.org.uk/rangers. Full training is given.


————————————————————————————————-The Royal Parks Horticultural Apprenticeship Scheme

The Royal Parks is looking for seven horticultural apprentices to help them care for some of the most historic and well-loved parks in the UK. Coinciding with the start of National Apprenticeship Week (3-9 February 2020) aspiring gardeners can now apply to work in iconic locations such as Hyde Park and Greenwich Park. The successful applicants will be based in one of London’s eight Royal Parks four days a week, and study at Capel Manor College in The Regent’s Park on the remaining day. The scheme typically lasts three years, and apprentices study for the Horticulture Landscape Operative Standard. For full details take a look at the Royal Parks’ webpage.


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


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.


Hampton Court Palace - Sunday 17th November 2019 - The Blessing of the Shire Horses.

The ceremony of the Blessing of the Shire Horses by the Chaplain at Hampton Court Palace has been captured on a short film by Alan Rolph, one of our members. Click here to view. These horses are stabled at Hampton Court and used for various purposes including pulling a wagon for rides around the palace gardens. Shire horse breeds are becoming rare as they are no longer used in large numbers for farming and transport. The origins of Shire horses lead back to jousting and the need for heavy horses to carry knights in armour. The blessing ceremony is now an annual event in the calendar of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace.

————————————————————————————————-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.