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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.

Notice of Bushy Park Gate Closures

Resurfacing works

From Monday 11th July the Teddington Gate vehicle entrance to Bushy Park will be closed for approximately 5 days so that much needed resurfacing works can take place on the entrance threshold.

The following week from Monday 18th July the Hampton Court Gate will be closed to traffic for approximately 5 days, again so that repairs to the entrance threshold can take place there too.

These works will only prevent through traffic while access to the park for park visitors will be maintained. No other gates will be affected and will be open as normal.

Olympic Trial Event

Olympic Trial Event

On Sunday 14th August there will be a full practice run of the Olympic cycle road race.

It will leave the mall and will go through Bushy Park from the Teddington Gate to the Hampton Court Gate.

It will be run at exactly the same time as the event next year. It will start in The Mall at 9.00 a.m. and will be going through Bushy at 9.30. It will be a free event.

Local roads will be closed for a while, and re-opened once the cyclists and all their back up cars and trucks have gone through. There will be barriers along Chestnut Avenue, but no other structures.

More info on the BBC website

Future governance of The Royal Parks

Message from Minister for Tourism Office

“Earlier this year the Government announced its commitment to transfer greater responsibility for the management of The Royal Parks to the Greater London Authority (GLA). Our original intention was to do this via the Localism Bill. Having looked at the detail of the proposal, however, it became apparent that it is possible to deliver greater involvement in the Parks for the London Mayor and, through them, for Londoners, without the need for primary legislation.

We have announced today that The Royal Parks will remain an Executive Agency of DCMS and the responsibility of the Secretary of State. Following discussion with the GLA, we have agreed to create a new Royal Parks Board. The new Board will be appointed by the Mayor, with the approval of the Secretary of State, and will include representatives from the London boroughs and the Royal Household.

The Royal Parks are some of the capital’s most stunning assets, with a unique heritage and identity. The new governance arrangements we have announced today will give Londoners a voice in how the Parks are managed while recognising their national and international importance.

A copy of the Written Ministerial Statement announcing these new governance arrangements, along with a copy of our (DCMS) press release, can be found on the DCMS website.”

Bushy passes Olympic test with flying colours

Bushy passes Olympic test with flying colours

The world-class cyclists top 40mph along Chestnut Avenue

Report by Andrew Robbins

Sunday 14th August saw the biggest trial event for the Olympics so far, as world-class cyclists tested out the route for next year’s road race – straight through the heart of Bushy Park.

It was a relaxed day, and a relaxed build-up to the big event. On an overcast, but warm Sunday morning, the spectators began to arrive, on foot and by bicycle; families and children, couples and the idly curious, spreading themselves along the metal barriers lining Chestnut Avenue.

They were greeted at the Teddington Gate by a welcoming committee of police on their own bicycles, organisers coddling walkie-talkies, and volunteer stewards from the ‘London Prepares’ team.

As well as directing the public, the stewards manned various crossing points along the roads closed for the event.

“It’s quiet at the moment, but you still have to jump out of the way of police motorcycles every now and then,” said one, an hour before the racers reached Teddington.

He was one of 4,000 London Prepares volunteers, marshalled and dropped off with military precision all along the route, from their mysterious and unnameable ‘HQ’.

Outriders were approaching

Back in the park, spectators were beginning to accumulate. By 9.10am, with the race well underway, they saw ever-increasing numbers of support vehicles flash past: judges’ cars, police outriders, and the odd team van sporting roofracks of lean, mean racing machines.

Near the gate, Friends of Bushy & Home Parks member Norman Simmonds waited patiently as people trailed past, towards the Diana Fountain.

“It’s quite an occasion for Teddington – a one-off event,” he said.

Most people, it seemed, had turned out for the spectacle: “It’s nice to see the cyclists, and it’s a free event, so why not come?” said one.

Flying visit

As 9.30 approached, a tannoy announced the imminent arrival of the first racers: “Four riders are ahead of the pack by 20 seconds”. It was becoming harder to find a gap along the crowd control barriers, as necks craned to see what was going on.

Hampton resident John Latham was on station with the Evison family, including his grandchildren. Turning round to them, he announced: “They’re coming!”

All at once, the sporadic passage of support vehicles became a continuous stream, as spectators raised their arms and began to clap. Under the engine roars came the grasshopper hissing of bicycles hitting 40mph on the straight. In a blur of metal and colour, the four leaders were past and gone.

The Evisons were impressed: “It’s an iconic event,” declared Mr Latham. “We’re excited about Teddington being part of the Olympics, and it’s bringing people out to our lovely local park.”

The clapping intensified as the main pack arrived; whipping through Chestnut Avenue and curving round the Diana Fountain as sinuously as the fish in its waters.

Applauding the cyclists

Normal service resumed

Within minutes of their passing, the hard-working park staff immediately sprang into action – stacking barriers onto forklifts and removing cones. Normal traffic and mere mortal cyclists began to flow once more.

The Bushy Park team had been at work since 6am – as they are every day – emptying bins and litter picking.

Said one: “If you divide the amount spent on this test event, about £2m, by the number of people who turned up to see it. all along the route, it works out at about 10p per person.

“For that, people have been very entertained, on a lovely Sunday morning, and it’s even attracted people to the park who never knew it existed before.”

Safeguarding wildlife

Royal Parks Manager Ray Brodie and his team began planning for the Olympic test event six months ago.

“We’ve been talking to stakeholders such as the local authority; the Friends of Bushy Park; the sports clubs; the London 2012 organising committee, LOCOG; Transport for London and so on, working out all the details, including a health and safety plan,” he said.

“For example, we’ve given advice to LOCOG on the deer and their behaviour. On the day itself, we had two wildlife officers stationed on either side of the park, to keep an eye on the herds.

Spectators applaud the Olympic test event cyclists in Bushy Park

“The deer are wild animals and the park is their home. They’ve got nowhere else to go, so we had to err on the side of caution, and ask dog owners to keep their pets on leads.”

The team expected numbers in the park to match the popular Chestnut Sundays, when thousands visit. Ray expects the event to be a great advert for the park.

“It’s a spectacle, and it’s great that we’ve been included, and that the Olympics isn’t just in the East,” he said. “We’re helping to showcase London.”

Countdown to 2012

Pieter Morpurgo, Chairman of The Friends of Bushy & Home Parks, watched the race from just south of the Diana Pond.

“It was over very quickly, but everyone seemed to enjoy it,” he said. “One of the concerns had been that loose dogs might panic the deer into charging across the road, but they were all kept on leads, as requested.”

He is already looking forward to the real race – one of the first medals of the London 2012 Olympics.

“ Next year’s event should be even more enjoyable,” he said.

A big thank you to Andrew Robbins for writing this special article for the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks. www.robbinscopywriting.co.uk

Theft of Road Signs from Bushy Park

On about Thursday 30th June four large metallic signs prohibiting unauthorised access were stolen from either side of the road towards the west end of Upper Lodge Road Car Park.

If anyone witnessed the theft or can help with any information, please contact the police at the following e-mail address:- SPTBushy@met.police.uk

Latest news on Future of The Royal Parks

Although we are still awaiting final confirmation, it seems almost certain now that the planned handover of The Royal Parks to the Mayor of London’s office will not go ahead as planned. The transfer was due to be included in the Localism Bill, but the last opportunity in the Commons past last week and there has been no mention of it.

Funding for the Royal Parks will, for the time being, remain under direct government control under the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the DCMS (Department of Culture Media and Sport) where it been for some years. It is probable that a new board will be set up which will include Boris Johnson and a representative of the Queen, who will still be the owner. We also hear that there may be local consultative committees, but that has not been confirmed.

The plan had been for the Treasury to have given the money which is allocated for the running of the parks to the GLA who would have been responsible for the day to day running of the parks, but with a power of veto to be retained by the DCMS.

The DCMS is due to issue a statement shortly on the details.

Colin White

It is with great regret that we have to announce that Colin White died last month.

He had been a member of FBHP since the early days, and remained actively involved despite his serious illness. Colin served FBHP as auditor for many years. Also he was a great researcher and had amassed a unique collection of ancient maps of Bushy Park and its surroundings. Recently he had worked hard to help Kathy write and design the very popular “Water Gardens – How They Were Saved” booklet which FBHP published earlier this year. He will be sadly missed by all of us, and we extend our sympathy to Kathy and all her family.

As a living memory to Colin, Hawthorn trees are to be planted this autumn in the area to the south west of the Diana basin. Any donation will be most gratefully received. Please send a cheque to “Friends of Bushy and Home Parks Tree Appeal” to 81 Park Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 0AW

Friends' 21st birthday party

Friends' 21st birthday party


The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks celebrated their 21st anniversary in style on Sunday at Bushy House. Over 150 people turned up including local MP Vince Cable and Cleve West, recent winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, who has 3 well documented allotments adjoining the Park.

The weather failed to dampen the enjoyment of the afternoon where members enjoyed toasting the charity in the historical Orangery and tucked into a wonderful array of cakes and afternoon tea.

Garden games in the delightful grounds were also popular as was the raffle which raised £216 and will go towards the annual appeal which this year is dedicated to planting bay hedges in the Woodland Gardens to replace the invasive Rhododendron Ponticum which is being removed. It also afforded members a rare opportunity to receive a guided tour around the museum housed in Bushy House which is no longer open to the public.

Owen Jones a past Chairman reminded everyone that 21 years ago the then management of Bushy Park put forward a plan to fell and replace all the chestnut trees in Chestnut Avenue. Not surprisingly a group of very upset and concerned people got together and formed the Friends. They lobbied hard and that plan was dropped.

Today the Park faces more challenges with severe budget cuts and a reduction in park management.

New photo competition announced

New photo competition announced

Images of Winter, winner: 'Frosty December Morning' by Stephen Darlington

Hot on the heels of our successful “Images of Winter” photo competition we are delighted to launch our latest competition.

This, our sixth competition invites photographers to look a little closer at the wealth of buildings we have in the Bushy and Home Parks. For the purposes of the competition we’re calling a building a man-made structure either for people or for things to be stored in, either now or in the past.

Be as creative as you dare but remember that the judges decision is final!

Full details of the competition.

View photo galleries.

Royal Parks spending cuts

Royal Parks spending cuts

Ray Brodie

The spending cuts mentioned briefly in the previous newsletter are already taking effect with two major cuts which affect Bushy Park.

The Education Centre run so successfully by Hannah Pritchard has been closed down. She also worked very hard helping FBHP set up the Information Point at the Pheasantry. We wish her well at her new job at Richmond Park.

It has been decided that there will no longer be a dedicated manager for Bushy Park. The plan is to have one manager who will look after both Bushy and Richmond Parks.

Ray Brodie has been the manager for many years and will be moving to Kensington Gardens. This is very serious for Bushy. Ray has looked after the park through many difficult times and we as trustees of FHBP will miss him very much.

He has always been available to talk to us about any concerns we may have had. He could not have been more supportive to the Friends. He is part of our committee and helps advise us about all our projects. We thank him most sincerely for all he has done for Bushy, FBHP and all park users.

We are sure that you will all join us in thanking him for all he has done and wishing him a successful time in Kensington Gardens. Their gain is our loss.

Thank you so much, Ray.

Pieter Morpurgo
Annie Murray

A mole in the Royal Parks?

A mole in the Royal Parks?

Mole. Photo by Michael David Hill, Wikipedia.

In the April edition of the Richmond Magazine celebrating the 50 years of The Friends of Richmond Park, to whom we offer our sincere congratulations; the editor, Richard Nye claimed that William III fell off his horse after it stumbled on a mole hill in Richmond Park.

The king had been riding Sorrel, his favourite horse and had insisted on taking his usual ride, even though he had not been well that morning. The horse stumbled and the king was thrown falling on his right shoulder and breaking his collar bone.

It is documented that the collar bone was set by his surgeon, Ronjat, who happened to be at Hampton Court that day.

It is also well documented at the time that he was taken to a hostelry in Hampton to where his surgeon was called. As the surgeon was called from Hampton Court to a local hostelry in Hampton, he must have fallen in Bushy Park rather than Home or Richmond Park.

If he fell in Richmond he would have been taken to a hostelry in Richmond or Ham. If he had fallen in Home Park he would have been taken to Hampton Court Palace as the surgeon was there already.

Where exactly he fell is not precisely recorded, although Home Park makes a claim that it was near the cork trees at the end of the Long Water. This makes the Richmond claim a little worrying. If I were to fall off my horse in Richmond I sincerely hope I would be taken to somewhere a little closer than a pub in Hampton.

But there is another mystery. There are no mole hills in Home Park, or Bushy Park, nor as far as I know in Richmond Park.

There are, however, ant hills in all three parks created over hundreds of years by the Yellow Meadow Ants, so the horse almost certainly stumbled on an ant hill and not a mole hill at all, so maybe the Jacobites, instead of drinking to The Little Gentlemen in Black, should have been drinking to The Little Gentlemen in Yellow.


Added: 24th June 2011:

In an article about Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park it is said that after William III died, not wanting to take any chances, his successors employed a royal mole catcher, and to this day there are no moles in Richmond Park. There is no documentary evidence to suggest that the mole catcher worked in either Home Park or Bushy Park.

Story: Pieter Morpurgo
Mole photo: Michael David Hill, Wikipedia.
Anthill in Bushy Park photo: Royal Parks

A delightful poster

A delightful poster

Sir Michael Tims poster map

Sir Michael Tims was one of the early members of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, and took on the job of designing and creating the artwork on our membership form.

Very often the form is the first contact the public have with us. It sets the tone of who we are and what we do.

Sir Michael has produced a map – more a delightful set of illustrations of animals, flora and buildings in Bushy Park set in a poster format.

There is an example on the wall in the Pheasantry. In view of his great contribution to the Friends we are pleased to tell members and the public how they obtain copies.

NB: Sir Michael himself will handle all the queries about the poster. FBHP will not benefit from the sales.

The Bushy Park Wildlife Map

The map depicts a selection of the abundant wildlife to be found in Bushy Park , including a comparatively rare freshwater turtle , the occasional hobby and the more unusual beetles.

Park scenes and notable buildings are also portrayed .

It is printed to order in a signed , strictly limited edition of 100 on fine art paper [310gsm] , using the superior GICLEE colour reproduction process .

The A2 image measures 42cms x 60cms
on a paper size of 50cms x 68cms
The A3 image measures 30cms x 42cms
on a paper size of 37cms x 49.5cms
Both sizes are included within the stated, limited edition .

A2 size ——- £70 unframed
A3 size ——- £50 unframed
Postage and packing are not included , but collection can be arranged locally .
Inexpensive acrylic frames which suit these prints are readily obtainable from stores such as Habitat .

To order : Apply to Michael Tims
Tel.0208 943 4748
Email : michaeltims149@btinternet.com

FBHP 2011 membership appeal

FBHP 2011 membership appeal

The Friends of Bushy & Home Park

Have you got a yellow 2011 Friends membership card? If not, you probably haven’t paid your 2011 subscription. Please join. The Friends is run by volunteers and is a registered charity. We seek to protect the parks for now and the future.

Why not click here to (re)join today?

Upper Lodge Car Park Closure

The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks’ aims are to protect and enhance the park.

The original plan to close the Upper Lodge Car Park was made before the increase in facilities following the success of the National Heritage Lottery Grant projects. We have seen a significant increase in visitors attracted particularly by both the Pheasantry and the Water Gardens and the fact that the replacement car park outside Clapperstile Gate is about 6000 square metres smaller than originally planned is already causing car parking overload. It is also true to say that there is insufficient signage for the new car park.

A real concern of the Friends is that drivers will spend more time searching for a place to park and this will result in severe congestion around the one way system around Diana causing more CO2 emissions than simply parking. We think, therefore, a review is a responsible decision of the Royal Parks.

Pieter Morpurgo
The Friends of Bushy & Home Parks

A great result!

Bushy Park will remain free. There will be no parking charges.

On Friday 5th July it was announced by the Tourist and Heritage Minister, John Penrose, that the Bushy Park car parking charges proposal by The Royal Parks is to be scrapped. This is the news that The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks and the Keep Bushy Park Free Alliance have been waiting for.

We started our campaign against the plan over a year ago as soon as The Royal Parks issued their consultation document. In March last year we held a march in Bushy Park led by Vince Cable. In April we collected 6,500 signatures in a petition against the proposals.

It was handed in by Vincent Cable at the Royal Parks Headquarters in Hyde Park. There have been meetings with Royal Parks executives and the previous minister to make them aware of our objections.

In January there was a rally in Richmond Park with all the local MPs and many councillors along with an estimated 1,500 concerned park users.

In March this year a proposal in the House of Lords failed to quash the plans.

There were promises by both parties now in the coalition government that they would cancel the plans. They have now done so and all those involved in the campaign should congratulate themselves on a very good victory.

At times it did feel as though we were fighting a losing battle, but all those who worked so hard, whether organising rallies and meetings or gathering signatures for the petition should feel delighted that all the hard work has been worthwhile, and that sense has prevailed.

The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks and the Keep Bushy Park Free Alliance thank everyone who gave us so much support and encouragement.

Pieter Morpurgo
The Friends of Bushy & Home Parks

Read the Minister’s news release

Animals photo competition - winner

Animals photo competition - winner

"Deer at sunrise" by Stephen Darlington of East Molesey. Winner of the recent photography competition on the subject of animals.

We are delighted to announce that “Deer at sunrise” by Stephen Darlington of East Molesey has been declared the winner of the recent photography competition on the subject of animals. As usual we had a wonderful range of entries and many of these can be seen in our special gallery. Congratulations also to Richard Hayler for the runner-up entry – “Perfection”.

Please click here to view the winners along with some other great entries.

Our thanks to everyone who entered.

Hodge looks set to impose parking charges

Margaret Hodge defies and enrages locals over Bushy Park charges.

Keep Bush Park Free Press Release 10 December 2009 – For immediate release.

In a move that suggests park users across the capital could soon end up paying more for walking the dog or playing sport, Minister Margaret Hodge has indicated that she is set to impose new car parking charges on visitors to Bushy Park, Hodge has enraged the eighty-four per cent of local residents and park users who opposed the new charges, as well as riding roughshod over the publicly stated views of all local MPs, all local councils and all local community groups.

Vacancy - Newletter Editor

Re-posted 17 December 2009

The position of Newsletter Editor has unexpectedly become available again. This is a very interesting position for an enthusiastic person.

Exciting Opportunity

An exciting opportunity has arisen to work with the Friends in the capacity of Newsletter Editor. Please note that this is a voluntary position.

The newsletter is published quarterly. Its aim is to keep all members up-to-date with what is happening in the parks and the environs.

The ideal candidate will have a real interest in the parks and be keen to seek out material that will provide an interesting and informative read for members.

The principal responsibility of this role is to bring together the various articles, photos and other material that is submitted and format them accordingly before briefing the printers.

The successful applicant will need to have good level of literacy and (at least) basic computer skills. Experience in the use of MS Word or Publisher or the like would be very helpful. An ability to deal with deadlines is important too.

There may be opportunities to get involved with reporting of Walks, Talks and other events.

This is a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the parks and be closely involved in day-to-day events.

FBHP SGM (September 24, 2009) Outcome

The proposed new constitution for the Friends paving the way for an application for charitable status was agreed almost unanimously. Officers and Trustees-in-waiting were elected. Thanks were given to Tom Blaney for the considerable amount of work he has undertaken in paving the way for the Friends to become a charity. In other business, thanks to Ken Lovell for his great work on the newsletter over the past six or seven years. Ken is unable to continue due to ill-health and a replacement is sought.

Diana Fountain - naming controversy

Diana Fountain - naming controversy

Diana Fountain, NOT Arethusa

For an obscure reason, possibly following the installation of a troubled water construction named after Princess Diana in Hyde Park, The Royal Parks have now chosen to refer to the statue in Bushy Park as ‘Arethusa’.

According to The Friends, this is a mistake. There is clear evidence from the original invoice to the king in 1637, right up to the present day, that the statue has always been called Diana. The statue, together with the fountain it rests on are commonly referred to as the Diana fountain. Possibly the fact that Arethusa is another word for fountain has confused The Royal Parks.

Any enquiry to The Royal Parks as to the reason or evidence for this new name has been ignored. No historical reference has been forthcoming.

Read the following article by Pieter Morpurgo, Chairman, The Friends of Bushy & Home Parks.

The statue and fountain known as the Diana Fountain was designed by the French sculptor, Hubert Le Sueur for Charles I. He submitted an invoice in 1637 for a ‘great Diana’ for £200. The assumption has to be that this was the statue which was placed on a fountain, also designed by Le Sueur three years previously.

The statue and fountain were set in the garden of Henrietta Maria at the royal residence of Somerset House. Diana (Greek: Artemis) was in the first rank of both Greek and Roman gods and was an appropriate subject for a Queen’s garden. It is interesting that the Walpole Papers reveal that the King consistently refused to pay the full amount for the several works carried out for him by Le Sueur. The invoice for the ‘great Diana’ was the only one paid in full from the royal coffers.

During the Commonwealth, the statue and fountain were moved from Somerset House to Hampton Court in 1656 and placed in the Privy Garden there. In an inventory of Cromwell’s goods following the accession of Charles II there is a reference to the statue on a fountain ‘known as Arethusa’: an appropriate name for a fountain as it was Diana (Artemis) who transformed a water nymph called Arethusa into a fountain to save her from the unwanted attentions of a minor river god. Interestingly, Latin/English dictionaries in the last century gave ‘fountain’ as a meaning of the word ‘Arethusa’. The statue of Diana (Artemis) is placed on top of the fountain (Arethusa) as a powerful image of the protection offered by this great goddess.

At the end of the seventeenth century, Christopher Wren drew up his grand plans for an avenue to run from the Palace gardens through the length of Bushy Park. There are references to repairs to the statue known as Diana and to the cost of a further plinth made for the fountain. In 1713 the statue and fountain were placed in a basin in the middle of Wren’s grand avenue, where they have been known and loved as ‘the Diana’ for the last three hundred years.

For some obscure reason, possibly following the installation of a troubled water construction named after Princess Diana in Hyde Park, The Royal Parks have now chosen to refer to the statue in Bushy Park as ‘Arethusa’. Any enquiry as to the reason or evidence for this new name has been ignored. No historical reference has been forthcoming. The statue was designed and built on the orders of Charles I, who was not only a stickler for protocol, so would never have created a mere water nymph for his queen; It was far too lowly – only a goddess would do, but he was also making sure that his gardens were rivals to the French gardens; another reason for having a statue of a goddess rather than a water nymph, so the naming of a statue after an insignificant water nymph, which had been bought by a king for his queen’s garden, is absurd.

The Royal Parks should keep the Diana name for this statue. It has been its name for best part of 400 years and should remain so.

There will be growing interest in it in the years to come with its restoration due, so we should state quite clearly now that it is “Diana” and not the unsubstantiated “Arethusa”.

We should remove references to it from the maps before they are published. There is no point in confusing the public when there is no evidence at all for calling it Arethusa any more than there is evidence of the myth surrounding the statue as being to a mother who murdered her children. (see the Royal parks leaflet on the fountain).

One further piece of evidence for Diana is the two Titian paintings Diana and Callisto and The Death of Actaeon. Both show her hair in a very similar style to the Bushy Diana. One has a simple crescent and the other a more complicated decoration. The Bushy Diana also has a crescent which may become more obvious after the restoration.

To change the name of the Diana Fountain after three hundred years will do nothing but add confusion for the public at a time when the Royal Parks are about to open the Pheasantry Centre, part of which is designed to help guide people around the park. The maps have been printed with the name Arethusa on them. They should be changed back to Diana at the earliest opportunity.

Pieter Morpurgo
Chairman, The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks. December 2008

Water Gardens

Posted November 2008

Major work on the renovation of the Water Gardens is now complete and they are expected to open to the public in the Summer of 2009.

FBHP record of Water Gardens restoration project

The Friends’ Water Gardens Tour report

Pheasantry Welcome Centre

The Pheasantry Welcome Centre will be opening in 2009. Would you like to volunteer to help?

We will primarily be an information point for visitors, offering a range of free leaflets about what to see and where to go in the park. We may also stock a small selection of postcards and greetings cards. The centre will be very much “work in progress” and will continually add to its information and merchandise.

It will be staffed and run by Volunteers from among the members of the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks. To start with, we plan to open on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.

Would you like to be a Volunteer at the Centre?


Full training in Customer Care, Health & Safety, Local Procedures and Park Information
All Volunteers will receive a Friends polo shirt to wear on duty
A chance to get involved and help others enjoy the Park

Mornings: 10am – 12 noon
Afternoons: 12 noon – 2pm
We will have at least two people on duty at all times

Duties include:

Answering visitor questions
Giving directions
Supplying leaflets
Other requirements:

All Volunteers not already members of the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks will need to join. This is to satisfy Health & Safety and Insurance requirements. The subscription is £6 per year with concessions available.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact:
Rosemary MacColl:
72 Laurel Road, Hampton Hill TW12 1JH
Tel: 020 8943 4814
Email: rosemarymaccoll@googlemail.com

School House Lane Orchard wins prestigious award

School House Lane Orchard wins prestigious award

Friends of School House Lane Orchard

Teddington Orchard gains prestigious Community Award. Local community green space is one of the best in the country.

A neighbourhood orchard maintained by volunteers in south Teddington has gained recognition as one of the best community-run green spaces in the country. By receiving the Green Flag Community Award, School House Lane Orchard has been recognised as a high-quality, well- managed and welcoming place, central to the local community.

As a result of the vision and hard work of a group of local residents, this once neglected green space has been transformed progressively over the past five years into a cherished community orchard, stocked with fruit and nut trees, herbs and native hedging. The most recent project undertaken by the Friends of School House Lane Orchard (FSHLO), which cares for the site, was installation of dead and live hedging in spring 2010. This year and next, the Friends are planning to create a wild-flower meadow.

FSHLO has received support from the start from Richmond Council’s Parks Department, which owns the Orchard; as well as South West London Environment Network (SWLEN) and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). The Friends received a grant from Awards for All in 2006 and Thames Community Foundation in 2010.

Speaking at the Friends’ annual summer party, FSHLO chair Ian Jones-Healey said: “We are delighted to receive recognition from this national awards scheme for our much-loved Orchard. I would like to thank all our members for their hard work in getting us to this point and our colleagues in the Council, SWLEN and BTCV for their invaluable help along the way.”

School House Lane Orchard is the only – and we believe the first – site in the borough of Richmond upon Thames to hold the Community Award, according to the listings on the Green Flag Award website.

All award-winning sites now have the chance to receive a further award from the Green Flag Plus Partnership, the People’s Choice Award. This award is voted for by the public, so if you want to see your local park receive a national accolade as the People’s Choice, then visit the Green Flag Award website and vote now.

Chairman’s Winter Report - 2010/2011

A very Happy New Year to all the Friends, and a special year it is as it is our 21st anniversary. We were founded in 1990 to protect Chestnut Avenue from being chopped down by the previous management.

In the last Friends newsletter I mentioned that there were to be changes in the management structure of the Royal Parks of which Bushy is one. (Home Park is managed by Historic Royal Palaces). The DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) to whom the Royal Parks currently report are preparing to devolve power to the Mayor of London’s office. The details of the transfer are still not clear. Together with the Friends of Richmond Park, FBHP along with thirty six other local groups have devised a seven point plan that we think will deliver effective and sustainable governance and funding of the Parks under the Mayor, and ensure that its management is accountable to local and national needs. Our 7 points should be included in primary or secondary legislation or in a binding agreement between central government and the Mayor similar to the Framework Agreement between government and the current Royal Parks agency when it was created in 1993.

In September FBHP together with The Friends of Richmond Park and the other groups set up The Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum to discuss and provide input to the transfer of The Royal Parks to the Mayor of London’s office. It met for the third time last week and adopted the 7 Point programme which has been sent to John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. We have circulated it to MPs, members of the Lords, councillors, other Friends etc., Mark Camley, Chief Executive of Royal Parks has received a copy as have TRP Board members.

The Localism Bill, published last week, did not include the transfer, but we understand that the government might introduce the transfer as an amendment to the Bill at the Second Reading, which is now scheduled to start on January 17. If that is the case, we need to start lobbying as soon as the holidays are over!

Here are the seven points, with accompanying notes as agreed by the 38 local organisations:

  1. The 8 Royal Parks should be kept together
    Bushy Park should include the Longford River
  2. TRP should be kept as a single, semi-independent entity and retain its own management support functions, such as property management, commercial, marketing, finance, HR, IT
    Individual parks should keep their own management teams
    Current Park Managers should be retained
  3. There should be a central TRP Board, with executive powers
    The Board should include representatives from local Boards, and external experts in ecology, historic buildings/landscape and managing large parks
    Its executive powers should include approval of TRP’s strategy, policies, budget, main spending programmes and significant new initiatives
  4. There should be local statutory consultative Boards for each Park or group of Parks
    Richmond and Bushy could have a combined Board
    Local Boards should include representatives from local councils, local user, wildlife, friends, amenity and conservation groups, concessionaires, park management and outside expertise (e.g. for RP/BP in managing SSSI/NNRs)
    TRP/MoL should have a statutory duty to consult local Boards on all matters
  5. There should be specific commitments to environmental protection.
    A commitment to get SSSI status for Bushy Park, with funds allocated.
    No further cuts in maintenance of green spaces within the Royal Parks
  6. There should be protection against further significant commercialisation
    No concerts, new sports pitches, intensive sports or national events in RP/BP
    Revenue raising only from options with low environmental impact
  7. Central government funding and commercial income should be ring-fenced, i.e. only able to be spent on the Parks
    It should include a programme and resources for reducing the £56 million maintenance backlog

Notes to these points

Letter sent by the Forum John Penrose M.P.


Pieter Morpurgo, Chairman. January 2011.

Plastic has no place in the Park

Plastic has no place in the Park

Mangled tennis ball, potentially lethal to a deer

Deer will eat anything and litter kills about five deer a year.

Anyone who thinks deer only eat grass should think again. Last week’s Richmond and Twickenham Times (4.2.11) included an article about the deer in Richmond Park and how investigations into unexplained deaths revealed they had eaten dog poo bags, bits of plastic, string and even rope.

As a regular visitor to Bushy Park, I come across rotting tennis balls, broken plastic dogs’ toys, bits of foam rubber, poo bags and hairbands on a daily basis. My dog has been seriously ill, as have many other dogs after chewing and eating such objects and I know one dog died.

I am well aware of the enjoyment many dogs get from fetching balls and frisbies but it’s clear that many of these objects end up lost in the bracken. I appeal to park visitors to make every effort to take their possessions home with them and dispose of poo bags and litter in the plentiful bins supplied. If you come across a discarded tennis ball or another item that could pose a danger to animals, please be a good citizen and take it to a bin and encourage children to do so too.

We are privileged to be able to walk amongst free roaming deer in these beautiful parks and in return, we should respect and do all we can to protect their habitat and encourage future generations to do so too.

Julie Hill, FBHP, February 2011.

Olympics in Bushy and Richmond Parks

It was announced last week that the cycling road races on the first two days of the Olympics, 28th July for the 145 men and 29th July for the 67 women, will go through Richmond Park from Roehampton Gate to Richmond Gate, and then through Bushy Park from Teddington Gate to Lion Gate at Hampton Court, then on to Box Hill and return to London via Richmond Park again, entering at Kingston Gate and exiting at Roehampton Gate. The Road Race is approximately 250km (156 miles) for the men’s race and 140 km (87 miles) for the women’s race. The competitors all start together and the first past the line is the winner.

The Royal Parks and The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will meet with the Chairmen of the Friends of Bushy and Richmond Parks in the near future in order to discuss plans in more detail. Following this a programme of engagement with the local community will be agreed to ensure that residents, local businesses and civic and amenity groups like the Friends are informed about the event. It will be a free to view event, so the parks will remain open to the public and spectators will not need to purchase tickets to view the event in the parks. The event will only last as long as it takes the athletes to cycle through the park – a couple of minutes or so on the way out, probably much longer on the way back through Richmond Park since the race will be strung out by then.

First, care needs to be taken with the deer. The organisers have been told about the deer herds, and they will be factored into the detailed event planning. Our deer could become world television stars! The plans need to be designed to minimise risk to riders and to deer. The routes for the road race will undergo a detailed survey, in consultation with the international cycling federation.

Second, we understand that there are to be no venue structures installed in either Bushy or Richmond Park, although it is likely that the routes through the two parks will be fully barricaded, heavily marshalled and will feature designated and controlled pedestrian crossings. We need to be sure that there will be no spectator stands or giant TV screens etc. in the parks.

Third, for both parks, but for Richmond Park in particular, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve, we need to be convinced of the arrangements for protecting the acid grassland, ancient trees and wildlife from the large cyclist and media support and the very large crowds of spectators. Chestnut Sunday in Bushy Park can attract 10,000 people on a good year, so the number of visitors for the Olympic cycling could treble or even quadruple that.

Finally, due to an agreement made in 2004, the Royal Parks will not be paid for the use of the land, but will be compensated for any extra expense caused by the races. The Royal Parks quite rightly make a charge for professional photography and filming in the parks. The Olympics should be no different and should be charged for holding the event, as is any other group or sports organiser. This is particularly the case when government funding for the Royal Parks is being cut by almost 40%. We think that there should be some payment or legacy for the two parks from an Olympics organisation that is generating large amounts of money through its events such as the cycling.

There will be a test event of the route in August 2011.

Diana elevated to Grade I status

Diana elevated to Grade I status

Diana elevated to grade I status

On 25th February Diana was upgraded from a Grade II Listed building to a Grade I Listed building.

Read the full document

Chairman’s Annual Report - 2011

This time last year we were still awaiting news of our charity status and we were about to have the car parking charges imposed.

We won on both counts. Tribute must be paid to Dr. Tom Blaney for his hard work and perseverance in gaining the charity status. We have created a range of merchandise which is on sale both at events and at the Information Point in the Pheasantry. All the profits go to our annual appeal, which this year we are proposing to buy 20 Bay trees to replace the invasive rhododendron ponticum along one of the boundary fences. By law they have to be removed. The Pheasantry continues to grow in popularity and the Friends’ contribution when manning the desk at the weekends helps to keep the profile of the Friends in the public eye. The public seem to appreciate having some advice about what to see and do while they visit the park. The trustees and committee are most grateful to all the volunteers who give a couple of hours every now and again to help. If anyone else is interested in helping out please contact Rosemary MacColl. We are preparing park maps with information about the Friends to be on sale there at 20p. This is to replace the very popular maps which the Royal Parks are no longer supplying.

We have had a very good series of walks and talks again throughout the year. We are most grateful to all the speakers and walk leaders for giving us such entertaining events and thanks to Jane for organising them.

As always the chestnut trees are being watched very carefully to determine how much damage the leaf miner and the bleeding canker are doing. The park team cleared all the fallen leaves in the autumn to try to deter the leaf miner. The other problem is the Oak Processionary Moth. These, so far are only on the perimeters of the park, although it has been found in Home Park. The caterpillars form large clusters on the bark of the trees. If anyone sees what they suspect is an infestation, please inform the park office immediately. Do not go near them. The hairs are poisonous and can cause serious skin irritation and asthma.

In late February I had a meeting with the organising committee of the Olympics to discuss arrangements for the cycle races on 28th & 29th July next year. The route will go through Bushy Park from Teddington Gate to Lion Gate at about 10.30 on both days. Chestnut Avenue will be closed to traffic, of course, but the organisers will keep the closure to a minimum. There will be barricades but no other structures will be erected. There is a slight risk with respect to the deer. As on Chestnut Sunday there will probably just disappear, but there is always the possibility they might get spooked and set off at a gallop, but the organisers are very well aware of that slight chance. I suggested that all dogs should be kept on leads throughout the park while the races are on. There will be a test event on August 14th.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport who currently manage the Royal Parks are proposing to hand over management duties to the Mayor of London’s office. At the moment the Localism Bill is going through Parliament and the chairman of The Friends of Richmond Park and I have set up the Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum which has the support of 26 other local groups to attempt to safeguard all the Royal Parks. You will have seen in the last newsletter our 7 point plan, much of which follows the idea of The Big Society so that local groups can have some influence over how decisions are made in the running of the parks. The idea is to provide protection of the environment, and to make sure that the parks are not over exploited.

Our web site continues to work very well and has many visitors. Do please join in and let us know what you have seen in the parks with photos as well, or anything else you’d like to say about the parks. Mark updates it regularly so it’s a good way to keep in touch with what’s going on. The web site address is fbhp.org.uk and it’s also on your membership card. We hold photographic competitions on the web site throughout the year. Thanks to Mark Buckley for organising all that.

I’d like once again to thank all the trustees and members of the committee for their work and enthusiasm throughout the year. If anyone else is interested in giving the Friends a little more support in protecting our parks, we really could do with some help on the committee with maybe – leading walks or writing reports of them for the newsletter and web site or volunteering at the Welcome Centre.

The spending review will hit the Royal Parks. Overall there are to be cuts of over 30%. Head Office has decided to cut the Education team completely from Bushy, which means that Hannah Pritchard, who has done such a marvellous job not only with local schools but who, in collaboration with the Friends has been instrumental in setting up the Information Point at the Pheasantry, is to leave later in the year. Another of the things we will all notice is that the litter collection around the park will be severely reduced. It is very expensive – it costs £130,000 a year, and is one of the “front line services” that we will see affected. There will be more use of the park for things like film shoots. It’s a way of increasing revenue and goes some way to alleviate the budget cuts. As far as the Friends are concerned, I think we all agree that any damage to the Parks of any of these extra activities must be kept to an absolute minimum and we will continue to work with the management to help them achieve that goal.

English Heritage and DCMS have promoted the Diana Fountain from a Grade II listed structure to Grade I status. This is excellent news as it recognises Bushy Park as an ever more important site. Now we need to gain our SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status.

Finally I must record the death of Ken Lovell, for many years our newsletter editor. He died after a long illness just after Christmas.

Pieter Morpurgo, Chairman. February 2011.

Announcement of Special General Meeting

The trustees and committee have been reviewing the appeal money which has been collected for various projects over the last few years.

One of them has not worked out. The appeal in 2000 to raise money for the replacing of the drinking fountain near the Teddington Gate proved to be vastly more expensive and way beyond the £920 that you so generously gave.

We propose to hold a special general meeting after the talk on Thursday 26th May to suggest ways in which we might transfer the money to other projects. We could, for instance, pay for drinking fountains for both dogs and humans at the Pheasantry. The point is, is that it is money that you as members have given for a particular project, and we don’t feel it right to move the money to other projects without your consent.

We welcome ideas as to how that money should be re-allocated. It is probable that the finials for the Water Gardens (last years appeal) will be rather more expensive.

We don’t have details yet, but I would hope to have a more accurate estimate at the May 26th meeting.

Are you at risk from flooding?

The Environment Agency has asked local amenity groups including the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks to help promote its ‘Flood Awareness Campaign’

Please read the Flood Awareness brochure which has some simple to follow advice and sources of further information.

The Fence in Duke’s Head Passage

The Fence in Duke’s Head Passage

The fence in Duke's Head Passage

The new fence in Duke’s Head Passage has been causing great concern among the Friends. The Royal Parks say that the new fence has been put there to keep deer out of the passage. They have been crossing the river, and there is great concern that a deer trapped by people walking through could present a serious danger to park users. Although there have been no reported cases of conflict, deer have been crossing into the passage.

There have been suggestions that the fence be placed on the other side of the river. This would mean that a fence would have to cross the river twice, which would double the length of the fence and of course double the cost. At least with the fence where it is you can see over it to the uninterrupted view.

Pieter Morpurgo, Chairman. June 2011.

Saturday Walk: The Woodland Gardens

Saturday Walk: The Woodland Gardens

Friends at start of guided tour

On Saturday 3rd September, The Head Gardener of the Woodland Gardens, Chris Nickerson led 45 of us on a guided tour of the work he has done and is continuing to do in both the gardens.

We met at the Welcome Centre as usual and a few steps later were at the bank which the Friends planted two years ago with 450 pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge) and vinca minor (Periwinkle).

Sadly the rabbit population took a liking to these and many were lost, but the bed has been planted with low growing yew less likely to become rabbit food. The old dead tree stump there is 300-400 years old and is left there to become home for woodpeckers, stag beetles and other wildlife.

Over the duck bridge to Triss’ Island cleared by volunteers and planted with evergreen azaleas. Once established the flowers will be reflected in the water as they were many years ago. Further on, on the south border there is a new grass area with a bamboo walk. One side has been planted, the other side will be planted by taking the shoots from the boundary line of plants.

Across Ash Walk we came to the giant Gunnera Macinata growing vigorously, but in winter their crowns will need covering with leaves to protect them from frost. Chris is clearing little secret areas of garden off the main path where one can sit and be peaceful, although there are no benches in the majority of them.

Contemplation Glade is one where the dreaded Rhododendron ponticum is prevalent. New Cotinus coggygria (Smoke Bush) are being planted and once they have grown the Rhododendron ponticum will be removed. It needs to be removed as it carries a disease which affects oak trees.

We moved on to Fisher’s Pond and Field, named after Joseph Fisher who laid out the gardens as we see them today in the middle of the last century. Chris’s plan here is to plant rather more unusual trees one of which is Catalpa bignonioides – the first was stolen, the second died back but is now on the mend. Only one or two trees will be planted each year, so any gardener planting in an area like this will never see the completed garden as it will take 80 years to mature. The conifers were planted in the 1970s and are not really suitable.

We walked through to Birch Glade, and admired the information board provided by the Friends. This area is still under development and will be where the Friends will plant bulbs on Saturday 5th November. All will be welcome; tools will be provided. All that helpers need to bring are sensible shoes and a pair of gloves.

It was a very interesting morning as we had a “behind the scenes” account of how much work and thought goes into caring and developing gardens such as these.

Many thanks to Chris for his time and for sharing his enthusiasm with us.

Pieter Morpurgo

Bird Walk

Bird Walk

Adult male Blackcap, courtesey Wikipeida

A walk with Diana Housley, 21st May 2011

In introducing Diana and saying how good the sunshine was, the sun immediately went behind a cloud. This, however, was not to be a bad omen for the morning. Diana explained that due to the extraordinarily warm weather, birds and the trees were more advanced than one might expect at this time of year. The leaf coverage would make bird spotting a little tricky.

Leaving the Welcome Centre, 45 of us followed Diana into the Woodland Gardens, where there were Crows and Jackdaws. The Crows tend to stay in the park while the Jackdaws with their silvery heads roost outside the park and return during the day.

Crossing Duck Bridge, we found Mallards and three pairs of Mandarin Duck, who had escaped from captivity, and have been breeding successfully in the park for some years. Passing Triss’s Pond there were Coots and Moorhens nesting. The Moorhens tend to make their nest under cover near the banks, while the Coots make theirs in the more open water. Coots are the ones with the white patch on their heads, hence the expression “bald as a Coot”. There was a family of Egyptian Geese. The five goslings were hatched in their nest in a tree and jump or fall to the ground as downy babies. They are light and fluffy and bounce, so none seemed too upset by the experience and were growing well as they came up close to us to see if we had any food to offer. They have been nesting in the park for the past ten to fifteen years, although the 18th century painting of the Water Gardens clearly shows Egyptian Geese, but they will have been captive birds or maybe that was just artistic licence.

We heard and saw a Blackcap, with its beautiful flute like sound. It is the male that sings, while the female has a more discreet brown cap. Its sound was followed by the familiar screech of the Ring-necked Parakeet – what a difference! A female Chaffinch was feeding in the leaf litter under a Rhododendron bush. Very difficult to see, but Diana was expert in describing where to find it.

In Ash Walk Diana pointed out a hole in a tree where she had seen a Nuthatch a couple of days before, so we waited patiently and had great views of the couple feeding their young, although they were still hidden in the nest, it was clear that they were quite big as the adults were unable to get into the nest.

Through into Water House Gardens we heard Long-tailed Tits and some Chiffchaff, perhaps the easiest sound to identify as it sounds exactly as the name suggests; there was a Robin about and Blackbirds and Blue Tits. With no plane noise, we spent a few moments just standing and listening to the orchestra around us. We passed a nest box where a couple of Great Tits were feeding their young. There are many nest boxes in the gardens and twenty of them are made of sawdust and cement to stop the Woodpeckers from raiding the nests.

In a pond near the Willow Plantation a young Grey Heron was standing patiently, and then on cue stabbed for its breakfast.

From Dukes’ Head Passage Diana hoped that we might see a Hobby, but not today, however a Whitethroat made an appearance, and a swift look at a Swallow as it sped overhead. They are nesting in the Stockyard.

Walking back over the grassland there were Skylarks, Green Woodpeckers and a large flock of – maybe fifty – Starlings.

We all had a wonderful walk in glorious weather led by Diana, whose expertise and enthusiasm she shared with us all. Very many thanks to her and might we hope for another Bird Walk in the future – maybe next time a Winter Walk?

Pieter Morpurgo, May 2011

Working with the Americans 1953-1962

A talk with Don Ross, 28th April 2011

A trip down memory lane to 1953.

While I was at Isleworth Grammar school, my parents saw an advert to become a cartographer for the War Office. I applied, and was sent to the War Office in Bushy Park. The Americans were there working, producing maps for the RAF. This work was carried out from 1947 on the American base. The Americans were there from 1942 onwards.

I had no experience of cartography. There were strict academic requirements. They wanted science, maths, geography and a strong talent in drawing. I passed the drawing test and started work in September 1953. I was trained in photography, lithography and cartography. In addition, they sent me to Kingston College of Technology, as it was then known (now the University), to do course on Town Planning and Cartography, and I also learnt Russsian., as it was our task was to transliterate Russian maps into Anglicised version.

It was amazing, becoming a cartographer and a civil servant. My first month’s money was £12. That’s the equivalent today of 2 hours on the minimum national wage. My salary was £144 per annum in 1953. Those were austere times. Rationing had stopped, but things were still hard to come by.

On entering the American Base, it was like going into utopia. The Americans were generous to us. They gave us Turkey and all the trimmings and other things like lemon meringue pie, pecan pie, even Coca Cola which was unheard of in England at that time.

I passed the 12-month rigorous training course where we had to draw on enamel zinc (a stable medium). We drew the contours, drainage, air routes (‘reporting points’) while the senior draughtsmen stood over us, supervising.

In total, there were 132 of us in the War Office: printers, plate makers, cartographers. Amongst those, there were 30 Polish draughtsmen. Polish soldiers were with British forces during the war, but could not go back to Russia. Some had horrendous tales to tell. Many used to work in Ealing. To this day there is a strong polish community in Ealing. The highlight of our month was to be invited to a Polish Birthday, drinking vodka and eating salami sausage, which was then unknown here.

The Ordnance Survey maps were derived from a collective term for artillery – accurate mapping to enable the military to function. The Baseline for these types of maps was measured with glass rods as they did not expand carried out by General Roy.

I started work at the height of the Cold War. The Americans involved us in all sorts of things to do with their space programme. We had musical accompaniment to our work. Bushy Park was home to the ‘751 US Airports Band’, the base at Bushy Park always had concerts.

It was an extraordinary time for us school leavers. I was only there for 2 years and National Service beckoned. I went to Cyprus and I surveyed and drew maps of Cyprus. We did this to an accompaniment of unrest. I had been stoned, by children, for the first time in my life. We were all armed to the teeth but what can you do when children are throwing stones at you? We beat a hasty retreat.

Many thanks to Don Ross for his informative talk.

Emma Morrison, April 2011

Hedgehog rescue

Hedgehog rescue

A talk given by Sue Kidger on 23rd. September 2010.

Sue is a remarkable person! She has been rescuing hedgehogs for 10 years and keeps them (up to 45 at any one time) in the larger of two top floor rooms in her town house in Twickenham.

The rescued hedgehogs are sick, injured or orphaned and her aim is to release them back into the wild. This is not always possible if they are too badly injured, blind or cannot ‘prickle up’ (raise their spines) Some will remain with her, others go to secure gardens. Her dedication means feeding 2 day old hoglets every 2 hours using a syringe. They are eventually weaned onto liquidised puppy or kitten food – as they are meat-eaters bread and milk must not be given.

Life Cycle:
They start to hibernate in October/November under leaves, sheds etc. and usually come out in April/May. The priority is for food, then if the female wants to mate, she flattens herself, mating occurs and the male disappears.

Gestation is 35-40 days; there are 3-5 in a litter with each hoglet the size of a small mouse. After 2 hours white spines appear; at 2 weeks they open eyes and ears and grow soft brown spines; at 4 weeks all spines have grown, they can see and hear and have whiskers and a small tail. In the wild, the mother stops feeding at 6-8 weeks and they separate to fend for themselves. They are sexually mature at 6/9 months and there may be a second litter in the autumn. The young from this litter will not gain enough weight to hibernate (need to be minimum 600g) and the mother will leave them and hibernate herself.

Sue is rescuing young from now throughout the winter and will release them when it is warm enough in the spring.

Swimming pools and ponds – they can swim a short distance but need something to climb out onto.

Bags of garden refuse which have been left open.

Netting on the ground, as they get caught and all spines go up.

Slug pellets – metaldehyde is poisonous

Humans can disturb hedgehogs as they sleep during the day. They are a gardener’s friend as they eat slugs and other insects.

Foxes – a fox cub may bite a young hedgehog and, once the skin is pierced, bluebottles lay eggs and the maggots then eat into the flesh. This may be so severe as to necessitate removing a back leg.

Badgers are a natural predator.

Other dangers include bonfires and cars.

Sue’s enthusiasm was evident throughout the talk which was sprinkled with amusing (some risqué) anecdotes including her appearances on television and an encounter with Alan Titchmarsh. She became more well known in 2009 when she had two albino rescue hedgehogs.

The climax of the evening was the appearance of two adult rescued hedgehogs – Reese and Goldie who came out of their hutches and were admired by all.

Many thanks to Sue for a very entertaining, amusing and informative evening.

Report by Jane Cliff, October 2010.

Thursday Talk: The History of Kew

Thursday Talk: The History of Kew

Laura Ponsonby

The History of Kew by Laura Ponsonby. Thursday 26 November 2009.

Laura gave a most interesting and informative talk and, to our amazement, managed to condense the 250 years’ history of Kew gardens into 75 minutes!

Kew Gardens is the largest Botanical Garden in the world and only Chelsea Physic Garden and Oxford and Edinburgh Botanical Gardens are older.

Originally the gardens were split into the Richmond estate leading down to the river and the Kew Estate. The following summarises the main people and events.

In 1727 George II came to the throne, lived in Ormonde Lodge and made improvements including avenues of Walnut, Elm and Sweet Chestnut trees and several new buildings. Despite an income of 100,000 per annum and government money from Walpole he was in debt when he died!

Love Lane divided the Kew estate from Richmond and Henry Capel lived in the White House (Kew House) during the latter half of the 17th. Century. On his death, his great niece lived there with her husband followed by Prince Frederick and his 16 year old German bride Augusta.

Frederick loved gardening and encouraged his visitors to help in the garden but he died in 1751 and it was Augusta who made significant changes. William Aiton came to Kew and in 1759 nine acres were made into a Physic Garden. An arboretum was also laid out including a Ginkgo tree which is still in the gardens today. Lord Bute lived and studied in Kew Green and gave Augusta good advice, also importing trees from North America.

Sir William Chambers, an architect employed by Augusta and was responsible for 24 new buildings of which only 6 survive including the Orangery, once a Wood museum.

The Temple of the Winds has been rebuilt, the famous Pagoda survives (minus 80 dragons in the roof corners!) but the Mosque and the Alhambra were demolished.

George III (farmer George) moved into the White House in the 1770s after Augusta’s death. Queen Charlotte was very interested in plants and took lessons from Capability Brown and with Joseph Banks as an advisor; many plants were brought back from Captain Cook’s voyages. It was Joseph Banks who was responsible for the foundation of Kew as a scientific institution.

There were few developments during the reigns of George III and IV, but William IV had one of the Nash conservatories moved from Buckingham Palace to Kew. (William also lived at Bushy House with Mrs. Jordan and their 10 children)

During the reign of Queen Victoria, William Hooker was appointed as the first Director and started the Museum of Botany. The collections are now housed in the Joseph Banks building.

The Great Palm House was started in 1844 and the public admitted for the first time.

In 1845 the two gardens were joined comprising 200 acres in total.

The Herbarium which was started in the 1850s had a new wing built every 30 years and houses 8 million specimens including new species. The Temperate House began in the 1860s but was not completed until the end of the century when it was opened by the Queen.

Joseph Hooker succeeded his father in 1865. He was a friend of Darwin and collected many rhododendrons and orchids.

The original Jodrell Laboratory, now extended, was built in 1876 and the Rock Garden laid out in 1882.

In 1882 the Marianne North Gallery was opened to the public and to date 300 of the original 833 oil paintings have been restored.

1885 saw William Thiselton-Dyer take over as the third director and in 1887 the Alpine House was created.

The 1890s saw the first ‘lady’ gardeners who were made to wear plus fours, waistcoats and caps!

The Queen gave Queen Charlotte’s cottage and grounds to the public in 1898 which includes the area of bluebells.

Kew took over the management of Wakehurst Place in 1965 including some national collections and more tender plants which do less well at Kew.

The seed bank, started at Kew, was moved to Wakehurst and the current target is to store seeds from 10% of the world’s flora by 2010.

In 1969, Queen Elizabeth opened a 17th. Century garden behind Kew Palace which includes medicinal plants.

The Princess of Wales conservatory, opened in 1987 by Princess Diana, is named after Princess Augusta.

After a major repair The Palm House reopened in 1990. One plant, the Madagascan Periwinkle, is used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease and childhood leukaemia.

In 2003 under the directorship of Professor Crane, Kew was given World heritage Status and work continues with a new Alpine House, the Tree walk, a new gallery, students’ fruit and vegetable plots and the largest compost heap in Europe!

Many thanks to Laura Ponsonby.

Report by Jane Cliff, Photo by Pieter Morpurgo, posted 17 December 2009

Mistletoe Walk 2008

Mistletoe Walk 2008

Mistletoe at Hampton Court Palace grounds

Saturday 16th February 2008

The Mistletoe walk – for many years led by Tyrrell Marris and again joined this year by Graham Dillamore is becoming one of the Friends annual favourites. Almost sixty of us met at the Lion Gate on a beautiful spring-like morning. It may be tempting fate to say it, but for many years now the weather has been very good. Looking up into the trees to see the mistletoe with a bright blue sky behind it, makes it even more special. The early spring bulbs were out too – crocus, daffodil and snowdrops.

We started walking through the wilderness area and saw mistletoe on young trees no more than six feet off the ground, as well as on trees some hundreds of years old where the mistletoe was growing high up.

York Minster is still the only great church to have mistletoe placed on the altar on Christmas Day. The Church of England used to believe that mistletoe was one of the pagan symbols as it was used to ward off evil spirits and witches, and hung over cow shed doors to bring good luck to the herd.

Tyrrell explained that many Mistlethrushes plant the mistletoe as they only eat the fruit and deposit the seeds – after they have digested the fruit. That’s enough explanation of that!

