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Chair’s Welcome

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

We are always pleased to receive feedback. You can contact us by clicking here.

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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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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.
Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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!

Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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.

Question:
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

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.