FBHP title
  • header-photo2
  • watergdns_opt_opt
  • p1040464_opt
  • p1030415_opt
  • dsc_9770_opt
  • p11506393_opt
  • p1040415_opt
FBHP logo

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.

Keep Up-to-date

Members and non-members can receive emails about events in the parks. To subscribe, please enter your email address below.


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.

Why we need more Friends

With more members our voice is stronger when we campaign to protect the Parks, and with more subscription income we can do more to provide information and education about the Parks, their wildlife and their history.

Join us today!

Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Latest report

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.