The seeds are trapped in the crevices in the bark and grow on using their own leaves for growth. The only thing they take from the host tree is fluids, so it does no damage to the tree on which it is living.

Graham took over at this point and led us to the Clore Centre, named not surprisingly after its benefactor, It is in the courtyard behind the door with bright gold vine leaves; startling in the sun. The Clore Centre is an education centre opened by Prince Charles last year. Its reception area has a stunning model of a flying dragon made by local school children, based on the dragon at the top of the painting “The Field of the Cloth of Gold” which is on display at Hampton Court.

We were then led across the courtyard to the old barracks building – actually two, one housing the men from the household cavalry, and the other infantry men. Their horses were stabled below them as they slept 22 men to a room.

The building has been turned into classrooms and a lecture room, and is well used by local schools and lectures and meetings for adults.

Outside again, and still in bright sun we crossed the green to the south west corner of the palace to see a fine old tree a False Acacia which has several large clumps of mistletoe, and while we were watching a mistlethrush appeared, which just proved that Tyrrell was right.

We finished our walk at the now completed Orangery Garden. Last year Graham had shown us the area just after Tudor foundations were found. Those have been recorded by archaeologists and now covered over and the area planted in the original Queen Mary design. There are narrow beds with box surrounds and sparsely planted with bulbs as bulbs were a great rarity and very expensive. In summer Delft plant pots were brought out with delicate plants.

Tyrrell and Graham gave us a most interesting morning, and we hope that may be persuaded to talk to us again next year.

Pieter Morpurgo, February 2008

Can you help? New co-chair needed

Pieter Morpurgo will be standing down from his role as Co Chair of the Friends in February 2012, following 5 successful years, 4 of those as Chairman.
Annie Murray has volunteered to continue in the position of Co Chair but is seeking someone to work alongside.

If this is something that you feel may be of interest please do contact Annie on 0208 287 2748 for an informal chat when she can provide more information on what the role involves.

National Walk4Life Day - 25 September

A message from our friends at The Ramblers:

An exciting event to promote the many benefits of walking takes place at Bushy Park, Teddington, at 10.00am on Walk4Life Day, Sunday 25 September. This is one of 10 flagship events across Britain that will be covered extensively by national television.

Walk4Life Day is part of the Department of Health’s (DH) Change4Life campaign to encourage families and adults to eat well, move more and live longer, by making small lifestyle changes that add up to big health benefits. It aims to show people that walking is a perfect way to start building up the 150 minutes a week of physical activity recommended for adults; almost everyone can do it, anywhere, at any time, and best of all it’s free.

The Ramblers is proud to be taking a leading role in helping to lift the nation to its feet by working with DH to organise several of these events.

The event, in one of the capital’s beautiful Royal Parks, will highlight the successful Richmond Active Living Health Walks project, now being managed and supported by the Ramblers on behalf of the London Borough of Richmond and NHS South West London. The regular Sunday health walk that takes place in the park is being supplemented with a brief welcome and presentation, press call and a mile-long walk as part of DH’s Walk4Life miles project, followed by the regular health walk which will take in part of the London Loop, one of Transport for London’s seven strategic walking routes, and a celebration picnic. You can download the poster for more information.

You are more than welcome to attend for all or part of the event, to which we are inviting a wide range of stakeholders including representatives from the Borough, the NHS, the Mayor of London, the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, the Royal Parks, Natural England and other walking and active travel organisations.

Please get in touch to confirm your attendance, or with any further enquiries, to Thomas Moulton, Everyday Walking Officer, thomas.moulton@ramblers.org.uk.

Planning Application Victory!

News has just come through that the appeal against the council decision to refuse the building application for the Whistle Stop site (the scrappy building at the Hampton Court Gate entrance to Bushy Park) has been turned down, so another success on the planning front for us!

I, together with local residents, have been sending letters and objecting about this site for months – if not years. So persistence and bloody mindedness has prevailed!

No doubt a new application will be sent in at some point, hopefully this time not putting the Park wall in danger of collapse. We will await developments.

Pieter Morpurgo

Farewell to Ray and Suzanne

Farewell to Ray and Suzanne

Ray Brodie receiving picture (photo: David Ivison)

Members of the FBHP committee and the Wildlife Group along with guests gathered at the Stockyard on 12th August to bid farewell to Ray Brodie, Manager of Bushy Park. As a result of structural changes within the Royal Parks Ray will be moving to Kensington Gardens and Simon Richards who is currently Manager of Richmond Park will take on responsibility for both parks.

Pieter Morpurgo, FBHP Co-Chair said:

“For the past 13 years Ray has been an enthusiastic committee member and during his time as manager Bushy has been transformed. Ray has overseen more major changes in a single Royal Park than probably anyone else.The National Heritage Lottery Fund provided funding for some 60 odd projects in the Park, all of which were overseen by Ray. The Welcome Centre – although perhaps for some not so well named, but there is no doubt that it is a huge success and pays a fair amount of money to the Royal Parks. This was a difficult project for Ray. There were many concerns about it, to say nothing of a meeting there before it opened when we all had to leave the building as the floor wasn’t safe.

“The other major projects were the completion of the Water Gardens and the first restoration for 300 hundred years of the Diana Fountain, All of these overseen by Ray, and I remember his great relief when on a freezing January morning, when the sluice gate was opened to refill the Diana pond.

“Ray has given us some brilliant talks and led interesting walks – occasionally having to deal with hecklers – many MPs could learn from his example in how to deal with them! But his knowledge and enthusiasm comes across in everything he does. He has been a great Friend to us all and we will miss him very much. Kensington Gardens don’t know how lucky they are. In fact the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge only decided to move to Kensington Palace when they heard that Ray was going to manage their gardens!

“Thank you, Ray for all your support and friendship, We all owe you a great deal. And good luck at Kensington Gardens – they don’t deserve you.”

Annie Murray, FBHP Co-Chair, added:

“We will all miss Ray a man who is passionate about the park he named ‘the Cinderella of the Royal Parks’ and who has dedicated the past 13 years to caring, nurturing, protecting and developing this wonderful space.

“On a personal note I have been immensely grateful to Ray for all his support and words of wisdom and his promise of continued involvement with the Friends.”

The Friends were pleased to present Ray with a framed print of one of the winning photos in the FBHP wildlife photography competition. See FBHP Photo Competition Galleries

Suzanne Edwards, Office Manager, is also leaving White Lodge and moving to Hyde Park. She has been a great friend to the Friends, always helping us out wherever she could, supporting the volunteers, always happy to let us know what’s going on around the Stockyard and the Park, and answering any questions we might have. Our thanks and good wishes go to her too.

Editor needed for History of the FBHP

Editor needed for History of the FBHP

Friends celebrating the FBHP 21st anniversary

We are currently putting together a history of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks in recognition of our 25th anniversary. It’s not until 2015 but we like to plan ahead.

There is some fascinating material in the archives which is being sorted into a time line and we are also in the process of gathering contributions from ex Chairs and committee members.

The aim is to produce a booklet which describes the role of the Friends and our achievements as well as giving a general overview of the park and how it has changed and developed over these years.

If you think you could help in any way with this project or would like more information please do contact Annie Murray on 020 8287 2748.

If you have any material to contribute for the booklet, we would also be delighted to hear from you.

FBHP opposes conversion of Jenny Lind pub to KFC

Last night the council planning committee considered the re-submission of the application to turn the former Jenny Lind pub in Hampton Hill High Street into a take-away. If granted the building would be converted and extended to house a KFC take-away within a few feet of the Hampton Hill New Gate to Bushy Park.

Pieter Morpurgo spoke on behalf of FBHP, 2 others spoke on behalf of Hampton Hill residents and traders. No one spoke on behalf of the developer. There had been over 300 objections sent in before the meeting.

The application was rejected, so we have won round two.

There will definitely be an appeal as KFC are already announcing it on their web site, so that will have to be followed up with ever more vigorous objections.

The following is the text of the FBHP presentation:

Bushy Park is a Grade 1 listed landscape with Grade 1 listed structures in it, and a proposed SSSI is currently awaiting notification by Natural England. In the planning submission Section 14 it is stated that the site is not in, or close to a biodiversity site. This is incorrect. Bushy Park – within feet of the site is a biodiversity area of national importance. The Park contains a regionally important area of Lowland Acid Grassland, a UK priority habitat for conservation and a habitat in the Borough of Richmond Biodiversity Action Plan and it’s a Site of Metropolitan Interest for biodiversity as designated by the GLA. It is the responsibility of the council as well as the general public to protect such a delicate and historic structure.
Deer are scavengers. They will eat anything, as was proved at a routine autopsy on a deer in Richmond Park where it was found that the deer’s stomach contained litter and food stuffs dropped by the public. Even more dangerous is the effect of cooked chicken bones. These can be fatal to dogs as is well known; the Deer Society and Wildlife officers I have spoken to state that they are equally fatal to deer. The plastic forks supplied by take-aways could also kill.
We are told that litter pickers will be used. In reality this won’t happen in the park because they would have to clear up the park in the dark probably surrounded by a herd of deer, who will very quickly have learned to find the new food source. Even if the litter doesn’t kill the deer, the food stuffs which pass through them will change the nature of this important acid grassland.
The car park by the site is partly owned by the Royal Parks and although outside the walls of the park is used by park users. Having a take away so close will reduce the number of spaces available for them. There is already enormous pressure on car parking around the park. It is a popular venue, and the car park is the only one on the Hampton Hill side.
As important as these reasons are, perhaps of the greatest concern to the council and local residents and park users is that the change in use of this building will encourage people to congregate in the park with their food particularly in the evenings. There have been many instances when anti social behaviour has forced the Royal Parks to lock the pedestrian gate. Anti social behaviour is a very serious problem in the park. Just last year vandals caused the complete destruction of the Hampton Hill Cricket Club building in the park only a few steps away from where this take away is proposed. The council should be helping to discourage these types of individuals, rather than allowing, through the granting of this application, a further opportunity for people to congregate, drop litter and cause further damage to one of the most best loved, precious and what should be one of the most protected areas in the borough.
I would urge the council planning authorities to reject this application without further delay. Granting it would simply allow more developers to apply for similar permissions, making the problems the park face even worse. As I’ve already said, it is a grade 1 listed landscape and it, and its environs should be treated as such.

Pieter Morpurgo, FBHP

Oak Processionary Moth - please help!

Oak Processionary Moth - please help!

Oak Processionary Moth larvae (c) Crown Copyright. Forestry Commission

The Royal Parks would like the help of walkers, bird watchers, dog walkers and anyone in the parks who can carry a pair of binoculars. There have been discoveries of nests of the Oak processionary Moth in both Bushy and Home Parks. While walking look at all the oak trees with binoculars and report any sightings of the nests to the park offices; – Bushy Park 020 8979 1586 or Home Park 020 3166 6470. If required please leave a message describing the exact location or a contact telephone number.

But do not go near them or under any circumstances touch them.

Oak Processionary Moth Larvae on an oak tree

Oak Processionary Moth Larvae on an oak tree (Crown Copyright. Forestry Commission.)

Nests have been seen in both Bushy and Home Parks this year. The caterpillars are only really visible from May until July, although the empty nests may persist all year. If you see any old nests report them to the numbers above.

Defoliation of oak leaf by oak processionary moth larvae

Defoliation of oak leaves caused by Oak Processionary Moths (Crown Copyright. Forestry Commission.)

If you can help with next years’ survey please contact the Royal Parks senior arboriculturist, Mike Turner on his e-mail MTurner@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

We will send another reminder nearer the time.

This is something where the Friends can make a positive and practical contribution in continuing to protect these beautiful parks.

The oak processionary moth is a major defoliator of oak in Europe. The caterpillars feed on the foliage of oaks trees, although it can affect other trees as well. It is also a risk to human and wildlife health. The caterpillars are covered in irritating hairs that contain a toxin and contact with these hairs, or their inhalation can result in skin irritation and allergic reaction.

If oak processionary moth becomes established in the Royal Parks it will pose a difficult and expensive management problem.

The accompanying photos from Forestry Research show you what to look for, but please do not touch the nests.
More information can be found on their web site
Forestry Research – oak processionary

Welcome to Bushy Park's new manager

Welcome to Bushy Park's new manager

Simon Richards, new manager of Bushy Park

Following Ray Brodie’s move to Kensington Gardens, Simon Richards who is currently Manager of Richmond Park will take on responsibility for both parks.

The Friends welcome Simon Richards to Bushy Park. Simon has worked for the Royal Parks since 1985, firstly in Hyde Park and, since 1997 in Richmond Park. He is married with two children and lives at Ladderstile Gate within Richmond Park.

Since moving to Richmond, he has been drawn into the management of deer and a deeper understanding of the complex ecology of the parks. He has a lifelong love of the countryside and feels privileged to be able to manage a Park that is rural in many respects and yet only 15km from the centre of London. He says: “To have the opportunity to work at Bushy Park with its historic links with Hampton Court will be an exciting opportunity despite the economic circumstances of the time. As a pedestrian, motorist, cyclist and dog walker I believe that I have some understanding of the many and varied views about how parks should be managed!”

Simon will be supported at Bushy by Bill Swan.

Royal Parks Transfer: Latest Update

Meeting of London Assembly Environment Committee & Royal Parks 12th October

The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks along with the Friends of the other Royal Parks have been asked to give their comments to the questions that are to be on the agendas for the 12th October meeting.

FBHP and FRP (Friends of Richmond Park) have amalgamated their responses as they are broadly similar parks and many of our concerns are the same, so I thought it sensible to send a joint statement as we are already co-operating on the Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum (RBPF).

The questions the committee are to discuss are in italics and our responses follow. There is also a reminder of the 7 point plan which the FBPF issued in December last year, and a list of the 38 local groups who have joined the Forum.

THE FRIENDS OF BUSHY AND FRIENDS OF RICHMOND PARKS SUBMISSION TO: The London Assembly Environment Committee and Royal Parks meeting on 12th October

When the transfer of the Royal Parks to the Mayor was first proposed, The Friends of Bushy Park and The Friends of Richmond Park combined to create the Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum with 36 other local organisations (see list below). In principle we were not against the idea, but issued a 7 point plan (see below) which, if implemented, we believe would help to enhance and protect the Royal Parks. The statement from the Minister two months ago upheld some of our points but did not react to others.

Your e-mail of 24th August suggests that the agenda for the meeting on 12th October will consider responses to the following questions. The Friends of Bushy and Richmond Parks wish to have the following points considered by the Committee.

How will biodiversity in the Royal Parks be preserved and enhanced?

1. SSSI status should be implemented without delay for Bushy Park. This has been discussed in the past by TRP and Natural England and there seem to be no objections in principle but it has not been progressed; we would like the Environment Committee to request TRP to pursue it as a matter of urgency.

2. The new Royal Parks Board should have an independent expert from Natural England or a person they recommend to strengthen our ecology and biodiversity concerns. The current board does not have such a figure.

3. There should be a strengthening of the environment and wildlife expertise in both the new management and staff. Only one of the senior management of TRP has such experience. Wildlife officers have recently been cut in numbers. This decision should be reversed to combat the threats to the ecology.

The biodiversity of Richmond and Bushy Parks is under pressure. In the last 50 years, Richmond Park alone has lost such species as the grey partridge, bullfinch, brown hare and water shrew. Its 40,000 oaks and horse chestnuts are threatened by various diseases; it is likely that significant numbers will be lost in the next 10-20 years. The same problems threaten Bushy Park too.

How will visitors to the parks be encouraged and enabled to reduce their environmental impact?

This can encouraged by public education and the enforcement of the park regulations, including the use of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs). All the Royal Parks Friends, along with TRP and MPs, have been lobbying for almost 5 years for the introduction of FPNs for litter, dog fouling and off-track cycling, giving TRP similar powers to a local council. The proposal has been agreed in principle by all parties but then held up by other considerations. We would urge the Environment Committee to push for their introduction.

How do TRP balance the benefits of commercial events and other intensive uses of the parks against the environmental impacts?

Commercial events should only be allowed if appropriate to their setting; neither Bushy nor Richmond Parks is appropriate for such events on any scale. However, commercial pressures are pushing TRP to override these considerations. The SSSI status of Richmond and proposed status of Bushy demands that there should be an Environmental Risk Assessment before any event is planned. The income from such event should be worthwhile; some recent events have produced very little income. Our view is that significant revenue; sufficient to cover the operating costs of the two Parks could be generated by toll charging on through traffic. This would have the added benefit of reducing traffic and therefore pollution in the parks.

How do TRP promote sustainable transport including walking and cycling?

1. All transport used by Royal Parks should be fuel efficient, sensitive to the environment and the lowest possible carbon emissions.

2. Any large numbers of walkers or cyclists will have an impact on the grassland. It should managed better, so as not to cause disturbance to the wildlife and ecology. Creating more cycle paths often opens up areas of parkland that have been relatively untouched, leading to disturbance of wildlife and erosion of the surrounding ecology. This has been the experience of recent new cycle paths in Richmond Park.

What role could TRP have in boosting sports participation and access?

As with all events in the parks it should be sensitive to the environment. Off road cycling can cause considerable damage to the grassland, and can be a nuisance to other park users. In contrast, horse riding, kite flying, individual running on well-defined paths, or road cycling do not have a significant impact, providing the Park regulations are followed – for example speed limits are obeyed. Sporting activities should be encouraged by better management of the areas involved. For instance, 750 runners on the same grass area every weekend must have a compaction effect on the grassland and cause erosion.

As with all visitor attractions of open spaces, the biggest threat faced by the Royal Parks is the increasing numbers of visitors and the increasing intensity of their use of the Parks. Access should be encouraged, but access to enjoy the beauties of the Park and not to destroy the very thing people come to see.

What opportunities and challenges may come with the Olympic and Paralympic Games?

The Olympic road cycling races will go through Bushy and Richmond Parks, and the Cycling Time Trial will use Bushy Park. They provide an opportunity for a great spectacle.

The test run in August highlighted some major problems. There was mass cycling across some sensitive grassland areas to get to the course, despite barriers being in place. Temporary bike parks should be installed for the Olympics to save the grassland. LOCOG had promised that the stewards and marshals would be briefed about the ecology, and would direct people to avoid sensitive areas and hand out educational leaflets. In the event there were only a few of them and most were not briefed at all. The Friends’ Reviews of the trial event should be carefully considered, including the further preservation of the parklands. The number of spectators next year is expected to at least treble, which will just make this years’ problem worse next year.

What changes are anticipated as a result of the Mayor’s new role in governance of TRP?

1. We are concerned that the new governance could reduce the priority on protecting the environment of both Bushy and Richmond Parks and increase the priority on using them for commercial and sports activities that give short-term political advantage. Management of the ecology of the Parks requires a very long-term view (50 years and more), and that protected by short-term political considerations.

2. It is imperative that the new Board should have on it independent experts from organisations such as Natural England for the ecology; English Heritage for historic buildings; and the Royal Horticulture Society for the gardens, or independent representatives with similar expertise, so that the ecology, infrastructure and the environment can be equally protected.

3. There should also be statutory local consultative committees for each park or group of parks, and representation on the new Board from local park users and other groups who use the on a regular basis and know them well, such as Friends Groups and Wildlife Groups. Hampstead Heath provides a model for how such a mix of Board members can work well.

Ron Crompton, Chairman The Friends of Richmond Park
Pieter Morpurgo, Co-chairman The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks
(Co-chairs The Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum)

Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum Transfer of The Royal Parks to the Mayor of London Points to be incorporated in transfer arrangements

The Localism Bill, secondary legislation or a binding agreement between central government and the Mayor should set out mandatory requirements for the future management of the Royal Parks. The following points should be included:

1. The 8 Royal Parks should be kept together
o Bushy Park should include the Longford River

2. TRP should be kept as a single, semi-independent entity and retain its own management support functions, such as property management, commercial, marketing, finance, HR, IT
o Individual parks should keep their own management teams
o Current Park Managers should be retained

3. There should be a central TRP Board, with executive powers
o The Board should include representatives from local Boards, and external experts in ecology, historic buildings/landscape and managing large parks
o Its executive powers should include approval of TRP’s strategy, policies, budget, main spending programmes and significant new initiatives

4. There should be local statutory consultative Boards for each Park or group of Parks
o Richmond and Bushy could have a combined Board
o Local Boards should include representatives from local councils, local user , wildlife, friends, amenity and conservation groups, concessionaires, park management and outside expertise (e.g. for RP/BP in managing SSSI/NNRs)
o TRP/MoL should have a statutory duty to consult local Boards on all matters

5. There should be specific commitments to environmental protection.
o A commitment to get SSSI status for Bushy Park, with funds allocated.
o No further cuts in maintenance of green spaces within the Royal Parks

6. There should be protection against further significant commercialisation
o No concerts, new sports pitches, intensive sports or national events in RP/BP
o Revenue raising only from options with low environmental impact

7. Central government funding and commercial income should be ring-fenced, i.e. only able to be spent on the Parks
o It should include a programme and resources for reducing the £56 million maintenance backlog

Notes to the Points
• Introduction. Prompted by the lack of consultation and information over the proposed transfer of the Royal Parks to the Mayor, the Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum was formed with a mission “to provide input from a wide range of local stakeholders in the two Parks on the governance, protection and enhancement of the Parks for current and future generations of park users”. It comprises 30 bodies – Friends, users, local amenity and conservation groups, and organisations operating in the two Parks.
• Introduction. Strong governance and protections are important because the Mayor will have fewer constraints on his action from the Assembly than the Minister currently has from Parliament. The Royal Parks agency is currently part of DCMS and the Minister is accountable to Parliament, which can override his decisions (as the Lords attempted to do on parking charges). The London Assembly does not have similar powers over the Mayor; it can only scrutinise his actions and vote down the whole annual budget (not individual items). The Localism Bill proposes that the Assembly can override the Mayor’s strategies with a two-thirds majority, but this is still less power than Parliament has with its simple majority.
• Point 1: Longford River was built as a canal to feed Bushy Park (and Hampton Court), and keeping it in TRP will ensure the supply of water. It is a green or natural ecological corridor linking the River Colne with the River Thames, and important for fish, invertebrates and water fowl.
• Point 2: At present TRP is a semi-independent agency within DCMS (of which it is legally part). It has all its own management support functions (e.g. ecology, property management, commercial, marketing, education, finance, HR and IT), although it relies on DCMS for some expert advice, e.g. in legal and pensions; even so, it suffers from some bureaucracy and sometimes slow/poor response by the centre to park management. There is talk from MoL of changing TRP from a semi-independent agency into a department within the GLA – because making it (in GLA terms) a “functional body” or its equivalent would be legally difficult – and merging some or all of its functions other than direct park management into other GLA departments. This would undermine the identity and effectiveness of TRP, introduce another layer of bureaucracy and poor response, and risk losing valuable expertise; also, the GLA administration has a poor reputation for effectiveness. Therefore, a way should be found for TRP to remain as a separate entity, retaining all its present management support functions.
• Point 2: The current structure of park management teams should be retained to ensure local management is responsive to the needs of each park and its stakeholders. Current park managers should be retained for the foreseeable future (say 3-5 years), subject to normal performance review, to provide continuity and expertise to implement any changes.
• Point 3: The 23 July agreement between the Mayor, the London Assembly and London councils about the central Board is for 4 Mayoral appointments, including the Chairman, and 3 council reps; the Mayor’s office has recently agreed to add a Palace nominee. This is narrow in terms of both stakeholders and expertise. The Board should include representatives of local stakeholders (say one person from each local Board) to ensure local input, and expert appointees from outside bodies, e.g. the ecology member from Natural England, historic buildings expertise from English Heritage, large parks management expertise from the National Trust or the Corporation of London (which manages Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest); all of these need to be non-political appointees. Such a structure is not unusual; for example, Hampstead Heath, which is managed by the City of London, has a Management Board with a majority of City representatives, but also representatives from local stakeholders, Natural England and English Heritage.
• Point 3: The Board’s executive powers would cover TRP’s strategy, policies, budget, main spending programmes and large new initiatives. The Mayor would still have the power to direct the Board to do something if required. The alternative of a purely consultative body does not provide constraints on the Mayor – it can be ignored by him, with its only recourse being to make its disagreement public.
• Point 4: Local Boards for each park or group of parks ensure that local stakeholder views and knowledge are input to TRP decisions, and it is responsive to local conditions, thereby avoiding situations such as parking charges. The Forum has agreed that there can be one Board for Bushy and Richmond. Members should all be selected and appointed by stakeholder groups on a basis agreed when the Boards are set up. The Boards would be statutory consultative, i.e. TRP/MoL would have to consult them on matters affecting that park or group of parks. Hampstead Heath is an example of such a statutory consultative arrangement, and there is a good working relationship between the Management Board, park management and local stakeholders.
• Point 5: Richmond Park has good environmental protection from its status as a SSSI, NNR, SAC and local Conservation Area; of these the most important is SSSI. Bushy Park has been considered for SSSI status and there was the intention to designate it in 2011. Cuts in both TRP and Natural England make this problematic, and the Mayor should be required to pursue it, with the necessary funding. TRP already prioritises maintenance of green spaces, but spending is still being cut by 12% under the CSR. Green spaces are the defining characteristic of both Richmond and Bushy Parks and should be protected from further cuts.
• Point 6: Reports suggest MoL sees the Royal Parks as prime entertainment and sporting venues; certainly its application to put large screens in Regent’s Park for the World Cup and Assembly members’ demands for more football pitches are not a good omen. Entertainment and more sports in the two parks would damage their ecology and tranquillity, and urbanise them further, while raising relatively little money.
• Point 6: TRP is currently testing new revenue raising options, including a farmers’ market and selling Christmas trees in Richmond Park. Both of these small-scale activities raise very little money (it would need 30-50 of these a year to offset all of the funding cuts in Richmond Park). But cumulatively they have a major impact on the character and environment of the Park. Revenue raising should only come from large, low environmental impact activities.
• Point 7. TRP’s income comes from two sources – government funding (currently 60% of income but reducing to under 50% with the CSR cuts), and commercial income (the rest). Both sources should be ring-fenced for the Parks, i.e. it cannot be spent on anything else and the Mayor cannot divert them to other uses. The case for government funding being ring-fenced is obvious. Commercial income is derived from assets that central government has entrusted to the Mayor through the transfer, so it should also be ring-fenced.
• Point 7: With the transfer of the Royal Parks, DCMS is also transferring a maintenance backlog of £56 million, mainly for buildings, which has reduced from £64 million in the last 2-3 years. There should be an agreed programme and resources for eliminating the backlog, maybe over 5-10 years, funded jointly by central government and MoL.
Richmond and Bushy Parks Forum
16 December 2010
Secretary: max.lankester@btinternet.com


Bushy Park Wildlife Group
Bushy Park Education Volunteers
Environment Trust for Richmond
Esher and Walton Conservatives
Friends of Bushy and Home Parks
Friends of Palewell Common
Friends of Richmond Park
Ham and Petersham Association
Hampton Hill Association
Hampton Hill Cricket Club
Hampton Society
Hampton Wick Association
Hampton Wick Royal Cricket Club
Holly Lodge Centre
Kingston Society
Kingston Stables
London Dynamos Cycling Club
London Parks and Gardens
London Wildlife Trust
Molesey Residents Association
Petersham Conservators
Pembroke Lodge
Queens Road (Teddington) Residents’ Association
Richmond Environment Network
Richmond Hill Terrace Residents Association
Richmond Park Charitable Trust
Richmond Park Flora Group
Richmond Park Wildlife Group
Richmond Society
Royal Ballet School
Safer Parks Panel, Richmond Park
Strawberry Hill Association
Teddington Cricket Club
Teddington Town Cricket Club
Teddington Rugby Club
Teddington Society
Weybridge Society
Wimbledon Common Conservators

Compiled by Pieter Morpurgo

Tour of Garrick's Temple

Tour of Garrick's Temple

Statue of Shakespeare in Garrick's Temple, (copyright Twickenham Museum)

16th July 2011

On a very damp day we were given a tour of Garrick’s Temple at Hampton and the gardens. The gardens visit was fairly brief, as we took cover inside the temple.

Ron Smedley told us that the beautiful octagonal building was built in 1756 and it now holds a most interesting exhibition about the celebrated actor manager, David Garrick. He was one of the few actors of the time who had the means and success to build such a grand country house, which he built to celebrate Shakespeare. In one of the alcoves there is a very fine life statue of the playwright.

There has been a complete restoration over the last few years which show Garrick’s acting life and his private life as a gentleman of Hampton. The temple is open to the public on Sunday afternoons from 2 until 5 from the start of April to the end of October.

We thank Ron Smedley and the volunteers for giving us such a delightful morning.

Pieter Morpurgo

Insects and the Environment

Insects and the Environment

The Drucina Championi butterfly

Talk by Jacqueline Ruffle on September 22nd 2011

Jacqueline began by stating that environment is critical in the habitat of the 1 million species of insects we know about. Water is very important as well as how changeable is the day to day environment. Examples are that only the temperature changes in desert regions whereas tropical forests have a very varied environment.

There are several species of cold season moths in Northern Europe who thrive as there are fewer predators. These moths have very small wings, can’t fly and produce a pheromone to attract the males.

In complete contrast, Jacqueline had just returned from a month in Guatemala, travelling with the grandson of a renowned entomologist, George Champion. George arrived in Guatemala in March 1879 and spent 4 years of intensive collecting, returning to England with 15,000 species of insects. He has a beetle collection, including over 150,000 specimens, housed at the Natural History Museum and many publications.
His grandson, James, is hoping to find the female of the Drucina Championi butterfly, but it was not found during the time Jacqueline was with him.
The climate (15 metres of rain each year!) in Guatemala results in increased biodiversity, larger sized insects and a faster life cycle. She had photographs of butterflies, moths, beetles and a rather vicious looking wasp.

Jacqueline belongs to the Amateur Entomologists’ Society who ‘aim to promote the study of entomology especially amongst amateurs and the younger generation’. They have an interesting website with many events and publications.

Many thanks to Jacqueline for her talk.

Jane Cliff

Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

Stinging Nettles have many uses

Talk given by Jo Dunbar on Thursday May 26th 2011

Jo is a highly qualified Medical herbalist with a thriving practice in St. Margarets. You can visit her website here.

The talk was about the wonders of weeds, usually considered an unwanted plant but because they are extraordinarily tough, herbalists value them. A plant grown under ideal conditions makes a weak medicine; one which has grown wild usually produces a robust medicine. These plants have been used to heal for hundreds of years and were considered magical and home to spirits, gods or goddesses.

Some of the plants described by Jo are listed below:

Burdock – the roots are usually used and have antibiotic properties

Dock can be used when there are multiple boils as it helps the body remove the toxin

Ribwort (Plantain) is best for nettle and red ant stings and also for hay fever

Stinging nettle has many uses including helping with anaemia and stopping internal bleeding

Elder – the flowers have anti-inflammatory properties and when made into a tea can help with itchy hay fever eyes; the berries are antiviral and the leaf can be used as a fly repellent.

Vinca Minor (Periwinkle) – evidence of improved blood flow particularly to the brain and application in cases of dementia (should not be self-administered)

Feverfew – the leaf can be eaten to help with headaches

Greater Celandine – the bright yellow sap when the leaf is cut can be used to treat warts.

Hops have long been known to help sleep and have oestrogenic properties

Brambles and Hindberries are a good source of Vitamin C which is also an antioxidant

St. John’s Wort had long been used as a nerve tonic and antidepressant

This only scratches the surface of this most interesting and complex subject. Jo hoped that we had been enlightened about the wonders of weeds and their importance in helping to heal our bodies and minds.
These plants contain a variety of chemical compounds and should only be used on the recommendation of a qualified herbalist.

Many thanks to Jo for a most interesting and informative talk.

Jane Cliff

FBHP Calendar and Christmas Cards

FBHP Calendar and Christmas Cards

"Stag" by Stephen Darlington, featured in the FBHP Calendar


We are delighted to announce that we are launching a 2012 Calendar featuring iconic shots of the parks, courtesy of our photo competition entrants.

The Calendar is available from today (15th October) priced at £5.00. We are sure you’ll agree it will make an ideal stocking filler for Christmas. Many thanks to Bob Wagner for designing the calendar for us free of charge. His website is at www.wagnerdesign.co.uk

The calendar is available from the Pheasantry Centre at the weekends, and at “Friends’ Talks.”

If you would be interested in purchasing a larger quantity (10 or more) they can be delivered (only locally).

Copies are also available from Annie Murray, 86 Connaught Road, Teddington, TW11 0PX by enclosing a cheque made payable to FBHP for £6.00 per calendar (includes postage & packaging).

We also have some new greetings cards to add to our collection. The wintery scenes will make ideal Christmas cards, priced at £1 or £4.50 for 5, and available from the Pheasantry Centre.

Hampton Hill Lights

Join us at Hampton Hill Lights on 25th November; the famous street parade will take place at 7.00pm although the event starts at 4.00pm ending about 8.30pm.

You can find us upstairs in the Teddington Theatre, where we will have our full range of goodies including the new calendar and Xmas cards.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Newly refurbished toilets vandalised

We were all most upset to hear the news that the newly refurbished toilets adjacent to the childrens play park were vandalised the day after they opened – shocking indeed.

A spokesman for the Park said that the toilets would be closed indefinitely as the damage was so extensive.

It would appear that they broken into on the evening of 17th October, if you have any information at all relating to this incident please contact a member of the Safer Parks Team. Or call them on 020 7161 9733.

Report on Horse Rangers Talk

Report on Horse Rangers Talk

Horse Rangers on parade, Chestnut Sunday 2008

On October 27th 2011 Jackie Bryans (Director) and Anna McCrum (Development Manager) from the Horse Rangers gave us an excellent talk.

Many of us will be familiar with the Horse Rangers as they are often to be seen in the Park and take part in the parade on Chestnut Sunday. The miniature Shetland pony, Prince Cameo, is their mascot and can be seen walking on a lead rein in the area of the mews. There is also a display team and a band.

This inspiring talk gave interesting background information and brought to life the work of the Horse Rangers with stories about members and the horses.

The Horse Rangers was founded in 1954 by Raymond Gordon in Shepperton before moving 40 years ago to its current home in Hampton Court Mews.

The organisation is a registered charity and caters for children and adults both able bodied and with special needs covering all aspects of horsemanship.
9 paid staff and 5 stable staff (who also act as volunteers) look after 29 horses and ponies and 340 riders each week. Ages range from 8 to 25 years with 30% receiving financial assistance. Every Sunday afternoon up to 100 older members help with the younger ones as they ride in Bushy Park.

Emphasis is on team work and having fun. Members progress, are promoted and can become officers at the age of 25. HRH Princess Michael of Kent attends Founders day on the last Saturday in February where awards are given and a gymkhana is held on the first weekend in September.

The horses include 2 on loan from horse welfare and 2 from the horse trust; one has been rescued from a notorious farm. Some Metropolitan police horses are involved with special needs riding. They work for 2 weeks then rest in the paddocks for one week.

Riding for the disabled has a separate squadron running 8 classes each week involving 80 trained volunteers. 3 special schools send 70 – 80 riders and some are brought by parents or carers. There are only 6 in each class with each rider needing 3 helpers.

Disabilities include children with walking problems, sensory/ visual/ hearing difficulties and those who have problems expressing themselves or understanding others. Horse riding can help with a huge range of problems both physical and mental and learning about colours, shapes etc. can also take place whilst riding. Some of the individual stories were very moving and it is obvious that many people have benefited hugely over the years.

This is an expensive operation; £300,000 annual running costs including £7,500 per horse. It even costs £1,000 per month to get rid of muck! Riding for the disabled organise a sponsored fund-raiser Barn Dance at the Stockyard and Young Carers Days are also sponsored.

More information van be found on the website www.horserangers.com

Many thanks to Jackie and Anna and best wishes for the future.

Jane Cliff
November 2011

The mystery of the petrified tree stumps

The mystery of the petrified tree stumps

Roots of Swamp Cypress Trees

Park user Nicola Johnson raised this very interesting question:

“I am a regular user of Bushy Park. I often walk in the Woodland Gardens, along the stream that runs through it. I have noticed what looks like petrified tree stumps ‘growing’ alongside the river there, on both sides. People often remark about them, but no-one knows what they are, nor how they ‘grow’. They are less than a foot high, are numerous, and have generally rounded tops. I have not seen them anywhere else. There are lots between the two bridges, especially close to the ‘crocodile bridge’.
Would you be able to englighten me as to what they could be?!”

Pieter Morpurgo replies:

“The stumps you ask about are actually the roots of Swamp cypress trees (Latin name Taxodium distichum). They are many years old, and very often they make these knobbly aerial roots (which are called pneumatophores). It is thought that they may help the tree to breathe when the trees grow in or close to water, and maybe they also help to stabilise the tree. It seems no one knows for sure why they are there, but in some places the “roots” have been cut off and that doesn’t appear to have harmed the parent tree.

There are quite a few along that bit of the river (the King’s river). Over time some of the trees has fallen, but the roots remain. There are other examples of the trees with their roots in many of the other Royal Parks – Regents, St. James, Greenwich and Richmond.”

Photo Competition Winners Announced

Photo Competition Winners Announced

Formation Flying at Hampton Court by Stephen Darlington

The sixth FBHP Photography Competition took as its theme the buildings of Bushy and Home Parks – anything from a palace to a potting shed. The entries were very creative, with popular subjects were the Pump House in Bushy Park and the Ice House in Home Park.

For the first time, there was a dead-heat between three winners. Congratulations go to Louise Faramus for “The Pump House in the Woodlands”, to Stephen Darlington for “Formation Flying at Hampton Court” and to Lewis Lloyd for “The Hidden House”.

Close on their heels were three other entries which were Highly Commended: Julie Hill for “The Ice House Framed by Trees”, Helen Carrington for “The Ice House in Autumn” and Stephen Darlington for “Under a Steel Sky”.

Please visit the new Photo Gallery to view the winners and all the other entries.

Olympic Cycling events

The Road Cycling road races will take place over the weekend of 28th/29th July.

Saturday 28th July
The men’s race will leave the Mall at 10.00am and will be expected at the Teddington Gate of Bushy Park at approximately 10.30am

Sunday 29th July
The women’s race will leave the Mall at Midday and arrive at Teddington Gate at around 12.30pm.

Both races will go right along Chestnut Avenue. Click here to see the full route of the races.

Wednesday 1st August
The Time Trial events take place with both the men’s and women’s time trials beginning at Hampton Court.

The women will set off at 90 second intervals starting at 12.30pm and their route will not take them through Bushy Park but along Hampton Court Road.

The men will start at 14.15pm and run through to 16.05pm. They will enter Bushy Park through the Teddington Gate and along Chestnut Avenue before finishing at Hampton Court

Click here to see the full routes of the time trials.

New Photo Competition Launched

Our seventh competition is for images of the park ponds either in Home Park or Bushy Park. The subject should be recognisable as being in Home or Bushy Park. For the purposes of the competition a pond can be any of the following:

Home Park: Hampton Wick Pond, Rick (model boating) Pond, Long Water, Overflow Pond (Longwater) or The Oak Pond.

Bushy Park: Please refer to the Ponds map which gratefully uses material compiled by Margaret Stedman of the Friends. Click here for the Ponds map.

So, with five ponds in Home Park and 12 ponds in Bushy Park, there’s plenty to choose from!

Be as creative as you dare but remember that the judges decision is final!

Closing date for submission of entries: 12 noon on 31st January 2012.

For full details, please click here.

Latest Park Manager Report: Bushy Park

Report to the FBHP by Simon Richards. Park Superintendent for Bushy Park.
Report compiled 19th October 2011.

Deer culls this year and deer / public interaction in the news. More public info signs have been produced for local deployment as required.

Playground gents’ lavatory refurbishment under way (now with improvement to ecology and energy use that light will be on movement sensors) Completed on 18th but regrettably works vandalized during night of 18/19 October.

Amphibian habitat improvement work at Canal Plantation funded by ‘FROGLIFE’ organization with specific aim of improving conditions for Greater Crested Newt found there has been completed. Litter clearance of this area has been addressed.

Catering contract renewal is due in 2012. Opportunity to improve facilities for both customers and the Info Point. Look forward to proposals by Info Point volunteers regarding their ideas towards improving the facility.

Education contract has been let to the Field Studies Council who have already made contact with the Trailblazer volunteers. Operations not expected to commence before the spring.

The merger of the Richmond and Bushy Parks management teams has taken place. There are significant new pressures on remaining staff. This will mean that amongst other things, the availability of White Lodge for evening meetings will be restricted as will the ability to keep the office open to the public every week day.

The Mayor has now announced changes to the governance of the Royal Parks. New Board members to be recruited.
Planning application issues current are: Hampton Hill CC, Teddington Town CC and NPL Sports Club. Hampton Wick CC will be soon too.

New licences will be negotiated over time with the various sports clubs. These will need to deal effectively with parking and vehicular access, removal of clutter and unnecessary lighting. Likewise a new management company for Upper Lodge is being set up.
The scope of the Landscape Management contract will be reviewed next year due to the requirement to save some 25% of the existing budget.

Other maintenance requirements for the Diana Fountain are to be addressed. Funding for a new sewer from the Pheasantry to Teddington Gate has been approved with work to be carried out later this winter
Signage; some will be refreshed soon including that around main traffic gates and the Pheasantry Cafe. Other signs to be reviewed with the aim of eradicating ugly, over sized and unnecessary clutter around the Park.

Review of existing and proposed drinking fountains under way.

Tree planting sponsored by The Friends due to take place in November. This is Hawthorn & Blackthorn whips planted as groups in large timber tree crates south of Heron Pond and to rear of Kathy White’s house south of Lime Ave.

New bench funded by the Friends to be installed near Hampton Wick Gate overlooking the skylark field.
Water Garden’s finials paid for by the Friends; TRP and The Friends need to sort out permission to erect these from English Heritage and the LPA’s Conservation Officer.

Water Gardens entered for Civic Trust Award Scheme.
Chris Nickerson has a number of trees to plant within the Woodland Gardens as planned landscape improvements.

Water levels are low due to prolonged period of negligible rain. A management strategy for the future management of the Longford River will be developed by TRP.

John Comfort intends to carry out a fish survey of Model Boat, Heron & Leg-of-Mutton Ponds during 2012. Older, big carp to be moved to Diana Pond where there is currently no fishing allowed to rest them.

Tree pests and diseases continue to seemingly worsen. Oak Processionary Moth will spread and Acute Oak Decline is evident in many areas of the Park.

Chestnut Sunday is 13th May 2012. Usual programme. Contributions towards cost of event welcome! New ideas / proposals also welcome.

Olympics debriefing meeting took place – no major issues identified but still need to hear about proposals for the Time Trials on 1st August 2012.

FBHP Christmas Cards now on sale

FBHP Christmas Cards now on sale

Where's the path?

Check it out -‘Where’s the Path?’, ‘Stag’ ‘Diana Fountain’ & ‘Frosty December Morning’ are four new cards available from the Pheasantry information point.

Christmas card

Christmas card

Christmas card

New Information Plaque - Giant Cogwheel, Yarrow Tank

New Information Plaque - Giant Cogwheel, Yarrow Tank

Giant cogwheel, Bushy Park. Photo by Geoff Lutpon 2 December 2011

The giant cogwheel, thought to be a gun emplacement some time ago, was part of the driving mechanism for the whirling arm at the former Admiralty Research Establishment. Part of some kit used to create conditions in a toroidal water tank to test torpedos and other weapons. One of the reasons Teddington’s National Physical Laboratory was a prime target during WW2. This relic is now tucked away in Bushy Park partially forgotten. In the area known as Donkey corner, Hampton Hill end.

Cogwheel noticeboard Bushy Park

In 1944 Bushy Park became Camp Griffiss, General Eisenhower’s SHAEF headquarters. It was a large base with tennis courts, two bowling alleys, a swimming pool and a small airstrip. It was one of the assembly points prior to D-Day. Only the tennis courts survive. Bombed out locals squatted the camp immediately after the war. Royal Parks wanted their park back, so the facilities were bulldozed.

Planting for next year

Planting for next year

Friends help with planting

On 5th November members of the Friends planted over 1000 narcissi bulbs in the Woodland Gardens, directed by Head Gardener Chris and Manager Michael, look out for them next spring.

It is planned to plant more shrubs next year. All welcome.

This is just to let you know that we (on behalf of The Friends) will be planting hawthorn/blackthorn/crab apple, 3 crates each containing 4 whips south of Heron Pond on Monday morning at approximately 10.00 am.
These trees have been funded in part from our donation to the memory of Colin White; further trees are being planted close to Kathy Whites house.

New Chief Executive for The Royal Parks Agency

New Chief Executive for The Royal Parks Agency

Linda Lennon CBE

The Royal Parks Agency have announced that they have appointed a new Chief Executive. Linda Lennon CBE will replace Mark Camley. She is currently Chief Executive of the Parole Board. Prior to this, she was Area Director for the Civil and Family Courts in London and has thirty years of experience of working in the Courts in London and the South East.

She says “I am really looking forward to taking on this exciting and challenging role, and working with the Board, staff and stakeholders to deliver a successful 1012 and a sustainable long-term future for the Parks”

Welcoming the appointment, the Chairman of the Royal Parks Board Apurv Bagri said “I am delighted that Linda will be joining The Royal Parks early in the New Year. Her experience and proven track recordwill be really important to us in what promises to be an exciting year for the Parks with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games”

Linda will take up her new role formally on Monday 5 March, but will be spending time in January familiarising herself with the work of the Parks and meeting people.

FBHP look forward to meeting her working closely with her.

The Colin White Tree Appeal

The Colin White Tree Appeal

Friends and family of Colin White plant trees in his memory

Throughout the late summer and autumn FBHP has been collecting donations for trees to be planted in Colin White’s memory. He had been a member of the Friends since the group started in 1990 and had acted as one of its Treasurers. He had written books and articles and recently had collected an important archive of maps of Bushy Park and the area. This collection will be archived in the Curatorial Department at Hampton Court Palace and known as ‘The Colin White Collection’.

Many of his friends and family, together with the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, contributed enough money to pay for twenty four trees with crates to protect them from the attentions of the deer. On Monday 5th December the planting took place with a short ceremony as friends and family gathered to listen to a delightful reading about Hawthorn trees, and to watch the first tree planted in Bushy Park.

It was decided to place four whips – small trees about a metre high – in each of the crates. The most expensive part of the process is the crates themselves, so by planting the whips in groups, we will have more trees and fewer crates. Although only made of soft wood, the crates have to be sturdy enough to withstand the weather and the wildlife. There are two groups of trees. One is to the southwest of the Diana Fountain, fairly close to the backs of the houses that run along Hampton Court Road. In fact, they are visible from Colin’s office window. The precise area was carefully selected to avoid any disturbance to the ant hills or the acid grassland. The second group is planted to the south of Heron Pond, carefully placed so that when they have grown a bit, they will hide the view of the John Lewis roof in Kingston, which at certain times of the year reflects the sun light into the Diana Car Park area.

In each of the six crates there is a Crab Apple tree, a Blackthorn bush and two Hawthorn bushes. It was the Hawthorn bush which was responsible for the naming of the park in Tudor times when Bushy Park was planted with them, to make hunting and coursing more enjoyable and challenging for the court of Henry VIII. Each whip is protected by a rabbit proof sleeve which also helps the tree to grow straight and is designed to split once the trunk of each tree has grown enough. The crates will last for about fifteen years, so the trees will be well developed by then.

Pieter Morpurgo

Report on: NPL Past and Present

On November 24th 2011 we were treated to a talk by Fiona Auty on NPL Past and Present. Fiona is the NPL’s Head of Communications and so is extremely well qualified to speak on the subject.

Many of us pass the National Physical Laboratory frequently and may wonder what actually happens in the complex of buildings.

NPL’s mission is to provide measurement which is the capability that underpins the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. This National Measurement Institute is one of the top 3 in the world with the US and Germany.

NPL is now a commercial organisation with companies such as BP, Shell and Rolls Royce occupying the 388 purpose-built labs which opened in 2008. Research expertise is shared with government, business and society.

NPL was founded in Bushy House in 1900 and opened by the Price of Wales in 1902. The NPL Ship Tank was built in 1910, now computer modelling has taken over.

In 1920 lady technicians were employed for the first time and involved in thermometer testing and calibration.

Through the 20’s and 30’s a model of the Bristol Aircraft was tested in a wind tunnel, motor horns were tested and Radar was invented.

Post WW2, one of the first Automatic Computing Engines was developed followed by testing of Taximeters, the World’s first caesium Atomic clock and ‘packet-switching’ which underpins how the internet works today.

Some of the more glamorous projects included the filming of the Dambusters movie, fixing Big Ben and weighing Concorde.

Fiona gave us an interesting history lesson relating to the importance of measurement. One of the first measures was the cubit which enabled the pyramids to be built. Maybe the first ‘proper’ measure was the Yard which is mentioned as far back as King Edgar and used in the Magna Carta as a measure for food, drink and cloth. In 1742 the Royal Society commissioned a standard yard. The measure was burned in the 1834 Houses of Parliament fire and a new yard measure was legalised in 1855. (one can still be seen in Trafalgar Square)

In 1791 the French National Assembly defined a metre as one quarter of the circumference of the earth divided by 10 million. Many countries signed the Metre Convention in 1875 but the UK was still happy with the yard and only signed in 1884. Sixteen metre bars were made and no.16 is still kept at the NPL. The UK has not totally embraced the metric system with some old imperial measurements still lawful e.g. for beer. In the 20th. Century 1 metre is now measured with light and time in a vacuum.

Fiona gave reasons as to why we need more accurate measurement using time to illustrate this. Early sundials’ accuracy could be 60 seconds per day, quartz crystal watches 1 second in 30 years, the 1955 Caesium clock is 1 second in 300 years with the current most accurate time-keeper, the NPL atomic clock, having an accuracy of 1 second in 60 million years! This degree of accuracy is essential as all modern technology, mobile phones, sat. navs etc. relies on accurate time.
NPL’s time team are using optical frequency which would give an accuracy of 1 second in the lifetime of the universe.

The following are examples of the diverse nature of research carried out at NPL:

  • A device to measure the ripeness of cauliflowers which attaches to the front of the mechanical picker
  • How to overcome the problem of smelly socks using nanoparticles
  • Measurement of the temperature of the middle of an explosion
  • Ultrasound scans relating to measurements
  • Ensuring that all lottery balls have exactly the same weight and measurement
  • Twelve people at NPL have worked on colour standards for computers since the 1950s
  • Safety of mobile phones
  • Standard and specification of materials used in Formula One racing
  • Early work on chip and pin technology
  • How to make the head on a pint of Guinness settle more quickly by placing a pad under the glass
  • Standardising the colour in ketchup
  • Accurate measurement of the damage to some of the tapestries at Hampton Court
  • Coating on military uniforms to make them less visible by night vision goggles – this must include underpants!*
  • Measuring the amount of methane given off by landfill sites
  • The crunchiness of biscuits using sound as a measure of freshness.

Fiona mentioned the next NPL Open Day on March 14th 2012 at which all are welcome.

Many thanks to Fiona for a most interesting and stimulating talk.

Report by Jane Cliff

Planting in the Park

The Bays and Camellias purchased from 2011 appeals monies will be planted on Thursday 19th January at 11.30am in the Woodland Gardens.

Chris Nickerson will escort us from the Stockyard, if you prefer the walking it is in far side Woodland Gardens (from Pheasantry) turn left by the hut at Witches Pond, it’s the other side of Birch Glade.

It is certainly easier to find from the Stockyard side.

Annie’s mobile is 0777 183 8696 if anyone gets lost!

Appeals 2011: Planting Camellias and Bays

Appeals 2011: Planting Camellias and Bays

Owen, Jane, Chris and Annie ready to plant (by Colin Keates)

Funds generously provided by members of the Friends purchased a number of Camellias and Bays to replace the invasive Rhododendron Pontincum which is being systematically removed from the Woodland Gardens.

These were successfully planted on 19th January, as witnessed by a number of Friends, they are located in the Water House Woodland Gardens at the far side of Witches Pond and are creating an impressive avenue.

Chris Nickerson Head Gardener said “a very big thank you on behalf of the Royal Parks to everyone who donated so generously and made this possible”

<a href=“http://s1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb356/FBHP/?action=view&current=06Chrisputsinafinaltouch1.jpg” target=”_blank”><img src=“http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb356/FBHP/06Chrisputsinafinaltouch1.jpg” border=“0” alt=“Photobucket”></a>

Photo by Colin Keates

Bushy Park Manager's Report January 2012

Meeting notes for the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks.
18th January 2011.
by Simon Richards. Park Superintendent

Deer culls complete. No issues.

Playground gents’ lavatory vandalized. Main loos re-opened but disabled facility closed pending further repairs.

Catering contract renewal is due in 2012. Opportunity to improve the facilities for both customers and the Info Point. Look forward to proposals by Info Point volunteers regarding their ideas towards improving the facility. No change.

The Mayor has now announced changes to the governance of the Royal Parks. 2 new Board members still to be recruited.

Mark Camley has resigned and will be replaced by Linda Lennon as CEO from 3rd March.

Planning application issues current are: Hampton Hill CC, Teddington Town CC and NPL Sports Club, Whistle Stop, Seething Wells.

The scope of the Landscape Management contract will be reviewed next year due to the requirement to save some 25% of the existing budget. This work has now started and Bill and myself are involved in the work. No change.

Other maintenance requirements for the Diana Fountain are to be addressed. Funding for a new sewer from the Pheasantry to Teddington Gate has been approved. Design is complete construction has commenced.

Signage; new signs around main traffic gates and the Pheasantry Cafe in place. Other signs to be reviewed with the aim of eradicating ugly, over sized and unnecessary clutter around the Park. Review ongoing. Hampton Wick notice boards to be replaced if funding permits.

Tree planting sponsored by The Friends complete. Tree planting in Woodland gardens is complete along with replacements in the Pheasantry car park.
New bench funded by the Friends installed near Hampton Wick Gate.

Water Garden’s finials paid for by the Friends; TRP and The Friends have gained required consents Detailed fixings to be agreed to prevent theft.

Water levels are still low due to prolonged period of negligible rain. A management strategy for the future management of the Longford River is being developed by TRP

John Comfort intends to carry out a fish survey of Model Boat, Heron & Leg-of-Mutton Ponds during 2012. Older, big carp to be moved to Diana Pond where there is currently no fishing allowed to rest them.

Tree pests and diseases continue to seemingly worsen. Oak Processionary Moth will spread and Acute Oak Decline is evident in many areas of the Park. Plans under way to resource the control of OPM. Temporary re-structuring of the Arboricultural team has led to a pause in asking for volunteer support but this should happen shortly. It is expected that some spraying of affected trees will need to take place in April to control the pest. A trial of treatments to rty to reduce the impact of AOD will take place during the summer. 2 groups of trees along Sandy Lane will receive soil based and foliar drenches to promote vigour.

Chestnut Sunday is 13th May 2012. Usual programme. Contributions towards cost of event welcome! New ideas / proposals also welcome.

Olympic planning well under way. The proposals for the Time Trials are now known and we expect LOCOG to call stakeholder meetings shortly. No major problems expected but some infrastructure will be expected to remain on site between 29th July and 1st August.

