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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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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

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, 23rd Nov 8:00 pm

The Royal Parks in the Great War. Talk by David Ivison

Latest report

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

Full report...

Information Point

The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre café is where our volunteers help visitors to 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.