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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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Report on Environment Trust talk

Report on Environment Trust talk

The Journey from the Sargasso Sea

The Environment Trust for Richmond upon Thames
Talk by Joe Pecorelli on January 26th 2012

Joe is a biologist and divides his working life between the Environment Trust and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

The Environment Trust was founded in 1984 and is based on Eel Pie Island with an initial focus on the built environment. Some of the restoration projects include the Grove Gardens Chapel, the Kilmorey Mausoleum and Burton’s Tomb.

Today the Trust has a wider purpose ‘—-to preserve and conserve open green spaces, wildlife and the best of the built environment, and to raise awareness of the issues that affect their survival.’ The emphasis is much more about engaging people with a large band of volunteers engaged in a variety of projects and events. These include Art picnics, activities for schools, healthy walks and lecture events.

They are fortunate to have an annual event chaired by David Attenborough who is a patron. The Springtime Safari at Orleans House Gallery gardens is on May 6th. this year. It is a partnership event with the Richmond Biodiversity Group, Thames Landscape Strategy and the London Borough of Richmond.

Joe is obviously fascinated by the life-cycle of the European eel and the monitoring project aims to conserve the eel by showing trends in population size, distribution and density. The eel begins life as a leaf-shaped leptocephalus larvae in the Sargasso Sea, then make an incredible two year migration across the Atlantic to the rivers and shallow coastal waters of Europe. They enter the rivers as inter sex elvers spending between 12 and 30 years as adult ‘yellow eels’ before undergoing yet another metamorphosis where their eyes enlarge and their bellies change to a silver colour and they start the long journey back to breed and then die in the Sargasso Sea.

In 2008 the European eel was classified as Critically Endangered. Reasons for the decline are mooted as a combination of habitat loss, barriers to migration, presence of a parasite in its swim bladder, over fishing and climate change affecting oceanic currents.

The Zoological Society has been monitoring upstream migration of juvenile eels since spring 2005. They have found dramatic declines of up to 90% in 5 years.
A dedicated team of volunteers is being enlisted to expand the number of sites for traps which provide data on numbers and measurement of the eels.

One idea is to provide ways for the eels to pass over barriers and weirs; this may be possible in the river Crane but not the Longford as there could be problems with the Palace! Several large eels were found, however when the Diana fountain was drained.
Many thanks to Joe for a most interesting talk and for additional information on eels.

The Environment Trust website is www.environmenttrust.co.uk where details of events can be found.

Jane Cliff January 2012

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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.