SR and BS have considered the spreadsheet tabled at the last meeting regarding use of funds. We would like to suggest priorities for further discussion going forward as being:

• Drinking fountain restoration at Hampton Wick Gate. (Match funding)
• Interpretation boards regarding biodiversity for acid grassland.
• Interpretation boards for bird life around Heron Pond.
• Interpretation board regarding the history and management of the Longford River.
• Once finial are complete possibly restore hoods over the basins in the Water Gardens and/or the reeds at the base of the cascade.
• General planting fund for Woodland Gardens.

A further meeting was held on 11th January. SR agreed that we needed to get costs for a prospective horse trough for Teddington Gate area from the Drinking Fountain Assoc. Also to ask Nigel Reeve together with the artist who produced display boards for Richmond Park to originate a display board for Heron Pond. This then to be approved by the Friends before committing to manufacture.

Other winter works will include the clearance of the reed beds in the Brewhouse Fields by machine as reeds are too well established to remove manually. We are also hoping to do work to reduce shading of the Longford River within the west end of the woodland gardens as well as thinning out some poor specimen trees around the Pheasantry lawns to reduce competition and improve light levels. This will allow lawn repairs to be more successful.

A major programme to remove ivy from the park walls is under way. This has exposed many weaknesses and a section of the wall behind Hampton Wick cricket club has collapsed.

A major tidy up within the working yard side of the Pheasantry has taken place.

Lyme disease threat

Lyme disease threat

Asian tick Photo: EPA/PATRICK PLEUL (Telegraph.co.uk)

Ticks that can transmit Lyme disease may be more prevalent in the UK than realised, say researchers who have found out how many dogs harbour them. Experts have suspected for some time that the UK has a growing problem with these tiny pests – rates of the disease have been creeping up in recent years. In 2010 there were 953 reported cases in England and Wales.

Now, after doing random checks on over 3,500 dogs, Bristol University experts suspects the problem is even bigger. Of the 3,534 pet dogs inspected at veterinary clinics in the UK between March and October 2009, 14.9% had ticks. Of these, 2.3% turned out to be infected.

The expected prevalence of infected ticks on dogs is 0.5% or 481 infected ticks per 100,000 dogs. This suggests that the prevalence of this Borrelia infection in the UK tick population is considerably higher than previously thought, the researchers report in the journal Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Faith Smith, who led the research, said: “Lyme disease appears to be a rapidly growing problem in the UK with important health and economic impacts in terms of loss of working hours and potential decrease in tourism to tick hotspots.

“Without considerably better surveillance and routine diagnostic testing, Lyme disease is only likely to become more prevalent. In particular, future warmer winters might well extend the period over which ticks are active seasonally, while growing wild reservoir host populations, such as deer, will allow the tick population to expand.”

Easy to miss
A bite from an infected tick can take between two days and four weeks to show and anyone who has been bitten should look for a “bulls eye” type red rash appearing around the bite. You may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches and muscle or joint pain.

Untreated, Lyme disease can spread to the brain, heart, and joints and in extreme can cause nerve damage, paralysis and blindness.

Ticks are very small – about the size of a poppy seed – and can easily be overlooked. Most ticks do not carry the infection, but they should be removed promptly if found. They can be removed with tweezers or special tick hooks, pulling gently upwards away from the skin.

People who develop a rash or other symptoms after a tick bite should consult their GP.

A spokeswoman from the Health Protection Agency said it was important that people realise the risks and remain “tick aware”.

“They are out there in woodland areas.” She said it was best to keep to footpaths and avoid long grass where possible when out walking and to cover up the skin. Also, brush off clothes and pet’s coats before returning indoors to remove any unattached ticks that might later seek a feed.

Related Stories
• Health Explained: What is Lyme disease?

Ponds Photo Competition Winners

Ponds Photo Competition Winners

Rainbow, by Stephen Darlington

There was a record number of entries to the latest FBHP Photo Competition, this time on the theme of Ponds. The standard was exceptionally high as you can see in the gallery by clicking here.

Congratulations to Stephen Darlington who not only won the competition with “Rainbow” but took third place too, with “Lush”. “Autumn Mirror” by Ian Andrews was runner-up.

The next Photo Competition will take as its theme “Entrances and Exits”

New Photo Competition: Entrances and Exits

New Photo Competition: Entrances and Exits

Lion Gate

Our eighth photo competition is for images of the entrances & exits of Home Park or Bushy Park. The subject should be recognisable as being an entrance/exit to Home or Bushy Park. For the purposes of the competition an entrance/exit is any route in or out of one of the parks.

Be as creative as you dare but remember that the judges decision is final!

The best photographs will be highlighted in a special online gallery and may be used in FBHP Christmas cards, calendar and/or other FBHP publications or marketing materials (along with credits).

Remember, next time you visit one of our wonderful parks, take your camera with you.

Closing date for submission of entries: 12 noon on Monday 30th April 2012.

Olympic Road Races and Time Trials

Olympic Road Races and Time Trials

Olympic cycling in Bushy Park

Saturday/Sunday 28th /29th July and 1st August

The Road Cycling road races will take place over the weekend of 28th/29th July. The men’s race on Saturday will leave the Mall at 10.00 and will be expected at the Teddington Gate of Bushy Park at approximately 10.30 (This is an hour later than the test event last year).

The women’s race on Sunday will leave the Mall at 12.00 and arrive at Teddington Gate at 12.30 approximately. Both races will go along Chestnut Avenue.

Bushy Park will be closed to traffic from Friday night as usual and will re-open as soon as possible after the race has passed through. The park will close again as usual on Saturday evening and will remain closed for most of Sunday to vehicles. It is hoped that the park can re-open to traffic after the women’s race has passed through. Both the re-openings will depend on how many people are still in the park and the barrier crews being able to remove the barriers. Some parking restrictions in the area will remain in force throughout the weekend.

On Tuesday 31st July there will be a technical rehearsal of the time trial race between 10.00 and 12.00. There will be rolling road closures as the technical officials test the route, but as soon as they have passed through the local roads and Bushy Park will re-open to traffic.

On Wednesday 1st August the Time Trial event takes place. Both the men’s and women’s time trials will begin at Hampton Court. The women will set off at 90 second intervals and their route will not take them through Bushy Park but along Hampton Court Road. The men will start at 14.15 and run through to 16.05. They will enter Bushy Park through the Teddington Gate and along Chestnut Avenue before finishing at Hampton Court. All roads will re-open to traffic as soon as possible after the trial is complete, with the same proviso as at the weekend.

There will be local parking restrictions throughout the period as there were last year. Information should be circulated to all local households within a few weeks.

Spectators will be encouraged to use public transport to view the events.

New Chair of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks announced

New Chair of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks announced

Annie assumes the reins

Annie Murray was announced as the new Chair of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks at the AGM. She takes over from Pieter Morpurgo.

Annie said “ Pieter has done an amazing job over the past 5 years and overseen a lot of major changes in the park particularly during the restoration project. In addition he has helped to successfully veto car parking charges and to fight against planning applications that would be detrimental to the park. Recently he worked particularly closely on the Diana Fountain restoration and the design and implementation of the new finials in the Water gardens”

Pieter continues his involvement with the Friends as President. The Friends have planted four hawthorn trees south of Heron Ponds as a mark of their appreciation of Pieter’s work.

Report on "Walking the Mistletoe"

Report on

Mistle Thrush (photo: Pieter Morpurgo)

“Walking the Mistletoe” with Tyrrell Marris, David Ivison and Nicholas Garbutt
Saturday 11th February 2011

The Friends’ first outside event of the year is always a good occasion, joined as always by members of various other groups interested in trees, mistletoe and the ecology. Considering the bitterly cold temperature there was a crowd of 60 people waiting at Lion Gate. Although cold, the sun was out and we knew we would be in for a crisp and most enjoyable morning.

Tyrrell started us off in the wilderness section of Hampton Court Palace Gardens by reminding us that although we would spend most of our time looking up there might be crocus and snowdrops struggling up through the thin layer of snow and frost.

The first bunch of mistletoe we saw was only about six feet off the ground. Most mistletoe grows quite high up. It was interesting to see it in detail with its bright yellow flowers and the famous white berries.

On a nearby poplar tree there were 20 to 30 bunches of mistletoe, which although fairly heavy is nothing compared to the weight of the host tree – perhaps some 30 tons. Mistletoe could harm small trees. It is called a semi-parasite as all it takes from its host tree is liquid.

As we walked through into the formal gardens David Ivison took over. For many years he has been carrying out mistletoe surveys. His group has been counting the mistletoe plants every two years since 2004, and there are many questions still to be answered. In the Broad Walk 10 year old Lime trees were planted in 1987. Of the 199 trees planted 125 now have mistletoe.

As we arrived at the top of the Long Water Nicholas Garbutt, Tree & Wildlife Conservation Manager of Historic Royal Palaces took over and explained that the same sort of survey was going to be undertaken by volunteers on the two avenues of Limes planted on either side of the Long Water. All the mistletoe will be allowed to spread naturally by the Mistlethrushes and Blackcaps, which are particularly good at spreading the seeds around.

We walked out of Home Park and along the river to our usual ending of this walk – the False Acacia – the large tree at the south west corner of the palace. After hearing that we often see a Mistlethrush at this point of the walk, Nicholas said he had a man of his with a bird in a box hidden behind a bush and it would be released when we arrived. We suspected that this was not true as when we arrived at the tree, there was not one bird but two birds in the mistletoe. A great end to a very interesting walk. Many thanks to all three leaders.

Pieter Morpurgo

Lion Gate Hotel proposed extension

The Lion Gate Hotel has put in a Planning Application to Richmond Council to add another storey to the two storey extension they already have. The plan is to have a glass “box” which overlooks Bushy Park. The plans state that this is a second floor extension. It is in fact a third storey. This would be a disaster. The view of Hampton Court Palace from within Bushy Park would be dominated by, in effect a viewing platform which would look down the start of Chestnut Avenue towards the Diana Fountain, and in the evenings would bathe the area in unwanted light.

The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, together with the Royal Parks Agency have written to the Planning Authorities objecting in the strongest possible terms.

All those who agree with our objections should write as soon as possible to

Principal Planning Officer
Environmental Directorate, Planning
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Civic Centre
44 York Street

Quoting the following:-

Re: The Lion Gate Hotel, Hampton Court Road
Planning application number: 12/0408FUL

This is a copy of the letter sent by the Friends.


Dear Sir

On behalf of the 1,000 members of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, we object most strongly to this proposal on the following grounds. The application states that there would be no effect on biodiversity. This is inaccurate. The building is adjacent to a grade 1 listed landscape, in view of a grade 1 listed monument, and would destroy the view from Bushy Park to the Lion Gate and Hampton Court Palace beyond. The veranda would overlook Bushy Park to the great detriment of park users, and the wildlife. Deer graze within feet of the proposed extension; there are owls and bats in the immediate vicinity. The light levels that would spill into the park would be totally unacceptable to them and park users.

Bushy Park and its environs must be protected from abuses of its space and outlook. Bushy Park is a peaceful place and the addition of another drinking venue is unacceptable to park users who visit the park for peace and relaxation. We urge the planning department to reject this application.

The only benefit of this application is the profit to be made by the Lion Gate Hotel to the detriment of everyone else. This application must not be allowed to progress.

Do please write a letter or e-mail. This can be done by following this link to the Richmond upon Thames Planning Applications – Search Planning Applications – Enter Planning Application Number 12/0408 (don’t use FUL) – Scroll down to View case File/ Comment click on and click Comment again – Make sure you click the Object to the Proposal ( if not you will agree to the proposal. Write your objection in the box.

There are other issues such as no extra parking facilities for all the drinkers, and more licensed premises adjacent to the park. Neither of these will help to protect the quiet and peace to be found in the park.

Please do write.

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

Royal Parks Board appointed - but no ecologists

Appointments have now been made for all 12 places on The Royal Parks Board, although no formal announcement has yet been made by DCMS. The Royal Parks website gives the names as follows:

• The Hon Apurv Bagri – Chair
• Ruth Anderson
• Sue Moore
• Andrew Fenwick
• Andrew Ford
• Councillor Nasim Ali OBE
• Councillor Colin Barrow CBE
• Councillor Chris Roberts
• Linda Lennon CBE
• John Swainson
• Roger Bright CB
• Lord Nicholas True CBE

Apurv Bagri is the re-appointed former Chair, and Ruth Anderson, Sue Moore and Andrew Fenwick are also re-appointed from the former Board.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ford has been Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office since 2006, and is the representative of the Royal Household on the Board.

Councillor Nasim Ali is the Leader of Camden Borough Council, and Ward Member for Regent’s Park.

Councillor Colin Barrow is the Leader of the Council of the City of Westminster, and Ward Member for Hyde Park.

Councillor Chris Roberts is the Leader of the Council of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and Ward Member for Glyndon Ward.

Linda Lennon is the recently appointed Chief Executive of The Royal Parks.

John Swainson is Director of Finance and Resources at The Royal Parks.

Roger Bright recently retired as Chief Executive of The Crown Estate.

Lord True is the Leader of Richmond Borough Council.

You will remember that point 3 of the Forum’s “Seven Points” for the composition and operation of the Board included the request that the Board should contain “external experts in ecology, historic buildings/landscape and managing large parks”. Little ecological expertise is apparent among the appointees. It is disappointing that our request is not being reflected in the appointees.

You will also see that one third, rather than the expected one quarter, of the positions are held by Council Leaders.

The Restoration of the Water Gardens Finials

On Monday 27th February 2012 the finials on the top of the walls of the Water Gardens were finally in position. The Friends of Bushy and Home had commissioned a local craftsman to recreate the finials based on the evidence of some original paintings and etchings. It marks another stage in the restoration of these beautiful 18th century Water Gardens.

When the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks was founded in 1990, there was already a booklet called “A Description of the Course of the Upper Lodge Ponds” suggesting a possible Water Gardens of some sort within the grounds used by the Admiralty Research Laboratory. It was written by Peter Foster in 1968, and he was contacted by the Friends who were interested in what might be beneath the undergrowth. There was clearly a water feature, but whatever it was, it was ill-defined.

It was known that Upper Lodge was lived in by the 1st Earl of Halifax and he developed the house and the gardens in the early 18th century.

In 1994 Kathy White, then the Chair of The Friends wrote a report on her findings after visiting the site. A year later the Ministry of Defence relinquished the site back to its owners, the Crown Estates and it was following this that the Friends were able to seriously consider how the Water Gardens might be restored.

Research into the origin of them using maps and plans identified from the Public Records Office and other documents were used to write another publicity leaflet “A Hidden Heritage” to arouse the public interest and awareness of the Water Gardens. On the front cover there was a 1729 engraving of the Water Gardens Cascade by Stephen Switzer.

Sir Roy Strong had received a copy of the report. He and other organisations were beginning to show an interest. The Prince of Wales requested to be kept informed.

In 1996 Mavis Batey OBE, who was President of the Garden History Society discussed the report with her members; one of them, Jane Crawley recognised the engraving on the cover as being identical to a painting by Jacob Bogdani which she had seen in a recent exhibition. The picture is called “A Pair of Peafowl in an Ornamental Park by a Pond”. In the background there is a structure that looks exactly like the front cover of the Friends report “A Hidden Heritage”.

It was clear now that there was an important feature buried in the undergrowth. The Friends were keen to increase the publicity and approached the National Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to produce a plan for the restoration. In May 1987 the Friends set up a charity The Water Gardens Trust, and just weeks later received a grant from the HLF.

Archaeologist, Christopher Currie, water engineers and Land Use Consultants were all commissioned to work on the restoration plan. They worked quickly to complete it by October of that year.

The Trust was granted planning permission for the restoration, initial archaeology and water trials which would lead to the eventual opening of the gardens to the public for the first time in over three hundred years.

Sir Roy Strong, who had supported the restoration plans from the start, had received a promotional document from Kathy White. At the time, he was researching the Royal Collection catalogue and also recognised the Switzer drawing from the front of the document as being the same as one of the Royal Collection paintings “Figures in a Garden”. At the time the painting was in a dusty attic in Hampton Court Palace. The restored painting now hangs on public view in the palace.

After the Heritage Lottery Fund had awarded The Royal Parks Agency funding for the restoration projects for the whole of Bushy Park including the Water Gardens, an exhibition on the history and restoration of The Water Gardens organised by the Friends in conjunction with the Royal Parks was held at the Twickenham Museum, attracting almost five thousand people. One of the visitors was H.R.H. Princess Alexandra who later was to officially open the partially restored Water Gardens in October 2009.

Some months later Kathy White gave a talk to the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks and suggested that one of the annual projects should be to replace the finials on the top of the walls. During 2010 through the generosity of the members of the Friends enough money was collected. The only evidence for what they may have looked like is from engravings and paintings made around the time of the original installation. The originals would have been made of copper, but in this day and age two factors stopped us from using the same material, firstly the cost would have been beyond our means and secondly, the serious danger of metal theft affected the decision. They are actually made of mild steel, galvanised and treated with acid to create the effect of age.

The Friends, together with The Royal Parks, agreed that we should reconstruct them as closely as possible using those pictures. Planning issues again had to be addressed and Gary Gray, a local Architectural and Decorative Metalworker agreed to make them. They are now complete and on show for the first time to the public from Tuesday 28th February.

The addition of the finials has really brought the gardens to life. They look magnificent but there is still more to do in the Water Gardens. According to the pictures and recent archaeological evidence metal reeds adorned the bottom of the walls. Maybe a future annual appeal will help to fully and completely restore the Water Gardens, but for now the finials are there for us all to enjoy.

The gardens are open Tuesdays to Sundays. It is the most important eighteenth century Water Gardens in the country and the Friends will continue to help to fully realise our early dreams of a complete restoration.

Pieter Morpurgo

Annual Report to the Charities Commission

The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks

Charity No. 1137203

Chair’s Report for 2012

We’ve had a busy year. The results of some of our recent appeals are now evident in the parks. In the past year we have placed some benches, we have planted Hawthorn trees in memory of long term member who died in the summer; there are Bays and Camellias in the Woodland Gardens to replace the Rhododendron Ponticum. The finials in the Water Gardens are in place; the result of the 2010 appeal. So the money kindly donated by members is having a real effect on the parks. The trustees are very grateful to all FBHP members for their generosity in supporting our appeals.

Next year’s projects include the restoration of the Water Meadows in Home Park, and helping the Stud Nursery, also in Home Park, with equipment for their volunteer workers.

One area of note in terms of providing more income has been the range of merchandise which has been introduced over the last year or so. Our cards and books have been very popular and have certainly helped to promote the Friends and our work. We plan to develop the range of items for sale in keeping with our image.

The Pheasantry Centre continues to grow in popularity and the Friends contribution when manning the desk at the weekends helps to keep the profile of the Friends in the public eye. The public seem to appreciate having some advice about what to see and do while they visit the park. The trustees and committee are most grateful to all the volunteers who give a couple of hours every now and again to help.

We have had a very good series of walks and talks again throughout the year. We are most grateful to all the speakers and walk leaders for giving us such entertaining events.

Our web site continues to work very well and has many visitors. It has a constant supply of new features and information about the parks, with reviews of our events. There is also a very successful photographic competition held four times a year.

We would like to thank all the trustees and members of the committee for their work and enthusiasm throughout the year and look forward to helping the Royal Parks to care for and improve these important parklands.

Pieter Morpurgo
Annie Murray

Magnificent results of the Friends' autumn planting

Magnificent results of the Friends' autumn planting

Friends' Daffodils in the Birch Glade by Colin Keates

If you go down to the Woodland gardens today you may not see Teddy Bears but you will see a magnificent display of daffodils and narcissi planted by the Friends last November, near Birch Glade by the side of the Witches Pond. I am sure you will agree it was really worth the all our efforts to see such a riot of spring colour.

We are already planning to plant another area this coming autumn, so do be sure to come along and help us.

Glorious Spring Sunshine

Glorious Spring Sunshine

Hampton Court Gardens in Spring 2012 by Rosemary MacColl

Although we all recognise the need for some rain, we can still enjoy the incredible sunshine of the past week.

Rosemary MacColl shares this picture of spring in all its glory, taken in the gardens of Hampton Court on the way to Home Park.

Stud Farm Home Park Open Day and Plant Sale

10.30 – 4.30

For SALE…potted plants, vegetable plants, bedding plants, flowering baskets, house plants, handmade bird boxes, bat boxes, bird feeders and planters, made from salvaged wood. Refreshments will also be available.

Stud Nursery is a partnership initiative between Historic
Royal Palaces, Kingston’s Learning Disability Services and
Kingston Mencap. It offers adults with learning disabilities
valuable work activities and training in horticulture,
woodwork & DIY.

Seven Swans a-Swimming...

Seven Swans a-Swimming...

Cygnets in Home Park by Rita Power

… well, eight if we included Mum! Rita Power photographed this family of seven cygnets in Home Park on 23 May 2012. The cob was standing guard on the bank keeping everyone at bay.

Swans are very protective of their young, so please do give them an extra wide berth at this time of year.

Friends Join the Parade at Chestnut Sunday

Friends Join the Parade at Chestnut Sunday

The FBHP Mafia on the march... (Photo: Owen Jones)

Chestnut Sunday is the biggest event of the year in Bushy Park. The FBHP always mans a stand providing information and an opportunity for people to join or renew their membership.

This year, we went a step further. Our stalwart FBHP volunteers who staff the information point at the Pheasantry Centre cafe every weekend, joined the Parade down Chestnut Avenue.

As you can see they looked very professional in their FBHP Volunteer uniforms and no doubt helped raise awareness of the work of the Friends.

Crowds turn out to welcome The Queen, despite the weather

Crowds turn out to welcome The Queen, despite the weather

The Queen at Richmond Park 15 May 2012

On Tuesday 15th May, The Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Alexandra visited Richmond Park as part of the Jubilee tour.

The crowds were welcoming unlike the weather which was truly atrocious, with every kind of rain imaginable.

Annie Murray was presented to Princes Alexandra who takes a keen interest in Bushy Park; indeed, she opened the Water Gardens after their restoration.

The Princess asked to come back to the Water Gardens for a visit in autumn to check on progress.

Apparently the Queen doesn’t mind getting her feet muddy which was just as well!

Visit the special photo gallery

'Aggressive' deer

It is usual for the Park’s deer to give birth in late May and early June. The young are not ready to follow their mothers for one or two weeks and hide in dense bracken, with their mothers grazing in the vicinity.

This year the deer appear to have given birth a week or so early and the bracken has developed a week or so later than usual. The lack of cover may make the deer feel particularly vulnerable to disturbance. As a precaution we recommend that dog walkers avoid the more remote areas of the park and stay on popular routes and open areas of short grass where the deer can be seen from afar.

If a deer approaches you it is probably because she has a calf somewhere nearby. Walking away from her may inadvertently mean that you are walking towards the calf causing her to be more defensive. The preferred course of action would be to retrace your footsteps, back the way you came and take a wide berth on a different track.

By late June the Red Deer calves are generally mobile and will avoid people but the Fallow Deer fawns are generally born a little later and will still be vulnerable.

For more information please see the Royal Parks website

Annie Murray adds “Please remember these are wild parks and the home of the deer; we are fortunate

The Friends' Summer Party

The Friends' Summer Party

Annie awards the prize (photo: David Ivison)

Friends enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the historic grounds of Bushy House. For once (of late) the weather was kind and the rain held off.

Bellini’s were savoured in the newly restored Orangery, and later a cream tea was served in the House.

A brain teaser set by Tom Blaney was a stretch for most of us, but a number of members applied themselves resulting in a few of correct answers. The star prize was a beautiful hanging basket crafted by the young people from the Stud Farm Nursery in Home Park.

Music was supplied by Brian Short and a fellow musician. They were a real hit and had everyone singing along in no time – many guests felt it was the best party yet.

A big thank to all those who helped to make the afternoon so successful and to NPL for allowing us access to this wonderful site.

Report on Arboriculture Talk

Report on Arboriculture Talk

The Crows' Home by Caz Buckingham

A talk by Mike Turner, Royal Parks Arboricultural Manager
April 26th 2012

Arbor is Latin for tree and Culture means to care for and grow.

Seven years ago each Park had its own manager for trees, now a team of 4 oversee all the Royal Parks, the gardens of 10 and 11 Downing Street, Canning Green and Poets’ Green: in total 2035 hectares of parkland and 13 Km of the Longford River. 485 are woodland with 150,000 trees of which 1500 are veteran trees. To put this in perspective, the London tree population is 8 million giving an average of 38 trees per hectare. Bushy Park has 32 trees per hectare but Richmond Park has 88 per hectare.

Trees have many benefits; they have landscape value, reduce the risk of flash flooding, reduce noise, provide shade, provide a habitat for wildlife and reduce air pollution.

There has been a review of street trees by the London Assembly. Assessment is based on 4 variables: basic value based on size (trunk area, nursery prices, planting costs); functional value; adjusted value (location, amenity value, appropriateness); full value or life expectancy.

Sensors on trees in the Parks have shown a 4degree lower temperature than outside the Parks. Also the trees help reflect heat from the ground.

Priorities for inspections in Bushy Park are the main paths, roads and hotspots followed by areas where the public pass through but do not linger. Less busy areas and those with no or restricted access have lower priority. Approx. 90% of Bushy Park has been inspected with the addition of an aerial view.

Where trees are damaged, sound sensors are used to check the extent of the decay. It is possible to allow fungal growth and still keep the tree. The current legal framework protects all wild birds, nest, bats etc. Most small holes where branches may have broken off or been removed are bat roosts.

Veteran tress have a higher biodiversity value but require more care and can also be dangerous. Each tree has an individual management plan with a total score indicating the effort needed to conserve it.

Unfortunately there are new pests and diseases such as Oak Processionary Moth, Massaria (a fungus on London planes), Bleeding Canker, Leaf Miner, acute Oak decline.

You may well see some of us with binoculars inspecting Oak trees during June and July.

Report by Jane Cliff

Report on 'Grow Your Own' by Cleve West

Report on 'Grow Your Own' by Cleve West

Grow Your Own
A talk by Cleve West
at the FBHP Annual General Meeting, March 2nd 2012

Cleve has an allotment adjoining Bushy Park and this is his 12th year. Allotment gardening is the opposite of designing for the Chelsea Flower Show as everyone is equal at the allotments.

12 years ago there were many vacant plots so he added the plot next door, built a shed and some raised beds.
The first year he managed to harvest a sack full of potatoes and one strawberry, only in the second a third years did he grow ‘real’ food.

Cleve gardens organically and doesn’t like killing any wildlife, so no slug pellets. His broad beans attract ladybirds, so no problem with aphids; he may trap rats, mice and rabbits and protects his crops against squirrels and pigeons. This year he had the added problem of alium leaf miner which ruined his leeks.

Borage and nigella are planted to attract insects and bees love the flowers of dianthus and fennel. Comfrey and nettles help fertilise the soil.

There is also a pond with frogs, toads and a grass snake and log piles to provide a habitat for stag beetles.

The addition of a greenhouse has increased the variety of what can be grown. He has a sedum roof on the shed, a scarecrow and compost heaps which look like beehives.

Cleve practices crop rotation but doesn’t always follow the rule book, taking advice from other allotment holders.

Common mistakes include underestimating the time requirement, planting too early, sowing too much, planting vegetables you don’t really like, not protecting crops and under or over watering.

The joy of allotment gardening is all about community and sharing with others. At the open days Cleve makes the best onion bhajis and a clay oven makes very good pizzas.

He has written a book entitled ’My Plot’ which is full of useful tips and lovely photos.

Many thanks to Cleve for a most interesting talk and for sparing the time in the busy run up to the Chelsea Flower Show.

Report by Jane Cliff

We need a new Treasurer - can you help?

We need a new Treasurer - can you help?

Tom Blaney teasing our brains at the Summer Party (photo - David Ivison)

It is with regret that we have to bid a farewell to Dr Tom Blaney ex Chair, longstanding committee member and current Treasurer as he is moving out of the area.

I would be delighted to hear from any members who might be interested in taking on this important role as Treasurer.

For more information and an informal discussion please contact me directly at chairman@fbhp.org.uk

Stud Nursery Walk

Approximately 50 of us met at Lion Gate at 11.00 on a glorious sunny morning.

We were accompanied by Jeremy Osborne, a gardener at the Nursery and Barbara Smith, a Garden History guide at Hampton Court.

Barbara arrived with a posy of flowers; several were blue and quite similar – Chinadoxia, Wild Hyacinth, Wood Anemone and Grape Hyacinth.

She also pointed out the ‘Green Man’ (a symbol of rebirth) which is included in the stone masonry either side of Lion gate. We walked through to the Formal Gardens, passing a Victorian drinking fountain of note, and so into Home Park.

There are 250 Fallow deer in the Park and recently some deformities of antlers etc. have been found. A new strain of 3 young bucks from Germany has been introduced and it is hoped this will rectify the problem.

On arrival at the Stud Nursery, Jeremy explained there is joint funding of the operation between Kingston Council and Mencap.

15-20 people with learning difficulties attend each day, growing many bedding plants from seed and there is also a small woodworking department. The site was very overgrown and has now been largely cleared to include some raised beds and a poly tunnel, although a Victorian greenhouse would benefit from restoration.

Potential volunteers would be very welcome – there is an open day planned for April 7th. – anyone interested should contact Naomi.blackwell@rbk.kingston.gov.uk

There are also 2 days this year when the Nursery is open to the public – May 22nd. and August 7th. Several of us intend to return to buy plants

We all thoroughly enjoyed our visit and many thanks go to Jeremy and Barbara.

Jane Cliff, March 2011

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

Walking the Mistletoe

With Tyrrell Marris and Graham Dillamore, Saturday 12th February 2011

The Friends’ first outside event of the year is always a good occasion. A large crowd gathered at our Lion Gate meeting place. The weather started off a little chilly but the sun came out later and 70 of us joined Tyrrell Marris who has led the first part of the walk for many years, as we came to admire the first examples of mistletoe in the Wilderness. They are low down on a small tree. It gave a very good view of a small bunch of mistletoe, with its white berries and tiny yellow flower heads, which when struck by the low winter sun might well have given mistletoe its “Golden Bough” reputation.

Mistletoe spreads by its sticky seed being deposited on a smoothish lateral branch by birds, mainly Mistlethrushes wiping their beaks clean after eating the berries. The seed starts to grow causing a slight swelling on the host branch. Mistletoe does no damage at all to a large tree as it only takes liquid from its host because the evergreen leaves of mistletoe produce all the chlorophyll it needs to grow. Smaller trees may suffer slower growth, but will not be damaged. The other side of the pathway Tyrrell showed us a huge tree with magnificent bunches of mistletoe.

We moved on to the avenue of Lime trees in the formal gardens of the palace. Planted in 1987 and miraculously surviving the hurricane, the avenue is now host to many bunches of mistletoe. The most recent survey has found mistletoe on more than half these trees. The corner or end trees of any avenue will often have more mistletoe than the other trees. This is probably because it is the first tree that the birds come to. At this point we had a Latin lesson, as well – and all this for free – Mistletoe is Viscum (sticky) Album (white); named after the berries.

We moved on to the Long Water, dug originally in Charles I’s time. William and Mary planted the original lime avenue. Over time many trees died and were replaced in a rather haphazard fashion, so between 2002 and 2004 the avenue was replanted. The trees were brought from Holland when they were about 10 years old and they are growing well. Surveys have been carried out to establish if and when mistletoe will be found there. This year for the first time there were tiny sprigs on tree number 17. Just two tiny leaves.

Nicholas Garbutt then took us to see some of the Yew trees. One or two have died and have had to be removed for safety, others pruned for the same reason. Compaction is a problem. This is caused by too many people walking over the root area of the tree; so much work has been done to improve the soil. Air has been injected at high pressure to loosen the soil below and a mulch placed around the tree to keep people off and help feed the tree. Eventually the Yews might have to be replaced, but there are no immediate plans at the moment.

Nicholas led us through the 20th Century Garden, closed now for restoration work, but a wonderful haven in a quiet area close to where the Longford River enters from Bushy Park. The garden is due to open in a few months and is well worth a visit. It used to be where the apprentice gardeners to the palace learned their trade. From there we went into Home Park and visited Nicholas’ favourite tree. It is a 300 year old Lime. So old that it is hollow and now home to all sorts of hole loving fauna; Jackdaws, Little Owls, Bats, and of course, the ubiquitous Ring-necked Parakeets. The tree is fenced off for safety reasons, but the deer don’t know that and frequently break the fence down.

We walked across a little of the acid grassland; so important to the two parks and through the gardens again to the huge False Acacia tree in the south west corner of the palace, where there are massive bunches of mistletoe. We had told Nicholas, whose first Mistletoe Walk with the Friends this was, that each year when we arrived at this tree a Mistlethrush would appear. No pressure then, but on cue a Mistlethrush flew into the tree. Nicholas had a recording of the song and played this. The bird was clearly puzzled and eventually, after posing on top of a nearby wall, flew off. What a great end to a fascinating morning.

Most grateful thanks from all of us to Tyrrell Marris and Nicholas Garbutt.

Pieter Morpurgo, February 2011

Thursday Talk: Restoration of the Diana Fountain

Thursday Talk: Restoration of the Diana Fountain

Restoration of the Diana Fountain A talk by Pieter Morpurgo 27th January 2011

The Diana Restoration was the last of the major projects funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund grant to Bushy Park. The restoration process lasted throughout 2009.

Fencing was put up around the pond in late February and the following week the fish were being collected, and taken to different ponds and rivers in the park as well as the Long Water in Home Park. The same number of fish will be returned to the Diana Pond before the mating season in 2012.

A few days later the fish were removed. There were a few hundred, so it took several days. Once the fish had been removed the pond, which when full holds 17 million litres of water was allowed to drain away. All the silt in the bottom of the pond had to be removed before work could start on the actual restoration of the fountain itself.

The desilting work couldn’t start until the risk of frost had gone. It wasn’t known what the base was. It may have been delicate brick which would easily be damaged by frost. When the silt had been cleared a previously unknown brick ring was uncovered. It was about some ten feet inside the present wall and possibly built during the 1660s. It is not recorded when the pool was widened to its present size, although Ordnance Survey maps of 1913 and 1955 appear to show the pool at different sizes

The other discovery was that at some time there had been another fountain in the pool. The base is some fifteen feet to the south of the present one. It clearly shows where a water channel existed. Both of these discoveries were only on view for a day or two and have now been covered up.

Once the scaffolding went up in early July, it was possible for the first time to see just how much the restoration was needed. Many of the carved stones were in a bad state and needed to be replaced. Eighty two pieces of new stone were carved during the restoration. The four scallop shells were not made of stone as was thought originally, but of bronze and the weight of these – between 180 and 250 kilos each caused some stress fractures in the support scrolls beneath. Most of them had to be replaced. The carving was done entirely by hand. Each piece had to be fitted into the correct space and then finished off so that the final shaping fits with each of the adjoining pieces. In many places rusting brackets which had held the carved stones together were corroded sometimes cracking the stones themselves or splitting the joints. Every joint in the fountain was repaired using a mix of lime and Portland stone dust.

Diana herself stands on a piece of Carrara marble but the statue is not level. It was originally built this way, so will be replaced at exactly the same angle as she is now. In fact it was discovered that Diana had only been held in place by three metal spikes hammered into lead plugs. The fourth one split the stone when she was installed 300 years ago. So she has only been held in place by three spikes – and gravity. The main structure of the fountain is Portland Stone. The top part on which all the statues are built is Carrara marble, and that rests on a layer of black marble. On the stone underneath Diana is carved a crown with the date AR 1712 hidden from view for almost 300 years.

All the bronzes, thirteen in all, were removed to a workshop in Brixton, where they would be cleaned and treated with six layers of wax to help them survive the elements and atmosphere for another 300 years. Once the bronze work was examined it was discovered that the sirens and boys were made in pairs. The monsters too on which the sirens sit astride were also different – some have teeth, some don’t. The boys at the corners of the statue all hold a fish. At some point the south east boy had had a replacement fish made of lead. When the fish was replaced has not yet been discovered. Two of the sirens have missing fingers, almost certainly caused by badly placed straps during a lifting process; maybe when the statues were moved from Hampton Court. Each piece of bronze which was replaced has been dated.

After much discussion it was decided that Diana should be gilded. The process of gilding starts with four coats of yellow paint, before a coating of glue to which the gold leaf is applied. Diana was covered with two layers of gold leaf. Each layer took five days to apply. Diana was then left to stand for three weeks to allow the gold to bond to the layers underneath.

Meanwhile back in the park all the water works which feed the fountain were replaced.

At the end of October the bronzes were returned to the park.

Opposite the 1712 date at the top of the fountain the date 2009 was carved as a record of the restoration.

On 17th November and on schedule Diana returned to Bushy. The base stone on which she is to stand was secured to the stone underneath and then Diana was carefully raised and lowered over the fixing bolts, going back at exactly the same angle as she was. In order to dissuade the birds Diana was fitted with some spikes and bird scarers were placed behind the sirens.

Once she was in position the removal of the scaffolding could start. Each layer of bronze and stone being given a final clean as the scaffolding was lowered and the whole fountain could be seen in its pristine state from all around the park

Pieter Morpurgo, January 2011

Editor’s note, click here for the Diana Fountain section with lots more interesting information including restoration photo albums and videos.

Thursday Talk: A Biodiversity Action Plan for Home Park

Talk by Nicholas Garbutt – Trees and Wildlife Conservation Manager, Historic Royal Palaces.

Click for Nicholas’s presentation – large (15MB), small (1.3MB)

Grasses in the Park (Bushy)

Grasses in the Park (Bushy)

Photo © Alan Buckingham

A walk led by Pippa Hyde, Saturday 17th July

Report by Pieter Morpurgo, photos by Alan Buckingham.

We started in the new education area of the Welcome Centre with a small display of some grasses which we might see during the walk. Pippa had collected them over the previous month. The ideal time to see and identify grasses is really a month earlier in June. By July many of the grasses will have turned to seed, making identification of some rather difficult.

Bushy is a very special Acid Grassland, with many varieties of grasses. The walk was to turn into a wildlife and nature walk but with a concentration on the grasses. One of the first to be identified was Wavy Hair-grass, which is common in Bushy and nearby Barnes Common. Thankfully Pippa decided to avoid the Latin names apart from one which was Holcus mollis, and she only mentioned that because botanists know it also as Hairy Molly’s Knees. We saw Crested Dog’s-tail which has pretty crested edges in June, and Timothy, a grass with purple flowers and a bushy top. On so many walks like this we are told to really look closely at the grasses, rushes and flowers we walk past. There is so much variety and colour to be seen. We saw many reeds, rushes and sedges. A literary member of the committee quoted a poem “Sedges have edges; rushes are round; grasses are hollow right up from the ground”. An alternative version runs “Sedges have edges; rushes are round; grasses have nodes and willows abound”.

There are two types of rushes – hard and soft. If you peel away the outside, the hard rush has separate little pieces inside the stem. Rushes also have simpler flowers than grasses.

There was plenty of Couch Grass, the scourge of lawns. We saw soldier beetles and many other beetles and insects. Yorkshire Fog creates the “mist” seen over the park in late summer. Lesser Stitchwort has fine little star-like white flowers that can be seen throughout the summer. Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil is found in many damp areas in the park. Some grasses though, do not have pleasant habits. Wall Barley carries fleas and the seeds get into dogs’ ears and paws. Black Horehound or Stinking Roger is smelly and kills off other plants if added to a hanging basket although has attractive purple flowers. One of the first plants to flower in spring is Hedge Mustard which has tiny yellow flowers. There were many names and Pippa suggested that the best way to learn about them is to walk your own patch every day with a good flower book, and just see how many plants there are and how they change over the seasons. There was a breeze over the open spaces and the grass which seemed to be waving in the wind is Sheep’s Fescue now dying back and showing its flimsy wispy top. We saw, too, many butterflies and moths. It was a most interesting couple of hours and the thirty or so in the group very much enjoyed Pippa’s knowledge and enthusiasm. She was presented with a book token as a mark of our appreciation.


We get a low down
On these hairy molly’s knees;
Wall barley is next.


Stinking roger, pass;
Welcome to timothy grass
Amidst the rushes.

Poems © Jeewan Ramlugun 2 July 2010

Thursday Talk: Wildlife photography

Wildlife Photography on foot and by bicycle. Talk given by Barry Hilling on Thursday May 27th 2010

Report by Jane Cliff, 6th June 2010

Barry started by stressing that it is possible to travel on foot, by public transport or bicycle and travel to areas where wonderful photographs can be taken. Panniers hold Telephoto lens, wellingtons, lunch, water etc. and his tripod fits on the back of the bike.

There were so many amazing photographs taken in Dorset and Hampshire and more locally in the Lee valley, and at the Wetland Centre. There was even a Cormorant drying its wings on top of the (pre-restoration) Diana fountain.

Some interesting facts about some of the bird photographs were the increase in the Bittern population from 11 breeding males in 1997 to 82 in 2009; the quarrelsome Coot which might kill some of its young if food is short; the promiscuous female Dunnock; the 20 million Pheasants bred to be shot; the Grey Heron with 14,200 nests in Great Britain; Canada Geese introduced in St. James Park by Charles II and stories about the 7,000 Green-necked parakeets roosting in Esher.

Many flower photographs included Coltsfoot used as a tobacco substitute; Dog Violet as a food source for the larvae of the Fritillary butterfly, the one crematorium in the Greater London area where the Green-winged Orchid can be found; the origin of Daisy being ‘days eye’ as it opens during the day and closes at night and the early spider orchid which produces pheromones attracting a male wasp as a pollinator.

Butterflies included the Orange tip, the Adonis Blue, the Common Blue, the Wood White, Pearl bordered Fritillary; the Duke of Burgundy whose population is sadly declining and the Comma which is doing well in the warmer summers.

We saw Mayflies, Hoverflies, Crane flies, an emerging Club tailed dragonfly and several other dragonflies and damselflies.

Barry doesn’t ignore mammals such as squirrels, hares, rabbits and weasels also fungi, beetles, a ladybird, several spiders, mating Roman snails and the infamous leaf miner.

Barry uses a Contax camera system with a manual tripod and an infinite supply of patience!

Many thanks for such an interesting and informative talk to accompany the remarkable photographs.

Report by Jane Cliff June 2010

Saturday Walk: Spiders

A Spider Foray in Bushy Park Led by Mick Massie on May 23rd 2010

Report by Jane Cliff, 4th June 2010

This was a fascinating 2 hours and we saw at least 10 different species of spider.

We had only got as far as the pedestrian gate out of the Welcome Centre when we saw a mat web belonging to a relative of the garden spider. Out in the grassland area spiders were shaken from the trees and others were seen running on top of the grasses. We also discovered a rare Leaf Hopper and some bright green (mating!) weevils. Most of the time a woodpecker was happily eating ants only yards away from our group.

With the aid of tubes and hand lenses to examine them, non web spinners seen included Hunting, Crab and Jumping spiders. One Hunter is the Nursery Web spider – the female carries the egg sac in her jaws until the eggs are ready to hatch. She then protects the eggs in grass, stays until they hatch and for 2-3 weeks afterwards.

Tangle web spiders weave a messy web which traps insects whereas Orb web spiders climb into their web and hang on by their back legs.

All spiders have a season so that at the moment small garden spiders are evident and the eggs will have over-wintered. Large garden spiders will appear in the autumn.

All spiders are carnivorous and often the prey is bigger than the spider. Male spiders may need to distract the female with a present of food so that he can mate and avoid being eaten!

As the day got hotter, we moved into the Pheasantry and saw different species near the water including a Cricket bat spider and Long-jawed spider. An exciting discovery was a Tangle web spider with a parasitic wasp larva attached to its back. The larva feeds by penetrating the digestive system of the spider, eventually pupates and drops off, the spider will then die.

There are spiders everywhere if you know where to look and walks in the park will never be quite the same again!

Many thanks to Mick and his friends.

Report by Jane Cliff June 2010

Thursday Talk: The Thames Discovery Programme

Thursday 22nd April 2010 The Thames Discovery Programme – Community Archaeology on the Thames Foreshore by Lorna Richardson

Report by Jane Cliff, 12th May 2010

The Thames Discovery programme builds on work done by the Museum of London’s Thames Archaeology Survey, 1993-99, and the Thames Explorer Trust.

There are 20 key archaeology sites along the tidal Thames supported by the work of the Foreshore Recording and Observation Groups (FROG) made up of 200 trained volunteer members of the public.

In the 1970s, the Baynards Castle site was going to be destroyed when important Roman and Mediaeval artefacts were found. This marked the real start of serious recording and since the 1970s over 20 sites of Roman and Mediaeval importance have been explored.

The archaeology of the foreshore covers Erith to Richmond and there have been many finds from the early 1990s to the present date. Examples include a 3rd. century Roman vessel found when building County Hall and what was thought to be the base of a Roman hut at Brentford (later thought more likely to be the remains of a track).

Neolithic pottery has been found at Bermondsey and a bronze-age wooden structure, pottery and a spear head at Vauxhall.

Reused warship timbers from HMS Duke of Wellington, 1852, and HMS Ajax, 1882, have been found at Charlton.

Part of a skeleton from an18th. century foreshore grave has been found at Burrell’s wharf.

Larger structures include Fishtraps from noelithic through to post-medieval periods which have been found on tidal reaches of the Thames. Numerous Saxon examples have been discovered.

Also, Causeways were often found next to public houses to allow river craft access during low tide. Those found at Chiswick Church, Tower Hamlets, Alderman’s stairs and Waterman’s access stairs are all shown on 17th. and 18th. century maps.

Gridirons (along with bargebeds and hards) gave a stable working surface on which vessels could be grounded at high tides. These were often built of re-used ships’ timbers.

Jetties dating from Roman to post-medieval periods had wooden piles driven into the foreshore with a walkway of planks. There is a good example at Chiswick Eyot.

Looking back at the original database it can be seen that some structures and items have disappeared, but others have been revealed.

This summer FROG activities take place at Charlton, Burrell’s Wharf, Tower of London, Greenwich Royal Palace, Kew/Strand-on-the-green, Woolwich and Rotherhithe. Volunteers must be trained and there is a very good website – thamesdiscovery.org – where there is a wealth of information plus FROG newsletters.

Many thanks to Elliot for a most interesting talk.

Report by Jane Cliff May 2010

Saturday Walk: The Water Gardens

Saturday Walk: The Water Gardens

Saturday 20th March 2010 with Ray Brodie, Park Manager, Bushy Park

Report by Pieter Morpurgo 21st March 2010

Unusually for the Friends’ walks, the weather was a bit drizzly, but nearly 50 people turned up to listen to Park Manager Ray Brodie, as he led us around the Water Gardens. The cascade was flowing again following the repair to the leak in the north wall earlier in the month. Ray explained that it had been caused by the earth settling down after the main restoration. Work has not finished, though. There are still features to be added; for example the arches, it is believed, had paintings in them, so there is a plan to have a competition to find new paintings to fill in the alcoves. The finials on top of the walls and stoop basins are to be replaced. The annual appeal of the Friends this year will hopefully provide money for at least a couple of them.

At the moment the two walls look different; the right hand wall has been rebuilt using as many of the original bricks as could be found. The left hand wall is modern but made of the same brick. Already it is toning down and will over time lose its “new” look. The cladding of the walls originally was made mostly of coral. Now it would not be acceptable to use coral, so the walls have been left undecorated, apart from a few metal reeds which adorn the base. When the silt was removed from the bottom pool, a brick pavement was discovered at the base of the cascade. Despite being 300 years old it was in perfect condition, but is now hidden from view again.

Ray also took us across the cascade in the Longford River to the Brewhouse. This building has been conserved, but has no use at the present time. It may just be possible to use it as a micro brewery, but it would need to have plumbing and sewers installed. Currently it houses some excellent display panels telling the history of the Water Gardens and the Brewhouse. The meadow next to the Brewhouse is where the grain was originally grown. It is now used as a wildlife meadow, cut once a year, but leaving a ten metre surround to nature for the ecology and wildlife. There were five pools or ponds in the original 18th century plan. The third pool is in front of White Lodge, the final area of water is the Canal Plantation, recently cleared, but not open the public, and Ray showed us where the fourth pool was. It will be marked by a mown area of grass so that we can see the entire series of pools from the Pantile Bridge all the way down to the Canal Plantation. With his usual expertise and enthusiasm, Ray gave us a wonderful tour of the area. He was warmly thanked.

Report by Pieter Morpurgo March 2010

Wildlife Conservation in the Royal Parks

Dr. Nigel Reeve, 5th March 2010

Report by Alison Blaney

Did we all realize that many inhabitants of London’s Royal Parks are saproxylic ? And that we should be pleased that that is so? Now we do!

Nigel gave us an inspiring picture of the background to his management of biodiversity i.e. wildlife ecology. He listed the sites and parks under Royal Park management, pointing out that while Richmond Park had SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest), he hoped Bushy Park would have that too before long. His core business is management of diverse multi-use green spaces.

We truly need biodiversity to maintain the richness and variety of all living things, including all genes, species, and ecosystems. Organisms act for us by breaking down wastes. Good horticulture by us can work with biodiversity for the benefit of education, health and quality of lifestyle.

Nigel feels that priority species and habitats must be increased in the UK. We have wonderful parks, but lack species such as red squirrels, adders, house sparrows. Only Bushy Park (of the Royal Parks) has hedgehogs and water voles (and they are find to find).

Air pollution from cars has a huge impact on our parks. The lack of lichens on many trees indicates this. Other impacts are from lighting (e.g. from sports grounds), compaction of root zones around trees by trampling of our feet, fertilizing by dog faeces and urine, and disturbance to wildfowl by dogs (especially in the breeding season).

In Bushy Park in 2010 at the south-east end Nigel has a scheme in place to increase the breeding of skylarks. Dogs are asked to be on a short lead and stay with humans on paths. Studies have shown elsewhere that this management helps increase skylark numbers.

Our practice of feeding pigeons, crows and other pests has caused a sharp increase in their numbers in recent years. Herons have become a dangerous nuisance in Regent’s Park.

Bird excrement causes the build-up of blue-green algae in ponds which are truly toxic, especially in summer. Invasive exotics as plants or animals are destructive too, many brought in by humans. Examples are the rhododendron ponticum, floating pennywort, grey squirrel, Canada geese, Chinese mitten-crab, horse-chestnut leaf-miner, and oak processionary moth. (This latter should be reported at once to park managers).

Nigel said we have a moral and statutory duty to increase biodiversity. Examples of the ways the Parks do this are:

Reed-bed management to improve water quality.
Fishery management.
De-silting, and creation of herbaceous borders (as in St. James’ Park).
Floating reed-beds (as on the Serpentine).
Creation of a third-of-a-hectare wetland in Brewhouse Meadows at Bushy Park.
Creation of a silt-pen in Regent’s Park.
Creation of a meadow in Hyde Park, using different grass-cutting practices to increase flowers and butterflies.
Grassland management in St. James’ Park and Hyde Park.
Creation of flower-rich grassland in Regents Park and Greenwich Park.
Nigel told us that heather has appeared in Kensington Gardens, and hare’s foot clover. He reminded us that management of acid grassland is constantly crucial, with its special species of grass, flowers, fungi. Invertebrates, rabbits and deer are essential . Bushy and Richmond Parks have 160 species of bees. The yellow meadow ant creates millions of ant-hills . (He told us that one can date an ant-hill – the size of the ant-hill in litres equates to its age in years). He has been making habitat maps of the Parks since 2004.

Surveys have shown that Bushy and Richmond Parks are important habitats for many species of spiders, also butterflies and moths (over 500 in Bushy), including the very rare Double-Line moth (in both parks).

Ancient trees are very important. They support a rich wildlife- birds, bats, fungi (especially heart-rot fungi). Decaying wood is important as good habitat for invertebrates, some rare e.g. the cardinal click beetle and stag beetle in Richmond Park. They are SAPROXYLIC- dependent on dead and decaying wood (pronounced saprosillic) ! In a 2004 survey of beetles Bushy Park came 12th in the UK. A designation SSSI would be for invertebrate interest.

The Royal Parks work as partners with other groups such as London Wildlife Trust and Natural England, in the Biodiversity Action Plan. Such partnership and understanding result in better biodiversity. Interpretation boards are being increased, such as signs in Bushy’s Woodland Gardens. Panels and leaflets, checklists of birds, increased education resources are all available. Volunteers provide important data in collaboration with Park staff.

Nigel brought up the change to the car-park at Pen Ponds in Richmond park. This has happened since 2003, and grassland is developing where half the previous car-park had been.

In awareness of climate change the Parks have ‘green’ initiatives such as use of bracken for compost in Richmond Park.

Nigel was asked in questions that followed his talk about the Olympics in Greenwich Park. He said all was being done to minimize harm. On the question of light levels from housing in Sandy Lane, Teddington, he said he had not monitored this, but it would be impossible to assess the effect. On parakeets he said the jury was out. 3-year studies were being done, including in the Royal Parks, and only when these had been concluded would action be considered (and it wouldn’t be easy).

In as far as we who enjoy the Royal Parks are dependent on their rich diversity and ecosystems, perhaps we could be called saproxylic too!

Many thanks to Nigel.

Report by Alison Blaney March 2010

Chairman’s Annual Report - 2010

We’ve had another busy year in the Parks.

We’ve had another busy year in the Parks. All of the work supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund has now been completed. The Water Gardens was opened to the public in October and has proved very popular, although the cascade has been closed down for a while to allow repairs to the lining of the upper pool. The cascade should be running again soon. [The water flow was running again on March 14th].

Even more popular than that is the new Pheasantry Welcome Centre opened in August last year, and drawing hundreds of people a day into that area of the park.

The Diana Fountain has also been cleaned and restored during last year, and once the danger of frost has gone, the water spouts will be turned on. The Friends have recorded the entire restoration process. There is a DVD available for £5, all the profits go to FBHP’s annual appeal. They are available at all the Friends’ events, including Chestnut Sunday.

As always the chestnut trees are being watched very carefully to determine how much damage the leaf miner and the bleeding canker are doing. The park team cleared all the fallen leaves in the autumn to try to deter the leaf miner.

The main controversy of the year has been the proposal of The Royal Parks Agency to introduce parking charges in Bushy and Richmond Parks. In March last year we, and many local residents groups formed the Keep Bushy Park Free Alliance and organised a petition to be collected. The 6,500 signatures were handed in to the Royal Parks headquarters by Vincent Cable. There was a rally in Richmond Park in January which was attended by well over a thousand people all registering their disapproval of the plan. The Minister, Margaret Hodge – despite enormous opposition, not only from local people but regular park users, all the councils that surround the parks and visitors from far and wide – has decided that parking charges should be introduced.

The Alliance is still urging people to write to the minister to make her change her mind. It is still not too late to write. [There was a debate in the House of Lords on Wednesday 10th March to reject the proposals outright. This failed to get the required number of votes. A second amendment was passed which to register the House’s “regret” that the government were proceeding with the plan and urged the government to reconsider.]

Back to happier things. We had a good selection of Walks and Talks throughout the year, organised by Jane Cliff, which have been very well attended with up to 60 joining us on the walks, and occasionally over a hundred at the talks, so I thank all our speakers and walk leaders for giving their time and entertaining us so well.

I’d like to thank all the trustees and members of the committee for their work and enthusiasm throughout the year. If anyone else is interested in giving the Friends a little more support in protecting our parks, we really could do with some help on the committee with maybe – leading walks or writing reports of them for the newsletter and web site.

We also need more volunteers to help run the Pheasantry Welcome Centre where the Friends run the Information Point at weekends, half terms and Bank Holidays in two shifts from 10 until 2. If you can spare a couple of hours occasionally at a weekend, we would be most grateful if you would contact Rosemary MacColl.

Our web site, thanks to Mark Buckley, was redesigned last year and is working very well and has many visitors. Do please join in and let us know what you have seen in the parks with photos as well, or anything else you’d like to say about the parks. Mark updates it regularly so it’s a good way to keep in touch with what’s going on. The web site address is www.fbhp.org.uk.

As you will know the Friends have applied to become a charity following a Special General Meeting last year. There is one clause which the Charities Commission would like to be inserted before our list of objectives in our constitution before they grant us charity status. It is as follows. “The Charity’s objects (the “Objects”) are, for the benefit of the general public, to provide or assist in the provision of facilities for recreation and other leisure time occupation in the interests of social welfare with the objects of improving the conditions of life of the public in particular by the preservation, promotion, support, assistance and improvement of Bushy Park and Home Park. In furtherance of the above objects, but not further or otherwise, the Charity shall have the following powers”: Under our constitution it is required that we hold a Special General Meeting for members to approve the change. We also have to give a clear month’s notice to all our membership, so in the next newsletter due out at the beginning of April, we will formally announce that we will be holding an SGM on Thursday 27th May following the talk on Wildlife Photography by Barry Hilling.

Our appeal this year will be for money to replace the finials on top of the walls and stoop basins of the Water Gardens cascade. This will help to finish off the wonderful restoration work so far, which, of course, the Friends started off in the 1990s by setting up the Water Gardens Trust. None of the finials exist, but the design of them is shown in the painting at Hampton Court. We propose to replace as many as we can afford. They will cost from about £1000 to £2000. All the profits from the Diana Restoration DVD will go towards the appeal, so do please be as generous as you can. It would wonderful to complete the view of the dramatic cascade.

NB: Items in square brackets are updates since the AGM.

Pieter Morpurgo, Chairman. 15th March 2010.

Walking the Mistletoe

Walking the Mistletoe

With Tyrrell Marris and Graham Dillamore: 13th February 2010

Report by Pieter Morpurgo February 2010

The first outside event of the Friends’ calendar is always a special event, and this was no exception. The weather was cold and a little overcast but 60 people turned up at the Lion Gate of Hampton Court Palace to enjoy this great morning.

It didn’t feel like the start of spring, but Tyrrell reminded us to look down as well as up, as Aconites and Snowdrops were starting to appear. Tyrrell handed round a piece of mistletoe he had found on the ground for us to see in detail how mistletoe started its life.

Birds, mainly Mistlethrush but also Blackcap and Redwing pick the seeds and wipe their beaks on a smooth lateral branch to remove the stickiness and the seed. The seed starts to grow and a year later develops a stalk; each year each stalk develops two more stalks until within a few years one can see the familiar spherical “bundle”. It is usually found high in trees. It grows particularly well on fruit trees, thorn and lime trees. Some trees have no bunches; others have several. It is not really understood why, but one theory might be that birds at the top of the tree drop the seeds and they become stuck on lower branches. An avenue of lime trees planted some twenty years ago has mistletoe on more than half of the trees.

We walked along to the top end of the Long Water to look at the new avenue of trees planted on each side. They were only planted some eight years ago, and there is no sign of mistletoe yet, but a team of volunteers is keeping watch to see how soon it will grow there.

At this point Graham Dillamore, Deputy Head of Gardens and Estates at Hampton Court Palace took over, and as has become traditional on our Mistletoe Walk, Graham kept his part of the tour a secret. He called it a Room with a View, and he was to take us into the palace and up the hundred or so steps to the top of the William and Mary wing, which until a few years ago had been grace and favour apartments. We decided that the occupants would have had to be fit to climb the stairs every day. It is rumoured that one of the staircases was haunted, but thankfully not on our visit.

The apartments were in fact quite close to where the dreadful fire took hold some years ago and destroyed much of the internal structure of the wing. The views from there are quite spectacular. We were very privileged to have been allowed there. It is not open to the public and only very rarely are groups allowed to visit. We saw the Privy Garden from above and Graham pointed out a hole caused by subsidence, which on excavation was found to have a tunnel buried beneath it.

Archaeologists have started work to find out its origins. The view down the Long Water was also impressive from that high angle. We were taken back down another staircase where there is some 300 year old graffiti. A most interesting morning and many thanks to Tyrrell for his customary expertise and Graham for another visit to one of Hampton Court’s hidden treasures.

Editor’s note, click here for more photos from this walk.

Bat Walk in Bushy Park

with Dr Nigel Reeve 8th June 2008

We met at Teddington Gate at 8:30pm. As bats don’t leave their roosts until sunset, Nigel had a few minutes to introduce his walk with a few facts about Bushy Park itself.

It is 445 hectares or 1099 acres and is the second largest of the Royal Parks. It’s an important area of acid grassland with many important plants including Mudwort, the only site in the London area. For its value to a wide range of invertebrates the park satisfies the criteria for designation as a SSSI (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) and The Royal Parks are working with Natural England to further the possibility of designation in the near future. The Longford River which runs through the park and feeds all the ponds has two Red Data Book species – a mayfly and a beetle. There are 123 nationally scarce or threatened species recorded in the Park so far.

Six species of bats were found in the park in a survey carried out in 2004 – by sound alone – although there are probably ten species altogether. The UK has 16 or 17. The Common Pipistrelle* is relatively tolerant of lights and will live under roof tiles. The Soprano Pipistrelle* is also here, and no prizes for guessing it has a higher frequency that the common one. Daubenton’s bat* can be heard over water not catching fish, but low flying insects.

There are Serotine bats* and occasionally Long-eared bats (Brown long-eared bats*, Grey long-eared bats*) which use a very quiet echolocation call and both listen and look (with their relatively large eyes) for insects which they glean from vegetation. Bats are not blind but have quite good eyesight although, like many mammals, only see in black and white. They use echolocation for navigation and finding insects by emitting high frequency calls of 20kHz or more (ultrasound) and listening for the echoes reflecting off objects and prey around them. Children can usually hear high frequencies (over 20kHz) but as they grow older lose that ability, so it was just as well that Nigel brought along some bat detectors. Having gathered close to where Nigel knew there was a roost, we heard many Common Pipistrelle bats echolocating at around 45kHz as they left for their nightly feed.

Dusk is a busy time for bats as they are hungry after spending the day in the roost. Answering a question about why bats feed at night, Nigel explained that there was too much competition from insect feeding birds during the day; there are too many predators about and many insects become active as dusk falls. Barn owls* are known to predate bats, but sadly Bushy Park doesn’t have any of those.

The numbers of bats have declined dramatically in the last 60 years or so, mainly because of large scale reduction in the quality of habitat in the countryside generally; also our buildings have fewer crevices for roosting; and cavities in trees suitable for roosting are often removed as part of works to make trees safe for the public. Some parts of the park are closed to the public so that standing trees can be left to rot and wildlife can flourish with no interference from humans.

We heard several species of bats and even though light rain began to fall, the bats were still active. As well as the Pipistrelles, we heard the dry clicking calls of Daubenton’s bats foraging over Heron Pond. Bats have to make use of all available feeding time and only in very heavy rain will they return to shelter.

It was a fascinating walk and talk by Nigel. He said at the start that he wasn’t a specialist, but he could have fooled all of us. He gave us a remarkable insight into the world of bats, and I’m sure the sale of bat detectors will be increased by all us new converts.

Pieter Morpurgo, June 2008

Thursday Talk: Teddington Lifeboats

Thursday Talk: Teddington Lifeboats

Teddington Lifeboat (teddington-lock.co.uk)

Talk by John Tough on January 28th 2010

Report by Jane Cliff February 2010

John started the talk by explaining his role as ‘Deputy Launch Authority’. John acts as the liaison between the Coastguard and the Lifeboats. The Coastguard calls John who then makes the decision whether or not to launch the Lifeboat.

After the loss of life in the Marchioness disaster in 1989 it was (eventually) recognised in 2001 that a dedicated search and rescue organisation was necessary. The coastguard at Woolwich asked the RNLI to provide a 15 minute service to cover the Thames from stations at Gravesend, The Tower and Chiswick. It was then recognised that the Chiswick boat could not get to Richmond in 15 minutes, so in 2001 it was decided to open a station at Teddington to cover the 3.5 miles to Richmond. This required a very fast turn round with the crew trained by August/September and the station signed off as operational by mid December 2001. The first call out was on New Years Eve and the first 3 months were the busiest of any in-shore station in the country.

It was soon recognised that a Teddington boat could get to Hampton Wick, Kingston, Hampton Court and Molesey faster than a boat from Chiswick, so 2 D class lifeboats now cover the 5 miles from Molesey lock to Teddington and the 3.5 miles on to Richmond.

The 20 crew are all volunteers and have a target of 3 minutes to arrive at the station and another 90 seconds to remove clothing, put on dry suit, ‘bunny suit’, life jacket and helmet and then launch the lifeboat.

Since 2002, the Coastguard have only been turned down twice; once when a skip floated down river and was dealt with by the Port of London Authority and when there was a report of ‘a man in distress’ in the water at Richmond. The man was Bamber Gascoigne, a regular swimmer in the river, who assured the police that he was OK.

Callouts can be anything from attempted suicides to groups on the bridges thought by the police to be potentially dangerous. August Bank Holiday in 2007 resulted in 4 launches; 3 times for lads jumping into the river off Richmond Bridge and one call to a domestic incident in a houseboat at Hampton Wick.

In 2003 the river was in flood for 3-4 months. There was a call to a couple who had a mooring in the middle of the river at Petersham. The wife had lost her footing and had fallen into the river. The boat arrived in 8 minutes and she was OK, but as there had been some problems as she was rather heavy, the local press headline was ’Big woman in river rescue’!

On another occasion the road by the White Cross pub was flooded and a BMW car floated off down the river. Black hair was seen in the back of the car so the lifeboat was called, the windscreen was smashed and a mannequin’s head pulled out; the car sank. The Port of London authority had to pull the car out and provided another headline for the local press.

The station has very few problems with rowing, sailing boats and canoes, but there have been 6 incidents involving motor boats including a catamaran with weed caught in the motor.

John gave a brief history of the RNLI which was formed in 1824 as an independent charity. 4,500 volunteers raise 130 – 140 million per year and fund 8,200 total callouts.

In 2001 RNLI Lifeguards were started with 140 units round the coast of the UK.

A 15 minute film showing the work of the RNLI was shown followed by questions.

There is obviously great local interest and support for the Teddington Station and John was asked to keep us informed re an open day sometime in June or July.

Many thanks to John for a most entertaining and informative talk.

Report by Jane Cliff February 2010

Olympic Torch to begin final day's journey in Bushy Park

On the opening day of the Olympics – Friday 27th July – the Olympic Torch Relay sets out on its final leg – by river to the Opening Ceremony at the Olympics site.

And it will commence that historic journey here in Bushy Park. We understand it will enter or start Teddington Gate, proceed down Chestnut Avenue to Diana Fountain and then out to Home Park.

STOP PRESS This just in from Historic Royal Palaces

The Torch leaves Bushy Park at approx 7.00 and then makes its way through Lion Gate into Hampton Court Palace to The Wilderness, and the Maze. It then goes through the East Front Formal Gardens. All these areas are open to the public without charges and you can view anywhere along that route. We will have stewards in place on the day to help direct people to the best spots.

The torch will go through the palace and out onto our West Front but that area is closed off for TV. It should get to the Gloriana at 7.30.

The advice is either to get to the gardens and claim a spot there – if you are down towards the Privy Garden Gates you can see the torch handover twice and perhaps then head over within the Gardens to see the flame pass on the river.

You could also go to Barge Walk (you will need to walk around the perimeter of the palace to do that) and watch from there.

It isn’t our intention to open access from the gardens to Barge Walk via the Tijou screens so you can’t get through there to see the torch on the river.

In terms of following the torch we’ve not had any guidance on this, but I think the aim is for crowds to stay where they are as the torch comes past.

Hope that helps and you get to enjoy the morning!

Best Regards

David Hingley
Head of Visitor Services
Hampton Court Palace

On leaving Hampton Court, the Torch will travel on the royal barge Gloriana, rowed by ex-Olmypians, past Home Park, under Kingston Bridge and so onto London and the Opening Ceremony.

The gates to Bushy park will open at 6.30am but there is no parking on site. There will be stewards so if you do come it will all be clear where you can go when you arrive if you are unsure.

For further information visit www.london2012.com/torch-relay/route/

New Photo Competition announced: the Olympics and the Parks

New Photo Competition announced: the Olympics and the Parks

Photo by Colin Keates

The Olympic Torch visit followed by the cycling road events in and around Bushy Park and Hampton Court gave anyone with a camera some fantastic opportunities to capture the excitement and the sense of history being made.

We encourage everyone to enter your best photos, on the subject of the Olympics and the Parks, into the latest FBHP photo competition. Closing date for entries is 31st August so don’t delay!

Saturday Walk: Shrub Planting in Bushy Park

Saturday Walk: Shrub Planting in Bushy Park

Friends planting shrubs

With Chris Nickerson, Head Gardener Woodland Gardens
10th October 2009

We met at the Red Brick Bridge and walked through the Pheasantry, passing the bed where our previous Shrub Planting event took place, to a bed near the Welcome Centre.

The bed had been laid out by staff from Fountains with 450 pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge) and vinca minor (Periwinkle). Trowels were supplied, but the thirteen of us needed a few more tools, so spades were collected from the store room and we started planting.

It looked as though there were far too many plants set out for us, but at the end of two and a half hours we had finished the job. We were lucky that it had rained hard during the previous week otherwise the ground would have been very solid. The soil close to the trees was quite difficult enough! The bed is the first you walk past on the way to Triss’s Pond.

It was a very pleasant morning and afterwards this time we were able to sit and have a coffee at the Welcome Centre to recover.

Very many thanks to Chris for keeping us all under control. There will be another Shrub Planting next year in November.

Report and Photo by Pieter Morpurgo. October 2009

The Longford River

A Talk by Richard Flenley, Thursday 24th September

Richard began the talk by looking back 15 years when a meeting in this hall led to the Heritage Lottery Fund Project which has finally resulted in the wonderful restoration of The Water Gardens.

Water in Bushy Park, Home Park and Hampton Court has always been a key feature, supplied by the Longford River. The source of this chalk water river is off the River Colne to the west side of Heathrow. It flows through Feltham and Hanworth to the Pantile Bridge (19 Km) continues through Bushy Park (3.5Km) and Home Park (2.4Km) and so to Hampton Court.

There are records of the existence of the river by 1337, but excavation during the construction of Terminal 5 may date it as early as 5th. Century AD. Charles 1 wanted to improve the water supply to Hampton Court, so in 1638 Nicholas Lane laid out the plan for this artificial river. It was constructed by Edward Manning with a budget of £4,000 and took only 9 months.

Later, in the 19th century it was called the King’s River, then in 1868 ‘The Queen’s or Cardinal’s River’.

From Ravesbury the Longford runs parallel with the Duke’s River which continues into Syon Park.

The Longford has peculiar angles and bends particularly from the Pantile Bridge through the Park. One theory is that it follows old raised ground relating to raised field works, even old plough marks and that ridge and furrow is visible in approximately 25% of Bushy Park.

The section through Hanworth Park, previously a moat, is culverted over and discussions are ongoing as to bringing it out of culvert in the future.

The river at Feltham is a good resource for vegetation such as flowering rush, many dragonflies can be seen, signs of mink and possibly water voles.

North of White Lodge additional reed beds have been planted, the habitat has improved with a kingfisher bank and historic hedgerows.

Richard went on to give a brief overview of considerations which had to be taken into account in order for the Water Gardens to be resurrected. There were 4 main components – Historical Research, Archaeology, Geography and Fit, Funding and Constraints.

Congratulations go to Kathy White for her perseverance during the whole process and recognition of the important part played by The Friends.

We all look forward to Kathy White’s talk on The Water Gardens on Thursday October 22nd.

Many thanks to Richard for his interesting and informative talk and his valuable contribution to the HLF Bushy Park project.

Jane Cliff, October 2009

Saturday Walk: The Deer Herds (Bushy Park)

Saturday Walk: The Deer Herds (Bushy Park)

Friends at Deer Herds Walk

Walk led by Ray Brodie, 22 August 2009

Friends at Deer Herd walk

Ray Brodie, Manager of Bushy Park took 50 of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks on a walk to find and talk about the deer and their lives in the park. There are approximately 370 deer in Bushy Park; 125 Red Deer – stags and hinds and 245 Fallow – bucks and does.

The most obvious thing about a deer park is the browse line. Ray sometimes tells people that he has an army of workers to clip the trees to make a neat line, but then we saw deer on their hind legs taking off the lower branches.

Deer are, of course, wild animals, and should always be treated with caution, but especially towards the end of May and June when the young are being born. The young are kept hidden in the bracken. The oldest deer in the park is about 15 years old, but they can live to 25. Eventually their teeth wear down and they are unable to eat. The age of the stags was discussed and the myth that the number of points of the antlers defines the animal’s age is not true. In fact age can be determined by the thickness of the antler, but few can get close enough to examine that in detail. Indeed, we were advised not to try.

Ray talked about the annual cull and the reasons for it. The park is just over 1000 acres, over most of which the deer are free to roam. But the land can only support a certain number of healthy animals. They have no natural predators, so a cull is necessary. The game keeper takes out deer throughout the age ranges, to keep a well balanced herd. This year’s cull is due to start in early September and the Royal Parks have a special licence to shoot during the hours of darkness. A high powered rifle and the public wandering about would not be a good mix.

Ray led us through the Crocodile Gate of the Woodland Gardens, passing the new Pheasantry Welcome Centre, which by the time you read this will be open; to the Upper Lodge side and as we went through the gate there was a group of red deer, with one of the yearlings suckling a hind. Another magic moment in the park!

The stock is added to every two or three years, with the introduction of a pair of each species. This keeps the blood line healthy. Animals come from a number of places, one being a similar estate in Norfolk.

Walking over the Red Brick Bridge where Ray explained that deer have been known to sneak under the bridge to get into the Woodland Gardens, we headed back to the Diana Fountain and saw some Fallow deer. There are much shyer than the Red deer, and smaller, so are sometimes difficult to spot. But their rear end is a giveaway with the white and dark patches known as “the target”.

We’d had a good tour of the park and seen both deer, and as always Ray shared with us some of his knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm. A lovely walk in perfect weather too.

Report by Pieter Morpurgo. August 2009

Saturday Walk: Hampton Court Palace Chapel Court Tudor Garden

Saturday Walk: Hampton Court Palace Chapel Court Tudor Garden

Friends in Courtyard Garden

Walk led by Terry Gough, 25 July 2009

Visit the photo gallery for this report.

With a group of 88 behind him Terry Gough, Garden and Estates Manager of Hampton Court Palace, led us through several “Private”, “No Public Access” and “No Admittance” doors and gates to the recently completed Chapel Court Tudor Garden, where we were greeted by the Palaces Group Director, Rod Giddins who had kindly granted us free entry to the Courtyard and the gardens.

Friends in Courtyard Garden

The garden is enclosed on all sides by high brick walls, yet is a light and airy space, although in winter it will get very little direct sunlight. Since Henry VIII’s time it has had many uses. In 1701 it was cleared of rubbish and planted as an orchard. Then it was laid to lawn with a couple of trees, and at one time was even a burial site.

The present garden is a recreation of a garden of Henry VIII’s time, although this space was not like this at the time. It has taken two years to transform what was a dull and dingy space into a beautiful garden laid out with beds, paths, rails and heraldic beasts on poles.

The design is based on paintings and drawings of the period. It is known that Henry had many of his gardens at all his palaces made to this type of design. The eight beds are surrounded by a Flower Mead surround, that is wild flowers that are allowed to grow through the grass, once established the grass will be cut and have a neater appearance. The beds have a wide range of plants for medicine, eating and just for display. All the plants are plants that were used 500 years ago.

Jane Seymour’s panther

The Tudor Rose is fictitious but in the garden there are the two roses of white and red, being the emblems of York and Lancaster which combined to make the Tudor Rose.The eight Kings’ beasts set in each of the beds represent the emblems of various kings and royal dukes. These have been carved in wood and decorated at great expense, so may well be taken in during the winter. Among them are Richard I’s lion, to the Greyhound of the Richmonds, and Anne Boleyn’s leopard which after Henry’s “falling out” with her he changed into Jane Seymour’s panther.

All the beds are surrounded by green and white rails. These were the colours used by Henry and many of his gardens reflected these colours in the rails and posts which support the beasts. Chertsey tiles were known to be used in the flowers beds and this too has been faithfully recreated.

Orangery Garden

It was a fascinating tour of this new garden, but our morning continued with a walk inside the Lower Orangery Garden. The gate is usually locked and the public may only view the garden from the walkway above. This garden was finished a couple of years ago, but the garden – 200 years later than the Courtyard Garden is an accurate reconstruction of how the garden actually looked at the time of William III.

Delft pots

It is laid out in a very formal manner. Between the gravel paths are beds which in themselves don’t contain many plants but in the summer months coloured pots with many exotic plants, flowers and herbs are arranged on wooden boards which protect the pots from damage and keep them cleaner so that they can be taken into the Orangery for the winter months. The pots, many of them Delft, were as valuable as the plants.

Dolphin Fountain.
Photo by Owen Jones

There is a dolphin fountain in the garden which is difficult to see usually, as it is tucked in under the wall. One would expect it to be in the middle of the garden, as indeed it was before the garden was extended. The Orangery Garden is opposite the Privy Garden and a story goes that King William was disappointed that he couldn’t see the river from his apartments, so he had the Privy Garden lowered by eight feet, so he could have his river view.

It had been a most interesting morning and Terry’s depth of knowledge and his enthusiasm was very much appreciated by all.

Report by Pieter Morpurgo, Photos by Pieter Morpurgo except where otherwise stated. July 2009

Question Time

Panel: Ray Brodie, Terry Gough, Kathy White, Pippa Hyde

Elleray Hall Thursday May 27th 8pm

Pieter Morpurgo started the questioning:

Question: (for each of the panellists)
What is your favourite or secret place in Bushy and Home Parks?

Ray – Favourites are the Woodland Gardens and the Water gardens; secret place is the Brewhouse fields

Kathy – Favourite is the view from the Brewhouse and the clear water, rushes, reeds and fish in the Longford River

Pippa – recalled a favourite picnic area as a child over the Redbrick Bridge and along the Queen’s River. Another favourite is a butterfly walk looking for Painted Ladies starting at Canal Plantation round to Upper Lodge.

Terry – Favourite is the Palace end of Home Park, particularly the wildlife, flora and fauna.

Why are the Woodland Gardens closed to dog walkers?

Ray – to protect the wildlife and ecology; gardens have a calm atmosphere and there is no scent of dogs. When the Water Gardens open, dogs will be allowed on a lead.

What is the policy on dog faeces?

Ray – It is an offence to let a dog foul anywhere in the park. The public need more education as it is destructive for acid grassland, so they must pick up faeces and put the bag in the dog waste bins. There are over 20 more dog waste bins as part of the restoration project which have to be carefully positioned for the dog walkers but must also be accessible by vehicles to empty them.

Pippa – Cannot understand why people use a bag and then drop it, not carrying it to the nearest bin.

Can car parking in the shade be provided for people with dogs at the new Welcome Centre?

Ray – There will be some shaded areas. There will also be seating for dog owners and their dogs outside the entrance to the Woodland gardens.

What has happened to the fish from the Diana Fountain and when will they be returned?

Ray – fish including carp, tench, bream, pike and roach were moved to the boating pond, some in the stretch of water from the car park and some to Home Park. Some sort of fish shelters will be built with plants. There is a problem with cormorants taking the small and medium fish.

The fountain basin has not been cleaned out since 1975 and once the plumbing on the inside is replaced there will be a better flow of water. Two Sluice gates are being installed to protect the water level in the Queen’s River and control flow into the basin. Tenders are out for cleaning and restoration of the statue. Also pumps have been put in to ensure water supply to Hampton Court and the Long Water. There are pictures of the desilting operation on the Friends website.

What is the expected opening date for the Water Gardens and the Brewhouse?

Ray – Possible opening end June/July when the grass sward is up to standard and has had an initial cut.

Kathy – is sure that when it opens it will have been worth waiting for. She had been pleasantly surprised by the lovely sound made by the water flowing over the cascade. The alcoves are a ‘work in progress’ and the red brick is now calming down. Also, the Brewhouse has been very well restored.
There is a rumour that the old alcoves from either side of the cascade are buried somewhere in the park.

Ray – The story is that they sunk into the ground and disappeared somewhere in the Pheasantry Woodland gardens.

What was the original function of the Brewhouse and what of future plans?

Ray – the possibility of a micro brewery is being looked at. Problems are that there is no proper sewerage and no mains water.

How is the problem of algae being dealt with. Can a pump help control by moving water around?

Ray – Algae on the surface of the Water Gardens are removed with ropes each morning. A combination of sunlight plus heat causes rapid growth. The moving water of the river and the cascade adds oxygen, so a pump wouldn’t help. Thames Water have problems in reservoirs and growth is reduced by stirring so that cold water comes to the surface.

Terry – Algae on the Long Water – some is good as fish can lay eggs and escape from predators. A combination of high levels of nutrients and sunlight cause high algal bloom on the Longford Water. He doesn’t like using chemicals, so reed filters have been put in to reduce the level of Nitrates and help to control the algae.

What is the situation re amphibians in the ponds and river?

Pippa – Plenty of common frogs, toads and newts and rumour has it that there are great Crested Newts. Marsh frogs are evident, mate later and are very loud! Crayfish were also found in the Diana Fountain. Chinese Mitten crabs cause damage to the river banks

Ray – Has been told that terrapins have been seen, but not by him!

Why can’t passes be used to enter home Park from Hampton Court gardens?

Terry – Additional cost to have a member of staff on the gate. Looking at installing some sort of mechanical means for season ticket holders. A ‘trust’ system was tried, but was abused. Meanwhile, the alternative entry is through the paddock area. Comment – Home Park is shown on the map as Hampton Court Park which is incorrect and will be corrected.

Pippa – Welcomed the names on the Bushy Park gates.

About benches generally

Pieter – In 2008, the Friends appeal monies of £1500 was spent on benches.

Ray – There will not be any memorial benches in the park. Benches will be strategically placed in the Water Gardens. More benches are needed in certain areas and feedback from the public is welcomed.

When is Clapperstile Gate to open and whose responsibility is it?

Ray – The old gate was bricked up many years ago and the NPL is paying to rebuild it at the same time as the car park. Hoped to open in the next 3 months when the car park is finished. Coleshill Gate remains open.

The sports teams’ traffic will use this car park and gate and no longer use the Upper Lodge car park. General public can also use the new car park which may have to close at certain times to prevent commuters parking.

When can we expect a decision on car parking charges? Speed limit proposal?

Ray – The information is being collated and there may not be any action taken for the next 3 years. There has been a lot of feedback from the general public and local MPs.

No immediate plans to reduce the speed limit in Chestnut Avenue to 20 mph Good elevation and no bends or hills so quite different from Richmond Park.

Is there enough time for adequate regeneration after the Hampton Court Flower Show?

Terry – There is work pre-show and a comprehensive regeneration programme. The RHS has to lead by example and green issues are included as part of the show. He now has assurance that the footprint will not increase. Trend is for smaller show gardens which cause less damage. Nicholas Garbutt has been appointed as ‘Tree and Wildlife Conservation Manager’ and will look at ways to mitigate the effects of the show.
A Friend gave thanks to Nick for a most interesting walk in Home Park on Saturday May 23rd.

Ray and all the volunteers were praised for how the park looked on Chestnut Sunday.

Many thanks to Ray who is now in his 11th year as Park Manager.

Jane Cliff, June 2009

Saturday Walk: Biodiversity in Home Park

Saturday Walk: Biodiversity in Home Park

Hampton Court Reed Bed

Walk led by by Nicholas Garbutt, 23 May 2009

Visit the photo gallery for this walk.

31 Friends met at The Lion Gate (minus the lions!) on a beautiful May morning. We entered Home Park through the gate from Hampton Court gardens and walked along the dry river bed over many, very large, ant hills. The grassland here is neutral and Woodpeckers are to be seen. It becomes more acidic over towards the golf course due to the presence of approximately 300 fallow deer. We looked out for grass snakes, but none were seen.

Nicholas pointed out the recent planting of a reed bed designed to take out some of the nitrates which run off farmland and into the Longford River. There may be some similar planting in Bushy Park in the future.

Several Horse Chestnuts along the wall have the same problems as those in Bushy Park. There is a suggestion that some of the most badly affected might be replaced with Sweet Chestnuts. Dead and dying trees are left as they provide habitat for birds, bats, fungi and insects.

We followed the fence along the grounds of the Stud House, originally built for the Master of the Horse, and now a private residence. The walk continued past the stud Nursery which used to provide plants for the palace and is now a charity. As we continued down Kingston Avenue, Nicholas pointed out a deer salt-lick and the considerable amount of dead wood which provides a habitat for invertebrates. The Stumpery comprises paddocks and marshland providing a variety of habitats and some shrubs and trees from the Privy Garden at Hampton Court.

The last part of the walk followed the Long Water. There is a stone at the end engraved with words describing work done during the original dredging in the 17th. Century. We passed the 750 year old Methuselah’s Oak which has new growth sprouting in the centre and the enclosure contains bird boxes provided by The Friends. We passed an old Sweet Chestnut with lovely twisted bark and made our way back to the Hampton Court gate.

Many thanks to Nicholas and everyone wished him success in this relatively new job role. It was difficult on this peaceful Saturday morning to envisage the Flower Show occupying 24 acres in a few weeks time!

Jane Cliff, May 2009

Thursday Talk: Bushy Park - The Next Generation

The Next Generation with Hannah Pritchard and Sophie Bryant Thursday 23 April 2009

Hannah Pritchard and Sophie Bryant gave us a double act as slick as Eric and Ernie, a breath-taking view into the wide range of activities they organize. Appointed in 2007 as Education and Community Engagement Officers, and funded by HLF, they are based at the Stockyard, and cover all of Bushy Park and the Pheasantry Welcome Centre (when it opens). Both have experience as secondary school teachers, and it shows!

Both get involved in schools and higher education colleges, community events such as Bushy Spark (2007), artwork for Age Concern, Scouts and Beavers. With the help of an artist they have had the Big Draw in the park, and run activities each summer holidays such as in art, pond-dipping and meadow-sweeping.

Sophie is responsible for giving talks in primary and nursery schools, and for the long-running scheme which brings primary schoolchildren to the Stockyard several days a week. Assisted by volunteers, children walk a nature trail and pond-dip, later viewing their aquatic catch through a fancy microscope and TV. The pond-dipping room was decorated partly thanks to the Friends, as described in the previous newsletter.

Hannah is responsible for secondary schools, organizing field visits in Bushy Park, projects in schools, and coursework. She may work alongside police in their drive to encourage responsible attitudes.

Bushy is one of only 3 royal parks to have education officers, co-ordinated by Toni Assirati at HQ. You may have seen Sophie and Hannah on Chestnut Sunday, immersed in activities with children. This summer, in addition to all their normal activities, they are involved in ‘OPAL’- a link between scientists and the public for useful data collection, a moth count, and ‘waste-free picnics’. They will lead the Friends’ ‘walk for Little Children’ on 27th June.

In many years at the Stockyard we haven’t seen such an energetic pair or engagement with such a wide section of the public. Inspiring indeed!

Alison Blaney, May 2009

AGM Talk: The History of Bushy Park

by Ray Brodie, Bushy Park Manager, 6 March 2009

Ray gave a most interesting and informative talk going back over 500 years and bringing us up-to-date with news on progress of the Restoration Project.

The site has been settled for at least 4,000 years and there is evidence of a large medieval field system. Back in 1497 Richmond Palace burned down and Royalty moved to Hampton Court. The park was used for recreation including hunting and hare coursing. Between 1500 and 1515 Cardinal Wolsey rebuilt Hampton Court Palace and the park was gifted to Henry VIII who built a brick wall round the park and created a deer chase.

Water makes the park very special with the water coming from the Longford River. This river is 12 miles long, built in 1638-39 and takes water from the River Colne 11 miles away near Heathrow. Ray is responsible for the river outside the park including an aquaduct over the river at Fulwell.

There is an old plan of Water Gardens dating back to 1710-1715. They were built by the Earl of Halifax who lived in Upper Lodge. All that remained in 1998 were 2 derelict pools and The Friends have been instrumental in the restoration of the Water Gardens. (Kathy White will be giving a talk on October 22nd.) In 2000 there was a minor archaeological dig followed by more extensive excavations in September 2008 which found some brickwork dating back to 1710.

These gardens are unique, work is nearing completion and they will be open to the public this summer. The Friends have installed a camera which has recorded the various stages of the restoration.

The old Brewhouse has also been restored and work has now started on repairs to the 17th. Century Diana fountain.

Oliver Cromwell loved fishing and built the Heron and Leg of Mutton ponds and the royal connection remains today with The Queens horses in the Royal Paddocks. In the reign of William and Mary, Chestnut Avenue (conceived by Christopher Wren) was built as the formal approach to Hampton Court. Chestnut Sunday has been celebrated for over 300 years and has increased in popularity over the last 12 years.

Bushy House was built in 1663 by Edward Proger as keeper of the Middle Park. The Montagu family started repairing and rebuilding Bushy House in the early 18th century; Lord North lived there until his death in 1792. William Duke of Clarence and his family lived in the house until 1812; he married again in 1818 and remained at bushy House until his accession to the throne in 1830.

In 1896 The Royal Society set up the National Standards laboratory and the National Physical Laboratory was established in Bushy House in 1902.

The Woodland Gardens were designed and laid out by Joseph Fisher in 1947 using water from the Longford River to feed the gardens.

Deer are also a very important presence in the park. Old records show deer coming from Richmond and Kempton in 1660, from Kempton and Althorpe in 1813 and from Windsor in 1848. Some were even imported from New Zealand.

In the First World War areas of the park were turned over and used for ‘dig for victory’ and George V gave permission for Upper Lodge to be used as a home for convalescent Canadian servicemen.

During the Second World War in 1942, the US Base, Camp Griffiss was established. General Eisenhower made Bushy Park the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHEAF) which was the centre for planning Operation Overlord.

In 2003 the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to support detailed proposals for repair and restoration work in the park. This has resulted in work in the Woodland Gardens, the restoration of the Brewhouse, additional educational facilities in the Stockyard buildings, improved interpretation and signage, infrastructure repairs and the crowning glory of the Water Gardens.

Ray took several questions including assurances that skylarks in the Hampton Wick corner of the park will be protected; the opening up of the old Clapperstile gate for easier access to the sports facilities; proposed car parking charges and the opening of the new Welcome Centre this summer.

Many thanks to Ray who is now in his 11th year as Park Manager.

Jane Cliff, March 2009

Mistletoe Walk

Mistletoe Walk

Start of Mistletoe Walk 2009

by Tyrrell Marris, Saturday 14th February 2009

Report & Photos by Pieter Morpurgo

View the photo gallery for this Walk

Over the past few years we have been so lucky with the weather for our regular Mistletoe Walk. This year was no exception, and the promise of another enjoyable February walk in Home Park brought out the crowds. It also happened to be Valentines Day. There were seventy of us as Tyrrell Marris, our regular walk leader, reminded us that while Mistletoe grows on trees, we should also look at the ground as well as the snowdrops and crocii were in abundance. The day always provides a surprise or two, and we were joined by Martin Einchcomb, the Nursery Manager at Hampton Court who later was to show us around the nurseries.

The first example of Mistletoe we saw was unusually at quite a low level, so we were able to see distinctly the bulge where the Mistletoe had attached itself. Birds, generally Black Caps and Mistlethrushes wipe their beaks after eating the sticky fruits and the seed sticks onto the bark. The other way it gets there is at the other end of the digestive process!

It is found on lateral branches, and develops two leaves in the first year, two more the next and so on until it has enough to make a cylindrical shape which we are used to seeing high up in many trees in the area. The next tree had some older Mistletoe which was just starting to flower in a very pretty yellow. Lime trees are particularly receptive to Mistletoe, with Home Park and Bushy Park being one of the most prolific places in London. Some boroughs have none at all. Even Kew Gardens has very little.

Buckingham Palace Gardens were given some of “our” mistletoe, but it is unrecorded at to whether it has taken there. One Lime just inside the formal gardens was spotted with Mistletoe within just a few years of the avenue being planted. Half the trees have the plant and all are there by the natural process. The plant is semi-parasitic. That is, it doesn’t harm any established tree, although it would weaken very young fruit trees. It draws liquids from the host tree, but doesn’t damage it otherwise.

There is no difference in the growth of trees with or without Mistletoe. The newly planted avenue along the Long Water doesn’t have any yet, but Mistletoe watchers are watching. The trees were only planted three or four years ago, so the first sign will be a good indication as to exactly how long it can take to start.

We walked through the gardens to the Privy Garden, and the newly restored Orangery garden and from there we had a great view of an impressive collection of Mistletoe through the chimneys of Hampton Court. This part of the walk ended at the False Acacia tree in the south west corner of the buildings where for the third year running while Tyrrell was explaining the process of how the birds deposit the seeds, a Mistlethrush appeared exactly on cue. Now if I had a suspicious nature I would suspect our walk leader of fixing things!

As there were so many of us we had to split into two groups to be shown the nursery area by Martin. They grow 57,500 summer bedding plants, and 48,000 autumn and winter plants for both the Hampton Court Palace Gardens and the gardens at Kensington Palace. It covers an acre and was started as a kitchen garden. In William and Mary’s time many exotic plants including melons and squashes were grown. The Victorians put in the glasshouses.

The site has been used for 400 years, and the growers try to manage with as few chemicals as possible. Pest control is done mainly by bugs eating smaller bugs! The nursery is the holder of the National Collection of Heliotropium. There is a wonderfully warm corridor with more than 350 tropical or sub-tropical plants. A joy on a cold February day. It was very good of Tyrrell and Martin to show us around and let us share some of their knowledge and enthusiasm. It was a most enjoyable morning.

Pieter Morpurgo, February 2009

Thursday Talk: Swan Upping

Thursday Talk: Swan Upping

David Barber, Her Majesty's Swan Marker

by David Barber, 22 January 2009

The Friends were very pleased to welcome David Barber who gave a most interesting, illustrated talk.

David Barber
Her Majesty’s Swan Marker

Click here for the photo album.

David started by talking more generally about swans, their habitat and unfortunate cases of injuries and vandalism. We were shown disturbing photographs of the injuries which can be caused by fish hooks and lines, also a swan which had been shot by an air rifle and one chased by a dog into a barbed wire fence. On a more positive note, the Environment Agency has improved the river banks to enable more reeds to grow and so protect their natural habitat.

Swan Upping dates from the 12th century when swans were a popular dish at banquets. They were eaten up to the 19th century, but now the emphasis is on education and conservation. Today the crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but the Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the Thames.

Swan Upping takes place over 5 days in the third week of July when the cygnets are old enough to take out of the water and ring and the adults are in moult and so cannot fly away. Six traditional Thames rowing skiffs start at Sunbury and finish at Abingdon Bridge. As well as the Queen’s Swan Marker and Swan Uppers there are Swan Uppers from the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies who were granted rights of ownership in the 15th century.

When a family of swans is sighted, a cry of ‘All up’ is heard, the boats encircle the swans and they are lifted out of the water. The birds are weighed and measured and examined for any sign of injury (commonly fishing hooks and line). They are ringed with individual numbers by the Queen’s Swan Warden who is Professor of Ornithology at Oxford University. This ring is for record-keeping purposes and does not denote ownership. Data collected is used for conservation purposes.

The Livery companies used to nick the beaks to denote ownership; now another ring with ’Dyers Royalty’ or ‘Vintners Royalty’ and a number is used.
Educational development

The Ceremonial aspects include coloured uniforms – red for the Queen, white shirts and black blazers for the Vintners, navy shirts and blazers for the Dyers and the boats have their own flags and pennants. Several toasts to the Queen and the swans take place at different stages over the 5 days.

David Barber has been very keen to develop the educational side and local schools attend with welcome hospitality from local hotels. There is considerable media attention with film crews from all over the world and good positive publicity.

The Queen’s Swan Marker also has a country-wide role relating to swan welfare. He monitors the health of local swan populations, briefs fishing and boating groups and works closely with swan rescue organisations.

Jane Cliff, February 2009

Hampton Court Tree Walk

by Noelle Leigh MBE, 6 September 2008

First of all, Noelle pointed out that many of us look at trees in different ways. Some look at them from a botanical aspect, some from the aesthetic aspect, others may look at them from the craftsman’s point of view as in “How much wood can I get out of that tree?!”, or we may be interested in the folklore. But one thing is for certain, we all love trees and are passionate about their survival and protection.

The first tree of particular interest was the Indian Horse Chestnut that flowers after the Common Horse Chestnut, and has black conkers. The group enjoyed touching the tactile leaves of the Montery Pine with its cones growing out of the branches. The Euodia Tetradium Daniellii was impressive with its smooth grey trunk. It was interesting to see the Persian Iron Wood Parrotica Persica from the forests south of the Caspian Sea. This tree was moved from the Privy Garden in 1993 and has survived and is looking good.

There are many other trees that we looked at in the Wilderness before making our way to the Twentieth Century Garden. Some of the group had never visited it before and, in fact, some did not know that it existed! We saw trees from the USA, Canada, Tasmania, Italy, Chile and the Caucasus Mountains. Noelle pointed out that the leaves on Maples are always opposite each other. This is helpful when doing tree identification. Having feasted our eyes on the Twentieth century Garden, we admired the ancient Yews and then had a brief look at the Sunken Gardens and the Vine. We had a few spits and spots of rain but nothing as bad has had been forecast. Once again Noelle had led us on a lovely morning’s walk.

Deer Walk in Bushy Park

with Ray Brodie 23 August 2008

It was a perfect day for a walk in the park with just a few billowy cumulus clouds floating across the azure blue sky and a gentle breeze rustling the magnificent trees which surround the Diana car park where around fifty of us met at 11 am.

Bushy Park Manager, Ray Brodie, led the talk by himself as game keeper. Ray began by pointing out the wonders of watching the wild fallow deer bounding freely through the high grasses like gazelles in the Savannah and made us realise just how lucky we are to be able to experience this amazing spectacle so close to London. As he spoke we all turned just in time to catch a glimpse of fallow deer gracefully leaping over the long grasses behind us far off in the distance.

There are just two species of deer in Bushy Park, red (cervus elaphus) and fallow (dama dama). Fallow deer can be found in most counties in England and Wales, and there are large populations in pockets spread across Scotland. This species of deer was introduced by the Normans and quickly became established in the wild in hunting forests and chases. There are no really accurate estimates, but there must be tens of thousands of these deer in Britain. Fallow deer grow to a height of about 1m at the shoulder and males weigh 85-90 kg, females 50-60 kg. They can live to around 20 – 25 years in the wild but in Bushy Park they live 14 – 15 years.

Wild populations of our native red deer can be found in the Scottish Highlands, north Devon, the Quantock Hills, the New Forest, East Anglia, the Lake District, the Peak District and The Brecon Beacons (Wales). There are also many herds in parks like Bushy throughout the UK. Those in the Lake District are native and the rest originate from park or deer farm escapees. The male can reach about 140cm at the shoulder, and the female approximately 120cm. Adult males can weigh up to 200kg. They too live to around 20-25 years in the wild. Both the red and fallow deer live in isolated groups and range over large areas and spend only a short time in one area. Deer are herbivores and graze all types of ground vegetation and browse shrub layers in a wood and on the growing shoots and leaves of holly, chestnut and beech trees, hence the ‘browse line’ in Bushy Park. This can be noticed on all the trees in the park which have a perfectly flat bottom to their branches, about two metres from the ground, which is the maximum height the deer can reach. It was quite amusing to learn that Ray often receives calls from the public asking why and how he manages to keep the trees in Bushy Park so neatly and regimentally trimmed. He doesn’t! The deer do this job for him!

History of Teddington and Environs

by Paddy Ching, 22 May 2008

Paddy Ching, a local historian, gave a most interesting and informative talk illustrated with maps and photographs. She began the story in Saxon times when Teddington was one of many villages which had grown up along the banks of the Thames. Teddington was different due to the main road running away from the river. This may have been due to flooding along the banks of the Thames. The derivation of the name is not ‘tide end’ which was invented by Rudyard Kipling. In Saxon times we do not know where the tide ended! Other names recorded were Tuddington and Todynton. There were many weirs and a fish trap dating back to the 1300s as Teddington was in the shallows. The weir at Teddington was destroyed in the 16th. Century and the first lock built in 1811. In the 13th and 14th century, Teddington, as part of the larger manor of Staines, sent food and money from the sale of produce to Westminster Abbey. The population was halved during the Black Death in 1348, bishops and monks at the Abbey died so food was no longer required.

The village expanded at the beginning of the 18th. Century, but Teddington was less popular than Twickenham and Hampton. Houses had spread along the High Street to the village pond at the corner of Park Road. Later wealthy business men and trades- people retired to Teddington. The only surviving 18th. Century house of importance is Elmfield House. Much changed with the building of the railway line in 1863 which cut the village in two. Houses nearer to the river were knocked down, villas built in Cambridge Road and Church Road opened. Only in 1908 were shops built in Broad Street and Teddington developed into a town. The Memorial Hospital was built in 1929 as a memorial to the first world war.

Nearly the whole of Bushy Park used to be in Hampton, but it is unlikely that it was used for serious hunting. Hare and deer coursing with dogs were more likely. A stream rose by Upper Lodge running NW and formed the boundary between Teddington and Twickenham. Chestnut Avenue was constructed for William III and a wall constructed round the park to keep it in private use. The park was appropriated by Cardinal Wolsey and then Henry VIII. It was not made available for public use until 1840.

Notable residents have included Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Sir Charles Duncombe, John Walter and R.D.Blackmore who all built houses in the village. The Reverend Stephen Hales was appointed minister at St. Mary with St. Alban’s church in 1709 where he remained for the next 50 years. Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset is said to have lived at the Manor and William IV lived nearby at Bushy House. Peg Woffington, the actress, retired to Teddington in 1757 and her cottage can still be seen.

Jane Cliff – June 2008

Deer Talk at Market House, Kingston

with Ray Brodie, 17th April 2008

This was a joint evening talk organised by the Friends of Richmond Park together with the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks. The event was part of a highly successful two-week Market House Festival organised by Marilyn Mason. Starting earlier than our usual talks it was well attended by both groups.

There were three speakers Ray Brodie, Manager of Bushy Park, Simon Richards, Manager of Richmond Park and Chris Howard of the British Deer Society.

We are so familiar with our own deer in Bushy Park that it’s easy to forget that less than two miles away there roams another equally spectacular herd in Richmond Park. A reminder of this wealth of local wildlife came at this ‘Deer Evening’ held in the Market House at Kingston in April.

Though the deer herd that Bushy Park manager Ray Brodie has to look after in his thousand acres is half the size of Richmond Park’s, numbering 125 red deer and 335 fallows, the problems he faces in looking after them are similar to those of Richmond Park’s manager Simon Richards: combining wildlife interests with those of human visitors; deterring deer from ring-barking and ruining young trees; clearing litter and preventing dogs from running wild. There are calls from members of the public who have found ‘abandoned’ baby deer (which of course are not abandoned at all).

There was even, said Ray, a call last summer from a visitor who wanted to know how Park gardeners found the time to prune all the chestnut trees to give them the tidy ‘browse line’. In both parks the herds have to be controlled by annual culling. However, in Bushy Park males are culled in September and females in November, unlike the normal Richmond Park pattern of a female cull in November and a male cull in February.

The evening had started with an informative talk on the distribution and behaviour of deer across Britain by Chris Howard of the British Deer Society. Used as we are to our familiar red deer and fallow deer, neither species is, Chris explained, the commonest of those that are native to Britain or so well established here as to be regarded as naturalised. That distinction belongs to the shy roe deer, known in Britain since the Middle Ages and numerous in woodland and upland areas.

Then there are the Muntjac, a sharp-toothed killer whose ferocity belies its small size, the Sika which was introduced to Brownsea Island in 1896 but swam ashore and colonised the south coast, and the Chinese Water Deer which escaped from Woburn Park and flourishes in the Fens.

Among the fascinating facts about deer behaviour given by Chris Howard are the amazing power of their senses: deer can see at a mile, and angle their ears separately to pick up sounds from different directions.

They spend three to four hours eating every day, but in between they need to pause to chew their regurgitated food, which is why it is important not to disturb deer when they seem to be at rest. Simon Richards, Richmond Park manager, told us about the history of Britain’s deer parks, the fact that in Victorian times Britain exported deer to New Zealand to start herds there, and that during the Second World War Richmond Park’s deer population shrank to just 77.

There was a lively question-and-answer session involving all three speakers. The perennial question of what happens to a deer’s antlers after they are shed seemed to be a mystery to all of them.

The evening ended with refreshments and a chance to chat to another Friends group. Michael Davison & Pieter Morpurgo, June 2008

Support urgently needed for proposal for permanent green space on Jolly Boatman site

An innovative, fresh new set of planning proposals has been lodged with Elmbridge Borough Council. The plans were formally submitted to EBC by Andrew Roberts, a Thames Ditton resident. The new scheme will create a public Thames-side, green space, with unobstructed views across to Hampton Court Palace, on the site known as the ‘Jolly Boatman’. Mr Roberts’ single goal, is to preserve and enhance the valued heritage views, once and for all.

Click here for more details

The deadline for comments in the Elmbridge Council planning process is 31st July. HCRC and FBHP urge you to write to EBC as soon as possible to ensure that your voice is heard before the consultation expires.

E-mail comments to Laura Davies, Senior Planning Officer on: tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk

All correspondence must carry the Planning Reference number 2012/2362

Alternatively you can use this link to send your message:
Key in application reference: 2012/2362 and click ‘Search’, then the click ‘Submit Comment’ at the base of the page. Your message will be published in ‘view attachments’.

Entrances & Exits Photo Competition Winners Announced

Entrances & Exits Photo Competition Winners Announced

Entrance to Bushy Park from Duke's Passage by Lewis Lloyd

Earlier in the year we held a competition for photographs of the entrances and exits to our Parks. This competition produced some striking images as you can see by clicking here.

Congratulations to to our worthy winners:

1st: Lewis Lloyd

2nd: Elisabeth Cox

3rd: George Andrews

March 2012

Playground disabled loo awaiting repairs.

Catering contract renewal is due in 2012. Tender process is under way. Propose temporary mobile unit near Pheasantry toilets to trade at weekends this spring/summer with a view to improving service for dog walkers and reducing queues in main building.

Linda Lennon commenced work as CEO on 3rd March.

Planning application issues current are: Hampton Hill CC, Teddington Town CC and NPL Sports Club, Whistle Stop, Seething Wells and Lion Gate Hotel.

The scope of the Landscape Management contract will be reviewed next year due to the requirement to save some 25% of the existing budget. This work has now started and Bill and I are involved in the work. No change.

New sewer construction from the Pheasantry to Teddington Gate has commenced. On target for completion by Easter.

Sign review ongoing. Hampton Wick notice boards to be replaced. Order placed.

Tree planting sponsored by The Friends complete including ceremonial hawthorn group.

Water Garden’s finials complete and installed.

Water levels are still low due to prolonged period of negligible rain. A management strategy for the future management of the Longford River is being developed by TRP. No change.

John Comfort intends to carry out a fish survey of Model Boat, Heron & Leg-of-Mutton Ponds during 2012 (Probably April). Older, big carp to be moved to Diana Pond where there is currently no fishing allowed to rest them.

Tree pests and diseases continue to seemingly worsen. Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) will spread and Acute Oak Decline (AOD) is evident in many areas of the Park. Resources to control OPM have been allocated. Arboricultural team re-structure has been completed and Gillian Jonusas has assumed responsibility for management control in both parks. Recruitment of volunteers is under way. It is expected that some spraying of affected trees will need to take place in April to control the pest. A trial of treatments to try to reduce the impact of AOD will take place during the summer. 2 groups of trees along Sandy Lane will receive soil based and foliar drenches to promote vigour.

Chestnut Sunday is 13th May 2012. Usual programme. Contributions towards cost of event welcome! New ideas / proposals also welcome.

Olympic planning well under way. The proposals for the Time Trials are now known and we expect LOCOG to call stakeholder meetings shortly. No major problems expected but some infrastructure will be expected to remain on site between 29th July and 1st August. A stakeholder meeting with LOCOG has been arranged for 10.00 on 28th March at White Lodge
SR and BS have considered the spreadsheet tabled at the last meeting regarding use of funds. We would like to suggest priorities for further discussion going forward as being:
• Drinking fountain restoration at Hampton Wick Gate. (Match funding)
• Interpretation boards regarding biodiversity for acid grassland.
• Interpretation boards for bird life around Heron Pond.
• Interpretation board regarding the history and management of the Longford River.
• Once finials are complete possibly restore hoods over the basins in the Water Gardens and/or the reeds at the base of the cascade.
• General planting fund for Woodland Gardens.
A further meeting was held on 11th January. SR agreed that we needed to get costs for a prospective horse trough for Teddington Gate area from the Drinking Fountain Assoc. A letter has been sent to them. Also to ask Nigel Reeve together with the artist who produced display boards for Richmond Park to originate a display board for Heron Pond. This then to be approved by the Friends before committing to manufacture. (Apologies that we have not had time to progress the interpretation boards since the last meeting.)

Other winter works completed include the clearance of the reed beds in the Brewhouse Fields and the Nature Trail by machine as reeds are too well established to remove manually. We have worked to reduce shading of the Longford River within the west end of the woodland gardens. An order is awaiting completion to thin out some poor specimen trees around the Pheasantry lawns to reduce competition and improve light levels. This will allow lawn repairs to be more successful. The veteran sweet chestnut tree opposite the cafe has been fenced to exclude trampling which will allow the root zone to recover. Work to the cedar tree will also take place that will allow the currently ugly barriers to be removed without significantly affecting the shape of the tree.

A major programme to remove ivy from the park walls is mostly complete. This has exposed many weaknesses and a section of the wall behind Hampton Wick cricket club which collapsed has now been rebuilt.
A major tidy up within the working yard side of the Pheasantry has taken place and volunteers have planted several hundred young trees on the west side to begin the process of screening the yard from the car park.
A Veteran Tree survey has been instructed and the scope has been increased to include the whole park.

Works to refurbish the Playground are imminent and expected to take around 6 weeks.

January 2012

Meeting notes for the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks.

Simon Richards. Park Superintendent

Deer culls complete. No issues.

Playground gents’ lavatory vandalized. Main loos re-opened but disabled facility closed pending further repairs.

Catering contract renewal is due in 2012. Opportunity to improve the facilities for both customers and the Info Point. Look forward to proposals by Info Point volunteers regarding their ideas towards improving the facility. No change.

The Mayor has now announced changes to the governance of the Royal Parks. 2 new Board members still to be recruited.

Mark Camley has resigned and will be replaced by Linda Lennon as CEO from 3rd March.

Planning application issues current are: Hampton Hill CC, Teddington Town CC and NPL Sports Club, Whistle Stop, Seething Wells.

The scope of the Landscape Management contract will be reviewed next year due to the requirement to save some 25% of the existing budget. This work has now started and Bill and myself are involved in the work. No change.

Other maintenance requirements for the Diana Fountain are to be addressed. Funding for a new sewer from the Pheasantry to Teddington Gate has been approved. Design is complete construction has commenced.
Signage; new signs around main traffic gates and the Pheasantry Cafe in place. Other signs to be reviewed with the aim of eradicating ugly, over sized and unnecessary clutter around the Park. Review ongoing. Hampton Wick notice boards to be replaced if funding permits.

Tree planting sponsored by The Friends complete. Tree planting in Woodland gardens is complete along with replacements in the Pheasantry car park.
New bench funded by the Friends installed near Hampton Wick Gate.

Water Garden’s finials paid for by the Friends; TRP and The Friends have gained required consents Detailed fixings to be agreed to prevent theft.

Water levels are still low due to prolonged period of negligible rain. A management strategy for the future management of the Longford River is being developed by TRP

John Comfort intends to carry out a fish survey of Model Boat, Heron & Leg-of-Mutton Ponds during 2012. Older, big carp to be moved to Diana Pond where there is currently no fishing allowed to rest them.
Tree pests and diseases continue to seemingly worsen.

Oak Processionary Moth will spread and Acute Oak Decline is evident in many areas of the Park. Plans under way to resource the control of OPM. Temporary re-structuring of the Arboricultural team has led to a pause in asking for volunteer support but this should happen shortly. It is expected that some spraying of affected trees will need to take place in April to control the pest. A trial of treatments to rty to reduce the impact of AOD will take place during the summer. 2 groups of trees along Sandy Lane will receive soil based and foliar drenches to promote vigour.

Chestnut Sunday is 13th May 2012. Usual programme. Contributions towards cost of event welcome! New ideas / proposals also welcome.

Olympic planning well under way. The proposals for the Time Trials are now known and we expect LOCOG to call stakeholder meetings shortly. No major problems expected but some infrastructure will be expected to remain on site between 29th July and 1st August.

SR and BS have considered the spreadsheet tabled at the last meeting regarding use of funds. We would like to suggest priorities for further discussion going forward as being:
• Drinking fountain restoration at Hampton Wick Gate. (Match funding)
• Interpretation boards regarding biodiversity for acid grassland.
• Interpretation boards for bird life around Heron Pond.
• Interpretation board regarding the history and management of the Longford River.
• Once finial are complete possibly restore hoods over the basins in the Water Gardens and/or the reeds at the base of the cascade.
• General planting fund for Woodland Gardens.
A further meeting was held on 11th January. SR agreed that we needed to get costs for a prospective horse trough for Teddington Gate area from the Drinking Fountain Assoc. Also to ask Nigel Reeve together with the artist who produced display boards for Richmond Park to originate a display board for Heron Pond. This then to be approved by the Friends before committing to manufacture.
Other winter works will include the clearance of the reed beds in the Brewhouse Fields by machine as reeds are too well established to remove manually. We are also hoping to do work to reduce shading of the Longford River within the west end of the woodland gardens as well as thinning out some poor specimen trees around the Pheasantry lawns to reduce competition and improve light levels. This will allow lawn repairs to be more successful.

A major programme to remove ivy from the park walls is under way. This has exposed many weaknesses and a section of the wall behind Hampton Wick cricket club has collapsed.

A major tidy up within the working yard side of the Pheasantry has taken place.

October 2011

Meeting notes for the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks.

Simon Richards. Park Superintendent

Deer culls this year and deer / public interaction in the news. More public info signs have been produced for local deployment as required.

Playground gents’ lavatory refurbishment under way (now with improvement to ecology and energy use that light will be on movement sensors) Completed on 18th but regrettably works vandalized during night of 18/19 October.

Amphibian habitat improvement work at Canal Plantation funded by ‘FROGLIFE’ organization with specific aim of improving conditions for Greater Crested Newt found there has been completed. Litter clearance of this area has been addressed.

Catering contract renewal is due in 2012. Opportunity to improve facilities for both customers and the Info Point. Look forward to proposals by Info Point volunteers regarding their ideas towards improving the facility.

Education contract has been let to the Field Studies Council who have already made contact with the Trailblazer volunteers. Operations not expected to commence before the spring.

The merger of the Richmond and Bushy Parks management teams has taken place. There are significant new pressures on remaining staff. This will mean that amongst other things, the availability of White Lodge for evening meetings will be restricted as will the ability to keep the office open to the public every week day

The Mayor has now announced changes to the governance of the Royal Parks. New Board members to be recruited.

Planning application issues current are: Hampton Hill CC, Teddington Town CC and NPL Sports Club. Hampton Wick CC will be soon too.

New licences will be negotiated over time with the various sports clubs. These will need to deal effectively with parking and vehicular access, removal of clutter and unnecessary lighting. Likewise a new management company for Upper Lodge is being set up.

The scope of the Landscape Management contract will be reviewed next year due to the requirement to save some 25% of the existing budget.
Other maintenance requirements for the Diana Fountain are to be addressed. Funding for a new sewer from the Pheasantry to Teddington Gate has been approved with work to be carried out later this winter

Signage; some will be refreshed soon including that around main traffic gates and the Pheasantry Cafe. Other signs to be reviewed with the aim of eradicating ugly, over sized and unnecessary clutter around the Park.

Review of existing and proposed drinking fountains under way.

Tree planting sponsored by The Friends due to take place in November. This is Hawthorn & Blackthorn whips planted as groups in large timber tree crates south of Heron Pond and to rear of Kathy White’s house south of Lime Ave.

New bench funded by the Friends to be installed near Hampton Wick Gate overlooking the skylark field.

Water Garden’s finials paid for by the Friends; TRP and The Friends need to sort out permission to erect these from English Heritage and the LPA’s Conservation Officer.

Water Gardens entered for Civic Trust Award Scheme.

Chris Nickerson has a number of trees to plant within the Woodland Gardens as planned landscape improvements.

Water levels are low due to prolonged period of negligible rain. A management strategy for the future management of the Longford River will be developed by TRP

John Comfort intends to carry out a fish survey of Model Boat, Heron & Leg-of-Mutton Ponds during 2012. Older, big carp to be moved to Diana Pond where there is currently no fishing allowed to rest them.

Tree pests and diseases continue to seemingly worsen. Oak Processionary Moth will spread and Acute Oak Decline is evident in many areas of the Park.

Chestnut Sunday is 13th May 2012. Usual programme. Contributions towards cost of event welcome! New ideas / proposals also welcome.

Olympics debriefing meeting took place – no major issues identified but still need to hear about proposals for the Time Trials on 1st August 2012.

December 2009

As a result of the dry summer, Ray Brodie reported that there had been problems with water flow in the Longford River.

2 hinds had entered the Woodland Gardens but could not now be found so may have left.

At the end of his first year, Chris Nickerson appeared to have settled in well and is ready to assume full responsibility.

The FBHP shrub planting day had been fun and successful.

The statue of Diana, fully repaired and regilded, had been reinstated on 17 November providing a stunning focal point in the Park.

The art historian, Sir Roy Strong, had visited the Water Gardens accompanied by Kathy White. He was enthusiastic and had given his support to further restoration, such as mounting the finials on the alcoves.

Ray Brodie was planning to replace the fence by the Welcome Centre with more attractive and practical wire fencing and altering the gateway.

It was reported that people with cycles found entry via the present gates difficult and in some cases impossible.

Ray Brodie concluded by reiterating his appreciation of FBHP’s initiating the Water Gardens restoration and supporting & contributing so much to the Bushy Park restoration.

January 2010

Ray Brodie reported a quiet period dominated by snow falls and historically low temperatures, -9 degrees C. Hard work had ensured Bushy Park remained open, but work on the Diana pool and the pipe feeding the Diana Fountain had been held up. The main roadway and pedestrian bridges had been gritted. At one point the river had frozen over causing anxiety that water would overflow.

Ray Brodie had asked Richard Flenley of Land Use Consultants for information regarding replacement of The finials at the Water Gardens. They and Bill Swan were to meet on 26th January. He was keeping Kathy White (former FBHP chairman and founder of The Water Garden Trust) fully informed.

Re-arrangement of the servery at the Welcome Centre, and possible improvements to piping, and the floor surface were under consideration. Heating has currently been produced by electricity since woodchips had not been available due to delivery problems caused by the weather.

A new Administration Officer, Peter Nacmanson, had been appointed. He would be working out of White Lodge.

NPL and the Estates Department were working on practical arrangements for running the Clapperstile car park. Construction work had been delayed by the weather.

February 2010

In the Water Gardens, a leak had occurred and was being dealt with, but the heavy winter rains were causing problems delaying reinstatement of the grassed area. The ground by Hampton Hill Gate was also awash, but since this was at the level of the water table little could be done. Information for the public was available at the Welcome Centre.

Contractors had been appointed for the alterations to the Clapperstile car park.

The Welcome Centre continued to have problems: the automatic door was not coping with high usage and the frequent presence of people nearby. The toilet floor needed repair, as did the obtrusive decorative orange wall plaque. These were covered by defect liability insurance. The cafe concessionaires wished to improve the kitchen layout and the floor surface.

There was a problem with fencing at the Welcome Centre car park which had proved too weak. A mesh screen bolted to posts was proposed. The fence was necessary to prevent deer entering since a cattle grid had not been provided. It was noted that plans submitted to the Stakeholder Meetings had shown a fence between the cafe and the Woodland Gardens which had not yet been erected. Plans are being developed for a new low level fence between the PWC and the Woodland Gardens.

There had been good feedback from the public to the service provided at the Information Point. The volunteers too appeared to be enjoying manning the information desk. It was hoped that the Friends would man the desk more often, but for the time-being it was felt prudent to limit further cover to half-term and maybe one day a week during the summer, and this was being considered. 5 new volunteers were being trained. More were always welcome. An invitation should be included in the April Newsletter.

New fencing was planned by the allotments near Pantile Bridge, on the south of the sports grounds and along Duke’s Head passage.

May 2010

Ray Brodie reported a busy month for the park.

Chestnut Sunday had been successful and well organised by Deputy Manager, Bill Swan. In spite of the cold weather between eight and ten thousand people were estimated to have attended. The chestnut trees were looking good, but it was too early to judge damage from the leaf miner. Unfortunately the water flow to Diana Fountain had been interrupted by an unknown blockage, this had cleared itself 2 days later. The fountain was now operating correctly.

Rain was badly needed to allow reseeding & top-dressing of the sports pitches and at the Water Gardens. Blanket weed had started to grow in the ponds in the Water Gardens and a new natural bacteria was being tried out to combat the problem but is expensive.

The new Clapperstile car park was open to the public, but the new gateway had not been constructed correctly and use will be delayed until it has been replaced. The Upper Lodge car park was remaining open for the time-being.

There had been a full series of schools projects and the Education Team had used the £10K funding-for-local-groups to good advantage.

The Heritage Lottery Fund Chairman and Chief Executive had paid a visit to the park. Using the Payback Scheme in co-operation with the Police and Hounslow Council work was being done to tidy up along the Longford River.

Cleve West becomes Patron of the Friends

Cleve West becomes Patron of the Friends

Cleve West, Patron of the FBHP

We are delighted to announce that Britain’s leading garden designer Cleve West the ‘quiet man of gardening’ who claims his greatest passion is growing vegetables in his allotment in Bushy Park is to become a patron of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks.

Cleve wanted to be a professional athlete in his twenties but injury dashed his hopes of competing in the long jump at the Olympics. He turned to garden design and the rest as they say is history

Although he is the top of his profession, he claims his favorite gardening is in his allotment in Bushy Park and recently wrote a book on allotments.
“Whenever I have a chance I go down to the allotment like a shot,” he said. “It is not just because there is a lot to do, it is proper gardening, not showy gardening. It is a good place to wind down and is very special.”

He even used a root vegetable scorzonera for its purple flowers in his latest top award winning garden at Chelsea Flower Show.

Cleve said
“I am very happy to be associated with the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks and look forward to supporting them in their work to conserve and protect the parks; these parklands are important spaces for all of us and for future generations”

Annie Murray added “We are so happy to have Cleve on board; he shares our passion for these parks and brings a lot of experience in the areas of conservation and horticulture.“

Caution advised as deer mating season begins

The Royal Parks advises dog walkers and other visitors to act with caution as deer mating season begins

The Royal Parks is recommending dog owners who walk their pets in Richmond and Bushy Parks consider walking them outside the parks during the deer mating season.

Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner. This is particularly likely during the mating season, or rut, which begins in the next week and runs through to the end of October.

During the mating season, the Red stags and Fallow bucks compete for females. At this time, the large males roar, bark and clash antlers in a spectacular way in an attempt to fight off rivals and attract as many females as possible.

Perceiving dogs as a threat, deer may charge a dog and its owner. The presence of dogs may also disrupt the deer breeding pattern, impacting on the behaviour of the wild animals during the birthing season.

Recently, the number of owners choosing to walk their dogs in Richmond and Bushy Parks has increased considerably. The Royal Parks is giving updated advice to owners choosing to walk their dogs in these parks where the numbers of incidents in which deer and dogs have been injured or killed, have also increased.

Although the number of serious incidents is relatively low, three deer deaths and two dog deaths this year, the new advice ensures dog walkers are aware of the potential risks of walking their pet in the parks at this time.

If you choose, at your own risk, to walk your dog in the park at these times, it is advisable to keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park where you are close to exit gates. If pursued by a deer, let go of the lead. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them.

The new advice also applies to when the young deer are born between May and July and are hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass. Females and their young are very vulnerable and sensitive to disturbance at this time.

Visitors coming to the parks without their pets are still advised to keep at least 50m away from the deer, never getting in between two deer and never feeding or photographing the deer at close range.

To report an injury to a dog or a deer, please contact:
Richmond Park: 0300 061 2200 or email richmond@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk
Bushy Park: 0300 061 2250 or email bushy@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond and Bushy Parks, said:

“Deer have roamed freely in The Royal Parks since 1529 when the parks were Royal hunting grounds. The gentle grazing of the Red and Fallow deer continue to shape the landscape and keeping the grassland open.

“Deer are wild animals though and can behave unpredictably. Observing their reaction and updating our advice to park visitors where necessary, is an important part of making sure everyone stays alert and safe, particularly during the mating and birthing seasons.”

ULTRA Race for Royal Parks Foundation and Scope

Volunteers needed for charity race finale in Bushy Park

Developed by the team behind the multi-award-winning Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, this unique 50km event on Sunday 7 October will be central London’s premier Ultra.

The Ultra organisers say: “With more people than ever taking up running, we wanted to bring something totally new to the running events scene. Appealing to those looking for their next big challenge and regular Ultra runners inspired by the impressive route, this event will be a real test of endurance; all in the name of two great causes.”

The Ultra offers runners an awesome experience that combines the highlights of the capital city, including Buckingham Palace and Westminster, with five of the eight picturesque Royal Parks. Winding its way along Thames tow paths, across south west London and through Richmond Park, it finishes in Bushy Park, Henry VIII’s old hunting ground near Hampton Court.

Every participant has pledged to raise £750 to support the work of Scope; the UK’s leading charity that works with disabled people of all ages and their families across England and Wales and the Royal Parks Foundation, the charity that helps keep 5,000 acres of London’s green space in great shape for everyone to enjoy.

The Royal Parks Foundation is looking for Park lovers to support these intrepid runners in this challenge – there will be cheerpoints by Richmond Park (35km) and Bushy Park (45km) where we are hoping Park-loving volunteers could make some noise and hand out water to keep the runners going. We are also hoping that some supporters can make their way to the finish line in Bushy Park to celebrate the runners’ achievements and give out some medals.

In return for some time and enthusiasm on Sunday 7 October the organisers will provide a full briefing, T-shirt and food to volunteers. To get involved please email volunteers@limelightsports.com and we’ll be in touch.

For more information please visit www.royalparksultra.com

Olympics Photo Competition Winners

Olympics Photo Competition Winners

Peleton by Stephen Darlington

The winners of the FBHP Olympics and the Parks photo competition are:

1st: Peleton by Stephen Darlington

2nd: Olympic Flags by Cheryl Meek

3rd: Time Trial Excitement by Lewis Lloyd

The competition attracted a record number of entrants and some fantastic pictures that captured different aspects of our summer of Olympic excitement.

Click here to view them all.

Christmas cards and gifts

Christmas cards and gifts

FBHP Merchandise

In addition to new Christmas cards and Calendar for 2013, a range of Royal Parks books is now available for sale at the Information Point.

They are all at extremely advantageous prices and will make great Xmas presents. The Friends’ Christmas Cards and Calendar all feature photographs taken in Home Park or Bushy Park and are a wonderful opportunity to share the beauty of these lovely places with your friends and family.

Christmas cards: 5 for £3

Calendar: £5

Royal Parks books £1 , £2, £5

The Information Point is located at the Pheasantry Welcome Centre in the Woodland Gardens of Bushy Park. Follow this link for a map. The Information Point is open, staffed by volunteers, from 11am to 3pm on weekends.

"Autumn" Photo Competition

The new photo competition is on the subject of Autumn in the parks. You may take as your subject anything that captures the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” as we experience it here in Bushy or Home Park. The judges generally favour pictures that are recognisably taken in the parks.

The closing date for entries is 8th January 2013. For full details on how to enter please click here

For some inspiration, take a look at some of the best entries to previous competitions in our Photo Galleries – click here for the link.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up to our free email news service (see the panel to the left) to make sure you’re among the first to hear the results as well as the launch of new competitions.

2013 Calendar Hall of Fame

Many thanks to the Friends whose photographic works grace the 2013 edition of the FBHP Calendar:

  • Charlotte Williams
  • Pieter Morpurgo
  • Leslie Hunter
  • Chris Dobson
  • Tony Duckett
  • Valerie Purcell
  • Ian Andrews
  • Ruth Knight
  • Rosemary MacColl
  • Stephen Darlington

The Calendar is now on sale at the Information Point at the Pheasantry Centre in Bushy Park. The Information Point is manned from 11am to 3pm on weekends and bank holidays.

It’s never to late to start thinking about the next calendar please do submit your photos throughout the year to Jane Cliff at jane.cliff@fbhp.org.uk

Planting Primroses

Planting Primroses

Planting primroses in the Woodland Garden

On a crisp, sparkling November day a group of enthusiastic volunteers, all Friends of Bushy Park, met up at The Pheasantry, gardening gloves in hand, in anticipation of the task ahead – planting out primroses on the Woodland Gardens. Chattering away we all set off under the leadership of Chris Nickerson, responsible for the planting in the park, and made our way to the giant Gunnera glade in the further Woodland Garden, where multiple pots of primroses covered the bank waiting to be planted out. Collecting our implements from a wheelbarrow we set to work with gusto!

As we had had quite a bit of rain that week the ground was relatively soft and easy to dig, unlike the previous year where we needed a pickaxe to plant out all the daffodil and narcissi bulbs in Birch glade!

Happily immersed in our task, with a good deal of friendly banter going on, not to mention the odd interruption from amateur photographers taking pictures of the industrious planters at work for the “Friends’ magazine, we accomplished our task with ease in surprisingly quick time – “ many hands make light work” was the old saying that sprung to mind! And, of course, the pleasant weather made a difference, too.

Flushed with pleasure, we finished off with a group photograph and then retraced our steps back to The Pheasantry feeling very satisfied with our couple of hours work, and looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labours early the next year!

Design Our 2013 Poster

Design Our 2013 Poster

The FBHP 2012 poster

Calling all designers and artists: Get creative and design a new poster for the Friends to help with our publicity.

Love the parks? We invite you to design a new poster for the Friends which tells people about the work that we do, shares details of our website, events and contacts and, hopefully encourages new Friends to join.

Entries should be A4 size (to fit noticeboards).

You can submit them in an electronic format (e.g. Photoshop, Powerpoint, JPEG). If you prefer to design on paper, then you can scan your drawing or take a photo of it (if it does your design justice!).

Alternatively you can submit your drawing on paper.

Please send all electronic entries (including scans or photos)to carol@dtew.co.uk.

Entries on paper can be sent to:
Annie Murray
86 Connaught Road
TW11 0PX

If you have any questions about the competition please email chairman@fbhp.org.uk

Closing date for entries is 31st January 2013.

Pippa Hyde receives award

Pippa Hyde receives award

Pippa Hyde with John Brinkely, Russell Mander and Linda Lennon

We are delighted to announce that at the Royal Parks Guild Awards held in Regents Park on 10th December Pippa Hyde won the Wildlife Conservation Award for her outstanding contribution to Bushy Park:

The Wildlife Conservation Award 2012 was sponsored by The Deer Study & Resource Centre with support from Robert Holmes, Estate Agents.

The recipient was Pippa Hyde, in recognition of her outstanding and dedicated contribution to the conservation of wildlife in London’s Royal Parks, particularly Bushy Park.

Commendation: “Pippa’s commitment to Bushy Park as a volunteer, dedicated to protecting this special place, shines through not only as Chair of the Bushy Park Wildlife Group for many years but she has been on the Friends of Bushy Park committee since its formation in 1990 and was Vice Chair from 1997-2003”.

The Award presented by John Brinkley and Russell Mander, Trustees of The Deer Study & Resource Centre.

A Message from Linda Lennon

A Message from Linda Lennon

Linda Lennon, CEO of Royal Parks Agency

Thanks to Linda Lennon, Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency who contributed this article to the FBHP Newsletter and website.

My love affair with The Royal Parks began as a small child in the late 60s/early 70s when after a morning’s fishing at Sunbury, my dad used to take me into Bushy Park. Here we would look for woodpeckers, beetles and deer in that order. Whenever American or Canadian cousins came to visit we would visit Bushy or neighbouring Richmond for picnics under the broad leafed trees. They are amongst my most cherished memories and helped instil in me a love of wildlife at all levels. Even to this day, when I am abroad in Mediterranean climes, I will scour swimming pools at night and fish out hapless moths and bugs who have been attracted to the night time lights. Gerald Durrell was my favourite author and I always used to hope to see an exotic Colobus monkey swinging gracefully through the trees, but to no avail.

As a result, I have developed what can best be described as a passion for wildlife and conservation. So the honour of being the CEO of The Royal Parks is really the icing on the cake. It is an amazing job and one in which I am surrounded by passionate and committed people who form part of The Royal Parks team or are involved in Friends Groups and other partnership activities. For example, one day I may be discussing habitats with the RSPB and what can be done to encourage dwindling species and on another I might be talking about the health of our trees or water quality. These issues and so many more, go right to the heart of one of our two core objectives: to conserve and enhance the natural and built environments , historic landscapes and the biodiversity of the Royal Parks for future generations . I know some people don’t understand, but finding a new species of gnat at Bushy is an amazing success story in my eyes.

Another success story this year has been The Royal Parks’ involvement in the highly successful Diamond Jubilee celebrations and hosting of 11 Olympic and Paralympic events. The latter saw us shortlisted down to the final four of more than 120 applicants for an Olympic Team award and although we didn’t win, I was so very, very proud of all that had been achieved. Who can forget the wonderful images of cyclists, triathletes, marathon runners and even race walkers, going through our parks or the equestrian events at Greenwich? I am also very grateful to the numbers of Friends and volunteers who turned out to help protect our parks during these events, helping with stewarding, protecting sensitive areas and giving out information.

Our other core objective is: to deliver better value for money and explore commercial activities, as due to a diminishing grant, The Royal Parks needs to raise income itself, to help protect and conserve the parks. This is in itself is a huge challenge and we are constantly on the look-out for new ideas to generate income in a way which will still enable us to achieve balance. Currently we welcome some 40 million visitors a year to our parks –some are attracted by the wildlife; others to sporting events or concerts and some take part in fun runs or organised walks or commute through on cycles, horses and by foot. Some with their dogs are regular users; others come to keep fit and still more come just to walk or sit and admire what nature has to offer. Catering for such a diverse range of needs – and I have only mentioned a few – is a real challenge, as is building on those visits to generate income. Licences for filming and fishing; fees for events ; rentals for lodges and concessions such as cafés and boats; and working with our charity The Royal Parks Foundation, all help to bridge that funding gap.

All in all, it makes for an incredibly diverse and challenging job and I would like to conclude just by thanking the staff and Friends of Bushy Park for all their support and commitment

Message from Linda Lennon

Message from Linda Lennon

Linda Lennon, CEO of Royal Parks Agency

Linda Lennon, Chief Executive of the Royal Parks agency writes about how her love of wildlife grew from her childhood visits to Bushy Park and explains how she aims to balance the different objectives of the Agency.

Click here to read the full article.

Hampton Court Model Yacht Club

Hampton Court Model Yacht Club

Model yachting has taken place on the Rick Pond since 1897. Hampton Court Model Yacht Club is one of the largest and most active clubs in the UK and the only club affiliated to the Model Yachting Association in the SW London area. We host events at local, district and national levels and generate high levels of interest within the sport. While most yachts are now radio controlled, our club is one of six left in the entire country to use traditional vane or free sailing yachts as would have been seen early in the 20th century

The Club has an enthusiastic membership and sailing (which can take place up to 3 times per week throughout the year) promotes friendly and competitive racing. We are normally present from about 10am on Wednesdays, Sundays and most Saturdays. It is very rare for a model yacht club to have use of its own premises but the Club has its own clubhouse and car park situated on land provided by Historic Royal Palaces near to the Rick Pond.

There are three different types of membership—Full, Associate & Junior.
Currently, Club membership totals 69 and is growing. The Club’s activities encourage creative talent and the development of real skills and we provide training in an expanding national and world-wide sport. A substantial proportion of members are senior citizens for whom the sport provides an interesting and stimulating activity involving outdoor exercise as well as the opportunity for developing modelling and sailing skills. Membership fees are very modest and beginners are mentored and made to feel very welcome.

In 2005, with the full support and agreement of Historic Royal Palaces, the Club installed ultrasonic equipment in the Rick Pond which was done to contain the incidence of “blanket weed” and other algae in the lake during the summer months (prior to that time the lake was treated annually by Historic Royal Palaces with chemicals now banned under EU regulations). To improve the situation still further, additional ultrasonic equipment was installed by the Club in 2010.

Again, with the full support and agreement of Historic Royal Palaces, the Club also arranged in 2010 for the restoration of the part of the lake and the banks nearest the golf club in order to improve traditional vane sailing events and prevent further erosion of the banks at that end of the lake.

In order to remain viable the Club must have use of a suitable water to sail on which is as free of weed likely to foul the keel of a yacht and for various reasons the work necessary to deal with weed in the Rick Pond has now largely fallen to the Club membership to carry out. Members regularly “harvest” weed from the lake during the spring and summer months in order to enable sailing to take place as often as possible during those periods – any assistance in this respect would be most welcome.

For more information about us, visit our website www.hamptoncourt-myc.org.uk or contact the Club Secretary, Laurie Bower, on 020 8399 3701 – better still, come and chat to us at the Club on a sailing day.

Planting 1,000 bulbs in Bushy Park

Planting 1,000 bulbs in Bushy Park

The Bulb Planting Brigade

Annie Murrary writes: We were successful in our application for 1,000 free bulbs donated by Taylors Bulbs of Holbeach, through the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association. We were given 500 snowdrops and 500 narcissi to plant in Bushy Park.

It only remained to plant them. The first date was abandoned due to rock hard conditions but luckily today it was cold but wet.

We planted 750 narcissi and 250 snowdrops in Birch Glade.

Many hands make light work and the mission was accomplished with relative ease.

A big thank you to all who turned up to help.

We just hope the squirrels weren’t watching!

FBHP Appeals

FBHP Appeals

A tree crate

Annie Murray, Chair of the FBHP, writes: I am delighted to report that through as a result of your generosity we have collected £2200 for our two appeals in 2012.

The intention is to split this amount equally between Stud Farm Nursery and the Water meadows project both in Home Park.

We will learn more about how the monies will be spent in due course but it is proposed that Stud Nursery will purchase a work bench and other tools, The Water Meadows project run by Thames Landscape Strategy are looking to erect an interpretation board.

For 2013 we plan to create two funds namely:

- A Fund for new or replacement planting in Bushy and Home Parks, and

- a Fund to support Refurbishment in the Parks

The projects would not fall into the category of regular park maintenance and more specifically, this provision would be for items that the Royal Parks would not be able to fund from their annual budget.

For example, we are faced with the wholesale removal of Rhododendron Ponticum in the Woodland Gardens. The space this will create will require a significant increase in planting, so the fund could be used for replanting the area between Ash Walk Gate and Birch Glade. This would be a mixture of ornamental planting along the stream sides together with shelter belts containing a mainly native mixture of trees and shrubs with a significant evergreen content.

With regard to refurbishment, there is currently a real need for new tree crates particularly in Lime Avenue. It has been proposed that metal crates would be more durable and thus cost effective in the long term. After agreeing a suitable design, the replacement would commence next winter. The installation of these new crates in strategic locations on the main avenues will be an excellent way of promoting the need to protect our trees.

There will be more details provided at the AGM and via this website.

FBHP Support for Pheasantry Centre Redevelopment

FBHP Support for Pheasantry Centre Redevelopment

Plans to redevelop the Pheasantry Centre

Rosemary MacColl, Vice Chair of the FBHP, writes: As far as the redevelopment plan of the Pheasantry Welcome Centre is concerned, subject to ECSI obtaining planning permission which is due at the end of December, they are looking to commence the works on 7th January.

Click here to read about ECSI’s plans for the Pheasantry Centre.

The FBHP committee is in full support of these plans as we feel that the finished building and additional improvements to the picnic area, will result in a considerably more enjoyable space for visitors without encroaching further into the Woodland Gardens.

The Information Point will be situated at the front of the building when approached from the car park so it will be the first thing that visitors see as they arrive. We will have our own space with a front window which will be covered by a new roof, and we will also have dedicated outside space to the side, where the bike park is currently, so when the weather is nice, we can put out tables and chairs. The Information Point will be equipped with new furniture which will be designed to make it a good space for us to work in and, I trust, attractive to visitors.

Redevelopment of the Pheasantry Centre

Redevelopment of the Pheasantry Centre

Plans for the redeveloped Pheasantry Centre

ECSI, the contractor which operates the cafe in the Pheasantry Centre, is planning to redevelop the Centre. Here they explain more about their plans:

Since the opening of the Pheasantry Welcome Centre three years ago the success of the café has exceeded the most optimistic expectations. Early this year The Royal Parks tendered the contact for the catering provision at the Pheasantry Café in Bushy Park, and Roehampton Gate Café in Richmond Park. ECSI are very proud to announce that we have been awarded a seven year contact to continue providing the catering service at these two locations along with the mobile catering units in both parks.

The re-tendering process has allowed ECSI to go back to the drawing board and design the café to best suit the customers’ needs and at the same time solve layout issues. Our focus was to make full use of underused areas such as the community room and other dead void spaces and redevelop the cafe based on a multiple-service points design which would expand the centres capacity to meet the diverse expectations of the multi-faceted customer profile paying particular regard for speed of service, production, quality of food, and customer comfort.

Our architect was set the challenge to transform the Pheasantry Welcome Centre in to a truly outstanding piece of architecture that blends seamlessly into its surroundings whilst significantly enhancing its immediate sitting in the woodlands.

When approaching the Welcome Centre from the car park visitors are now greeted by the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks information point. A new roof is being created to provide cover for visitors whilst seeking information from the front window, to the side (currently the Bike Park) double doors will open out on to a designated area allowing visitors to access information about Bushy Park without having to enter the café.

In the next newly created aperture (currently a void space) a kiosk will be built, serving out into the picnic area and internally into the family room, creating two new service points to take the pressure of the main café at peak times. The kiosk will be serving barista style coffee, cakes, freshly made sandwiches and delicious ice cream. Three pagodas are being created over the picnic benches to provide additional external covered seating.

The main entrance has moved and customers now enter directly into the community and family room. This space has been designed with children in mind with a black board and grass look and textured vinyl floor.

The main café will be a light and welcoming space, the counter has changed location and is now on the back wall, pulling customer to the back of the café (no longer queuing out the door). The new menu is designed with a family appeal, offering stoned baked pizza, fresh cakes and sandwiches, and a seasonal dish of the day.

As well as reconfiguring the inside of the welcome centre a small extension to the rear is being built to accommodate the café back of house facilities. The front of the building, looking out over the woodland gardens is also being extended slightly to provide increased internal seating. Finished off with beautiful box hedging, the Welcome Centre will now sit perfectly in the landscape.

Works are due to start the early January 2013 with the aim of being completed early march open in time for Easter half term. During this time a mobile coffee kiosk will be on site providing a limited menu.

Article by ECSI

Relocation of Crocodile Gate

The Royal Parks Agency have informed us that Crocodile Gate in Bushy Park is being relocated to a position further down the fence line.

The large veteran Oak tree close to the present gate is becoming less stable with age and relocating the gate will take pressure off the tree and keep people a safe distance away.

Veteran trees are a valuable part of the history of Bushy Park and home to a variety of birds, other animals, insects and fungi.

If you would like further information, please contact the Park Office on 0300 061 2250.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Ray Allen

Lifetime Achievement Award for Ray Allen

Ray Allen receives his award from Ashley Stephenson LVO and Linda Lennon

At the Royal Parks Guild Awards held in Regents Park on 10th December, Ray Allen was honoured for his life’s work in Bushy Park.

Commendation: “Ray started work with The Royal Parks in 1957 having first successfully completed an apprenticeship at the RHS Gardens , Wisley. He has worked in several of the Royal Parks over the years but he will be most remembered for his work at Bushy Park, where he remains today as part of the Fountains team. As well as being a most skilled and expert gardener, his knowledge of Bushy Park and its history is legendary, often said to be the unofficial custodian of the Park”.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented by Linda Lennon CBE, CEO for The Royal Parks and Ashley Stephenson LVO, former Bailiff of The Royal Parks.

New Lawnmower for Stud Farm Nursery

New Lawnmower for Stud Farm Nursery

Gary Gates and Louise Monks, Stud Farm Nursery

On 18th December 2012. members of the Friends’ committee were delighted to hand over a new lawn mower to the Stud Farm Nursery. The presentation was received by clients Gary Gates and Louise Monks along with Jean Brooks and Jeremy, manager of the site

The generosity of the Friends’ 2012 Appeal enabled the nursery to purchase a new petrol driven, state of the art, lawn mower.

There is a plan is to create an informal garden for users to learn more general gardening skills.

We look forward to holding our summer party at the nursery in July.

Volunteer Marketing & Events Co-Ordinator

A new opportunity has arisen for a creative marketeer to manage the Friends marketing and events activities. The aim is to increase our presence at local events and widen our appeal within the local community via the media and use of network relationships. You will need to be familiar with social media such as Twitter and Facebook and have, perhaps, a marketing or PR background.

If this would be of interest, please contact Annie Murray, email: chairman@fbhp.org.uk or telephone: 020 8287 2748, for further details.

Important Notice: AGM Venue

Please note that the venue for the February AGM is Elleray Hall and not the St John Ambulance Hall as mistakenly stated in the Newsletter. Also please note that the talk by Simon Richards will start at 7.30pm and will be followed by the AGM. Click for full details.

Colin Pain

Colin Pain

Colin Pain at Chestnut Sunday 2007

It is with great regret that The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks have learnt of the death on Thursday 24th January of one of our founding members, Colin Pain. He stayed on our committee until about ten years ago.

He remained in close contact with us, regularly attending talks and our other events. He was one of our volunteers at the Information Point at the Pheasantry Welcome Centre.

Apart from his work with us and the Hampton Wick Association, he was the main driver of restarting the Chestnut Sunday celebrations. He worked every year to help coordinate the event with the Royal Parks, and for those who didn’t know him, he was the man who on every Chestnut Sunday was seen patrolling the park in a top hat.

The many thousands of visitors over the last few years have every reason to be grateful to Colin for his efforts and enthusiasm for keeping the event going.

He will be sadly missed by all his friends and particularly by The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks for whom he did so much. He was a real community man who worked tirelessly for our area.

Bushy Park Playground Toilets Re-opened

We are informed that the toilets at Bushy Park Playground have been re-opened following the repair works made necessary by yet another bout of vandalism.

The parks agency tell us that new steel doors are to be fitted in an effort to prevent further attacks by vandals.

Refreshment kiosks open at The Pheasantry

While The Pheasantry Centre in Bushy Park is closed for re-development, kiosks are operating outside offering a range of drinks and light refreshments.

It is hoped that The Pheasantry will re-open in mid-April.

Field Studies Council Half-Term Holiday Club

Holiday Club with FSC London Nature Detectives

If you fancy trying out your Sherlock Holmes detective
skills, join us for clues, creatures and catkins.

Each challenge yields a clue which will lead you to unravel the mystery! Work together to solve the puzzle
to claim the reward.

Tasks: – Scavenger hunt – Tree detective challenge – Pond dipping

Date: 21 February 2013
Where: The Stockyard Education Centre, Bushy Park.
Time: 10.30am – 2.30pm (children will need to bring a packed lunch)

Age: 8-11 year olds (children under the age of 8 are not allowed on this all day activity)

Cost: £10 per child

NB there is no car parking available in the Stockyard for visitors, please make alternative arrangements.

Limited availability – To book contact:
FSC London
Tel: 020 3130 0469

Annual Report from Annie Murray

On reviewing the events of 2012 it struck me as what an incredible and memorable year we have all witnessed and gosh, didn’t it pass quickly.

The key events for the Friends were firstly, the installation of the Finials in The Historic Water Gardens the results of which I’m sure you will agree is impressive. Click here to read more.

The Queens Jubilee celebrations reached Richmond Park and I was privileged to be introduced to Princes Alexandra who showed a great deal of interest in Bushy and wishes to make a return visit. The downside was the weather, atrocious, wet and windy, negating the possibility of dressing up for the occasion. Boots, raincoats and brollies were the order of the day. I did so admire the Queen and Prince Philip who struggled through the mud and maintained a gracious attitude throughout the proceedings. Click here to read more.

Onto to the Olympics where we welcomed the flame and of course the cycling events. Rosemary recruited over 40 volunteers to help steward the crowds and everything passed without incident. Click here to see the Olympics in the Parks photo competition.

We had a wonderful programme of walks and talks both entertaining and educational and well attended. The Bat walk in September was particularly successful when we attracted over 100 adults and children into Bushy. Click here for our 2013 programme of Walks and Talks.

There were a number of changes to report on, in March we welcomed a new CEO for the Royal Parks, Linda Lennon, and she claims to have a great love of Bushy so let’s hope this manifests itself in future plans for the park.

We also are delighted to have a new patron, Cleve West, who is a local, as well as passionate about the parks and conservation.

The Field Studies Council took over the management of the education facility at the Stockyard; we look forward to working with them to develop more educational aspects to what we do.

We were pleased to see that two locals were recognised by the Royal Parks Guild in their annual honours; Pippa Hyde won the Wildlife Conservation Award and Ray Allen the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long service. Well done and very well deserved.

Bushy was in the news for all the wrong reasons when the media decided we had a rogue deer causing havoc, more positively it gave us the opportunity to educate the public about these wild animals.

Members have been busy in the Parks, planting, stewarding, spotting Oak Processionary Moth nests and manning the Information Point. We hope to extend our efforts next year and look forward to a relaunch at the Pheasantry, following its refurbishment, where we will have a new space dedicated to ourselves.

As you all know we are actively involved in all planning applications that might impinge upon the environs of the parks. And we encourage members to support us in this endeavour.

Early intervention prevented significant damage to Bushy by contractors building the new cricket clubhouse at Hampton Hill. We are the eyes and ears of the parks and we are always anxious to hear about anything happening that you feel is having a negative impact upon the parklands.

Through your generosity we raised over £2500 last year through our appeals. This will be equally divided between Stud Nursery and Thames Landscape Strategy.
Stud Farm will be purchasing a new table and benches and woodworking tools. You will also be aware that we purchased a new lawn mower for them earlier in the year.

Working with TLS we have agreed to fund the construction of a bird hide in the Water Meadows which will overlook the reed beds. Access to this will be limited to prearranged groups to protect the wildlife, we hope to organise two trips a year for the Friends, spring and autumn so look out for details.
Other projects that you have funded include the new reeds in the Water Gardens which are due to be installed in March; this forms part of the ongoing restoration of these unique historic gardens.

In terms of finances our position now is that subscriptions equal expenditure, so we may have to consider raising our subscriptions or alternatively charging non members for events. Any thoughts you have on this on would be most appreciated. Please do drop me a line at chairman@fbhp.org.uk.

Finally, I would like thank all the trustees and members of the committee for their work and enthusiasm throughout the year, There are so many people deserving of special thanks that we could be here all night, but in particular thanks goes to Pieter who has been so supportive and Jane Cliff who has dedicated endless hours to not only walks and talks but to developing our merchandise. A special thank you to Gillian O for all the hours spent filing and scanning documents, and also to Simon Richards who has been receptive and generous in his dealings with us. Carol and Mark continue to be the unsung heroes managing our wonderful website.

That concludes the annual report.

The committee

It was announced long serving member of the Friends Tom Blaney would be standing down. Tom became Chairman in 2004 and acting Treasurer in 2006. On stepping down as Chair in 2007 he has continued in his Treasurer’s role. We owe Tom an enormous debt of gratitude for his dedication and hard work, especially in respect of his major achievement in obtaining charitable status for the Friends. His diligence has ensured that our finances are in good shape. He was presented with a holly, but no ordinary holly bush but taken as a cutting from the last remaining holly tree in the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace prior to its restoration in 1995.

Annie Murray was voted in as Chair for a further year as were the other existing committee members.

John Elrick takes on the role of Treasurer and Trustee and was welcomed to the committee. John worked latterly for the National Audit Office and has recently retired and is really keen to be get involved with park.

It was announced that Carol Ruddock was happy to be nominated again as our auditor, this was agreed.


The following motion was put to members and agreed upon. Both of these historic appeals monies being no longer viable.

‘That the monies collected for the 2000 Appeal (£920 for Drinking Fountain refurbishment) and the 2006 Appeal (£1193 for the Admiralty monument) be transferred to supplement the £1666.93 collected in 2006 for interpretation boards in the area around the Heron Pond in Bushy Park.’

The purpose of these boards is to educate visitors about the environment they find themselves in, and we are hoping to have these in place in the spring.

Looking forward to the 2013 Appeal Annie announced that after consultation with park management it has been decided that the creation of two funds would be practical, namely a fund that would benefit planting and one that would focus upon refurbishment. This would allow some flexibility around supporting the most important needs in the park which RP and Historic Palaces are unable to fund through their own budgets.
For example we are considering funding metal tree crates in strategic locations on the main avenues to protect trees.

Replanting in the Woodland Gardens remains a priority, and with our help we can ensure that these spaces retain their ambiance.

FBHP will ensure that everyone is kept informed of our plans on a regular basis via the website, the email news service and the newsletter.

Annie Murray, Chair of the FBHP
22 February 2013

Metal Reeds for the Water Gardens

Metal Reeds for the Water Gardens

Metal Reeds for the Water Gardens

The full restoration of the Water Gardens takes a step closer to being completed when the metal reeds are installed on Monday 4th March.

The picture shows the first section completed a couple of weeks ago. There will be four sections, two on either side of the cascade. They will sit on the brick pavement chained together below the water line. The blue rope shows where the water line will be, so that none of the supporting structure will be seen.

All members are welcome to join us at 11.00 to watch them being installed. Access will be through the north gate (Hampton Hill side) only.

We are discussing the final stage of the restoration which will be the treatment to the walls to make them look as they appeared in the 18th century. The plan is dependent on having sufficient funds, but watch this space.

For more information on the Water Gardens and their restoration, follow this link to the website.

Friends' Mistletoe Walk 2013

The first walk of 2013 proved as popular as ever with four dozen Friends of Bushy and Home Parks meeting up at the Lion Gate. And , as luck would have it, we brought the good weather with us, as it was sunny and reasonably mild!

David Iveson ably led us through the grounds of Hampton Court, pointing out the finest specimens of mistletoe on their various host trees, and giving us the background to this odd but cherished British institution.

It is now thought the bird species of Blackcaps are responsible for dispersing the mistletoe seeds on their host trees.

Crossing over into Bushy Park we inspected more varieties of mistletoe decorated trees as well as a few of the interesting veteran trees, those over one hundred years old, to be found in the park, and at this point, Nicholas Garbutt, a specialist arborealist from the Royal Parks, accompanying us, gave us an informative talk on these wonderful old trees.

Then winding our way back to Hampton Court Green we found more examples of all these interesting trees, finally finishing up a fascinating two hour ramble back in Hampton Court gardens where, before we dispersed, Gillian Jonusas, an Arboriculturist asked for our help during June and July in monitoring the dreaded Oak Processionary Moth when it is at its most active and those willing to help were asked to sign up.

Reeds Installed in the Water Gardens

Reeds Installed in the Water Gardens

The metal reeds in place in the Water Gardens

The full restoration of the Water Gardens took another step towards its completion this month, when the metal reeds were installed. They have been made by Ian Gill, a sculptor who exhibits at the Hampton Court Flower Show. Like the finials they are made of mild galvanised steel ensuring their long life. They follow the design shown in 18th century paintings and drawings made around the time when Lord Halifax installed the Water Gardens, and the discovery of metal fragments found during the restoration.

The final stage of the restoration which was initiated by the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks in the 1990s will be the treatment of the arches and walls. The main structure was done in 2008 with the help of a National Heritage Lottery Grant. The finials and the reeds have been provided through the generous donations of members of FBHP.

Click here for more information about the Water Gardens and the restoration project.

Geoffrey Price

Geoffrey Price

Geoff Price with fellow FBHP volunteers

Members will be saddened to hear of the recent death of Geoff Price. Geoff had been a staunch supporter of the Friends for many years before joining the committee and taking a more active role. When the task of organising the distribution of newsletters fell vacant Geoff stepped in and ensured that this continued efficiently and smoothly.

Members attending meetings and the AGM will remember Geoff’s smiling friendly face dispensing refreshments. This again was managed skilfully with Geoff sourcing the best bargains to be enjoyed by us all.

Geoff lived and worked in the Teddington and Hampton Wick area for many years as a teacher. These skills he brought to the Trailblazers scheme at the Stockyard in Bushy Park. Here along with other volunteers he was able to introduce young people to natural history in a classroom and open air environment.

He was a true friend to the Society. If Geoff said he would take on a task he did it properly and thoroughly. He was kind, reliable and a consummate gentleman. We will miss him greatly.


Volunteer Update

Volunteer Update

FBHP Volunteers at Chestnut Sunday 2012

Rosemary MacColl, Vice-Chair and Volunteer Co-Ordinator of the FBHP, writes:

May I bring your attention to a couple of dates for your diaries where we will require your help:

Sunday 12th May, Chestnut Sunday,
Sunday 21st July, Friends Summer Party.

Chestnut Sunday Parade – we are invited to take part in the parade again this year, so it’s uniforms on and best foot forward! As usual, we will have our stand which will be situated where the marquees and activities are, and this will need staffing. Park management have also asked for our help with stewarding, which is an additional role for us. I’m not sure exactly what is required at this stage, but I expect it will be along the lines of our role at last summer’s Olympic cycling events.

The Summer Party will be held at Stud Farm in Home Park, which is a new venue for us. Stud Farm is a local, horticultural facility for adults with learning disabilities and, as I am sure you are aware, the Friends have donated some Appeal funds to them for badly needed tools and equipment so we are delighted that we are able to have our summer party there this year. The party will be open air, which presents several challenges (the weather notwithstanding), a significant one being that we will be doing our own catering this time. We will need your help with this so we are, therefore, seeking out the cake and biscuit makers amongst you! We will need such items as fairy cakes, flapjacks, muffins, biscuits, buns etc, of any shape, size or type, the more the merrier. However, we won’t have any refrigeration so, regrettably, fresh cream cakes are out.

We will also need help to prepare the site beforehand. Stud Farm is a working establishment but we anticipate that there will be tables and chairs to spruce up and most probably a general tidy up will be needed following the winter months. The greenhouses may need a sweep too so the work may take a couple of half days, depending on how many of us are available.

Then, of course, there’s the day itself. We will need help serving and clearing up (no washing up required, everything will be disposable!).

Both events are very important dates in the Friends’ calendar and I do hope you will want to take part so please do let me know if you can help and what you are able to offer. If you need further details or have any queries, please don’t hesitate to let me know. You can email me on rosemary.maccoll@fbhp.org.uk.

Thank you.

“Managing a Royal Park” by Simon Richards

“Managing  a Royal Park” by Simon Richards

Simon Richards, Parks Manager

22nd February 2013

Somehow we managed to arrange our Friends of Bushy and Home Parks AGM and talk by Simon Richards, the Park Manager of both Richmond and Bushy Parks, on one of the coldest nights of the winter; in spite of this we had an excellent turn out!

Simon’s talk was very interesting as he has had experience with all the Royal Parks. His job is very diverse, dealing with conservation, culture, media and sport, and was very involved with the Olympic cycling races in both Bushy and Richmond Parks.

Essentially though, they are deer parks of Fallow and Red Deer that have to be carefully monitored. Deer have been brought in from Windsor and Althorp to improve the herd.

Horticulture is still in the forefront in many of the parks, like St. James and Hyde Park, but in keeping with today’s more relaxed attitudes the planting has become less formal and there are opportunities to improve the bio-diversity by planting wild flowers.

Tree care is another aspect, paying special attention to the veteran trees, and keeping control of pests and diseases, i.e. Oak Processionary Moth, which is a particular problem at the moment.

There have been extensive heritage restoration projects, the Diana Fountain and the Water Gardens are the jewels of Bushy Park and well worth a visit.

Simon is obviously dedicated to the parks, especially the wildlife, and we are extremely lucky to have him looking after them on our behalf.

Sue Hill

Old photos needed

The Friends are appealing for photographic views of the Hampton Court Gate area (opposite Lion Gate).

We are keen to see early pictures of this area to establish whether there was ever a pedestrian entrance on the east side of the gate where the Lion Gate Hotel now stands. The site is for sale, probably for development, and FBHP want to have a pedestrian gate close to the Hampton Court Road pedestrian crossing. It can be dangerous to leave the park at that point, especially with pushchairs.

Please e-mail pictures to p.morpurgo@fbhp.org.uk

Discover Bushy Park on an FSC Course

Discover Bushy Park on an FSC Course

Children on an FSC course

The Field Studies Council (FSC) is working in partnership with The Royal Parks to provide education opportunities for all in Bushy Park. 2013 sees some exciting new courses and activities for individuals, families and schools taking place in the beautiful and wildlife-rich surroundings.

There is a fantastic range of opportunities on FSC natural history and art courses. From The Art of Botanical Illustration to a plethora of natural history courses, including Fungal Forays and Trees in the Park, to Freshwater Algae and Conservation and Management of Deer, there are courses to suit all from beginners to advanced.

A full list of courses can be seen on the FSC web site: http://www.field-studies-council.org/centres/london/lesiurelearning and include courses run in Greenwich Park and The Regent’s Park alongside those in Bushy Park.

Holiday Club - Easter 2013

Join in the Easter fun in Bushy Park

Easter Orienteering Eggtravaganza
Date: 3 April 2013
Cost: £15 per family
Drop in any time between 11am – 2pm*

We challenge you to use maps, clues and a compass to orienteer your way around this beautiful enclosed nature area. If you are a keen explorer or just enjoy a challenge as a family, try to work together to navigate and solve clues to win an Easter themed prize.

Moths and Mammals
Date: 12 April 2013
Cost: £15 per family
Time: 9.30am – 11am*

Would you like to meet some of Bushy Park’s resident moths and mammals? Why not meet us in the morning to help us check our humane traps. Learn how to identify different species of small mammal and moths, and discover more about their habitats and adaptations.

Where: The Stockyard Education Centre, Bushy Park.
NB there is no car parking available in the Stockyard for visitors, please make alternative arrangements. *There is limited availability, places must be booked in advance.
A ‘Family’ is up to 2 Parents/Guardians with up to 3 children

To book contact:
FSC London
Tel: 020 3130 0469

Safer access into Bushy Park

Safer access into Bushy Park

New Zebra Crossing at Church Grove Gate

A new zebra crossing has been installed outside Bushy Park’s Church Grove Gate in Hampton Wick.

The crossing creates safe access to the Park from St John’s Church which has seen a huge growth in its congregation since re-opening in 2010 with almost 100 children at the church every Sunday. The area is also busy with young people throughout the week with the popular skate park and community cafe at King’s Field and the new Friday youth club at the Warehouse behind St John’s.

Celebrity Paralysed Marathon Walker to join Chestnut Sunday Procession.

Local charity – the Horse Rangers Association – is proud to host the celebrity paralysed London Marathon walker Claire Lomas.

Claire Lomas will head the cycle part of the procession along Chestnut Avenue escorted by Horse Rangers Association children and our mascot Shetland pony.

Following the procession Claire will take her cycle to the Horse Rangers stand to put it on view to the public.

Claire will then go to the Main Stage at 1.30pm to give a short talk and fund-raise for Spinal Research and the Nicholls Foundation. She will be accompanied by Horse Rangers members.

Claire will be doing the equivalent of a marathon a day on a hand bike as part of her challenge to cycle 400 miles around the UK starting on 22nd April. She arrives at Bushy Park for Chestnut Sunday!

Fallow Deer in Home Park

Fallow Deer in Home Park

Fallow Deer sparring in Home Park (photo by Annie Murray)

A walk on Saturday March 23rd. 2013 led by John Lock

A few intrepid Friends braved the weather and were rewarded by seeing many deer and learning so much about Fallow deer and how they differ from their Red cousins.

Fallow deer

We also saw evidence of last year’s rut where the deer dig pits in the ground. Some gentle sparring was taking place as we headed towards the golf course – Fallow antlers will not be lost until after Easter.

We joined more deer dodging golf balls as we crossed the course on the way back, pausing to examine some of the amazing antlers John had secreted in his rucksack.

A hot drink at the Tiltyard café helped to restore circulation while we remembered the end of last year’s Bushy Park perimeter walk in March and how hot we were and in need of a cold drink!

Fallow deer in Home Park by Annie Murray
Many thanks to John who went on to spend another couple of hours looking at the deer in Bushy Park.

Stepping on Out to produce FBHP cards & calendar

Stepping on Out to produce FBHP cards & calendar

Local charity Stepping on Out

The charity Stepping On Out now produce our range of cards and calendar.

‘Stepping on Out’ is a charity which produces hand made greetings cards by adults with learning disabilities. They aim to enable people with disabilities gain independence away from a college or day care environment.

Visitors are welceom at the Stepping on Out shop/studio where they make and sell cards at 7 The Causeway, Teddington TW11 0AH.


Professional dog walkers to be licensed

The Royal Parks have issued new regulations requiring that professional dog walkers and fitness operators purchase licenses and pay a car parking charge.

From 2nd April 2013 all professional dog walkers will require a license to operate in the Royal Parks and will be limited to walking four dogs per session.

Licensing ensures that:
• the parks and wildlife are protected
• access to and use of public open space is maintained for all visitors
• commercial dog walkers are complying with current health and safety and best industry practice for the safety and enjoyment of their dogs and staff
• all commercial dog walkers are fully insured and hold liability for participant’s safety
• commercial activities that are undertaken in the Royal Parks help contribute to the costs of the infrastructure

Licensed commercial dog walking businesses will be listed on the Royal Parks website. The police will be doing spot checks and anyone found to be in contravention of the regulations will be asked to leave the park.

Go to royalparks.org.uk/business/commercial-dog-walking-licences for more information and an application form or contact the Stockyard at Bushy Park on 020 8979 1586.

Richmond Council commented: Following a public consultation in 2006, dog control orders were introduced, requiring people to clean up after any dog in their charge, keep their dog on a lead in certain areas, and restricting access to a small number of sites within the borough. However due to the rise of complaints by members of the public regarding professional dog walkers acting irresponsibly by often walking up to 15 dogs at a time, residents are being consulted on Town Hall plans to extend existing dog control orders, in a bid to ensure that problems with irresponsible dog walkers can be tackled swiftly and effectively.

If the orders are introduced it would mean that dog walkers in the borough would be banned from taking more than four dogs onto any Council land – including parks and open spaces. This will have the effect of forcing more professional dog-walkers into Bushy and Home Parks (which are not council property) so the Royal Parks’ regulations are even more necessary.

Professional advice is that five or more dogs together creates a “pack mentality” which means they’re less likely to obey a human command so it is advised that a maximum of four dogs can be walked at any one time by a single person.

Deer at risk from KFC litter

Deer at risk from KFC litter

Photo by David Mason

We said it would happen which is why we campaigned against the planning application for a KFC to be located near a park entrance.

Let’s hope the deer had not just consumed the contents

Any further sightings of KFC detritus gratefully received

March 2013

A report from Simon Richards, Park Manager of Bushy Park

Project works
• ECSI building is under way. Fit out of Information area to be agreed. Temporary mobiles are coping for the time being. Toilet sewer link to be re-laid during building works.
• Replacement of temporary chestnut fencing in the Pheasantry car park with post and rail is under way.
• Other surfacing repairs at the threshold areas into the Pheasantry which hold large puddles when wet will be completed shortly. Area of Church Grove Passage to be re-laid.
• Consultants studies are under way looking at a long term management strategy for the avenues and also for the better management of the back of the Pheasantry.
• Prices have been received for the manufacture of metal tree guards these will be ordered shortly.

Landscape works
• Path maintenance upgrades in the Water gardens are under way.
• Extensive programme of winter tree work is mostly complete including a programme on the Veteran trees and a start has been made fencing some of these off as well as enclosing hawthorn scrub near Heron Pond.
• Rhododendron clearance in the Woodland Gardens is complete for this season. Plans are being drawn up for re-planting next winter once ground has been prepared.
• Dukes Head Passage initial clearance has been undertaken. Rusty railings will be removed at west end. Temporary fencing will protect the wide verge until permanent railings can be re-instated. Hedge laying will take place next winter.

Sports Clubs
• Hampton Hill CC nearing completion. Trackway to be removed this week with re-instatement to follow.
• Teddington Sports Club have planning consent for new clubhouse and are now fundraising
• NPL Sports Club are starting work on new changing rooms in the next couple of weeks.
• General issues around licenses, vehicles, floodlighting and de-cluttering are ongoing.

Heritage developments
• Water Gardens reeds have been installed and look great. Good local paper coverage and will look to see if we can get coverage in the specialist landscape press as well. Path maintenance is ongoing.
• Working with the Drinking Fountain Society to install horse trough near Teddington Gate.
• TRP have commissioned the artwork for the new interpretation boards. Comments received are being addressed and we expect the first draft before Easter. The hardware can then be ordered.

• Whistlestop is on the market for sale as a development site with planning consent. Will need to ensure that the new owner does not try to deviate from the consented scheme.
• Lion Gate Hotel. Need to ensure a mechanism is found which achieves pedestrian access on the east side of the gate.

• SSSI designation – still being pushed back as other more pressing issues take time within Natural England. Latest info is that this has been pushed back to April at the earliest.
• Planning under way for 2013 OPM season. Surveyor recruiting is ongoing.

• The Mayors cycling event – Ride London -on August 4th 2013 is going to pass between Kingston Bridge and Hampton Court Bridge. This would appear to cut off the entrance to the Park from Hampton Court. Assuming Hampton Court Gate will be closed to traffic all day.
• Chestnut Sunday planning well under way. Programme much as normal.

• TRP awaiting outcome of today,s budget, but likely that a further 2% cut will be made – equating to another £300k across the parks.
• We are awaiting the outcome of a bid for ongoing support post merger of Richmond and Bushy Park. Current transitional funding support runs out this summer and it is hoped that some posts can be put back into the structure on a permanent basis.

A reader writes...

A reader writes...

Midsummer Morn, by George Dunlop Leslie, 1906

Sue Griffin wrote to us recently:

“I saw this painting recently in the Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight and thought you might be interested. The gallery is wonderful and well worth a visit. The painting is entitled Midsummer Morn, Bushy Park and was painted in 1906 by George Dunlop Leslie

Many thanks Sue.

Pheasantry Centre to re-open

The Royal Parks Agency inform us that they expect the Pheasantry Centre to re-open on 22nd May.

We should emphasise that the Friends have no control over this (the cafe is operated as a concession for Royal Parks) – we are just passing along the latest information that we have.

For further information, please call the RPA office at the Stockyard on 020 8979 1586.

Chestnut Sunday 2013

Chestnut Sunday 2013

Photo: Annie Murray

Chestnut Sunday 2013 was a wonderful day for Bushy Park.

We were very lucky with the weather with the sun shining for most of the day.

From a Friends’ perspective we had a very successful day and were very busy signing up new members and answering many questions posed by the public. It is encouraging to see just how many people care about the park and the value what we do.

FBHP Volunteers in our Chestnut Sunday stand

Simon Richards, Park Manager, commented: “The Royal Parks were delighted to see so many people enjoying themselves in the park where a really diverse event was so well supported by different sections of the local community. The weather was kind and we estimate a crowd numbered in thousands were able to learn much about the Park. I particularly want to thank Bill Swan who organized the event and all of the Royal Parks staff and other stand holders who gave their time to be at Chestnut Sunday. We look forward to an even bigger and better event on 11th May 2014!”

Caution urged during deer-birthing season

The Royal Parks advises dog walkers and other visitors to act with caution as deer birthing season begins

The Royal Parks is recommending dog owners who walk their pets in Richmond and Bushy Parks to consider walking them outside the parks during the deer birthing season (May-July).

At this time of year the young are born and are hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass. This year the cold spring has delayed the emergence of the bracken and there is less shelter than normal for the young deer. Females and their young are very vulnerable and sensitive to disturbance at this time and the females can be very protective and aggressive.

It is not advisable to walk your dog in the parks during this time. If you choose to, at your own risk, please keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park where you are close to exit gates. If pursued by a deer, let go of the lead. The deer are less likely to charge if the dog runs away from them.

Visitors coming to the parks without their pets are still advised to keep at least 50m away from the deer, never getting in between two deer and never feeding or photographing the deer at close range.
Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond and Bushy Parks, said: “Deer have roamed freely in The Royal Parks since 1529 when the parks were Royal hunting grounds. The gentle grazing of the Red and Fallow deer continue to shape the landscape by maintaining the grasslands.

“Deer are wild animals though and can behave unpredictably. Observing their reactions and updating our advice to park visitors where necessary, is an important part of making sure everyone stays alert and safe, particularly during the birthing seasons and mating. We remind visitors to observe the notices displayed across both parks.”
More information about dogs and deer in the Royal Parks can be found on The Royal Parks website

To report an injury to a dog or a deer, please contact phone 0300 061 2250 or email bushy@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

Teddington in Flower 2nd June

Teddington in Flower takes place on Sunday 2nd June. A number of private gardens will be open to the public from 2pm to 6pm.

Full details are available from the Teddington Society – click to follow this link.

Entry is 50p and the Teddington Society is donating money from the proceeds to our FBHP Planting Fund.

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

News from the Arboriculturalist

News from the Arboriculturalist

Photo by Moya Meredith Smith

One of the challenges facing the park team during the summer months is the management of the non-native tree pest Oak Processionary Moth. Caterpillars of this moth can cause severe defoliation of oak trees and the toxic hairs on the older caterpillars can be a threat to human and animal health, causing skin rashes, eye irritations and sometimes breathing difficulties. The eggs hatch on oak trees in April and it is the task of a team of trained volunteer and staff surveyors to check the oaks in the park for the caterpillars and their nests between June and the end of July. These are then removed by specialist operatives in full protective gear and incinerated.

More than 20 enthusiastic volunteers, many from the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, join staff looking for the caterpillars which can be a tiring and neck-breaking but rewarding job. It has been doubly complicated this year by the late hatch date of the eggs and slow development of the caterpillars due to poor weather in April, May and early June.

This year, (in recognition of the fact that in 2012 there was an11-fold increase in the numbers of nests removed), the decision was taken to carry out early season spraying of previously heavily infested trees with a moth specific pesticide to supplement the nest removal programme.

On another note, look out for the Cladrastis sinensis, or Chinese Yellow-wood, west of Fisher’s Pond in the Waterhouse Woodland gardens in July. This unusual tree, which was introduced to the UK in 1901, has showy blush-white fragrant flowers and is one of the few trees that blossom in high summer.

Gillian Jonusas. Park Arboriculturist.

Yanks in the Park

Yanks in the Park

Photo by David Ivison

Walk on June 15th 2013 with Chris Hollingshead and Jane Cliff

Chris and I became fascinated by the thought that by 1944 Camp Griffiss in Bushy Park housed 4,000 US and British personnel and became Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), the centre for planning Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe during the Second World War.

We contacted Douglas Rowland at the Bushy Park archive held at the Stockyard and armed with lots of useful information, began exploring.

The walk started at Teddington Gate, locating 2 of the plaques marking corners of block A, then to the USAAF Memorial, back to SHAEF gate and finishing at the flagpole where we stood on the actual spot marking the office of General Eisenhower!

Chris had been contacted by someone who had identified the outline of a running track when looking at Google maps in “Satellite” mode. This would have been to the right of the flagpole when facing the Park wall.
There was also an airstrip along from Hampton Court gate and Douglas had provided amazing photos.
Additional huts were located along the side of Chestnut Avenue and we now think that 3 remain as scout huts in the area.

As we had hoped people on the walk had anecdotes including one man who had been awarded a prize at school by Air Marshall Tedder (deputy Supreme Commander) and another whose father had been Clerk of Works in the camp.

Douglas also provided us with a very informative handout which you can read by clicking here.

Jane Cliff

Information Point to re-open

At last we have confirmation that the Friends’ Information Point at the refurbished Pheasantry Centre in Bushy Park is to re-open on Saturday 27th July.

Friends' Summer Party 2013

Friends' Summer Party 2013

Photo by Colin Keates

On Sunday 21st July we welcomed more than 120 guests to the hidden gem that is the Stud Nursery in Home Park. We enjoyed wonderful weather (for a change!) and everyone was able to discover the delights of this site. Brian Short and Peter once again entertained us with their amazing repertoire of music.

The warm weather made us all appreciate the personal taxi service so very kindly provided by James the park warden who ferried people between the car park and the party.

The nursery was delighted that we sold £127.50 worth of plants. We will continue to support the work of the nursery which does such great work with adults with learning disabilities. In Autumn we are planning – with the generous support of the Friends – to help provide an orchard in the grounds.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this occasion so successful and helped raise funds for the Friends.

Click here to see a gallery of photos taken on the day by Colin Keates.

Information Point Re-Opens

Information Point Re-Opens

Photo by David Ivison

Following the extensive refurbishment works on the Pheasantry Centre, the Information Point is at last back in action.

Volunteer Friends staff the Information Point from 11am to 3pm on weekends and Bank Holidays. We provide information and advice to Park visitors and we also sell a range of greetings cards, books and other merchandise to raise funds for the Friends’ appeals.

The Friends at the Hampton Wick Festival

The Friends at the Hampton Wick Festival

Photo by Mary Kirkland

A contingent of FBHP Volunteers took part in the grand Parade at the Hampton Wick Festival on August 4th.

Hampton Wick’s High Street was closed as a result of the Prudential RideLondon cycling events, so our friends at the Hampton Wick Association decided to organise a Festival.

The highlight was the Grand Parade featuring vintage cars and military vehicles, Tudor figures, clowns and circus performers, a penny farthing and, memorably, a gorilla with a sidecar!

As well as taking part in the Parade, the FBHP also had a stand where we were able to hand out literature and sign up new members.

You can see a video by clicking on this link.

Photos of the day are also on the HWA website – please click here.

A Warm Welcome to the FBHP Website

A quick update for early autumn:

Deer in the parks – we can’t say this too often it seems, but even in the last week I have noticed a change in the demeanour of the deer; having been placid for the last few months the hormones are kicking in. Please do take care with dogs around the deer and encourage others to do so. My “boys” totally ignore them but I still put their leads on and keep my distance.

The leaves are already coming off a variety of trees. This is partly due to the drought conditions. Shedding leaves conserves the amount of water they use. The full extent of this year’s drought will not be apparent until spring / summer 2014. The browning seen in the Horse Chestnuts is as a result of a Leaf Miner whose larvae burrow between the leaf laminae causing premature death. Because next years buds are already formed, it does not impact on the long term survival of these trees.

A reminder that on 26th September Dr Tom Greeves will be giving us a talk on Exploring the Archaeology of Bushy Park 20 Years Ago at the usual venue St John Ambulance Hall, Park Road, Teddington. Come along for a drink and a chat from 7.15pm.

Royal Parks Foundation Ultra run takes place on Sunday 6th October, and finishes in Upper Lodge car park, Bushy Park. RPF are looking for people to help manage the event they will provide a full briefing, t-shirt and food for volunteers. Further information is in our news section. To get involved please email info@royalparksultra.com

And finally the committee works hard on behalf of its members but it is mindful that within the membership there will exist very different opinions and responses to situations that arise. In respect of planning applications we would always encourage individuals to express their own opinions, we will endeavour to make you aware of any planning applications that we think may be of interest.

Annie Murray, Chair, FBHP

Bushy Park Opening Hours 2014

The Royal Parks Agency has announced the opening hours for Bushy Park for the whole of 2014.

Click here to view the PDF.

Ham Hydro planning application

In January, Chas Warlow gave us a very interesting talk about the Ham Hydro project.

The planning application for the project is now with Richmond Council. You can follow this link to read the application and then to make a comment. Alternatively you can go to www.richmond.gov.uk/planning and search for application 11/3908/FUL

More details of the Ham Hydro scheme are online at www.hamhydro.org

TeddSoc 40th Anniversary

The Teddington Society celebrates its 40th Anniversary with a party at the Landmark Centre on Saturday 5th October.

Start time is 7.30pm, end time is 11pm

Tickets are available from Sally Howland on 020 8977 9404 or email sally.howland@btinternet.com

Royal Parks Foundation Ultra

Royal Parks Foundation Ultra

Royal Parks Foundation Ultra 50k

The Royal Parks Foundation Ultra, a 50km run for charity

On Sunday 6 October 2013, 500 intrepid runners will set off on a challenging 50km run for charity, from Hyde Park to Bushy Park.

The Royal Parks Foundation is looking for Park lovers to support these intrepid runners in this awesome challenge – we have cheerpoints by Richmond Park (35km), Ham House, and Kingston/Bushy Park (45km) where we are hoping Park-loving volunteers could make some noise and hand out water to keep runners going.

We are also hoping that some supporters can make their way to the finish line in Bushy Park to celebrate the runners’ achievements and cheer them over the finish line. In return for some time and enthusiasm on Sunday 6 October we will provide a full briefing, tshirt and food for volunteers – to get involved please email info@royalparksultra.co and we’ll be in touch.

A bit of background…

With more people than ever taking up running, we wanted to bring something totally new to the running events scene. Developed by the team behind the multiple award-winning Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, this 50km ultramarathon was designed for experienced charity runners looking for their next big challenge as well as regular ultra-runners keen to tackle a fast, flat central London route. This is a real test of endurance, all in the name of great causes.

The Ultra offers runners an awesome experience that combines the highlights of the capital city, including Buckingham Palace and Westminster, with five of the eight picturesque Royal Parks. Winding its way along Thames towpaths, across south west London and through Richmond Park, it finishes in Bushy Park, Henry VIII’s old hunting ground near Hampton Court.

Every participant is supporting the Royal Parks Foundation, the charity that helps keep 5,000 acres of London’s green space in great shape for everyone to enjoy, and many of the ultra runners are also fundraising for their own charity.

For more information please visit www.royalparksultra.com

Bushy House Open Weekend

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September
11am – 4pm

Bushy House and Gardens will be open to the public as part of the London Open House Weekend.

Entry is free.

Includes an exhibition of photos from NPL’s 100 year old archive and plans for the proposed Advanced Metrology Laboratory to be built on the site.

Access via Queens Road Gate, TW11 0EB

Web: www.npl.co.uk/events
Email: communications@npl.co.uk()

Chair's Update for November

Chair's Update for November

Annie Murray, Chair

You will all be relieved to know that the parks did not suffer too badly in the storm, although, sadly there were a few tree casualties notably at Heron Pond and adjacent to Hampton Hill Cricket Club. I think it was very wise of the Bushy Park management to close the park although there were quite a few baffled dogs, mine included.

The water levels are very low at the moment as you can witness in the Water Gardens where the cascade is not running well. This is a result of leaves blocking drainage at the Heathrow end of the Longford.

You may notice a stag with a metal accessory attached to his antlers. The park management is aware of this and monitoring the situation. He doesn’t seem to be distressed and is eating normally. He may well have to wait until spring when he losses his antlers to free himself of this detritus.

I had an anxious moment in the Water Gardens at the weekend when I noticed “missing” metal reeds luckily they were in the water, they are back in place now but the gardens are closed at the moment as the big plane tree is being monitored post the storm for damage.
Do take a look at the new interpretation boards which are now in place at Boating Pond, the Woodland Gardens and on the way to the children’s playground.

We are planting bulbs on Saturday 2nd November in the Woodland Gardens, meeting at the Pheasantry at 11.00am; we also plan to visit the new nursery with Chris Nickerson. Do come along, many hands make light work; tools provided but bring your own gloves.

Looking forward to getting into the festive spirit and hopefully will see some of you at Teddington Lights on 28th November and Hampton Hill Lights on 29th November. We will be selling our unique calendar and Christmas cards, which are also available from the Pheasantry.

Friends Daffodil Planting

Friends Daffodil Planting

At last it's time for coffee!

A big thank you to all the Friends who turned up to plant daffodils in the Woodland Gardens, 5000 in total, although it felt like more!

We look forward to enjoying the display come spring.

FBHP interpretation boards

FBHP interpretation boards

Simon Richards, Park Manager, at the Boating Pond

The interpretation boards kindly funded by generous donations from Friends are now in place. Do look out for them at Boating Pond, in the Woodland Gardens and nearby the children’s playground.

Here are some Friends admiring the board in the Woodland Gardens.

Friends admiring the board in the Woodland Gardens

Bushy Park in November

An update from Bushy Park Office:

Fungi Once the summer weather breaks the soil and air becomes damp with autumn rain allowing fungi to emerge without drying out. Some species can be seen all year round but the abundance and variety are displaying now and last only until the first hard frost. Fungi are neither plants nor animals – they are decomposers of organic matter, surviving underground or within plants all year but emerging as mushrooms or toadstools in order to reproduce. Some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, whilst most are not and a few are poisonous. Collecting mushrooms is forbidden in the Park as doing so will diminish the population within the ecosystem. Despite what celebrity chefs say – if you do want to forage mushrooms, you will need the landowner’s permission and avoid protected areas such as Bushy Park.

Woodland Gardens The star like shiny leaves are starting to turn on the Liquidambar styraciflua “Worplesdon” in Fishers Field displaying bright vivid autumn colour. We are currently taking semi ripe cuttings for our new nursery, particularly Yew and Camellia for planting out in the Woodland Gardens in a few years time. The Yew will form a windbreak on the North eastern side of the Gardens to protect them from the cold March winds. Towards the end of the month the first leaf clearing will be starting and will continue until just after Christmas.

Deer With no predators and approximately 100 births annually, the deer population would increase beyond the Park’s carrying capacity without human intervention. To prevent starvation and malnutrition, the deer are selectively culled during September and November. This ensures a healthy herd of 320 with the correct balance of ages and sexes. The high point of the rut will soon be over and the lean bellies and hindquarters of the exhausted stags bear witness to the recent deprivation of food. They regain condition by feasting on sweet chestnuts, horse chestnuts and acorns, building up winter fat reserves. Removing chestnuts deprives the deer of essential food. PLEASE LEAVE THE CHESTNUTS FOR THE DEER.

Birds By November almost all of our summer visitors will have left. With the Park’s position by the Thames and the large water bodies in SW London, there is still the chance that a late House Martin or Swallow may fly through. These species follow the rivers and canal systems in London allowing them to feed as they head south to Africa. Chiffchaff, a summer visitor and breeder in small numbers in the Park may also be found feeding alongside the Longford River. These birds however, may have bred in north-eastern Europe and have chosen not to continue their migration to southern Europe and northern Africa. They will be hoping the slight increase in temperature during the winter months in the UK will allow them to winter here. Their diet consists entirely of insects and spiders and a period of cold weather will almost certainly mean death. It is also a time to check the Park’s lakes for the arrival of our less common waterfowl, e.g Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall. The scrape (a shallow grassy pool) viewed from Dukes Head Passage is a favoured location for Teal. The species is quite flighty and one that wildfowlers like to shoot as they are fast flyers. The scrape, as long as it remains ice free also gives you the best chance to view Common Snipe and Water Rail. Another favourite of the shooting fraternity is the Woodcock; these birds are already arriving by the start of the month but large numbers navigate on clear moonlit nights. They will have to be on the lookout for our local Peregrine Falcons. The best time to be out in the Park looking for birds is when the wind is blowing from the east or south-east. These winds bring birds from the continent and can produce spectacular movements.

Tree Work Throughout the year members of The Royal Parks specialist arboricultural team monitor the trees in the Park on a cyclical programme of inspection. This considers the condition of the trees, their integrity from a safety point of view and the effects of any pest and disease. Tree work may then be prescribed which includes a variety of techniques from shortening of individual branches to felling or monolithing of trees that have died. Arisings and deadwood from this work is kept in the park as far as possible as it is very important habitat for the special creatures that live in it. This month extensive work is being carried out on the moribund avenues of chestnuts north of Upper Lodge.

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings

Annie Murray, Chair, FBHP

I do hope you all enjoyed a festive and restive Xmas.

2013 was a busy time; we attended many more local events which is a brilliant way of reaching a wider audience and introducing them to our work. We welcomed the opening of the newly refurbished Pheasantry, visitors seemed to have missed us and we hope to further improve our amenity in the New Year.

We bade a sad farewell to two long standing Friends, Geoff Price and Colin Paine, they are both missed. We also wish Ray Allen, gardener, a long happy retirement; a visit to the Water Gardens will not be the same without Ray’s friendly banter.

Looking towards the New Year we have several projects to tackle including the further restoration of the Water Gardens, and the Water Meadows, and the implementation of a new strategy for the tree avenues. We are also keenly aware of the looming budget cuts which mean there is increasing pressure on resources and a need to generate income.

Following the demerger of Richmond and Bushy Parks we will be welcoming a new manager, although sad to lose Simon Richards we are nonetheless delighted that it has been recognised that Bushy Park is an important entity deserving of its own management structure. STOP PRESS: We are absolutely delighted to learn that Ray Brodie is returning to us as Bushy Park manager.

There is a lot of work to be done and as always we welcome involvement from Friends, if a project appeals to you please do get in touch.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the committee and volunteers for all their invaluable help and support throughout the year, you are all stars.

A very happy 2014 to you all.

Annie Murray, Chair, FBHP

FBHP at Hampton Lights Up

FBHP at Hampton Lights Up

The FBHP at Hampton 2013

The Friends were out in force at the Hampton Lights Up event this year. As well as raising the profile of the FBHP and signing up new members, we had enormous fun.

Click here to view some photos from the event, taken by David Ivison.

Bushy Park Diary - December 2013

Christmas decorations Evergreen foliage has always been brought into the home for mid-winter decoration. Perhaps the most widely used is Holly as it is abundant and the deep green leaves and contrasting red berries make an impressive display. It is said that the prickles and berries represent the crown of thorns and blood of Christ, but in folklore they were also the reason that Holly was thought to offer a cure from dog bites and measles.

Mistletoe – abundant in Bushy Park – is present in most homes as just one small sprig – for kissing under. It is a semi-parasitic plant that somehow appears to magically grow on poplars, limes, thorns and fruit trees. Mistletoe was seen to have special powers associated with fertility. This has, over the years, developed into the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe during the festive season.

Christmas Trees for sale Pines and Needles Christmas trees are on sale at the Diana car park in Bushy Park from 9.00am to 5.45pm until 22 December with local same evening delivery. All trees are UK grown.

Woodland Gardens
Visit Birch glade on a bright day to admire the Silver Birches (Betula pendula) or ‘Lady of the Woods’ which are looking slender, elegant and attractive with their white bark shining in the low winter sun light.

Daffodils are starting to emerge through the grass for flowering in the early spring. Thanks to the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks who planted 2000 new daffodil bulbs in November. Leaf clearance is underway and will continue until the end of January.

Canada Glade – The dogwoods (Cornus) by the Totem Pole show off their vivid red and golden stems which brightens up a winter’s day. It is normal horticultural practice to cut the stems down just before burst in the spring.

We have now reached a fairly quiet time of the year, the last of our regular winter visitors should have reached the UK and be enjoying the slightly milder conditions than that of much of the continent and certainly much milder for birds such as the Redwing. Some of these may have travelled south from Iceland but not all; most of our Redwings have come here from Scandinavia along with the Fieldfare. Redwings will be feeding in the Park in small numbers from the beginning of the month while Fieldfares wait until extreme weather and the fact that they have eaten most of the berries in the countryside causes them to come to the Park. The Park also hosts another member of the thrush family and one that has a small resident population. This is the Mistle Thrush and can you guess where it can be found feeling? That is right on the Mistletoe berries.

It is also the time of year when the Little Egret, a bird whose breeding range has spread up from southern Europe, arrives in the Park. Until the late 1970’s it would have caused 100’s of twitchers (very enthusiastic bird watchers) to come flocking. We have had a bird return to winter in the Park since 2010; it was accompanied by a second bird in 2013. Bird numbers will remain low until we have had to endure several days with the temperature staying well below freezing. Then hunger will cause birds particularly those that feed on the ground to look elsewhere. This is when typical farmland and even wetland birds will see refuge in cities and gardens.

Feeding the deer – Whilst the deer browse on trees and grass during the summer they really do rely on seeds such as acorns, chestnuts and conkers to build up fat reserves for the winter. The available food varies from year to year so to ensure the deer are always in optimum health they are given supplementary feed in the winter as well as hay (from Lime Avenue) which also ensures they receive all the essential vitamins and minerals. If it has been a good year for browse and seeds they come to the feed less readily than a poor year. They also lose interest in the feed earlier in the spring if it’s mild and grass starts growing earlier. Likewise if we experience heavy snows and food is less available, the feed is increased to ensure their health and welfare. Depending on the weather, feeding starts middle of November and goes on until March.

2013 President’s Report

2013 President’s Report

Pieter Morpurgo, President, FBHP

FBHP has had another good year. Our membership is stable at around 1000 members, and your contributions and donations have given us the opportunity to support both parks.

Among many projects, we have helped the Stud Nursery in Home Park with the gift of a new bench and provided the trees for the creation of a new orchard. We held our annual summer party there with well over 100 members enjoying the surroundings and excellent refreshments provided by members of the committee.

In Bushy Park your generosity has provided money for three information boards; one to the west of Heron Pond; one by the playground and the other in the Woodland Gardens near Triss’s Pond.

A dozen of us planted 5000 bulbs during a morning in November. They are in Birch Glade in the Waterhouse Gardens.

We have had an excellent series of walks and talks and thank all the speakers who so generously gave their time. They are a crucial part of FBHP.

I wish all our members a very Happy New Year and hope that you all continue to enjoy the parks and the benefits of being a member of The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks.

Pieter Morpurgo

Winners of Close-Ups competition

Winners of Close-Ups competition

'Hunting' by Caroline Buckingham

This photo competition, which ran from August to December 2013, had a rather different type of theme. Instead of asking for photographs based on a subject, we asked for entries based on a particular style of photography: close-ups.

We had a record number of entries and some superb shots.

The winner was Caroline Buckingham for “Hunting” which was taken on 30th September near Leg of Mutton Pond in Bushy Park.

In second place was “Bursting Out” by Richard Gudge which was taken on 6th October near Hampton Hill Cricket Ground also in Bushy Park.

There was a dead heat for third place:

“Dew Drops” by Dave Brimner was taken on 29th December just off Upper Lodge Road.

And “Couples” was taken by George Andrews who explains: “During the summer I was walking by the Woodland Pond when I saw a thin stalk swaying slightly and then caught sight of these two (possibly Strangulata Maculata) in an embrace, or so it seemed, as they mountaineered up the stalk. They were not deterred by a large human face or lens peering at them.“

Many congratulations to our winners and thanks to everyone who entered this extremely competitive contest.

Click here to view the gallery of all the entries.

Ray Brodie Returns to Bushy

It has been announced that Ray Brodie is to return to Bushy Park as Park Manager in the spring.

Simon Richards says “For me, I am really pleased that we have managed to get Ray back to where he belongs and you should start to benefit again from having a park manager dedicated to the interests of Bushy Park”

Whilst we welcome Ray back to the park we would like to acknowledge the huge amount of work Simon has done and the various improvements he has implemented over the past two years and the support he has given to the Friends. Simon will return to managing Richmond Park full time.

Bushy Park Report from Simon Richards, Park Superintendent

Project works.
Information Centre. Awaiting alterations to external tarmac to stop flooding. Contractor has been appointed work to be carried out in next couple of weeks.

TRP funding new tree crates during the winter. Aim to complete most of Lime Avenue. Currently out to tender.

Funds have been allocated to carry out a long overdue refurbishment of the gardeners accommodation at the Pheasantry which should give them facilities that are fit for the current age.

The setting for the catering kiosk at the Diana car park is due to be altered in the next couple of months to end the practice of standing in a lake while waiting to be served. This will be carried out by contractors working for Colicci.

Landscape works.
Tree planting programme for coming winter in preparation. A quantity of choice ornamentals are being sourced for growing on in the new nursery. These will be collected this week and grown on at River Lodge nursery.

Autumn and winter tree work programme commencing. Considerable damage sustained during recent storms. This will be cleared over next few weeks, with fallen trees on Ash Walk being taken out today.

Rhododendron ponticum clearance continuing within the Woodland Gardens

River Lodge nursery. First liners mainly camellia, received for growing on.

Planting design for the Woodland Gardens is complete last of plants being collected this week. £1500 of specific sponsored funding plus support from the Friends general planting fund. The plantings will include the boundary screen and will contain a mix of native shrubs. The yew were planted before Christmas and the Bog garden will be planted in January and February.

Sports Clubs.
TTSC sports club construction due to commence today. (Delayed due to issues with services on NPL side.)

General issues around licenses, vehicles, floodlighting and de-cluttering are ongoing.

Heritage developments.
Plans for the layout of new horse trough and drinking fountain at Teddington Gate have been received and will shortly be sent out for pricing – this is still delayed due to pressure of work.

An additional interpretation panel for wall mounting at the Information Point is still to be purchased.

Madeleine Smith, the artist who completed the interpretation panels is keen to carry out the artwork for the alcoves. A meeting on site with her is due to be arranged during January.

Whistlestop site has been sold. New developer engaged in works licence. No change.

Lion Gate Hotel. Meeting with L.B. Richmond planners and the developer will be held on 10th January.


SSSI designation is still being pushed back as other more pressing issues take time within Natural England. Latest info was that this had been pushed back to December at the earliest.

An assessment of the Longford River within the park has been carried out by consultants from the Surrey Wildlife Trust to attempt to determine whether the river is suitable for the re-introduction of Water Voles. Internal assessments of the findings are being analysed.

Longford River is running very high at present and the general levels are of concern in some areas particularly outside the park.

Management plan review is nearing completion and will be consulted on by year end.

Look to co-ordinate a ‘litter pick’ next spring using publicity materials from Tidy Britain Group

A draft management agreement for the Information Point is in preparation, my apologies for the delay in taking this forward and cancelling meeting to discuss it.

The management of Richmond and Bushy Park is being de-merged and the effective date is likely to be 1st April when Ray Brodie will carry on where he left off! Pat Pritchard is likely to remain as Office Manager for both parks at least in the short term.

Assessment of the various bids for the landscape maintenance contracts are under way with a decision to be made by the end of January. The new contracts will go live in April 2014.

The next major procurement exercise for TRP will be the works maintenance contracts which cover the built landscape (and currently the Longford River) This is due to be complete by April 2015.

There have a been a series of incidents involving the fallow bucks that hang around the Diana Car Park area, which have been pushing up to people trying to feed waterfowl. As a result several people have been knocked over and sustained minor injuries. We are considering our options (preferably non lethal) but would welcome any ideas and support to try to reinforce the message that feeding deer is a bad idea.

Field Studies Council will resume operations shortly, awaiting dates.

Bushy Park Diary - February 2014

Bushy Park Diary - February 2014

Looking for Food by Lewis Lloyd

Hedge laying on Dukes Head Passage

In January 2013 work started to improve Dukes Head Passage for those using it as their entry into the park. Our first starting point was the area at the western end, which was quite dark and gloomy. This we thinned out and will hopefully plant with hedgerow species if none naturally occur. The rusty fencing was removed as it had become a safety risk. This winter we are going to have 60 metres of hedge each side of the path just before the Iron Bridge laid. As it is quite an old hedge that was once heavily pruned back it is not ideal for laying.

The company undertaking this work will construct a dead hedge; this means they will lay what they can but also pack in much of the brush forming a dense wildlife habitat. If the living parts fail to thicken up we will then plant whips (young trees) next winter. The aim of the project is to create, albeit over a few years, a rich wildlife corridor with native trees and plants. This will then allow more species of birds and insects to inhabit the area, bringing more enjoyment to those that use it.

Bushy Park Bird News By Tony Duckett

Depending on how the winter is progressing has much to do with what birds and how many will be present in the park. If we have been enduring a cold spell then we could have large numbers of those Scandinavian members of the thrush family, Fieldfares and Redwings feeding on any remaining berries. The Silver Birches and Alder trees in areas such as The Canal Plantation and the Woodland Gardens, particularly those close to the river could also be hosting Siskin and Lesser Redpolls. It is worth closely checking through the redpolls for the slightly larger and paler member of that family the Common Redpoll. If we happen to have some days with clear blue skies then birds like the Skylark will take to sky to sing their beautiful song; actually locating the bird can be very difficult but is worth the challenge. Our two black and white members of the woodpecker family can also be heard drumming; the smaller and rarer member, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is at real risk of becoming extinct as a park resident. In 2013 there was only one pair left, none of whom were recorded after April of that year. It is worth familiarising yourself to the sounds of these 2 species drumming, as it can be difficult to tell the difference. There is another songster that can be heard and isn’t dependant on fine sunny days, that is the Storm Cock or to give it its common name the Mistle Thrush. Males can be heard singing on the most atrocious of days.

For more bird news check out www.regentsparkbirds.blogspot.com which also covers Bushy Park.

Woodland Gardens

You may have noticed the primroses flowering on the banks near Fisher’s Field.

It was not until after World War 11 and the appointment of Mr Fisher as Superintendent of Hampton Court and Bushy Park that the Woodland Gardens were completed with the addition of Fisher’s Field, previously a livestock paddock. It is Mr Fisher who is credited with laying out much of the area as a woodland garden in the true horticultural sense. His name is commemorated in the naming of some of the areas after him and members of his family.

Half Term Activities in Bushy Park

The Field Studies Council is running holiday club activities in Bushy Park this half-term.

Nature Detectives
Date: 19 Feb 2014 Cost: £15 per family
Time: 10am to 2.30pm
If you fancy trying out your Sherlock Holmes detective skills, join us for clues, creatures and catkins.

Challenges such as pond dipping, scavenger hunts and tree investigations yield a clue which will lead you to unravel the mystery! Work together to solve the puzzle to claim the reward.

Art Attack
Date: 21 Feb 2014 Cost: £15 per family
Time: 12.30 – 3pm
If you are feeling creative or just want to see what nature has to offer us in the way of art; come join us. You might even win a prize!

We will take a guided walk around the trail and collect natural materials to create a group environmental masterpiece. Then we challenge you to enter our competition.

Where: The Stockyard Education Centre, Bushy Park.
NB there is no car parking available in the Stockyard for visitors, please make alternative arrangements.

There is limited availability; places must be booked in advance.

A “Family” is up to 2 Parents/Guardians with up to 3 children

To book contact:
FSC London
Tel: 020 3130 0469

Field Studies Council Courses

The Field Studies Council has announced the following courses in Bushy Park. Each course takes place from 9.30am to 3.30 or 4pm.

For further information on the courses or to book your place use the Field Studies Council web site: http://www.field-studies-council.org/centres/london/lesiurelearning.aspx. If you are unable to find the information you need, contact the office on 0203 1300469. Places are limited, book early to avoid disappointment.

29th March – Coniferous Trees in the Park – £35
Trees form an imposing and ecologically important part of the landscape of the British Isles. This course will use the extensive collection of specimen trees in Bushy Park. We will look at features such as leaves, bark, and cones which can be used to identify the more common species.

5th April – Freshwater Algae – £40
This event will introduce participants to some of the diversity of microscopic plant life in freshwaters, including an illustrated lecture, sampling nearby ponds and streams for algae and then learning how to observe and identify them under the microscope.

12th April – Bird Watching in Bushy Park – £35
Bushy Park is a great location to spot resident and migrant birds in spring. The course is designed to help you observe and identify birds. Spend the day visiting the open parkland, the ponds, the gardens with their wooded areas and the wetland being developed in the brewhouse fields.

26th April – An Introduction to Bats and their Natural History – £35
This course is a beginner’s guide to bats. During the day we shall look into their evolution, environmental requirements, importance, threats to their existence and conservation methods. We shall cover the use of bat detectors and use them in the evening to identify some of the bats in Bushy Park.

10th May – Broadleaved Trees in the Park – £35
Trees form an imposing and ecologically important part of the landscape of the British Isles. This course will use the extensive collection of specimen trees in Bushy Park. We will look at features such as leaves, bark, flowers and fruits which can be used to identify the more common species.

7th June – Introduction to Wild Flowers in Bushy Park – £35
An informal, beginners guide to flowering plants in Bushy Park, one of London’s Royal Parks. During the day you will see a variety of species and learn more about how to identify them correctly. There will be time spent in our flower rich meadows and on the grazed acid grassland.

21st June – Introduction to Insects – £35
Insects (bees, beetles, flies, bugs etc.) are all around us, in just about every habitat. Some are popular (butterflies, ladybirds), some less so (mosquitoes, aphids) and many are just overlooked. This course introduces the major groups of insects: how to find them, how to recognise them and how they use their habitats.

5th July – Moths and Butterflies – £35
A one day course that will include examining and identifying the previous night’s moth-trap catch from Bushy Park’s woodland and wetland habitats. In the afternoon we will visit these sites for butterflies, day-flying moths and caterpillar foodplants. Indoor work will include looking at field guides and survey equipment.

19th July – London’s Butterflies – £35
What butterflies can be found in London? What do butterflies need to survive? How can you help conserve them? This course provides an introduction to butterfly natural history, identification and conservation, using a mix of indoor activities and presentations, plus fieldwork observing butterflies in the varied habitats at Bushy Park.

2nd August – Pond Dipping! – £15
Join us for pond dipping, it shouldn’t just be for kids – It is fun whatever your age! Whether you want ideas on fun nature activities or are keen to learn about the ecology of ponds this is a fun and informative course for adult beginners and amateurs.

16th August – A Botany Workshop for Artists – £70
This practical workshop in Bushy Park is suitable for anyone who illustrates flowering plants. It will demonstrate how the study of a plant can inform your artwork by helping you to understand its structure. It can also become an integral part of the excitement of producing a piece of botanical illustration.

13th September – Fungal Foray – £35
Did you know that there are over 1,500 species of fungi in London? This beginners course will explore the environment of Bushy Park, showing how and where to find different species of fungi and examining their amazing lifestyles. A combination of walks and talks will help you to identify common fungi, and find out how to avoid the potentially dangerous species!

20th September – Freshwater Algae – £40
This event will introduce participants to some of the diversity of microscopic plant life in freshwaters, including an illustrated lecture, sampling nearby ponds and streams for algae and then learning how to observe and identify them under the microscope.

4th October – Minibeast Hunt! – £15
An opportunity for adults to investigate and discover the world of minibeasts. We will hunt in habitats throughout Bushy Park including woodlands and meadow, catching and identifying invertebrates as we go! Learn more about their fascinating lifestyles and their roles in an ecosystem.

25th October – Identifying Moth Leafmines – £35
A one day course involving collecting and studying leafmining moth caterpillars in Bushy Park. In the park we will identify a variety of trees and shrubs, collecting mines from each. In the study centre these will be studied microscopically and advice given on breeding larvae through to adult moths.

The Arcadian Thames - a Celebration

Monday 31st March – A fundraising event in support of the Thames Landscape Strategy. (The FBHP is a community member of TLS and has supported their recent restoration of the flood plain project in Home Park.)

In the magnificent setting of the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace.

A specially devised entertainment in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Thames Landscape Strategy tracing the remarkable story of the Arcadian Thames from the Saxons to the present day in words, music and pictures.

With Dame Eileen Atkins, Isla Blair, Nicholas Farrell, Sabina Franklyn, Julian Glover, Stella Gonet, Adrian Grove, (all subject to availability)
The Choir of the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court, Director of Music Carl Jackson
Trevor Alexander, Andrew Bain, Kathryn Hide, Barbara Kennedy, Emma Selway
Music Director James McConnel

Monday 31 March 2014

7 pm Reception in the Cartoon Gallery and presentation of The Richmonds Medal to Sir David Attenborough

8 pm Performance in the Great Hall

Gates will open at 6.45 pm
Tickets £20, £50, £250 (gift aid)

To book email: tlscag2014@gmail.com
or telephone: 020 8948 0643

To raise funds for the Father Thames Trust to support the work of the Thames Landscape Strategy

Mistletoe Walk 2014

Mistletoe Walk 2014

Hardy souls on the 2014 Mistletoe Walk

The annual Mistletoe Walk took place on Saturday in atrocious weather conditions but it didn’t affect the enthusiasm of attendees, 28 in total.

Nicholas Garbutt and David Ivison led the walk around the grounds of Hampton Court Palace and along the riverside (where possible).

We missed the drama of a falling poplar tree on the Barge Walk which happened during the afternoon.

It was fascinating to see just how much water is in the moat, the first time this has happened for 500 years apparently.

We also visited the site of the proposed Kitchen Garden, I have to say it was looking a bit waterlogged and sad but work is ongoing and they still hope to open in the summer.

Annie Murray
February 2014

Trees lost to the storms

Trees lost to the storms

Winter storm damage - Annie Murray

Bushy sadly lost 10 trees in the recent storms but fared better than Richmond where 20 were felled.

Flooding - take care!

Flooding - take care!

Flooded Bushy Park - Annie Murray

There is a lot of standing water in our Parks so do take all the necessary precautions!

Our Founders Remembered

In 2013 two of our founders, John Cobb and Colin Pain died. They were very important individuals to the Friends and much is owed to them. Here are some recollections of the early days of the Friends.

By Kathy White

In 1989 John was among local residents who were outraged to learn of the plans of the Department of the Environment to fell and replant Chestnut Avenue in Bushy Park. He identified others who were equally furious. Objections to the Department were made forcefully by a protest group organised by the Teddington Society and subsequently, the DoE modified its plans. However, it was felt by the local community that Bushy, together with Home Park, should have watchful eyes kept on them in future and The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks was formed. John became its first Chairman and the group was welcomed by those who valued the parks both locally and further afield.

John saw clearly that the new group would flourish most effectively if it focused on communication and constructive discussion. It was with great skill and application that John brought The Friends group from its beginning as a means of protest about possible depredations of the well-loved Chestnut Avenue to a group dedicated to the well-being of both Parks. “His early initiatives included a mass planting of fritillaries in the Woodland Garden, followed by the creation of a butterfly garden.” His ebullient and generous nature persuaded the management of the Parks to recognise this new group could be a positive force for the good of all who loved and worked in the Parks.

John later retired to Sussex where he continued his interest and affection for The Friends and all it has achieved. He is greatly missed.

By Iain Innis Burgess

The “Friends” was conceived in a conversation between Colin Pain and John Cobb as they walked the Avenue on Chestnut Sunday 1989. Michael Baxter-Brown, the park superintendent was seen, like Gladstone at Penarlag, or King Henry at the Tower, as a bit too free and easy with the axe.

Half a year later, the last Sunday in October, Jean Brown (chairwoman: Hampton Wick Association and a former Labour councillor (rara avis in this borough)) asked me to represent the Association at a meeting on the second of November: to found a “Friends of Bushy Park“.

The Gang of Eight gathered in the loft of Dean House, Park Lane, Teddington on the evening of All Souls Day; our hosts were John and Marie Cobb.

Being the only representative from the Hampton Wick / Hampton Court side, I suggested “the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks”, an idea that was put forward by Colin Pain at the public meeting called later that month.

Philippa Morgan, our secretary, came to me with half a dozen notices of the meeting for Wick shops. The calligraphy was so impressive that I went to a printer and had several thousand run off, which I delivered in the roads around the parks. Ninety eight people were at the inaugural public meeting. The press said one hundred. What would become of scientific research if precise figures were routinely rounded up?

An at early committee meeting that Winter, several members turned up late, having been invited to a presentation at The King’s Arms concerning a flower show. This was our first intimation that Home Park, as much as Bushy, needed its friends. Originally I had thought that we only needed a liaison group seconded from the local amenity societies but soon realised that the parks have needs different from the environing towns.

The Royal Parks Guild

The Royal Parks Guild champions the Royal Parks by promoting their qualities, including horticultural excellence and historical significance, whilst offering practical support where appropriate. Allied to this is the service to its members through the provision and development of a broad range of social activities, and keeping members abreast of current and past news of The Royal Parks.

See their new web-site here

Fighting police cuts in Bushy Park

Fighting police cuts in Bushy Park

Royal Parks Police

Threat to Park policing

The Royal Parks police, already at minimum strength in Bushy Park, face possible further cuts as a result of new funding arrangements. We urgently need Friends’ members and all those who care about the park to write to Mike Penning, the Policing Minister, expressing your concern at the situation.

We have already written a formal FBHP letter but individual personal letters also have a big influence.

You can find more detail in this document about the Threat to policing in Bushy Park and in this Briefing paper on Richmond and Bushy Park Policing.

You can find guidelines for your own letter here . Please make the letters as individual as possible.

Future of policing in the Royal Parks

We understand that the Mayor of London’s Office has submitted a bid to the Home Office for funding which will replace existing policing arrangements. We have not been informed or consulted. This is very disappointing given that the requirements of both Richmond and Bushy (outer London parks) are very different from those of the central London parks. There is already a minimal police presence in Bushy, as there is little crime and disorder, and officers are regularly abstracted to duties in central London. Our priority is to ensure that park regulations are enforced; such as protection of wildlife and the fabric of the park, plus speeding cars. Both Richmond and Bushy Friends groups have long advocated the introduction of wardens/rangers with appropriate powers. We have responded jointly to the recent announcements and involved local MPs, sharing our thoughts on a preferable policing model.

I know that many of you share our concerns and we will keep you up to date when we have feedback to our submissions. The document is available by clicking Royal Parks stakeholder consultation.

SSSI notification for Bushy and Home Parks

SSSI notification for Bushy and Home Parks

Bushy Park - now an SSSI

On 5 September it was announced that Bushy Park and Home Park had been designated as a combined Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England, subject to consultation over a four month period. The announcement, notification documents and maps can be viewed here.

Bushy Park and Home Park received notification of SSSI status for their exceptionally large population of ancient and veteran trees, extensive areas of semi-natural lowland dry acid grassland, and their internationally significant populations of rare invertebrates.

You can read the joint press release that NE, HRP and RPA have issued here.

This is a great accolade for both the Bushy Park and Home Park teams that work hard to conserve and protect this unique environment.

More information about Sites of Special Scientific Interest can be found here

Our Founders Remembered

In 2013 two of our founders, John Cobb and Colin Pain died. They were very important individuals to the Friends and much is owed to them.

In memory of John and Colin, Kathy White and Iain Burgess have each written some recollections of the early days of the Friends.

Click here for more.

Cleaning the Diana Fountain

Cleaning the Diana Fountain

Re-gilding work being carried out on Diana

Five years on from the major restoration of the Diana Fountain, the structure is covered in scaffolding again. This is a planned event to keep the fountain and all the bronzes in good condition. All of it is showing five year’s wear and tear.

Restorers are inspecting the whole structure and will repair as necessary all of the stone work including the joints. The bronzes are to be cleaned and re-waxed, and the whole fountain will be steam cleaned with a process called “Doff” cleaning. The water jets will be cleaned so that they throw the water away from the stonework. Some of the gilding on Diana is being replaced, but all the work will be done in situ. Much of the deterioration seems to be the bird damage again. The spikes which were originally on Diana’s head, shoulder and arm, to protect her from the birds have dropped off. It is hoped
that they can be replaced. The bird scarers hidden behind the sirens will need to be checked to make sure they are still working as the bird dropping damage is quite severe.

The picture shows some re-gilding work being carried out on Diana.

Fungus Foray

Fungus Foray

Large group taking part in Fungus Foray

Over 60 people attended the Fungus Foray on Saturday 13th September led by Brian Spooner from Kew Gardens, something of an expert in the field.

We were all surprised by the variety and often the toxicity of the fungus in the park.

Brian Spooner has produced a full report on the Fungus Foray which you can read here.

To see a selection of photos from the Fungus Foray, see here

Friends’ Summer Party

Friends’ Summer Party

Friends’ Summer Party

On 20 July more than 70 members gathered in the grounds of White Lodge in Bushy Park. We enjoyed a vintage-themed tea party, a quiz and a guided walk through the Stock-yard meadows.

Opening of the King’s Kitchen Garden

Opening of the King’s Kitchen Garden

King’s Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court

On 25 June the Countess of Wessex officially opened the new kitchen garden at Hampton Court. Originally laid out for William and Mary, it was used for 160 years to provide food for the palace. Queen Victoria moved all the kitchen gardens to Windsor, and the Hampton Court Garden was used as private plots until the 1930s.

Now, based on drawings, it has been restored to how it may have looked in the 18th century. There are over 200 different crop varieties, which will be used to supply the famous Tudor kitchen, and some of the crops are available for the public to buy. The crops are laid out in a way that makes it look like an elaborate flower garden. It is well worth a visit and it is free.

Treasurer and Trustee - John Elrick

John was appointed as Treasurer at the AGM in 2013, he formerly worked for the National Audit Office and is now enjoying his retirement.

Email: john.elrick@fbhp.org.uk

Archaeology of Bushy Park

Archaeology of Bushy Park

Bushy Park, Middlesex - Archaeology

On 22nd March 2014, archaeologist Tom Greeves led the Friends on a fascinating walk.

Bushy Park may seem flat, but Tom opened our eyes to the stories behind the ridges and hollows, and pointed out quarries, deer pens and areas of medieval strip farming.

Click here for more photos.

David & Claire Ivison.

Annual Report for 2013

We have enjoyed another full and eventful year.

Through the generosity of yourselves and the public we were able to complete the installation of the reeds in the Water Gardens, as well as organising the construction and installation of 4 interpretation boards. We have also continued to support the Stud Nursery in Home Park, as well as providing an ideal location for our Summer Party we purchased a bench and saplings which will create an orchard. Sadly we have been unable to make any real progress on the construction of a bird hide (badgers and cost) we are looking at a project to create eel passages and with your permission we will use the 2012 appeals monies for this end.
With the added revenue from specific individual donations we have been able to contribute to the large scale replanting project in the Woodland Gardens recreating a bog garden as well as contributing towards a living hedge.

We are still planning to use 2013 donations for metal tree crates (Lime Ave), further planting in Bushy and eel passages.

A big thank you to our volunteers who continue to make an important contribution. The Info Point was closed for a period due to the refurbishment programme and it seemed that we were missed which is always good to know.
Our new space has proved a little problematic during adverse weather conditions but we hope to make some improvements soon.
The range of merchandise has been very successful particularly popular were the calendars and Xmas cards generating a good profit.
We also planted 5000 bulbs in October which are quite spectacular, the squirrels must have been sleeping whilst we were planting.
We also supported the RP’s in their oak processionary moth programme. There was a significant increase in the number of nests spotted and 202 were destroyed.
We also attended a lot more local events this year incl the Hampton Wick Festival, the Dog Show and Xmas lights. These occasions are always enjoyable and it’s a good way to spread the word of what we do and recruit new members.

Our extensive programme of walks and talks were not only entertaining but highly informative. Thank you Jane for organising all of these so successfully.

The newsletter and web site continue to be an important source of providing information about the parks. Thank you to Chris H for doing such a great job as newsletter editor and for the technical expertise provided by Mark and Carol in supporting the website.

We keep an eye on planning applications and it has been agreed that following representations from the Friends that the developer, the council and the Royal Parks have all agreed that there should be a new pedestrian gate to the east of the traffic gates when the re-development of the Lion Gate Hotel goes ahead. It has long been a concern that there is a danger to pedestrians as they exit the park, being forced to walk in the path of exiting traffic.

Bushy has been fortunate to escape the need to raise funds via events as it is recognised that this is not an ideal venue for large scale events. Obviously we are grateful to the central London parks that are providing essential supplements to reduced budgets.

Finally we look forward to celebrating our 25th anniversary next year; we are busy working on special events to mark this auspicious occasion. We will be issuing a special anniversary edition of the newsletter; if you have anything you would like to share please do contact us.

This concludes the annual report.

Annie Murray, Chair

Model Boat D-Day Tribute

Model Boat D-Day Tribute

Model of D-Day landing craft

June 6th is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the beginning of the liberation of Europe. As Friends of Bushy Park you may also know that Sunday morning a group of enthusiasts use the boating pond to sail radio control boats.

We had a discussion last year concerning the anniversary and thought it might be a good idea to see how many landing craft and associated WW2 era craft we could get together on the Sunday before, 1st June, to re-enact these crucial landings (Sunday after if the weather is too bad on the 1st).

Unfortunately there are no beaches to actually land on, but we will be having a massed drive past instead! There will be craft ranging from a 6`6” Corvette, landing craft from 5 feet to 18 inches, battleships, torpedo boats and even a few landing craft to try your hand at.

This gathering is particularly fitting, as the big American camp in the park during WW2 acted as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), and it was here that the landings were planned. We are expecting a low casualty rate on our landing, but we might see the odd accident and sinking!

by Ashley Needham
Email Ashley by clicking here.

Home Park Discovered

Home Park Discovered

On 12th April 2014 the Friends enjoyed a fascinating Walk – Home Park Discovered with Paul Douglas.

Please click here to see the photos from the day, taken by David Ivison.

Jazz Picnic in the Park

Woodland Garden, Bushy Park
SUNDAY JUNE 29TH, 3pm – 6pm

Free Admission

Richmond Music Trust Jazz Band and Hampton School Jazz Band.

Grand Raffle in aid of Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice. First Prize: a splendid new bicycle generously donated by Burt’s Cycles in Hampton Hill.

Bring a rug, a picnic and all your friends and family to this local, FREE event in aid of a very worthwhile cause.

Don't forget our photos

Don't forget our photos

Vole by Paul White

We’re constantly updating our photo galleries with pictures sent in by various members of the public.

The latest additions are some spectacular shots of wildlife in Bushy Park taken by Paul White.

Click here to visit our Galleries.

Meadow Walk

Meadow Walk

Pippa Hyde led us on a wonderful walk through the Stockyard meadows.

Click here for a list of the species that we saw: Species List June 2014.

Fawns and their mothers

Paul Douglas is the ranger who cares for the deer herds in Home Park. He has this advice for us at this time of year:

From early June till early July every year about one hundred baby deer – called fawns- are born into the park.

The nature of the mothers is to leave the fawn in a safe place – usually long grass – so that she can go off and feed unhindered. She will return to the fawn every 4 to 6 hours to feed it and move it to a new location if necessary. The mother will do this for about a week or until the fawn is able to travel at foot with the mother.

When the baby deer are born, they have only rudimentary sight and can only see shadow and not shapes. If you come across a fawn it may very we’ll come out of cover thinking you are its mum. When it realises you are not – you won’t smell the same! – it will go back to cover and lay down again.

Deer have been doing this for thousands of years and have been quite successful as a species, so please do not worry if you see a young deer which appears to be on its own. And please do not approach young deer – their mothers can be quite aggressive if they think their young ones are under threat.

Summer Events

Summer Events

Some exciting events in and around the Parks this summer! Look out for:

Hampton Wick Festival 10th August with a Grand Parade at 12.30pm.
After a successful event last year this is set to become an annual fixture taking advantage of road closures as a result of Prudential RideLondon. Come and see us there!

NOMADS open air cinema in Woodlands on 22nd and 30th August.

2012 Appeal - The restoration of the Home Park water meadows

There is a plan to restore the water meadows in Home Park and the Friends were approached by Jason Debney of the Thames Landscape Strategy team to be involved in this exciting project.

A little-known channel runs parallel to the Thames from the west end of Kingston Bridge towards the golf club. This is fed from the Long Water and it then discharges into the river via three channels (only one of which is operational at present).

The fields on either side provide grazing for carriage horses. The whole system was originally created around 400 years ago, when it would have been dug by a large labour force of local people. An initial survey has been complemented by the experimental restoration of 20 or so yards of stream, deepening it and planting reeds along the bank.

The TLS has already raised funding of around £100,000 for the project, but the Friends’ contribution would help to “put some icing on the cake”, we are keen to provide a display board to explain what exists on the ground or possibly a bench.

2012 Appeal - Stud Farm Horticultural Nursery - in Home Park

We visited this site last March on one of our organised walks and were very impressed with this project which enables people with learning disabilities to learn how to grow plants, do woodwork and gain qualifications or work-based skills.

They organise regular open days where they sell their products and welcome members of the public to come and explore this fascinating site. They also undertake woodwork restoration for Hampton Court Palace. It offers a supportive, friendly environment where new skills can be acquired.

Stud Nursery has service users attending with physical and multiple learning disabilities, for these service users their time at the Nursery is limited as at present they cannot offer changing facilities for personal care.

A portakabin/disabled portaloo facility would greatly enhance the stimulating opportunities they currently enjoy for a limited period of the day by extending the time that they are able to spend at the Nursery.

2011 Apeal: Planting Camelias and Bays in the Water House Woodland Gardens

2011 Apeal: Planting Camelias and Bays in the Water House Woodland Gardens

Owen, Jane and Annie look on as Chris puts in a final touch

These were successfully planted on 19th January 2012, as witnessed by a number of Friends, they are located in the Water House Woodland Gardens at the far side of Witches Pond and are creating an impressive avenue.

Chris Nickerson Head Gardener said a very big thank you on behalf of the Royal Parks to everyone who donated so generously and made this possible.

President - Pieter Morpurgo

President - Pieter Morpurgo

Pieter Morpurgo, President

Pieter joined the Friends in the early 1990s, but was only able to take an active part in the group after retirement. He organised the Walks and Talks for five years, and was Chairman from 2007 – 2012. Now in his role as President, much of his time is spent in liaising with the Royal Parks, Historic Royal Palaces and other local organisations to keep the Parks as we all like them; and raising objections, when required, to building developments which may have an adverse effect on the parks.

Email: pieter.morpurgo@fbhp.org.uk

Vice Chair & Appeals Coordinator- Barry Purdon

Barry Purdon has been elected by the Trustees to fill the vacant post of Vice Chair from March 2017. Barry is also the Appeals Coordinator. He identifies potential projects and funding needed for items which are appropriate for the Friends to provide or support. He liaises with the management of the two parks in order to determine proposals and then prioritises them for consideration and agreement by the Friends committee with his recommendations. In the event of a major appeal he produces a proposal and plan for the members to consider.

Email: barry.purdon@fbhp.org.uk

Membership Secretary - Pat Dickinson

Pat Dickinson is the Membership Secretary. She took up this role in March 2017. Pat is an invited member of the committee but not currently a Trustee.

Trustee and Volunteer Coordinator - Rosemary MacColl

Rosemary is responsible for organising the Volunteers’ rota for staffing the Friends’ Information Point at the new Pheasantry Welcome Centre which is open from 11am to 3pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. We run two shifts, from 11am to 1pm and from 1pm to 3pm and if you think this is something you would be interested in joining, or would like some more information about the Centre or the Information Point, please contact Rosemary.

Email: rosemary.maccoll@fbhp.org.uk

Secretary and Trustee - Jean Smith

Jean is the official Secretary on the committee of Trustees, in effect our Company Secretary. She is also our former Membership Secretary, having filled that role for 10 years but stood down in March 2017.

Email: jean.smith@fbhp.org.uk

Walks and Talks Organiser and Trustee - Jane Cliff

Jane joined the committee in 2008 and organises the very successful various walks and talks throughout the year. She is always keen to hear from members as to whether they would like any specific topics to be included or indeed if they would like to suggest a speaker or lead a walk.

Email: jane.cliff@fbhp.org.uk

Minutes Secretary and Trustee - Iris Hawkes

Iris ensures that we have an accurate record of all our committee and trustee meetings including the AGM.

Email: iris.hawkes@fbhp.org.uk

Trustee - Owen Jones

A long serving committee member and past Chairman, Owen is able to add a historical context to everything we do as well as providing much support for all our current projects.

Email: owen.jones@fbhp.org.uk

Trustees - David and Claire Ivison - Newsletter Production

David and Claire are avid supporters of the park and provide a lot of their time to The Friends of Bushy and Home Park as well as working with The Royal Parks Guild. They are responsible for the editing and distribution of the Newsletter. David also acts as our official photographer.

Email: newsletter@fbhp.org.uk

Trustee - Annie Murray

Annie is a past Chair, being elected in March 2012, but stepped down in 2016, following which she continued as Vice-Chair for a year. She has been involved in publicity and organising local events as well as representing the Friends and liaising with other local groups and Royal Parks management to ensure that we protect our valuable heritage.

Email: annie.murray@fbhp.org.uk

Bushy Park contacts

The Royal Parks (TRP) – Bushy Park


The Royal Parks is currently a government agency coming under the Department for Culture Media and Sports. It manages the eight royal parks including Bushy Park together with other green spaces in London. It is becoming a charity in Spring 2017 contracted by government to maintain and provide public access to the Royal Parks.

Ray Brodie is the Bushy Park Manager.

Ray attends the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks committee meetings for liaison purposes.

Email: rbrodie@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

Bill Swan is the Assistant Manager of Bushy Park.

Email: bswan@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

Stockyard (admin centre), Peter Nacmanson is the office manager. Phone number: 020 8979 1586

Police Constable Stephen Christmas is the police officer responsible for the park. Phone number: 07920 586546

Home Park contacts

Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) – Home Park


Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity whose remit includes Hampton Court Palace together with Home Park.

Terry Gough MVO is Head of Estates and Gardens at Hampton Court Palace.

Nicholas Mallory Garbutt is the Tree and Wildlife Conservation Manager for Historic Royal Palaces at Home Park.

Nicholas attends Friends of Bushy and Home Parks committee meetings for liaison purposes.


Bushy Park News - August 2014

Now that the antlers are fully grown, the ‘velvet’ covering becomes redundant. It dies and shreds and the deer thrash their antlers against vegetation to rub it off. At this time they may be seen briefly with blood stained tatters of skin dangling across their faces. This is especially so with the fallow bucks.

Green Flag Award
Bushy Park has retained it’s Green Flag for 2014/2015.

Diana Fountain
The second phase of the cleaning will take place in August. This will include the cleaning of the upper part of the stones and bronzes; the fountain nozzles will be inspected and cleaned and adjustments made to the water flows if necessary.

Blue-green algae – (Cyanobacteria, also known as Cyanophyta)
This naturally-occurring algae reaches its peak ‘bloom’ during August in the Diana fountain and the park’s ponds. It is recognisable as it looks like small grass cuttings floating in the water and can create a scum of algae blown by the wind to collect along one bank.
Blue-green algae has been known to produce toxins which could cause rashes and illnesses to humans or animals when swallowed. We therefore recommend that people and animals avoid contact with the scum.

Bird News
By the now we should have seen the first signs of birds on the move with an increase in the commoner warblers. For those who live close to or choose to visit the park in the evenings then you should notice the numbers of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins building up as they feed on the abundance of airborne insect life that is to be found here. The Swifts will also heading off to Africa before the end of the month, but they and the hirundines had better be on the alert in case they fall victim to our local masters of the air, the Peregrine and the Hobby both species breed close by. I should also say that the Sparrowhawk is also partial to a recently fledged Swallow or Martin.

From the middle of the month it is worth checking the first 100 metres of scrub that runs north of Dukes Head Passage. It may be behind the fence but this gives the birds a bit more confidence knowing they can feed without being disturbed. It is possible to see Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher amongst good numbers of the other warblers. A short walk along the passage will give you the chance to view the scrape. If conditions are right then there is a chance of Green Sandpiper and Snipe.

There is one other area that is also a migrant hotspot as it allows migrants that are feeding in the bracken or stunted Hawthorns somewhere to retreat into. This is the garden of Hawthorn Cottage. There is actually no need to look into the garden – just keep an eye on the fence and trees that border it. Being one of the best months for migrants you never know what could be waiting for you.

For more bird news check out www.regentsparkbirds.blogspot.com which also covers Bushy Park
By Tony Duckett

The Woodland Gardens
The long grass areas are to be cut down towards the end of the month. This is part of the grass land management to prevent the area reverting to rough woodland over time. In the meantime it’s worth looking at the Grasses and in particular in the Robesonia Garden where the colours are outstanding.

Birch Glade with its ferns is a peaceful and cool place to visit on a hot August day. If you want a place to enjoy the sun Fishers Field on the southern side or Canada Glade complete with the Totem Pole are the places to be.

Further information can be found on The Royal Parks web site or via email bushy@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

Joint statement from The Royal Parks and The Royal Parks Foundation

The Royal Parks and the charity The Royal Parks Foundation have agreed they should become a new single organisation to fundraise for and manage the capital’s eight Royal Parks.

Both organisations plan to join within a new charitable public corporation. The proposal has already won the backing of the government and the Mayor of London. A detailed plan is now being worked up, and it is hoped the new organisation will be established next year.

A new charitable public corporation will have increased freedoms, with controls similar to a charity rather than a government department. This means the parks can be managed more efficiently while maintaining visitor satisfaction. Placing fundraising and managing the parks under one organisation will also attract stronger funding support.

Running the parks costs around £36 million a year, 65% of which is raised through sponsors, donors, events, catering, grants, lottery funding, licences, rental income from lodges, filming and photography. With over 77 million visitors a year (Ipsos MORI 2015) and decreasing government funding this means maintaining high standards and a public satisfaction rate of 98% (Ipsos MORI 2015) is challenging

2013 Appeal - Bushy Park

Parks Management are pursuing a strategy of replacing wooden tree crates with metal circular crates, these are more durable and therefore over time more cost efficient. The first phase is complete in Lime Avenue and more will follow. The Friends purchased the first six of these. They are identifiable as “ours” by metal tags with our name.

We organised the construction and implementation of 4 Interpretation Boards designed to enhance the visitor experience.

In conjunction with generous individual donations we added to the planting in the newly created Bog Garden and also the living hedge on the perimeter of the Woodlands.

2013 Appeal - Home Park

It had been planned to fund a bird hide in the Water Meadows but sadly it proved to be beyond our budget. However we were happy to support a project involving creating eel passages as part of the restoration of the area with Thames Landscape Strategy. More funds will be needed and monies raised in 2014 could continue to help this work.

We have continued to support the facility at Stud Nursery in Home Park and helped to purchase fruit trees to create an orchard.

Royal Parks Annual Report 2013-14

The Royal Parks is responsible for managing and preserving over 5,000 acres of historic parkland across London, including valuable conservation areas and important habitats for wildlife. One of the Royal Parks is Bushy Park.

The Annual Report and Accounts sets out the activities and achievements of the Royal Parks through the year and is a surprisingly interesting read. Click here for the PDF.

The Friends at the Hampton Wick Festival

The Friends at the Hampton Wick Festival

We marched in good company!

The FBHP made our presence felt again at the Hampton Wick Festival, taking part in the Grand Parade – mercifully after the torrential rain from Hurricane Bertha had stopped!

It was a great day out and it’s important to us to take part in the life of all the communities that circle our two Parks.

Local events organiser - can you help?

Local events organiser - can you help?

The Friends at Chestnut Sunday

The Friends take part in several local events throughout the year, such as Chestnut Sunday, Teddington and Hampton Hill Christmas Lights, the Hampton Wick Festival etc. Our presence at these events is very important in raising the Friends’ profile and attracting new members and is also an excellent source of revenue from the sale of our merchandise.

We are now seeking a volunteer with good communication and organisational skills to take on the arrangements for our presence at these annual events, including liaising with the various local groups concerned and organising our stand at each event. Everything is already set up, we have the equipment, merchandise, volunteers and all the contacts.

If you think this would be of interest and would like to know more, please contact Rosemary MacColl, email: rosemary.maccoll@fbhp.org.uk or Annie Murray, email: chairman@fbhp.org.uk for an informal chat.

Brian Short

Brian Short

Brian Short

It is with great sadness that we have heard of the death of Brian Short. Those of you have attended the Summer Parties at the Stud Nursery and Bushy House will remember how he entertained us so charmingly with his music.

He was a very kind man who worked tirelessly for charity and was also a very gifted musician. He will be missed.

Royal Parks consultation on commercial skating instructors

The Royal Parks are now consulting on whether to permit commercial skating instructors. The consultation specifically relates to those teaching people how to skate in the parks, for commercial gain. For the purposes of the consultation, “skating” includes the use of any foot propelled devices, including roller blades, roller skates, freeline skates, roller skis, scooters and skateboards/waveboards.

The consultation is open to everyone and they are keen to hear a wide range of views, including skaters and non-skaters.They are also running a temporary registration scheme for commercial skating instructors, enabling them to them to apply for permission to operate in the parks pending the outcome of our consultation. The registration scheme closes on 31st October.

For more details, click here

Bushy Park Diary - October 2014

The Bushy Park October 2014 Diary is now available to view here and in large-font format here

FBHP 2015 calendar

FBHP 2015 calendar

Unique to FBHP the new 2015 calendar featuring images of Bushy and Home Parks – many taken by winners of our photographic competitions.

Limited availability – get yours now at the Information Point, Pheasantry Café.

If you are unable to get to the to the Information Point at the weekends and wish to purchase please contact chairman@fbhp.org.uk

Cost £5.50

Bulb Planting in the Woodland Gardens

Bulb Planting in the Woodland Gardens

On 8 November a group of Friends joined Bushy Park staff to plant bulbs in an area of the Woodland Gardens. The bulbs were purchased with a bequest from the will of Gillian Oosterhuis who was a keen member of the Friends.

We planted snowdrops, glory of the snow and daffodils in an area that had previously been cleared of rhododendrons.

Tagg's Island

Tagg's Island

On 27 November 2014 Dave Raven gave an interesting talk about the history of Tagg’s Island. He mentioned the development of the island and many of the colourful characters associated with it.

Dave has produced a video based on the talk and this can be viewed by clicking here.

Santa Fun Run 2014

A Santa Fun Run to raise money for Princess Alice Hospice took place on Sunday 30 November, with 500 Santas completing the 5k fun run in stunning Bushy Park.

You can relive the fun of the event by watching a video here

You can view some photos of the Fun Run here

Mushroom thief fined after picking in Richmond Park

Grzegorz Szumielewicz, 47, of Lismore Close, Isleworth, pleaded guilty to removing the fungus from the royal park without written permission from the Secretary of State at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on December 2.

He was given a conditional discharge for six months, ordered to pay £30 of costs to the Crown Prosecution Service and a £15 victim surcharge.

Read the full story here

Policing update

Policing update

Policing in Bushy Park

I promised to give an update on the situation, sadly I have announce that the Home Office decided to make the grant £6.8m, i.e. the same as it currently gives, but with a 5-6% reduction for 2015-16 (the same as every government department) which takes it down to £6.4m. The MOPAC bid was for ££8.8m – the £6.8m plus £2.0m to replace the Metropolitan Police (MPS) top-up to the Home Office grant, which MPS is unwilling to continue.

£6.4m is 27% less than the MOPAC bid. On MOPACs figures in the bid (£63k per officer) this means a reduction in the Royal Parks police OCU of 38 officers from 105 to 77. When the Royal Parks Constabulary was merged with MPS in 2004, there were over 160 officers, so we are now down to under half that.

We have been engaged jointly with the Friends of Richmond Park in early communications and subsequent discussions with the Royal Parks Agency, the Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime, senior officers in the Metropolitan Police, local MPs and councillors, expressing our concerns in relation to the policing of Bushy and Richmond Parks. The policing performance in both parks has been subject to our dissatisfaction for various reasons over recent years and the risk is that there will be further decline as the budget and resources reduce.

While there are obvious benefits to working closely with the Friends of Richmond Park as we have common interests, both we and they acknowledge that each park has some different issues relating to policing. Working together we have been preparing to offer constructive proposals to the Royal Parks Agency, the Deputy Mayor and the police. At the present time it appears those bodies are all keen to consult interested parties and to be open to practical suggestions, so fingers crossed that we will find ways to maintain park protection and appropriate regulations enforcement.

A recent letter received from MOPAC states that it is keen to consult with key stakeholders and explain resources and options for deploying them.

We are obviously “keen” to be part of this process and will continue to be proactive in terms of looking at solutions to protect our parks.


Ann Murray (FBHP Chair)

Greater London National Park campaign update

Greater London National Park campaign update

Please see below the details of the campaign to create a national park in London.

2015 is a big and important year for the campaign to make London a National Park. There are now nearly 90 organisations that are Friends of the Greater London National Park initiative.

If you are interested, you can sign the petition, “Become a Founder of the Greater London National Park #GLNP.”

Ipsos MORI survey of Royal parks

Ipsos MORI survey of Royal parks

Ipsos MORI survey of Bushy Park

Research results have recently been published which The Royal Parks commissioned from Ipsos MORI to conduct visitor counts and interviews across all eight Royal parks during 2013 and 2014. These show that over 77.7 million visits were made during the year from November 2013, with 98% of interviewees rating the quality of the parks as excellent or good.

The full report can be found on The Royal Parks website.

The research conducted in Bushy Park identifies several points which readers may find noteworthy:

The total number of visits to Bushy Park over the period of research is reported to be 2.38 million, which is the lowest number among the eight parks, with Richmond Park having twice as many visits and St James’s Park having eight times as many visits (well St James’s is the place for Whitehall office workers to take their lunchtime strolls and sandwiches and for spies to visit their dead letter boxes, if fiction is to be believed).
99% of visitors interviewed scored Bushy Park as Excellent or Good on park quality overall.

The park is rated Very Safe or Quite Safe by 99% of visitors.
Most visits to Bushy Park are for durations of 1 to 2 hours, mainly for reasons of relaxation, exercise and getting fresh air.

Bushy Park scores highest of the parks for “Peace and Quiet”, achieving a rating of 95% compared to the average across all parks of 85%. (A consequence of fewer visitors, perhaps).

The quality of the natural environment in Bushy Park scored 98% .

The research reports that 63% of visits involved travel by car to the park.

Bushy Park scored lowest of the eight parks among interviewees for its “Signposting and Maps”, for “Information on Park Features” and for “Visibility of park staff”.

Regarding funding of the parks, people were asked if they would be happy for a limited number of paid ticketed events to be held in the park if they knew the money generated would be used to help maintain the park and other Royal Parks; 68 % of interviewees said they would agree with this.

The findings will help The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks to identify matters of interest to us about the park’s environment and management and will aid our dialogue with The Royal Parks.


These are starting to be a problem in all the Royal Parks and there are concerns about risks of collision, noise and intrusion. The Royal Parks have introduced a ban on the use of them, as there is with other powered model aircraft, anywhere in Bushy Park.

Model aircraft and drones are also subject to the Air Navigation Order (2009) provisions, which includes that permission is needed to fly them commercially, the pilot must have unaided visual contact with it at all times and that they can’t be flown within 50m of any person or vehicle. If you see drones being operated elsewhere than the flying field, please let the police know by calling 101. It would also be helpful to provide feedback to the Royal Parks, either the main telephone number 0300 061 2000 or through social networking i.e. Facebook or Twitter.

Skylarks in Bushy Park

Skylarks in Bushy Park

It is that time of year when on days with clear blue skies the song of the Skylark can be heard. It is quite often heard but never seen, the male rises to incredible heights as he tries to stake a claim on a territory and of course to attract a female.
He will then parachute back down to the ground, where especially in Bushy Park where there is an abundance of anthills he will sing from the top of a favourite mound. In Bushy Park we have 2 main areas where this species can be seen; the area to the south of Upper Lodge Road is a large area of acid grassland, a habitat that this species requires. It likes to build its nest which is well hidden under a grass canopy. The other area that they are found is the corner south of the Oval Plantation, where at this time of the year we erect signs asking those members of the public with dogs to put the on the lead. We ask this as the birds in this area have been pushed into a smaller and smaller section of the park by the spread of the Bracken. In the last 2 years we have sprayed large patches of Bracken in this area so that it can return to acid grassland once more. This will then provide more opportunities for the Skylarks to nest and we will then see a rise in a species that has declined so much in the UK in recent years. Last year the park had at least 18 pairs present, breeding was confirmed at 12 sites.

See details of the legal status of skylarks

Chestnut Sunday

Chestnut Sunday

We are all looking forward to celebrating Chestnut Sunday on 10th May – this event is organised by The Royal Parks, if you have any queries about the day or indeed if you would like to participate please contact


The parade starts 12.30 at Teddington Gate

Oak Processionary Moth

Oak Processionary Moth

Oak Processionary Moth

You may have witnessed some spraying of trees in the park, this is being done as part of TRP’s programme to help control Oak Processionary Moth, the invasive non-native insect pest, the caterpillars of which may give people skin rashes, eye irritation and sometimes breathing problems. The product used is classed as non-hazardous under EU Regulations and is also used by The Forestry Commission across the outbreak zone and in affected urban areas in Holland, Belgium and Germany.

Volunteers will also be starting to look for nests and when identified they will be removed – so you might see people in white overalls (not unlike like space men)using cherry pickers . If you think you spot any moths or nests please contact the Park Office at the Stockyard on 020 8979 1586 .

Meet Henry VIII's Great Horses at Hampton Court Palace

Meet Henry VIII's Great Horses at Hampton Court Palace

Did you know Shire horses are rarer than the Giant Panda? Or that our horses are part of the last working herd of Shire horses in London?

The Shire breed was founded by Henry VIII, who wanted to breed the biggest war horses possible, able to carry a knight’s heavy armour into battle – our Hampton Court shires are a fitting tribute to his plans.

Help prepare the magnificent Shires for their work, and ensure their grooming is up to standard to work in front of a Royal Palace. Try your hand at harnessing, and polish the brasses until they gleam.
Come onto the box seat, and drive a lap of honour on the tram before the gardens are open to the public…
while you breakfast on the hoof!

Enter the competition at Operation Centaur

Shire horses in Home Park

Shire horses in Home Park

Operation Centaur has worked with horses at Hampton Court Palace for 25 years, and also undertake estate work with Shire horses for The Royal Parks. They are currently looking for volunteers to help with a range of exciting projects. Working with horses is labour intensive – which is partly why they have disappeared from our streetscapes. However, with a group of dedicated volunteers, a horse team is as effective as a combustion engine!

Operation Centaur volunteers come from all walks of life, but all share a passion for horses, nature and its preservation. Tasks are as varied as the work profiled on their website. If you’re interested in volunteering, please complete the form here . You will be invited to an induction day on Saturday the 2nd of May to learn more about the various opportunities

Mini Beast Walk, 2nd May

Mini Beast Walk, 2nd May

A group of 8-10 children, parents and Friends had an enjoyable and educational walk in the Pheasantry Woodland gardens led by our ‘expert’ Stuart Cole.

Various mini beasts were found under logs, the bark of trees and in Stuart’s large cloth net which he swept over nettles and other vegetation. Some were placed in pots with magnifying lids so we could have a better look (many thanks to the Field Studies Council for lending the pots) and several children enjoyed catching more insects with Stuart’s net. All mini beasts were returned to their habitat. We also enjoyed identifying trees and water fowl and peering to the top of the Big Cone Pines to see if any large cones remained.

We plan to organise another walk for children in the autumn, information will be on the website and at the Information Point

Changes to access at Hampton Court Palace

Changes to access at Hampton Court Palace

It has been announced that from winter 2016/17 free access will no longer be available to the formal gardens via the Governor’s Gate (that’s the gate between the Wilderness and the gardens on the east front).

The current arrangement of free access during winter has been in place for 12 years or so. There has been a garden only ticket available since then, but this has not proved popular; so it been decided that to see the gardens from winter 2016 should be part of the whole Hampton Court Palace experience. In other words to see the formal gardens from winter 2016 you will need to pay the full entrance fee or present a valid Members card. (Members of Historic Royal Palaces have unlimited access to Hampton Court Palace and its gardens, as well as five other palaces.)

The Wilderness, the new Kitchen Garden, Home Park and Barge Walk will continue to have free access.

Brick by Brick - the building and buildings of Hampton Wick

This was a fascinating talk covering the development of Hampton Wick from 1750, population of about 500 to the present day. There have been 3 phases to this project covering 650 residential buildings in the village, recording when they were built and who has lived in them. There are now 3 books and an interactive website – Hampton Wick History

Ray also included additional information and old maps of Bushy and Home Parks which were new to most of the audience!

Guided walk in the Paddocks area of Home Park

This lovely walk was led by Nicholas Garbutt who is the Tree and Wildlife Officer at Hampton Court Palace.

Starting from Lion Gate, 42 of us walked through the formal gardens towards the gate leading into Home Park noting some fairly recent planting along the canal to increase biodiversity.

Hampton Court yews

We entered Home Park, walked down the tree-lined avenue and out onto Barge Walk overlooking Ravens Ait. Nicholas explained that the outlet of water into the Thames was where eels enter the water system in the Paddocks area. We could also observe the Sand martin bank which was created last year and birds have been seen to be nesting. Back into the Park, the walk continued into the Paddocks where we found 2 small elvers (the first of the season) in the eel trap; these were measured and released. Home Park is working with the Zoological Society of London to record numbers of elvers and the box is examined 2/3 times a week.

Elvers release

The Friends are funding some eel passes which will ensure safe passage for the eels in the water meadows.

As we walked through the Paddocks we had an added bonus as 2 Shire Horses were mowing one of the meadows. This is part of the Operation Centaur – more information can be found under ‘Latest News’ on the website.

horse cart and FBHP

The last part of the walk led us to the Ice House which was opened for us to see inside and finally to Kingston Gate, exactly 3 hours from beginning to end!

New CEO of Royal Parks

We have received the news that the new CEO of Royal Parks will be Andrew Scattergood.

Andrew has worked across Whitehall including at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). He is currently on secondment from DCMS to OFCOM. He has a long association with the Parks, starting with his role covering The Royal Parks brief when working as private secretary to the DCMS Secretary of State. More recently he worked very closely with TRP on the preparations for the London 2012 celebrations. It included being the Government representative for the Parks during the planning for the Games, ensuring that the intrinsic qualities of the parks were understood and protected.” Mr Scattergood’s start date is still to be agreed.

Talking Statues

Talking Statues

You might like to have a look at the Royal Parks Foundation website about three animated statues in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which have been given a voice as part of Talking Statues. Apparently there are now 35 Talking Statues across London and Manchester.

Dog walking during the deer birthing season

Dog walking during the deer birthing season

Deer in Bushy Park

Dog owners are being urged not to walk their dogs in Richmond and Bushy Parks during the deer birthing season between May and July. Walkers who do visit the parks are being asked to keep their dogs on leads.

Adam Curtis , assistant park manager for Richmond Park said “It is important that we keep in mind that deer are wild, strong animals that can behave unpredictably. Deer can feel threatened by dogs even over long distances and when the dog is not behaving in a provocative manner. Therefore we ask that you do not walk your dogs in Richmond and Bushy Park during May to July, and if you absolutely must then ensure they are on leads”

Visitors are asked to refrain from touching and feeding the deer and photographing them at close ran

Latest stage in the restoration of the Water Gardens - take a look

Latest stage in the restoration of the Water Gardens - take a look

Water Gardens

The Water Gardens Restoration started with an initiative by The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks in the 1990s. They set up The Water Gardens Trust to fund some archaeological research to discover what the gardens may have looked like. After many years The National Heritage Lottery Fund granted The Royal Parks money to restore these 18th century gardens. In 2008 the work on the main structure was completed and in 2009 the gardens were opened to the public for the first time in 300 years. As one of our annual projects in 2011, the members donated enough money to install the finials and a year later the reeds were put in place. The next stage in the restoration has just been completed. In June 2015, the trompe l’oeil paintings have been inserted into the arches to create the illusion that there is a tunnel which leads from one arch, under the cascade to the other arch. This follows the original 18th century plan shown in a painting on which the restoration was based. The picture, now known as “A View of the Cascade, Bushy Park Water Gardens” by Carlo Ricci was painted in about 1715, within two or three years of the completed Water Gardens. It clearly shows the effect then, and there is evidence that they were originally painted on wooden panels which were removed during the winter months to protect them from the weather. The new panels are made of weather proof material, so can be permanently displayed, thanks to a most generous donation from a former committee member.

There is one final part of the restoration to be completed, if the Friends can raise the money. This is to replace the hoods over the stoop basins which can also be clearly seen in the 18th painting, which usually hangs in Hampton Court Palace. Until 11th October 2015 it can be seen at the Queen’s Gallery in London. It is the key painting in an exhibition called “Painting Paradise – The Art of the Garden”.

The Water Gardens are open from about 09.00 every day except Mondays. When there is a Bank Holiday, they will open on Monday but will be closed on the Tuesday.

Pieter Morpurgo
July 2015

Oak Processionary Moth nest removal

Oak Processionary Moth nest removal

Oak Processionary Moth nest removal

No – aliens have not landed, the men in white “space” suits in cherry pickers that are in Bushy at the moment are in fact removing Oak Processionary Moth nests.

Nests have been identified by the teams of volunteers and are now being removed

Please do not approach or touch the moths or their nests as they are highly toxic and can cause extreme allergic reactions.

Click here to see our gallery of photos about the removal of Oak Processionary Moth nests

Friends Summer Party now sold out

Friends Summer Party now sold out

FBHP 25th party invitation

The Summer Party for the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, to be held on Friday, 24th July, has now sold out.

25th Anniversary celebration event

25th Anniversary celebration event

Present and past chairs of the Friends together with Bushy Park's present and past park managers

Over 150 Friends and guests enjoyed a wonderful party to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The evening was hosted at the Pheasantry Café by the Colicci team who provided a wonderful supper of savoury and sweet delights. The pastry chef excelled with the cake which was an amazing spectacle to behold, complete with spun sugar tree creations.

Our resident “celebrity” gardener and patron Cleve West spoke with much passion about his life as a garden designer and the project to create the award-winning Horatio’s Garden in the Spinal Treatment Centre at Salisbury Hospital. Plans are underway to create similar healing gardens in Scotland and Stoke Mandeville. You can find out more about the work of this charity at Horatio’s Garden

Music was provided by Chris Hooker on the clarinet and saxophone; he specialises in music from the 30’s and 40’s. You can contact Chris at Saxswing or River City Saxes.com

Please click here to see photographs of the party.

Hampton Wick Festival

Hampton Wick Festival

A lively contingent from the volunteers represented the Friends in the parade at the Hampton Wick Festival on Sunday 2nd August which took place in the High Street.

Hampton Wick was buzzing as it was also the Prudential annual cycle race following the Olympic cycling road race route through Richmond Park and Kingston to the Surrey Hills and back to The Mall. The weather was perfect (a significant improvement on last year’s gales!), and the Festival and parade appeared to be enjoyed by all, spectators and participants alike

Bushy House open - Sat 19 September

Bushy House open - Sat 19 September

Bushy House

Bushy House and gardens will be open as part of “Open House London 2015”. Doors will be open between 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and entrance is free.

Normally Bushy House can only be observed from the picturesque Bushy Park, but this unique opportunity offers visitors a chance to explore the history and scientific significance of this former royal residence, and find out what it actually looks like inside.

The original house was built by Edward Proger in 1663. From 1797 it was the residence of William, Duke of Clarence (later William IV) and his mistress Dora Jordan. It is now part of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Visitors will have the opportunity to visit various parts of the house, including the Director’s Apartment, and the beautiful gardens, home to a descendent of Newton’s apple tree. There will also be displays on the role of NPL during WWI and the 60th anniversary of Louis Essen building the world’s first accurate atomic clock.

Doors will be open between 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and entrance is free.

Please note that there is very limited access for people with disabilities and no dogs allowed (with the exception of guide and assistance dogs).

Bushy House is located on Glazebrook Road in Teddington (TW11 0EB), with access via the Queens Road Gate, or pedestrian access through Cannon Gate. There will be no car parking on site, please make use of the nearby public carpark on Dora Jordan Road and Clapperstile car park.

Please click here for a copy of the Bushy House Open Flyer.

Guided walk round Old Hampton

On rather an unseasonable cold Saturday morning, a group of Friends of Bushy Park gathered at St Mary’s Church, Hampton for a guided walk round old Hampton under the expert tutelage of Richmond Heritage guide, Johanna Coombes.

From earliest times Hampton played an important part in history. Its first landowner was Walter de Valery, 1066, a kinsman of William the Conqueror, who gave him the land. When Cardinal Wolsey built Hampton Court, he leased the land from the then owners, the Knights of St John.

We saw the house in Hampton where Sibell Penn, nursemaid to Henry 8th son, Prince Edward lived and whose ghost was said to haunt Hampton Court Palace.

Other famous Hampton residents included David Garrick, the actor, who moved into Hampton in1754 and renovated a large riverside home for himself, and built his famous temple to Shakespeare in the grounds. Garrick also encouraged friends in the theatre to move into Hampton, too, one of whom a playwright, lived. In the old house that it now Hampton library.

We were shown the house with the blue plaque where Alan Turing, famous for his work on the Computers at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, lived from 1945 to 1947 and did so much to further technology. And the tomb of John Gregg, a Dominican sugar planter who had lived in Hampton, and whose wife put up the huge tomb in St Mary’s Church.

And finally, on our way to the station, where we finished our walk, Johanna told us how the trains and other local transport, such as the trams, influenced the growth of Hampton from a village into the town it is today.

Deer Rut

Deer Rut

The deer rut begins later in September and will continue through October. A reminder that deer can feel threatened by people and dogs even over long distances and particularly close to. The Royal Parks recommends keeping at lease 50m from deer and giving them the respect they need during the rut. Last year one person who got too close was almost trampled as a stag wheeled away from a fight. Please take care; you might also like to advise other people who are getting too close, particularly if they are with small children.

Vote for your favourite park!

You may be aware that the Green Flag Awards launched its People’s Choice 2015 competition yesterday. This competition aims to encourage members of the public to vote for their favourite Green Flag area from over 1,500 green spaces across the UK.

Having retained Green Flags for all the Royal Parks, it would be lovely to see them appear in the top 10 list, or even better at the top, especially Bushy Park!

To vote for your favourite park, click the link below:

Hyde Park
Kensington Gardens
The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill
St James’s & Green Parks
Greenwich Park
Richmond Park
Bushy Park

For more background on the People’s Choice competition visit The Royal Parks website

Bushy House open - Sat 19 September

Bushy House open - Sat 19 September

Bushy House and gardens will be open as part of “Open House London 2015”. Doors will be open between 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and entrance is free.

Normally Bushy House can only be observed from the picturesque Bushy Park, but this unique opportunity offers visitors a chance to explore the history and scientific significance of this former royal residence, and find out what it actually looks like inside.

The original house was built by Edward Proger in 1663. From 1797 it was the residence of William, Duke of Clarence (later William IV) and his mistress Dora Jordan. It is now part of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Visitors will have the opportunity to visit various parts of the house, including the Director’s Apartment, and the beautiful gardens, home to a descendent of Newton’s apple tree. There will also be displays on the role of NPL during WWI and the 60th anniversary of Louis Essen building the world’s first accurate atomic clock.

Doors will be open between 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and entrance is free.

Please note that there is very limited access for people with disabilities and no dogs allowed (with the exception of guide and assistance dogs).

Bushy House is located on Glazebrook Road in Teddington (TW11 0EB), with access via the Queens Road Gate, or pedestrian access through Cannon Gate. There will be no car parking on site, please make use of the nearby public carpark on Dora Jordan Road and Clapperstile car park.

Please click here for a copy of the Bushy House Open Flyer.

Friends of Bushy Park Calendar 2016

Friends of Bushy Park Calendar 2016

FBHP Calendar 2016

The FBHP Calendar 2016 is now available at the Pheasantry, Talks and local events, priced £5.50.

Here at the Friends we really enjoy creating products for you to enjoy and share our love of the Parks.
Even with our best endeavours sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Unfortunately our printer has made an error in the 2016 calendar and the April dates are incorrect.

If you have a calendar already, we have organised an over sticker for the April dates. These are available from the Information Point but if you would like us to mail one to you please email with your postal address to jane.cliff@blueyonder.co.uk
We can only apologise for the error.

They are always a sell–out , so make sure you get your copy soon.

Experience Richmond Park by Shire horse-drawn carriage this Halloween!

Experience Richmond Park by Shire horse-drawn carriage this Halloween!

Halloween Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

Imagine the sombre steps of a horse-drawn dray approaching. Tis Halloween, and Richmond Park in the dark is both exhilarating… and just a little bit scary!

At night in Richmond Park, all kinds of creatures emerge. Hear about the Shrew Ash, where to this day witches are murmured to congregate, and tales of highwaymen and ghosts… Marvel at the Park’s majestic stags, who at this time of the year sleep by day and fight their rivals at night.

28th, 29th, 30th, 31st October at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm.

Cost: £48 for a one hour ride including carriage blankets and a glass of sloe gin

Book tickets at Halloween rides

Changes to Gardens Charging in 2016

In 2016, Historic Royal Palaces will open the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace. Following the introduction of this exciting addition to the offer for visitors at Hampton Court, there will be some adjustments to ticketing for the palace gardens.

From Easter 2016: visitors will be able to purchase a Magic Garden/Maze only ticket, and a Palace/Gardens ticket, which will also include the Magic Garden and Maze. There will no longer be a separate gardens ticket.

From Winter 2016: visitors will be asked to show a valid ticket or membership card in order to access the Formal Gardens on the East and South Fronts, a policy which is already in operation for the summer months. Access to the gardens will be with a Palace/Garden ticket via the palace’s main West Front entrance.

Half of the formal gardens will remain free to access, including the Wilderness, the newly restored Kitchen Garden, and the Rose Garden. In addition to this, Home Park, which comprises of 750 acres of historic deer park, will continue to be free to enjoy.

All-year-round pedestrian access to Home Park will continue to be maintained via Ditton Gate, Kingston Gate, Paddock Gate and Surbiton Passage Gate. For the first time, access to the park via Jubilee Gate will also be maintained all year round.

See more at: Changes to Gardens Charging in 2016

For FAQs about garden charging, click here

Deer Rut

The deer rut is now near its height and is a spectacular sight. Please note the following advice from TRPs.

Deer are wild animals and can be unpredictable. Bushy Park’s herds of wild deer roaming freely. Deer can feel threatened by people and dogs even over long distances. This is particularly during the rutting which starts in September and continues through October.

We recommend keeping at least 50m from deer and give them the respect they need during the rut.

Autumn Fruits

This is the season of autumn fruits – conkers, chestnuts, fungi and so on. Fungi are also part of the ecosystem; beetles, flies and fungus gnats all lay eggs in fungi; squirrels, deer, slugs and snails all eat fungi. Conkers and chestnuts form an essential part of the deer’s diet, without which they would not be able to build up fat reserves needed for the cold winter months.

Removal of autumn fruits and seeds is illegal and detrimental to the Park’s wildlife. If you see someone picking fungi, please call 101 the non-emergency police number and report the theft.

The Ancient and Veteran Trees of Bushy and Home Parks

South west London, and the Richmond area in particular, is a hot spot for the number of ancient and veteran trees. But what are they and why are they so important to our landscape and environment? Jamie Simpson from the Ancient Tree Forum together with Gillian Jonusas from The Royal Parks (TRP) and Nicholas Garbutt from Historic Royal Palaces provided us with a wealth of information on the subject.

The Ancient Tree Forum is an organisation started as a group of individuals who came together in 1993 to discuss ancient trees and their management. The Forum has grown to become one of the key partners in the identification, mapping and management of veteran trees in Britain. They lobby government and provide assistance in the production of reference books.

The age of ancient trees can vary considerably depending on the type of tree. For example a birch tree becomes ‘ancient’ at around 150 years old, while an oak can only be considered when it is about 400 years old. This is because an oak can survive a lot longer than a birch. Characteristics of an ancient tree are a low, fat or squat shape with a wide stem and a hollowing trunk. A veteran tree can be any age but shows characteristics of ancient trees. These can be caused by, amongst others, natural damage such as broken limbs or fungi that cause rot and help create cavities, or through deliberate tree management such as removing limbs for safety reasons. The ecological importance of ancient and veteran trees is immense. The fissures, cracks and cavities in the ancient trees harbour a wealth of wildlife, from the tiniest mites to birds and small mammals; each creature is reliant on all others in the food chain.

Bushy and Home Parks were one of the first places in the country to be designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due in part to the population of ancient and veteran trees. There are 140 veteran trees in Bushy Park, including lime, oak, hawthorn, black poplar and silver maple. The oldest tree, a sweet chestnut of 9.5 metres in circumference, is not in the park but beside Bushy House sports ground on land managed by TRP. In Home Park, near Oak Pond, there are the remnants of the ‘1,000 year old oak’ which in 1982 was measured with a 12 metre circumference. Unfortunately, following a lightning strike it never fully recovered, despite efforts to help rejuvenate it. Other ancient trees, which can be seen on the Barge Walk, were remnants of an old boundary hedge containing field maples contorted after hundreds of years of management.

During the 20th century there was an increase in the problems faced by veteran trees. High visitor numbers to the Parks walking around the trees can cause compaction of the root zone, which in turn restricts oxygen and water being taken up by the trees. You will see in both Parks areas at the base of old trees where the soil has been carefully aerated and a mulch of bark applied, or a fence has been erected, to prevent further compaction taking place. Natural pests and diseases are also spreading, helped by climate change and imported materials.

Request for a new auditor

The Trustees are seeking a replacement for Carol Ruddock, who audited the Friends’ annual accounts for several years and stepped down at the 2015 AGM. Is anyone interested in taking on this voluntary job? As a small charity the Friends’ annual accounts are prepared on a receipts and payments basis showing how much money is held and has been received and paid out. The financial records are a mixture of hard copy documents, e.g. invoices and bank statements, and data held on spreadsheets.

Once appointed by the Trustees, the auditor’s work will involve liaising with the Hon. Treasurer, John Elrick, and auditing the 2015 annual accounts. The accounts run from January to December. John will prepare the 2015 accounts in January 2016 which will need to be audited in February in time for the AGM in early March.

Any member who is interested needs to:
- be independent of all aspects of the Friends’ management.
- be able to access and use the spreadsheet data.
- be able to work with figures.

The audited 2014 accounts are on the web site at audited 2014 accounts. If anyone is interested please contact the Hon. Treasurer, John Elrick, who is happy to provide more information. John can be contacted on 020 8979 7512 or jandaelrick@btinternet.com

Planting in the Woodland Gardens

Planting in the Woodland Gardens

Despite the wet and windy weather on Saturday a gallant group of volunteers planted 200 yews and hollies in the Bog Garden.

At least the rain meant that it was soft going for digging

Many thanks to all who came along and for all the generous donations that made it possible

Ham House and Garden (talk report)

Naomi Campbell has worked for the National Trust in a range of roles for the past 17 years. She now manages a group of properties including Ham House and Garden, and Petersham Meadows. On 22 October she gave us an insightful talk about current projects at Ham.

A garden conservation management plan has been produced with the aim of recreating the authentic ‘spirit of place’ in the grounds. “Ham House from the South” painted in the 1670s by Hendrick Danckerts was used as the first point of reference. When Naomi asked to see the Trust’s archive material regarding Ham, 250 boxes of papers and artefacts were delivered. This material has been sorted through with the aid of a Heritage Lottery funded trainee. The many volunteers at Ham have been consulted and visitors were asked to complete a questionnaire about their impressions of the property.

Since Naomi became manager, the Orangerie restaurant has been remodelled and ingredients from the kitchen garden are used. There are more tours of the house and grounds, and only flowers grown in the garden are displayed in the house. Implementing the garden plan over the next 10 years will not alter the layout, but the plants may be changed, usually by incremental improvements. Work on the avenues and car parks is also proposed but that will take 40 years to complete.

Recruitment of Special Constables to serve in the Royal Parks

The Metropolitan Police covering the Royal Parks are recruiting for Special Constables to be based at Richmond and Greenwich Parks.

For further details, please see their Royal Parks recruitment poster.

World Tree Day

World Tree Day

Swamp Cypress

Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum) tree roots can be found in Bushy Park, Richmond Park, St James’s Park, Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill and Greenwich Park.

Cypress trees growing in swampy areas tend to have a peculiar growth called ‘cypress knees’ – these are woody projections sent above the normal water level, roughly vertically from the roots like the ones pictured here!

Big Cone Pine

The Big Cone Pine (Pinus coulteri) in Bushy Park produces, as the name suggests, giant pine cones – as big as pineapple! – weighing up to 5 ½lb (2.5kg). This species of Pine tree is native of the United States and was planted in memory of the World War II American base. It can be found in the Woodlands Gardens.

Policing in the Park

The new policing model is now operational in all of the Royal Parks, and each Park has a Dedicated Park Officer(DPO). In Bushy it is PC Christmas.

He is very keen that any incident is reported to him or the team of officers that support him.

He can be contacted directly on 07920 586546, in the event of an emergency please continue to call 999.

FBHP Annual General Meeting 2016

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks will be held on Friday 4 March 2016 at The National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington, Middx. TW11 0LW.

Click here for the agnda.

Mushroom Picking and Celebrity Chefs

Park management (and the Friends) are concerned about the increasing quantities of fungi being taken from the Park, sometimes on an industrial scale. It is not clear why – it may be due to the increasing popularity of foraging for wild foods, which is promoted by some celebrity chefs – see the Guardian article.

Any picking of fungi or other autumn fruits has long been banned in the Royal Parks – you can read why in the Park Diary further down the page. The Royal Parks have a publicity campaign to explain the problem, which was featured in the Standard, Express and other papers – read here.

It was also featured in a very good 2-minute piece on ITV London News.

Christmas Carols at the Pheasantry

On 19 December the Friends, along with The Royal Parks and Colicci, were pleased to welcome The Quire of Thames Ditton to entertain visitors to the Pheasantry with carols old and new. A collection was taken towards this year’s appeals. Afterwards our volunteers and committee members joined the singers for mince pies and mulled wine.

You can view a selection of photois from this event here.

A Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.

Bushy Park Office. Christmas period

To advise you that Bushy Park’s office will be closed from the 25th December until Monday 4th January when it will reopen at 08:00hrs.

The police can be contacted on101 for issues such as crime reporting . In a situation requiring the emergency services please dial 999.

Bill Swan will be on duty Tuesday 29th to Thursday 31st December during normal hours. Mob: 07974 118 712.

The Royal Parks on-call manager can be contacted for urgent matters outside hours on 07969 726 027.

A Merry Christmas to you all

Winter Wonderland

This annual Christmas event in Hyde Park raised over £3 million for The Royal Parks, enough to fund the cost of running Richmond Park.

According to press reports, the event attracted more than three million visitors over the course of its six week run. It featured a range of attractions including a 1,600sqm ice rink, the Bavarian Village, Zippos Circus and nightly live bands. After last year’s high visitor numbers and problems of crowd congestion around the attractions, the space for the event was increased to cover most of the area between Hyde Park Corner and Marble Arch. You can see a good aerial view of the event here.

The spirit of Bushy Park: Poetry recital with guitar music

Readings from Jeewan Ramlugun’s new book of poems ‘Bushy Park’ accompanied by guitar music.

Proceeds to the local charities: The Friends of Bushy and Home Park and The Ataker Kraus Trust & the Down’s Syndrome Association.

VENUE: ‘La Cloche at the Lion’ pub – nestled between Bushy Park, Teddington and Hampton Wick.
27 Wick Road Teddington TW11 9DN 8977 4778 lion@laclochepub.com

ACTORS: Sheila Lee, June West and Paul Alexander

MUSIC: The Alexander/Robinson Guitar Duo.

THE EVENT: will take place in the very comfortable setting of the pub’s dining area.

THE AUDIENCE: can order drinks, nibbles, starters or a full 3 course meal from 7 pm onwards while being serenaded from 7.30 pm onwards with the Jazz Guitar playing of Charles Alexander and Andy Robinson.

THE RECITAL: 27 poems from Jeewan’s new book of poetry, all inspired by walks in Bushy Park, will start at 8 pm with an introduction from Jeewan. The poems will be interspersed with jazz guitar pieces like, Honeysuckle Rose, Walk Don’t Run, Travels and there will be a photo carousel projected on to a cinema screen portraying aspects of Bushy Park.

DRINKS AND FOOD: can be ordered throughout the entertainment.
People are welcome to stay on afterwards to talk to Jeewan, the actors and musicians, and enjoy good company in a convivial atmosphere.

For full details, click here

Tickets can be obtained through Eventbrite. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Bushy Park Holiday Club - plans for 2016

The Field Studies Council has now set up its Holiday Club plans for 2016.

These are activities for families which take place each school holiday. The full list of courses can be found online here

Hampton Court Palace goes green in 2016!

At Easter, an imaginative new garden for families, designed by Chelsea award winning landscape architect Robert Myers – The Magic Garden – will open in King Henry VIII’s former Tiltyard, where the elaborate spectacle of Tudor tournaments once played out. Inspired by tales from the palace’s past, this new addition to Hampton Court’s landscape will bring the rich history and legends of the Tudor Court to life in a completely unique and innovative way.

To read the full press release, click Hampton Court Palace goes green in 2016 here.

‘The Empress and the Gardener’

A remarkable collection of watercolour paintings and drawings once owned by the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia will go on show at Hampton Court Palace this spring, as part of the nationwide commemorations marking the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birth. Never displayed before, the collection of almost 60 intricately detailed views of the palace, park and gardens vividly captures Hampton Court during the time when Capability Brown served there as Chief Gardener to King George III. The intriguing history of this collection, which lay forgotten in the stores of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia for over two centuries, will be explored in a new exhibition: ‘The Empress and the Gardener.’

To read the full press release, click The Empress and the Gardener

New charitable body to manage the Royal Parks

New charitable body to manage the Royal Parks

View of St. James from Buckingham Palace

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has given the green light to plans by The Royal Parks Agency and the Royal Parks Foundation (the charity for the Royal Parks) to create a new public corporation. They will now begin the process of applying for charitable status from the Charity Commission.

The new charitable body will take over the role of managing the parks from The Royal Parks Agency (TRP), which last year spent £36.6m maintaining the 5,000 acre estate. It will also build on the role of fundraising currently undertaken by the Royal Parks Foundation (RPF).

To read more about this announcement, see New charitable body to manage the Royal Parks

'The Empress and the Gardener'

A remarkable collection of watercolour paintings and drawings once owned by the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia will go on show at Hampton Court Palace this spring, as part of the nationwide commemorations marking the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birth. Never displayed before, the collection of almost 60 intricately detailed views of the palace, park and gardens vividly captures Hampton Court during the time when Capability Brown served there as Chief Gardener to King George Ill. The intriguing history of this collection, which lay forgotten in the stores of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia for over two centuries, will be explored in a new exhibition: ‘The Empress and the Gardener.’

For more details of the exhibition, see ‘The Empress and the Gardener’

Bushy Park playground partial reopening following improvement works

The sandpit area of the Bushy Park Playground has reopened following improvement works. They aim to have the remaining section of the playground reopened by the Easter weekend.

Bird Walk on 12 March 2016 (report)

Bird Walk on 12 March 2016 (report)

Jackdaw tree (Jenny Bourne)

A group of up to 70 left Diana car park and walked along the side of Heron Pond observing gadwall, tufted and mallard ducks along the way. We saw various gulls, mainly black headed, on the water as well as coots and red crested pochard. As we headed across the bracken towards Hawthorn Cottage we were lucky enough to see a little owl perched in an old hawthorn tree. Diana commented that we might also see a short-eared owl if we visited Home Park. Other birds seen were jays, jackdaws, magpies, a blackbird, green woodpecker, blue tit and of course several parakeets. Walking towards Chestnut Avenue a mistle thrush was feeding on the grass near to the road and we saw a robin on a nearby branch.

There was a heron on the water as we approached the gate into the Woodland gardens; seemingly unconcerned by the large crowd of admirers.

Once in the Pheasantry Woodland Gardens there were more ducks, Egyptian and Canada geese and moorhens. A wren could be seen on the far bank of Triss’s Pond as we listened to the lovely sound of the song thrush.
Walking back towards Diana Fountain, a pied wagtail was spotted on the grass with a cormorant perched on one of the statue’s bronzes.

Many thanks to Diana and her ‘helpers’

New arrangements for access to the Hampton Court Gardens

Changes to Gardens Charging in 2016

Ticketing arrangements for the palace’s formal gardens have changed in 2016.

• From 1 March 2016: visitors will be able to purchase a Magic Garden/Maze only ticket, and a Palace/Gardens ticket, which will also include the Magic Garden and Maze. There will no longer be a separate gardens ticket.
• From Winter 2016: visitors will be asked to show a valid ticket or membership card in order to access the Formal Gardens on the East and South Fronts, a policy which is already in operation for most of the year.
• For a one year trial period, from 15 April 2016, the palace’s East Front formal gardens will be free to access between the hours of 9am and 10am.
• The palace’s formal gardens will also be open for free on the following dates during the palace’s summer season:
o National Garden Open Day: Friday 15 April, 2016.
o For the duration of the Hampton Court Flower Show: 5 – 10 July 2016.
o For the duration of Open House weekend: 17 – 18 September 2016.
• The vast majority of the Hampton Court Palace estate, including the Wilderness, the newly restored Kitchen Garden, and the Rose Garden will remain free to access.. In addition to this, Home Park, which comprises of 750 acres of parkland, will continue to be free to enjoy.
• All-year-round pedestrian access to Home Park will continue to be maintained via Ditton Gate, Kingston Gate, Paddock Gate and Surbiton Passage Gate. For the first time, access to the park via Jubilee Gate will also be maintained all year round.

An explanation of changes to gardens tickets at Hampton Court Palace

From 2016, we will be asking all visitors to show a valid ticket or membership card in order to access the Formal Gardens on the East and South Fronts during the winter, a policy which is already in operation for most of the year.

The vast majority of our 800 acre estate will remain free for people to enjoy throughout the year, including Home Park, the newly-restored Royal Kitchen Garden, the West Front, Wilderness, the Rose Garden and the three-mile Barge Walk between Hampton Court and Kingston Bridges.

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity receiving no Government or Crown funding and we care for Hampton Court Palace and its surrounding landscape at no cost to the taxpayer. We raise all our own funds and rely on income generated from ticket sales, membership, retail, catering and other commercial activities in order to conserve and maintain this magnificent building and its landscape.

The costs of maintaining Hampton Court and its estate are significant and we have to use our resources responsibly, effectively and efficiently to ensure that the palace and its gardens can be enjoyed for many years to come.

These changes to access arrangements for the formal gardens are necessary and we feel it is the right time to put these plans in place. Season tickets for the formal gardens have declined over the years to the extent that we only sold 34 tickets in 2014. In contrast, we have over 80,000 Members and welcome nearly 600,000 visitors to the palace every year. Membership, which starts from £38 for an individual or £63 for two adults, represents far better value for money for regular visitors, offering unlimited access to Hampton Court and the five other palaces in our care all year round.

There are a number of other practical reasons for the changes. The opening of the new Magic Garden has meant that we’ve had to look closely at staffing levels and ticketing arrangements across the site. In addition, we aren’t currently able to offer the full experience we would like to provide for visitors in the formal gardens and we would like to introduce more interpretation to help people explore their history and significance. Finally, we hope to be able to reopen the beautiful Little Banqueting House on a more frequent basis as a result of these changes.

As a charity, we are committed to preserving Hampton Court so that we can continue to share its fascinating history with the widest possible audience, including local schools, charities and community groups.

Ride with us! Horse Shares in Richmond Park

Ride with us! Horse Shares in Richmond Park

Operation Centaur

Launching in May 2016 Operation Centaur is pleased to offer a unique opportunity to horse share in Richmond Park, with access to the finest hacking in London and the South East.

It’s for a great cause too!

Horse shares support our therapeutic work with community groups.

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” (Sir Winston Churchill)

To find out more about Centaur Horse Shares, click here.

Chair - Colin Muid

Chair - Colin Muid

Colin became Chair in March 2016. He is a volunteer at our Visitor Information Point at The Pheasantry in Bushy Park. A resident of Hampton for over 40 years he has long enjoyed the parks with his family and friends. A career in IT spent largely in central government and in the private sector caused him to appreciate the fresh air and natural open spaces which these parks provide. He hopes to ensure future generations have the same enjoyment.

Email: chair@fbhp.org.uk

Hedgehog talk by Sue Kidger

Hedgehog talk by Sue Kidger

On 28 April 2016 Sue Kidger gave a talk in the St John Ambulance hall about her 16 years of rescuing and caring for hedgehogs. She has looked after more than 2,000 hedgehogs during that time. The star of the night turned out to be Alfie who she has been caring for over the last four years. To see more pictures of the night click on this link to go to the picture gallery.

Anyone wanting wanting to contact Sue can her e-mail her at: sue.kidger@gmail.com.

Children’s Walk 16 April 2016

Children’s Walk 16 April 2016

FBHP Nature Trail 16 April

—Diana Lewis led a group of 8 children and up to 12 adults round the Nature Trail in the Pheasantry Woodland Gardens.

We stopped to admire the very old Sweet Chestnut tree the London Planes, Cedar of Lebanon and rare Montpelier maple before crossing over Crocodile Bridge. Several water birds were ticked off on the sheet as we looked at the spectacular aerial roots of the Swamp Cypress trees. The walk continued to the Big Cone Pines which produce cones weighing up to 2.5 Kg, then on to the Sycamore, Alder and Turkey Oaks. We stopped at the dead tree and logs for a quiz and to make ‘crowns’ sticking on leaves, cones etc. which we had collected. Returning to the Information Point more ducks, a coot and a moorhen were seen. The children had their Bushy park sticker, badge, crown and nature sheets to take home to remind them of a very enjoyable walk. One boy remarked ’That was fun’ as he left the group. Many thanks to Diana, Chris and Val.
Walk 16th April plane tree

Deer and their young

Deer and their young

In late May the deer give birth to their young. The Red hinds produce calves, and the Fallow does produce fawns. The young are not ready to follow their mothers in the herd for one or two weeks. Until then, they lie hidden in deep grass or bracken. Their mothers graze in the vicinity, returning at intervals to groom and suckle them. At this stage the young are very vulnerable to disturbance from humans or attack by dogs and is when the mothers can be very defensive.

So please: –
•Do not touch very young deer as it may result in them being abandoned by their mothers and thus failing to survive.
•Stay clear from females – we recommend 50m and if you notice a lone female on ‘high alert’ it would reduce her anxiety to retrace your route and give her a wide berth.
•Dog walkers are advised to walk away from the Park, or if you choose to walk in the Park please stay clear of the remote quiet places where the deer are more likely to have young and stay on the busier areas that are generally at the edge of the Park.

New potting bench

New potting bench

New potting bench

Chris Nickerson Head Gardener is delighted with the new potting bench for the new nursery in the Woodland Gardens and thanked FBHP for purchasing it on behalf of The Royal Parks.

A big thank you for all your generous donations, we use these funds for projects in Bushy and Home parks that might not otherwise be possible.

If you have any suggestions as to how you feel the parks could benefit from money raised we would love to hear from you.

The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace

The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace

The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Place was officially opened by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge on 4th May.

Open daily for all the family

Set within King Henry V111’S former Tiltyard where the elaborate spectacle of the Tudor tournament played out , the new garden takes inspiration from the fairy- tale -like quality of the Tudor Palace. This summer the Magic Garden will host a series of evening talks with acclaimed historians , curators, gardeners and writers as they explore why our imaginations are compelled to the idyllic version of the garden.

New - available at the Information Point at the Pheasantry

New - available at the Information Point at the Pheasantry

Canning and Cole

As members of FBHP, Kate Canning and Ian Cole are delighted that there is mutual benefit for
both Bushy Park and their bees and proud to be able to offer their honey for sale
at the Information Point.

Profits from the sale of this honey will go towards Friends’ projects in the Parks.

For more information, see Canning and Cole honey bee notes for FBHP .

Garden award

Garden award

Cleve West

Many congratulations to our patron Cleve West on being awarded a gold medal at Chelsea for his inspired “M & G Garden 2016”

Cleve said” The inspiration for the garden came from memory ; the memory of Exmoor National Park where I spent most of my teenage years”.

He worked with landscape contractor Steve Swatton and Hampshire based nursery Hortus Loci to create an amazing garden , well done.

Gnat's genitals reveal new species in the UK

Gnat's genitals reveal new species in the UK

Bushy Gnat

To some, flies are nothing more than a nuisance, but a new species has been discovered in the UK for the first time – thanks to the shape of its genitals.

The Grzegorzekia bushyae or Bushy Gnat is so called after a new find at Bushy Park, placing the London attraction on the worldwide insect map.

While identifying fungus gnats caught in the park, entomologist Peter Chandler found a species of the genus Grzegorzekia that had “a genital structure markedly different” to the widespread species Grzegorzekia collaris – the only previously known species of that kind in Britain.

Specimens found in the Waterhouse Woodland Gardens towards the western edge of the park were found to be a new species identified in the UK, which is also thought to be scarce across Europe.

Read the full story from the Royal Parks website here.

Royal Parks welcome Loyd Grossman CBE as new Chairman

A new Royal Parks charity will be led by lifelong arts and heritage enthusiast Loyd Grossman CBE following his appointment as its new Chairman.

He will be the first chairman to lead a new charity which will manage and fundraise for London’s Royal Parks. In February, the government gave its approval to plans by The Royal Parks Agency and the Royal Parks Foundation (the charity for the Royal Parks) to create a new public corporation. The process of applying for it to be granted charitable status from the Charity Commission is now underway.

For the full story, see here.

Poetry Recital Event

Following a very successful evening featuring poetry readings and music at the Lion , Hampton Wick in February FBHP received a generous donation of £65.70 which will be allocated to our projects in the parks. Our thanks to Jeewansing Ramlugun for his support, Jeewan writes poetry inspired by Bushy Park, one of his books is available at the Information Point.

Latest news from The Royal Parks

This is an exciting time for The Royal Parks as we seek to become a charitable public body. We want to share two recent media interviews with you in case you haven’t seen them. The first is with our new Chairman Loyd Grossman and the other with our Chief Executive Andrew Scattergood. They very much confirm as we have discussed with you our plans and ambitions for the new organisation.

You can view Loyd’s interview here.

You can view Andrew’s interview here.

Please note that at the end of Andrew’s interview the interviewer comments that the new organisation will be The Royal Parks Foundation Trust. The working assumption as we move forward is that we will retain the name The Royal Parks.

Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp

We have been notified by the London Parks and Green Spaces forum about the Oriental Chestnut Gall Wasp which has recently been found in a number of locations in and around London. It is a pest of the Sweet chestnut tree:

‘The impact of OCGW on Sweet chestnut in this country is low. People should also be reassured that the wasp does not pose a human or animal health risk, as it doesn’t bite or sting.

For more detailed information on OCGW – life cycle, symptoms, impact etc – please refer to the Forestry Commission website. Our advice is to:

– Familiarise yourself with OCGW so you can identify it

- Report findings via the Tree Alert webpage

- Avoid moving infested foliage material from sites to prevent the risk of spread of the wasp.’

Apparently, the wasp is present in Bushy Park as confirmed by the Forestry Commission but not yet in Home Park, at least not that has been spotted. Home Park is keen that if we do spot it, we should let them know.

Honey update

Honey update

We have been overwhelmed by the response and demand for Bushy Park honey at the Information Point, currently we are out of stock but the bees are still busy and we will have more arriving on 27th August.

Sorry for any disappointment but we are delighted that everyone is enjoying this wonderful local product.

Kate and Ian

Autumn 2016 walks poster

Autumn 2016 walks poster

Please see our Autumn 2016 Walks & Talks poster, with details of events we have planned for the next three months.

This chap looks as though it needs a plaster!

This chap looks as though it needs a plaster!

Oak tree by Laurel Gate which has shed a large branch over the path. Just as well no-one was walking underneath it at the time!

Honey and calendars

Now back in stock at the Information Point – the brilliant Bushy Park honey from our local bee keepers Kate and Ian, grab a pot while you can.

Also newly available our calendar for 2017 , full of wonderful images of the parks taken by visitors, an early Xmas present just £5.50.

Deer Walk in Bushy Park

Deer Walk in Bushy Park

Over 50 people took part in the Deer Walk in Bushy Park on 3rd September 2016.

John Lock, our speaker, provided us with a great deal of information about deer.

You can see a selection of photos from the walk here

Ticks found on 'one third' of dogs, researchers say

A recent BBC news article reported that almost a third of dogs checked at random across the UK were found to be carrying a tick. The finding comes from the largest survey of ticks in dogs. Almost 15,000 dogs from across the UK were examined in the study, which was carried out by Bristol University last year. See the full article here

An Invitation to the Making of London as a National Park City

WildHomesLondon & National Park City Initiative have sent details of a fantastic event which is happening on 21st September 2016 at The Royal Festival Hall, London.

This special event has all the ingredients to be a magnificent community gathering. Provocative, proactive and inspiring, it will be an evening to remember.

We’re proud about the line up. Comedian Josie Long is hosting and on stage will be national parks director Paul Hamblin, firefighter Simon Jakeman, Charlton Manor Primary Beekeepers, Dr Tom Coffey, Rachel Bradley from B&Q, Head Rifat Batool, poet Laila Sumpton, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Wayne Hemingway and many more. To raise the rafters we’ve the Bollywood Brass Band.

Tickets are available from the-making-of-a-national-park

You may use the coupon RIVERTHAMES for a 25% reduction.

Want to know more? We’ve just released a video which explains why we should make London a National Park City.

Autumn riding in Richmond Park

Autumn riding in Richmond Park

Operation Centaur Open Day

What better time than Autumn to ride in Richmond Park? The 12 weeks to Christmas offer some of the most exciting riding time – crisp weather, glorious colours, and the opportunity to get close to nature.

Operation Centaur welcomes both experienced and rusty riders. Come and meet our happy horses and find out more about becoming a member of our Riding Club.

Open Day – Sunday 9th October, Holly Lodge TW10 5HS

E-mail Operation Centaur to book a free visit.

Field Studies Council courses 2017

Field Studies Council courses 2017

The Field Studies Council have announced their latest Natural History courses, many of which are based in Bushy Park. These day courses for adults cover subjects ranging from bird watching to insect identification and trees in winter.

For further information follow this link.

A note to all fishermen

Last Sunday John Lock along with another regular visitor to Home Park made a distressing discovery. An Egyptian Geese was in a particularly bad way. On inspection (the goose was very docile and ringed) they found a nylon filament fishing line wound tightly around both legs which they endeavoured to remove. but I am afraid the goose faced an uncertain future. Obviously there are more than enough Egyptian geese moving around the parks now, but this is an uncomfortable reminder of the risks waterbirds run.

I would show photos to illustrate the point but really they are too distressing.

The Friends bid a fond farewell to Head Gardener Chris Nickerson

The Friends bid a fond farewell to Head Gardener Chris Nickerson

Planting team photo

On Saturday a small hardy group of Friends successfully planted over 1000 daffodils in a newly created bed (post Rhododendron Ponitcum removal) in the Pheasantry Woodlands.

It would be the last working session organised by Chris Nickerson as he will be retiring at the end of the month.
Chris has been in charge of the Woodland Gardens for almost 8 years and during that time we have all been fortunate to experience the fruits of his vision, his plans going forward will of course benefit future generations. He will leave an important legacy , we wish him a very happy, well deserved retirement.

Hyde Park: Building starts on £5m mega-nursery the size of a football pitch

A new £5 million mega-nursery the size of a football pitch is to be built at London’s Hyde Park.

The Royal Parks announced they are replacing their falling-down greenhouse with a massive super-nursery capable of growing nearly all their 500,000 plants under one roof.

Read the full article here.

Photographers of deer.

In October the Times and Telegraph both carried photos of the deer rut, contributing to the visitors coming to see it.

See the newspaper photos here. We are increasingly concerned about the numbers of people coming from even long distances (the rut featured in the Ilford local newspaper and there are photography trips organised from various parts of London promising to ‘get up close and personal’ with the deer). The deer are getting stressed and there is an accident waiting to happen. This is not a new phenomenon. See the Times article on 5 November last year here

The Royal Parks Guild Awards

The Royal Parks Guild Awards

3 recipients – Nicholas, in the middle Anthony and far right Dick

The Royal Parks Guild annual awards were held at Hampton Court Palace on January 20th 2017. Mike Fit , Chair of the Guild and Paul Gray , Palaces Group Director, presented the awards.

Nicholas Garbutt, Tree and Wildlife Conservation Manager, Historic Royal Palaces, was awarded The Jeanette Lawton Bowl for his very considerable achievements including completing a biodiversity strategy to continue Historic Royal Palaces plans to manage the Hampton Court Palace estate in an environmental sustainable way.

Anthony Boulding , Horticultural Manager , Gardens&Estate Hampton Court Palace received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Anthony started work in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace in 1973 as a Royal Parks apprentice and during the last two decades he has played a significant role in assisting with several, high profile, garden restoration projects at Hampton Court such as the Lower Orangery Garden and The Kitchen Garden.

Dick Farr, Foreman, Isabella Plantation , Richmond Park received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dick began his career with The Royal Parks in 1975 . For the past six years Dick has played a key role in assisting with the development and delivery of the HLF funded Isabella Plantation Access Project. Recently, Dick was presented with the RHS medal and certificate in recognition of his 40 years’ service to horticulture.

John Farndon

John Farndon

John Farndon

It is with great sadness that we have recently learnt of the sad and unexpected death of John Farndon , a much loved and respected local gentleman who was Chair of the Friends between 1997-2000.

John Farndon was chairman of FBHP from 1997 to 2000. His funeral at Hanworth Crematorium on 23 December 2016 was attended by many local people, including representatives from Probus and The Hampton Society, acknowledging the service he had given to his community.

Sheila Farndon was well supported by her family who made moving contributions to the farewell ceremony. We heard anecdotes about John’s life, his career as a chemist and patent examiner, and his great enthusiasm for foreign travel.

After serving as Chairman, John had continued to attend our meetings and functions regularly. We will all miss his cheery presence.

A vicious fight that conkers can't win

Britain’s beloved horse chestnut tree is in danger of disappearing from our parks forever. It is being infected by the leaf miner moth ( Cameraria ohridella), it was first reported in Wimbledon in 2002 and since that time has wreaked havoc, spreading an estimate 60 miles per year. Trees appear unsightly with brown withered looking leaves and dried up seed cases.

Dr Glynn Percival of Harlett Tree Research comments “The horse chestnut will not be a major tree species in 15 years. I have to be pessimistic but, with time, they’re just going to become rarer and rarer”.

With rapid defoliation the leaf miner causes makes each infected tree appear unsightly it won’t necessarily kill it. However, it faces another threat as they become susceptible to bleeding canker, a bacterial pathogen which causes the bark to split and starves the tree of moisture thereby killing it.
It is recommended that the leaves of affected trees should be burnt to try and stem the production of further moths.

The Royal Parks have been looking to the future and increasingly find embargoes on the importation of a number of tree species , the latest being the sweet chestnut. Some difficult decisions will need to be made for future planting and at this time Chestnut Ave looks to be under threat.

Appointment of new Historic Royal Palaces Chief Executive

Appointment of new Historic Royal Palaces Chief Executive

John Barnes, Director of Conservation and Learning at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity responsible for the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, has been appointed Chief Executive with effect from 1 July 2017. John will succeed Michael Day CVO who retires after 14 years at the helm”.

To read more, see here.

Carol singing at the Pheasantry cafe with The Quire

Carol singing at the Pheasantry cafe with The Quire

Carol singing at the Pheasantry

Thames Ditton’s The Quire sang carols and festive music at the Pheasantry cafe in the Woodland Gardens on Saturday, which certainly cheered up a rather damp and gloomy day. Our Information Point volunteers joined in as did many visitors who came to watch and join in too. Many thanks to The Quire for getting us all in the Christmas spirit!

Change to Winter opening hours from 7th January & update

The Information Point winter opening hours from Saturday 7th January to Sunday 26th February will be 11.30 am to 1.30 pm.

This is to allow for the deteriorating weather affecting both the number of park visitors and the volunteers working in less pleasant weather conditions. We will aim to open up to our normal weekend hours of 11.00 to 15.00 in March.

Barn Owl Manor

Barn Owl Manor

Barn Owl Manor

Thanks to the very generous donations placed in our green donations box by visitors to our Information Point during 2016, we have been able to pay for a “Barn Owl Manor” which, in February, was installed in the paddocks in Home Park.

Even though the parks are a sustainable environment for these wonderful birds, there are only a few barn owls in the area, mainly due to the lack of suitable buildings in which they can nest. Following consultation between Historic Royal Palaces and the barn owl conservation charity “The Barn Owl Centre”, the committee felt that supporting this project would be a very worthwhile way to use our visitors’ donations this year.

Barn Owl Manor

As you can see, the “Manor” is purpose-built, having been designed by the The Barn Owl Centre and modified for us with some upgraded features. We are told it will prove less attractive to other species such as jackdaws, which has been a problem in the past. Although the Manor is situated in an area of Home Park not normally open to the public, we hope to include it in one of our forthcoming walks.

Half Marathon at Hampton Court Palace on Sunday 19 March 2017

Half Marathon at Hampton Court Palace on Sunday 19 March 2017

Half Marathon at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace will be hosting ‘The Palace Half’ the official half marathon to start and finish at Hampton Court Palace on Sunday 19th March 2017.

The event starts outside the main palace entrance at 09:00 with a wave start where runners are dispersed onto the course every 5 minutes over a 25 minute period. This will enable runners to be spread out across the route and will prevent congestion along the way. The race is due to finish at 12:30 although this is dependent on the runners on the day.
The route will be marshalled with stewards and traffic management teams lining the route. A map of the route of the 13.5mile race is above.

There will be 3,500 runners taking part so vehicle access to Barge Walk will temporarily be restricted during 09:00 and 12:30 on this date. The only other vehicle restriction will be placed on Trophy Gate as access down Trophy Drive within the palace grounds is closed between 08:55 and 09:25 for the start of the race. Adams Gate and Moat Lane are still
available for accessing the site during this half an hour.

Parking for runners and spectators will be provided on Hampton Court Green in an area separate from the established car park. Stewards will be managing this car park.

Teddington named among the Sunday Times best places to live

Teddington has been named as one of the best places to live in London in a top ten to be published in the Sunday Times, reports the Twickenham Tribune.

On hearing the news, Sheen Harold of the Teddington Society was thrilled that Teddington is on the list: “Wow, that’s brilliant. Of course I think Teddington’s the BEST place to live since I live here! It has everything. We’re tucked between the River with the famous Lock and Bushy Park with all the wildlife and activities. Our shopping High Street is full of specialised independents and we have several surrounding streets with everything a household could need. Lots of good schools and a vibrant community. What more could you want?”

Ten London locations have been named among the Best Places to Live in Britain by The Sunday Times. The accolade comes in part two of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide, which is published on Sunday March 19. The supplements assess a wide range of factors, from jobs, exam results and broadband speed to culture, community spirit and local shops in order to compile the definitive top locations to make your home.

The methodology relies on hard data and robust statistics on crime and education, but also on expert knowledge from The Sunday Times judging panel. The judges combine the numbers with their own experience of the villages, towns and cities, such as local pubs, ease of transport and the range of attractive property to ensure the chosen locations truly are places where readers and their families can thrive.

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live in London: Barnes, Bermondsey, Bloomsbury, Canonbury, The City, Crystal Palace, Muswell Hill, Peckham, Teddington and Walthamstow
NB: The above list does not represent the ranking order for the city

Ponds Walk 25 March

Ponds Walk 25 March

Ponds Walk 25 March

On a beautifully sunny Saturday morning about 50 people turned up for the Ponds Walk in Bushy Park. Jane Cliff led the walkers and those who stayed the course over 2 hours and several miles thanked her for leading the way. By then they had visited Boating Pond, Heron Pond, Leg of Mutton Pond, Diana Fountain, Triss’s Pond, Fishers Pond, Waterhouse Pond, River Lodge Pond, the Water Gardens, with Hampton Hill Pond and the Canal Plantation viewed from afar (there were some flagging by now) and finishing at Bartons Pond. The weather could not have been kinder and the ponds were gleaming with a clear blue sky above.

Ponds Walk 25 March

Field Studies Council

The Field Studies Council have issued their programme of educational courses. On Sunday 23 July they will be running a course entitled Ecological Introduction to Bushy Park.

Details can be found for adults courses in the London region here

Details of sessions for families courses in the London region can be found here

Richmond Park - National Nature Reserve: on TV tonight and on YouTube

Richmond Park - National Nature Reserve: on TV tonight and on YouTube

Richmond Park TV programme

The Friends of Richmond Park are delighted that the film presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough, called “Richmond Park – National Nature Reserve”, will be broadcast this evening, Wednesday 26th April on London Live (Freeview Channel 8) at 7pm and again this Sunday 30th April at 11.30 am.
You can also view the film online via three options:
through the Friends of Richmond Park website
via the special film website or
directly on YouTube.

There’s a short version of the film specifically for mobile phone and tablet users or those who just want to watch highlights/clips with key messages. This is also available on YouTube now.

Egyptian geese family

Egyptian geese family

Egyptian Goose family by Fisher's Pond

A pair of Egyptian geese with their 8 beautiful goslings were spotted yesterday, by Fisher’s Pond in Waterhouse WG. The young were feeding on grass quite happily. They appear to be a few days old. The parents were very attentive as there was a sinister jackdaw close by watching them.

Hampton Hill Allotments

Once again Hampton Hill Allotments will open their doors to the public on May 20 from 12.00-3.00pm.

There is always lots of great food to be had and plants/conserves to buy.

Access from The Water Gardens will be available.

Consultation on preserving the free use of public parks

The Department of Communities and Local Government has issued a consultation document about ParkRun and suggesting that all municipal parks will not be allowed to charge it or other bodies for organised use of parks for leisure pursuits.

The Royal Parks will be responding on their own behalf but are welcoming Friends groups and park users to submit their respective comments to the consultation document.

The consultation document can be found at this web address.

Deer Herds blamed for growth of Lyme Disease

Britain’s soaring deer population is linked to a growing problem with Lyme disease , scientist have warned. At the turn of the century there were only 250 reported cases in the UK each year but now the NHS says it is closer to 3,000.

It is transmitted through ticks which feed on deer and can be picked up by dogs and their owners when they walk through woodland . The British deer population now stands at 1.5 million the highest it has been for 1,000 years with numbers doubling since 1999 . Urban foxes and house cats are also targets for ticks and can spread disease.

Professor Richard Wall , of the University of Bristol , said ………….
‘Make sure your dog is give anti -tick treatment and avoid long grass ‘.
Populations have been rising since 1963 Deer Act stopped the animals being treated as vermin. They have no natural predators . Lyme disease can be a serious problem for both humans and dogs , leading to heart failure, meningitis , memory problems , paralysis and even death .(Also encephalitis and Anaplasma) . Then problem is made worse by owners taking their pts abroad , because the disease is more common in ticks on the continent .

Ticks can also infect dogs with the potentially fatal disease Canine Babesiosis, which can also cause jaundice and anaemia.
Vets are calling for regulations to force pet owners to use anti-tick treatments when travelling abroad . Studies show around three quarters of dogs returning from Europe have ticks ….

Shropshire vet Dr. Natalie Morris dais “The Brexit negotiations provide an opportunity to amend the pet Travel Scheme , But we feel we need to call on the Government to act now before it is to lat . With an election looming we want protecting UK pets and borders against ticks to be on the agenda for the new Government team.”

Ideal device for tick removal is a specially designed hook found at vets or local pet store -don’t release the live tick back into the environment , groom pet regularly , ask vet for prevention treatment and follow advice

Activities for Families and children:

Here is a list of activities FSC London is delivering on behalf of The Royal Parks.

Activities for Families and children:
Activities take place during school holidays, in the evening and at weekends. Suitable for children from 18 months to 16 years, we discover, explore and investigate the Park, finding out all about the natural history. Activities include pond dipping, minibeast hunts and many more. See here for more details.

Courses for adult learners:
Learn about the natural history in the Park through our courses for Adult learners. Open to all, they are suitable for anyone wanting to find out more about wildlife in the Park. The day long courses include birds, trees, moths, wildflowers, orchards, fungi and many more. See here for more details.

Mission: Invertebrate challenges us to understand the grassland invertebrates that call the Royal Parks their home. With expert surveys, citizen science days and habitat improvement projects, Mission: Invertebrate will enable Park Managers to make sure we provide the best possible habitats for our invertebrate friends across the eight Royal Parks of London. Alongside the scientific research, we are providing an exciting programme of free schools and family activities to inspire young and old with the world of invertebrates.
To book a free school visit, click here.

Details of family activities are available here.

Richmond Park midsummer horse-drawn carriage rides

Richmond Park midsummer horse-drawn carriage rides

Operation Centaur

This Summer, Operation Centaur have teamed up with The Royal Parks to bring you a six-person Park Brake drawn by our majestic Shire Horses, allowing you to experience Richmond Park like never before.

The 90-minute experience begins at Holly Lodge, Richmond Park, where you’ll be met with summer refreshments. You will take your place in the carriage embarking on a 60 minute ride through the park in all its summer beauty! You’ll also be treated to a unique behind-the-scenes visit of the working stables.

Proceeds will help fund sustainable conservation initiatives with the working Shire horses in The Royal Parks.

Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 June,
Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 June,
Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 June,
Thursday 29 to Saturday 1 July,
with two rides per day at 5pm and 6pm.

To book your ride, click here.

Dog walking warning

Dog walking warning

Dog walkers are being warned to take extra care and consider avoiding Richmond and Bushy Parks over the next few months during the deer birthing season.

More than 200 deer (fawns and calves) are born every year in Bushy and Richmond Parks between May and July. Female deer protect their young by hiding them in dense cover such as bracken or long grass for a few weeks after their birth. The mother will often stand nearby, and if a dog or a human gets too close to their newborn they may act defensively.

Visitors to Bushy and Richmond Parks are being warned to walk their dogs in the parks at their own risk, and follow three simple steps:

keep dogs on leads at all times;
steer clear of remote parts of the park where deer are more likely to have their young; and
stick to busier paths that are generally at the edge of the park.

See here for more information.

Have you heard of Cobbler's Walk?

Have you heard of Cobbler's Walk?

Google had renamed it to Nightingale Lane!

Google maps had mistakenly labelled a large portion of Cobbler’s Walk in Bushy Park as ‘Nightingale Lane’.

After the Hampton Wick Association lobbied the Royal Parks management to get the mistake rectified, Google have now rectified this error – see “Timothy Bennet can rest easily again” on our Home page.

Evening walk in the Woodland Gardens

Evening walk in the Woodland Gardens

Evening Walk Woodland Gardens

Pippa Hyde led a group of 30 plus on a lovely, tranquil evening walk in the Woodland Gardens. We walked through both woodland gardens leaving at Dukes Head passage gate for a few minutes to stand on the bridge looking towards the Brewhouse Fields. As we walked back along different paths an unusual moth was seen, later identified by Pippa and Gordon Dickinson (see picture).The gardens were looking splendid in the evening sunshine. Many thanks to Pippa.
Cipraea Margaritata - Light Emerald Moth

News from the Hampton Wick Association

Last year, the Hampton Wick Association set up the Friends of Hampton Wick Library to ensure that people in the area are aware of Hampton Wick Library and make good use of it.

On the last Sunday of each month at 11am the Friends’ Gardening Gang usually meets at the Library to don gardening gloves, do battle with weeds and dead leaves and help return vitality to the Library gardens. Sunday 28 May is the next session, with much planting and weeding to be done. Please contact mark@dtew.co.uk if you wish to help or to check on future dates.

The Friends want to show off the work they’ve been doing and are planning to hold a Grand Garden Party in the Library gardens in September. If you can make a mean cucumber sandwich or would like to help more generally, please do get in touch with them.The Friends are particularly pleased to be able to report that there’s a real chance that new Library signage (for which it has been campaigning) may be arriving soon – more news as and when we get it.

Finally, the Friends stage regular exhibitions in the Library. Currently, there is one on R C Sherriff, a resident of Hampton Wick who came back from active service in the trenches of World War I to write “Journey’s End”, a play which is still performed on stage and is about to be released as a major feature film. His later career took him to Hollywood where he wrote, amongst other things, the screenplay for The Dambusters. Roland Wales, the biographer of Sherriff, gave an illustrated talk for the Friends earlier this year and has provided the material for this fascinating exhibition. If you’ve not seen it yet, please do make an effort to visit it as it’s had some great feedback.

Membership of the Friends of Hampton Wick Library costs just £5 for life, with further details (including the library’s opening hours and location) available here.

Great British Bee Count - Join the buzz and help Britain’s bees

Great British Bee Count - Join the buzz and help Britain’s bees

Our bees aren’t just an iconic sign of a British summer, they are vital for pollinating much of the food we enjoy every day, and the wildflowers that decorate our countryside.

But Britain’s bees are under threat, with around 35 UK species considered to be at risk of extinction, from loss of habitats, pesticides and intensive farming.

This is why Friends of the Earth is running the Great British Bee Count, which runs until 30 June.

By downloading a fun, free app you can find out more about the bees that visit your gardens, parks and neighbourhoods, and find out what you can do to help them – such as creating bee-friendly spaces. And you can also send in sightings and photos of the bees you spot too.

Join the buzz at Great British Bee Count or search for ‘Great British Bee Count’ in your app store

Hampton Wick Big Picnic

Hampton Wick Big Picnic

Hampton Wick Big Picnic

Come along to the King’s Field to join in the fun at the Hampton Wick Big Picnic on 11th June, 12-3pm.

Oak Processionary Moth

Oak Processionary Moth

Oak Processionary Moth

June is the time of year when the caterpillars of this non-native invasive Moth are on the move and may be seen “processing” around the trunk or branches of oak trees. They can sometimes appear very close to the ground. The hairs of the caterpillars carry a toxin, which can be harmful to human and animal health, causing skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory problems.

In April and May targeted pesticide spraying took place on oaks in busy areas of the park and areas that have previously been heavily infested. This is followed by careful surveying of the park in June and July to locate nests which are then removed by specialist operatives using protective clothing and equipment. If you come across the caterpillars or their webbed nests, please do not touch them and keep children and pets away. Please call the Park Office on 0300 061 2252 to report any sightings.

Ticks and Lyme disease

Ticks and Lyme disease


Ticks are small creatures related to spiders and mites and feed on the blood of humans, dogs and other animals. They cannot jump or fly, so they cling onto vegetation and wait until host brushes past to attach to their skin. Whilst the risk is very low, they may transmit Lyme’s disease.

During spring, summer and autumn, ticks are more numerous and more active. Park visitors are advised to guard against tick bites by avoiding tall vegetation (especially if you are wearing shorts) and by staying on well worn paths. Insect repellent can also be used. Check yourself after walking in the Park and remove ticks immediately. If concerned, you feel unwell or a rash appears; consult your GP immediately. For more information, please see The Royal Parks website, notice boards within the park, or visit the Bushy Park Office for a leaflet.

For information about how to remove a tick, see O’Tom Tick Twister

Home Park Robinia Tree

The Robinia tree located on the West Front outside Hampton Court Palace is being removed. Recent internal decay testing has been undertaken to evaluate the structural condition of the timber and the tree’s general vitality. Sadly there is now significant concern regarding its continued stability and its declining health, further canopy reduction is not considered an option to retain the tree.

A replacement tree will be planted this winter which we hope will be a species that will be able to host mistletoe and that can be viewed on future walks with the Friends.

Exhibition on Royal Parks’ history

Exhibition on Royal Parks’ history

The Royal Parks is hosting a new exhibition on the history of the Royal Parks in London and Phoenix Park in Dublin, which was also a Royal Park until Irish independence. Curated by the Hearsum Collection and the Office of Public Works Ireland, it is full of artefacts that show how they have evolved over the past 500 years. “Parks: Our Shared Heritage” is free and on from 27 July – 11 August at Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1.

For more details, see here.

Love Parks Week

Love Parks Week

Keep Britain Tidy

Keep Britain Tidy is sponsoring a national love your park week.

Love Parks Week
For more information, see here.

FBHP will be organising our own litter pick on 26th August at 2.30pm , all are welcome . Meet at the Pheasantry and Diana car park or Hampton Hill New Gate.

Bags, gloves and picks will be provided.

Brexit for Bees

Brexit for Bees

Photo of bee (by Twickenham Tribune)

As we know, bees are very important in the food chain pollinating one-third of what we eat and food for livestock. They also pollinate the habitats of wildlife: insects, birds and other animals.

On 30 June The Times published an article which stated that pesticide firms have dismissed their own study confirming bees are harmed by common pesticides.

If you want to help bees the Friends of the Earth website has a number of ideas of what you can do. They have a list of bee-friendly plants including ivy, lavender, sedum, chives and sage.
It seems that plants bought in shops may have already been treated by pesticides, Growing plants from seed or swapping plants with neighbours is recommended. Allowing ivy to grow rather than cutting it back may be another answer as well as planting wild flowers from seed.

Brexit may also affect bees as a lot of legislation to protect the environment has emanated from the EU.

Perhaps it is time to lobby your MP to see what he can do to protect bees and the food chain, Councillors can also be contacted to find out if our public parks and gardens are using pesticides. Maybe one of them may reply to this article.
First published in the Twickenham Tribune.

Mission: Invertebrate

This summer The Royal Parks will be holding Mission Invertebrate: family days of fun to help visitors understand more about they grassland minibeasts living in the parks.

Look out for their giant snail caravan packed with activities for all the family. The Bushy Park events will be on 7 August at the Pheasantry and on 8th August at Hampton Court Gate playground, both from 11.00am to 3.00pm . Booking is not required.

See Mission Invertebrate.

Dukes Head Passage

The Royal Parks have announced their decision regarding Dukes Head Passage on their website this afternoon.

Pedestrian priority will be established but with shared use by cyclists. TRP have carried out the vegetation management and are waiting for the new signs to be delivered. These will be installed soon so they are then finally in a position to re-open the path to cyclists before the end of this week (and the end of term). At some point in the near future they will also be adding 10mph roundels on the tarmac path to reinforce the speed limit message.

It is hoped that all users will respect the new arrangements.

The Sustrans report into the use of the passage was commissioned by LBRuT and if anyone wishes to read this the intention is to upload the report to the Borough web site and once this is done they will add a link from the TRP web site.

Walks and Talks Reports

Thursday 27th April – Alan Greenhalgh arrived with several black boxes containing some amazing birds. The star of the show was a White gyr falcon who remained on her perch for the whole evening. The final bird was a Kookaburra who was encouraged to ‘sing’ by Alan and this was much enjoyed by the audience. Please see Paula Redmond’s video on our Facebook page and visit Alan’s website for further information.

Thursday 22nd June – Jill Sanders and John Inglis presented the end result of a 2 plus year Panorama of the Thames project. This is an historical record of 52 miles of the banks of the river comparing 1829 with 2014. There was some spectacular photography with very interesting commentary. There is public access to some material on the website and a lovely book has been published ‘A Riverside view of Georgian London’.
Jill also showed a short film showing photographs of the wide variety of flora and fauna to be found in Hurst Park and the meadow land. She has kindly agreed to lead a walk next year along the river at Molesey Hurst which will include exploring the meadows – watch this space!

FBHP 2017 Summer Party

FBHP 2017 Summer Party

Over a hundred Friends gathered at the Pheasantry on a, for once, lovely summer’s evening last Friday to enjoy the delights of the Woodland Gardens, music from Chris Hooker, Colicci’s wonderful supper and bottomless bottles of wine.

Very many thanks to Tania and her team at the café, Ray Brodie (Park Manager) and the band of volunteers who helped to make the evening so enjoyable.

To view the gallery of photographs taken during the evening click HERE.

Parks: Our Shared Heritage

There is an exhibition opening at the Mall Galleries entitled Parks: Our Shared Heritage.

A multimedia exploration of the rich and previously hidden heritage of these unique parks, from their creation as Royal hunting grounds to the much loved public parks we see today.

This exciting new collaboration between The Royal Parks, the Office of Public Works and The Hearsum Collection will reveal many of the wonderful stories of these parks and show how they have gradually evolved to meet ever changing needs.

The exhibition is on display at Mall Galleries from Thursday 27 July to Friday 11 August 2017.

It is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00, and admission is free. Please notes that the exhibition will close at 12:30pm on 3 August.

NPL Open day at Bushy House

NPL Open day at Bushy House

Open House London

On Sunday 17 September 2017, NPL is opening Bushy House to the public as part of the Open House London weekend. Normally, Bushy House can only be viewed from the beautiful Bushy Park, but this day offers visitors the chance to glimpse inside the house, which dates back to the 1660s.

Bushy House was the residence of William, Duke of Clarence (William IV) and his mistress Dora Jordan from 1797, and was offered to the Royal Society by Queen Victoria in 1900 as a location to establish NPL.

Visitors will have chance to see the rooms and gardens of Bushy House, including historic photos and artefacts.

The opening of Bushy House is part of the Open House London weekend, London’s largest annual festival of architecture and design. Open House London seeks to open London’s buildings to the public.”

The opening of Bushy House is part of the Open House London weekend, London’s largest annual festival of architecture and design. Open House London seeks to open London’s buildings to the public.

Doors will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. Entry is free.
Access to Bushy House is via the Queens Road Gate, TW11 0EB (public parking on Dora Jordan Road and Clapperstile car park) and pedestrian access via Canon Road Gate, Bushy Park.

Please note that there is very limited access for people with disabilities and no dogs are allowed (with the exception of guide and assistance dogs).

Royal Parks in World War I.

Royal Parks in World War I.

Troops of the Army Cyclists Corps advancing along a road during training in Richmond Park,

To commemorate the WWI centenary, The Royal Parks will be exploring the Parks’ First World War history through a programme of events, community and school activities and research from May 2017 to early 2020.

Find out what happened to the men who went to war from the parks and the women who took on new roles at home. Discover how the Royal Parks’ wartime work influenced the rest of the world.

For more details, see here.

Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

A perimeter walk of Home Park led by Nicholas Garbutt was enjoyed by over 45 people on 2nd September, glorious weather and we were rewarded at the end of the walk by the sight of the little ships out on the river commemorating Dunkirk.

Carol singing at the Pheasantry

Carol singing at the Pheasantry

Carol singing at the Pheasantry

There was carol singing at the Pheasantry by The Quire on Saturday 16 December. They sang in support of the work of the Friends and we were able to collect over £200 in donations.

Here is a selection of photos

Teddington 800

Teddington 800

Teddington 800

Teddington is celebrating 800 years of being a Parish from 1217 when the Abbot of Westminster was asked by the Bishop of London to send a chaplain with maintenance to Tudinton, a small Saxon village belonging to Westminster Abbey. The original idea of Anne McTear and Rev. Joe Moffatt, the Vicar of St Mary with St Alban Church, the Teddington Society was asked to help with the ensuing 6 months of events and community celebrations from June to November.

A major project was to put together the history of the town which has been achieved and the result can be seen on 6 banners presently on show in the Landmark Arts Centre until October 8th as part of the Visions of Teddington exhibition assembled by LAC Manager, Lesley Bossine. The History Timeline design is by local artist and designer Sue Ribbans with content supplied by Paddy Ching, Sheena Harold, Ken Howe and John Sheaf of the Teddington Society’s Historical Research Group with extra material supplied by Pieter Morpurgo of the Friends of Bushy & Home Parks. A true community project. The Exhibition is free as is entry to St Mary with St Alban Parish Church opposite the Landmark in Ferry Road, Teddington

More information here.

Check out BBC Countryfile Calendar 2018

Check out BBC Countryfile Calendar 2018

Countryfile calendar 2018

What a scoop for Bushy Park ( and the photographers)

Two out of the twelve photographs used in the Countryfile Calendar were taken in Bushy Park, the superb winning one is on the front cover and the other is of two seagulls and their reflections.. Click the link below for details.

Do check out our very own calendar too with magnificent photographs from Bushy and Home Parks available at the Information Point

BBC Countryfile Calendar 2018

On the turn

On the turn

Trees in Bushy Park

Yes it’s that time of year, the park is a glow with a fabulous range of colours, but please let’s remember too that the various seeds and nuts that the trees and shrubs are depositing will sustain the wild animals throughout the winter.

Therefore please limit what you take (in fact the park regulations say , take nothing) perhaps just enough for a conker game or two.

I personally endorse the sign that I recently saw in Yorkshire.
Sign seen in Yorkshire

Children's nature trail

Children's nature trail

On Saturday 14 October 2017 a group of enthusiastic children, together with parents, grandparents and carers, enjoyed a nature trail through the Woodland Gardens. The children were given lists of trees, birds and insects to spot, there was a quiz and they collected leaves to make autumn crowns.

Defibrillator arrives at the Pheasantry

Defibrillator arrives at the Pheasantry


Defibrillator We are delighted to announce the arrival of a defibrillator at the Pheasantry.

This was totally funded by The Royal Parks.

Winter carriage rides now available, plus horse news...

Winter carriage rides now available, plus horse news...

Operation Centaur

This Festive Season experience Richmond Park like never before in our six-person Park Brake drawn by our majestic Shire Horses.

The 90-minute experience begins at Holly Lodge, Richmond Park, where you’ll be met with festive refreshments. You will take your place in the carriage under warm blankets, embarking on a 60 minute ride through the park in all its stark winter beauty! You’ll also be treated to a unique behind-the-scenes visit of the working stables.

Proceeds will help fund sustainable conservation initiatives with the working Shire horses in The Royal Parks.

Winter Ride tickets now available:
Dates from 25th of November to 30th December 2017
£125 per pair of tickets

Book your Winter Ride tickets here.

Santa Fun Run Bushy Park 10th December

Santa Fun Run will be taking place on 10 December at 10.30 am in Bushy Park.

You are invited to stroll , power walk, jog, or run around the 5 km course in your very own Santa suit
Adults and teens £15 Children under 13 £5 Under 5’s free
All proceeds to Princess Alice Hospice
Sign up at santafunrun

Bushy Park's nature table at the Information Point

Bushy Park's nature table at the Information Point

Bushy Park’s nature table at the Information Point is exploding with interesting exhibits! From birds nests with real eggs, to bugs in magnifying boxes which makes them look HUGE and really scary! And of course our ever-popular deer antlers which never fail to delight young visitors. There is a wide range of leaflets about the parks to choose from too. Open at weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm, weather permitting. The FBHP 2018 calendar with stunning photos of both Bushy and Home Parks, and Christmas cards are available NOW.

News round-up from The Hampton Wick Association

News round-up from The Hampton Wick Association

The November 2017 news round-up from The Hampton Wick Association is now available.

Articles include:-

1917: Total War, the impact on Hampton Wick: book your seat now for this fascinating Library Friends’ Talk – all welcome!

Council parking consultation in Hampton Wick ends in confusion.

Richmond council’s policy on CPZ consultations is surely a mistake.

Christmas Carols in Hampton Wick, full details now available.

Long lost Old Hampton Wick poem.

St John’s Christmas Craft Fair – Saturday 2nd December.

Normansfield Christmas Craft Fair – Saturday 25th November.

To read this issue, click here.

Blue moon

Blue moon

Blue Moon

The next Blue Moon in London is on 31st January so hopefully Bushy and Home Parks will be a great place to see it. A Blue Moon is an additional full moon that appears in a subdivision of a year and can be defined as either the third full moon in an astronomical season with four full moons or it’s the second full moon in the same calendar month.

Blue Moon’s happen every two or three years which is why the term ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ is often referred to as something of rarity or not often. However, it has nothing to do with the actual colour. In some areas, this particular Blue Moon is likely to look red because it will cause a total lunar eclipse, also known as a Blood Moon.

Field Studies Council - new courses for 2018

Field Studies Council - new courses for 2018

FBHP banner

The Field Study Council’s wildlife and conservation courses in London in 2018 are now available for booking.

Click or tap HERE to scroll through the list and find those being held in Bushy Park.

Bushy Park wildlife incident

Bushy Park wildlife incident


An injured parakeet was brought into the Information Point by a family who found it somewhere around the Hampton Court end of the Park. Their young son was desperate to try to save it so they walked it over to us. The Information Point volunteers called the on duty Wildlife Officer who arrived to take charge. There is some doubt as to whether the parakeet would have survived the ordeal but quite an event for the young family who brought it in – and indeed for the IP volunteers. This is a first, as in all the years that the Information Point has been open at the Pheasantry Welcome Centre, there has not been an injured animal or bird brought in, which is good news.

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch begins next Saturday 27th January, so get ready by preparing some water and food sources in your garden to attract our feathered friends.

For more information, see here.

Planting today

Planting today

Planting today

The Hampton Wick Association had a large number of bulbs that were surplus to requirements and at risk of being composted so we volunteered to help them out and take them off their hands and plant them in the park.

Under the direction of Sharon Evans head gardener and Shorty the dog, a small but hardy group gathered in subzero temperatures this morning to plant daffodils and narcissi in and around the car park area at the Pheasantry
This will certainly bring some springtime cheer to this area , more planting(shrubs this time) will happen on 10th March meeting at the Information Point at 11.00 am, do join us, tools will be available but gloves and sturdy footwear advisable.

Future events involving Hampton Court Palace

HRP have provided us with the dates of events taking place in and around the Palace and along Barge Walk. There may be other events to come but these are the ones we have been advised about so far.

Future events involving Hampton Court Palace

The Royal Parks Regulations Consultation

The Royal Parks Regulations Consultation

The Royal Parks would like to hear your views on suggested amendments to The Royal Parks Regulations.

The suggested amendments are available in full on their website. royalparks.org.uk/whats-on/latest-news/consultation-on-amendments-to-theroyal- parks-regulations.

For more information, see Park regs consultation Poster.

Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon, Sunday 18 March 2018

Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon, Sunday 18 March 2018

Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon

The Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon will take place on Sunday 18 March 2018.

The route will be the same as last year and there will be no road closures in place. However, vehicle access will be restricted on Trophy Drive (within the palace grounds) from 0815 to 0925 and on Barge Walk from 0900 to 1230.

For more information about this event, see here.

We're opening our doors to the public on Thursday 17 May 2018

The Measure of All Things

• Discover the incredible research carried out at NPL
• Be amazed by the science and technology and how it benefits the UK
• Meet NPL scientists and visit our world-class laboratories
• Learn about measurement through hands-on demonstrations

Measurements are the quantitative way of comparing of one thing with another. The International System of Units, also known as the SI, is the most widely used system of measurement in the world.

The International System of Units is a globally agreed system of measurements that has been in place for more than two centuries. There are seven base units, which make up the SI, and guide the measurement of quantities like physical size, temperature and time.
As science advances, ever more accurate measurements are both required and achievable. This year four of the standard units of measurements – including the kilogram – are being defined in a new, more accurate way. NPL has led the international research that culminated in this change. Come and find out more about measurement and help us celebrate this scientific achievement.


Wellbeing Walks

Members and visitors might be interested in Monthly accessible walks which are being offered to local people through a partnership between Richmond Council, RUILS (Richmond Users Independent Living Scheme) and Richmond Borough Mind to get more people exploring our parks and open spaces.

See Monthly accessible walks for more information.

Floating Pennywort: How we are managing it on the Thames

Message from Tina Donaldson, Community Resilience Advisor, Asset Performance Team – Lower Thames.

It is currently Invasive Species Week, organised by the Non Native Species Secretariat of which Defra is a member. With this in mind, I wanted to let you know what we are doing about managing Floating Pennywort on the Thames. Floating Pennywort is an invasive species of aquatic plant that can spread very quickly and cause serious problems in our rivers.

If you have any questions or concerns about floating pennywort or other invasive species in the local area please contact the Environment Agency.

Calling all photographers

Calling all photographers

Long Water Rainbow

We are now seeking photos of the views, flora and fauna in both Bushy and Home Parks for the FBHP 2019 calendar. Last year’s calendar was a great success with an increased number of copies sold over previous years. Profits from the sale of the calendar go towards various projects within the parks which FBHP help to fund.

Photos should be in landscape orientation as .jpegs and should feature images representing the seasons in the parks, Spring, summer, autumn and winter. Please rename your photo(s) with your surname, name of the subject and date taken, and email them to:


Please do not send photos in the body of an email but send as an attachment. Photos selected will be credited on the calendar with the photographer’s name.

We look forward to receiving your photos!

Pesticide spraying for the control of Oak Processionary Moth

Pesticide spraying for the control of Oak Processionary Moth

The Royal Park will undertake targeted pesticide spraying in carefully selected areas of the park within a limited timeframe of late April to mid May, to protect human, animal and tree health and biodiversity from the Oak Processionary Moth.

For more information, see Pesticide spraying for the control of Oak Processionary Moth.

Personal Data Privacy Policy Notice

Members are advised that the Trustees have approved a new personal data privacy policy notice to ensure the Friends of Bushy and Home Parks conforms to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes in to force this May.

The notice can be found here.

Narcissi in the Pheasantry car park

Narcissi in the Pheasantry car park

Narcissi in the Pheasantry car park

In March the Hampton Wick Association very generously offered us some bulbs that they had been given.

We planted them out around the car park at the Pheasantry with no real hope they would flower this year, but lo and behold here they are, they have certainly cheered up the area.

Loose limbed oak tree!

Loose limbed oak tree!

'Loose limbed oak tree

Loose limbed oak tree! Have you seen the oak which lost a limb yesterday at Chestnut Sunday? Fortunately not coming down with anyone under it but it must have been quite a crack!

The tree is at the bottom of Upper Lodge Road by the barrier, see photos herewith. On a reassuring note, trees do shed limbs from time to time so it is not of concern to the well-being of the tree.

Loose limbed oak tree

Chestnut Sunday

Sunday 6th May saw the return of the popular Chestnut Sunday parade in Bushy Park.

Here is a selection of photos from the Twickenham Tribune.

Deer birthing season

Deer birthing season

Dog walking warning

The deer birthing season is imminent in Bushy and that means visitors need to be extra vigilant around the deer.

If you see deer please put dogs on leads (although the advice if chased is to let go of the lead as the deer are unlikely to give chase as they are just protecting their young).

If you come across any fawns under no circumstances touch them, their extended family will be close by.

Sir David Attenborough's Richmond Park film wins national charity film award

Congratulations to the Friends of Richmond Park, whose film by Sir David Attenborough about protecting Richmond Park has won at the national Charity Film Awards.

It came first in the category for best longform film by a charity with less than £5million turnover, beating 84 competitors.

Friends of Richmond Park made the film asking visitors to “tread lightly” to minimise their impact on wildlife.

See here for article in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

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, 28th Jun 8:00 pm

Talk Travels with the “Sky at Night”

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.