Bushy Park, London
Bushy Park is a picturesque park in London’s borough of Richmond upon Thames situated in the southwestern corner of the city. Covering an area of 445 hectares (1,100 acres), it’s the second largest of the Royal Parks of London after Richmond Park. The park is popular with the locals but also attracts many Londoners living outside the borough.
Bushy Park traces its history to the 16th century and then used as a royal hunting ground. Today most parts of this historical parkland are open to the public and feature a patchwork of grasslands, woodlands, gardens, streams and ponds. The nutrient-poor soil combined with centuries of grazing by the deer population gives Bushy Park its grassland characteristics. In 2014, much of Bushy Park was designated a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Bushy Park by Maxwell Hamilton
There were already settlers in Bushy Park during the Bronze Age. During the medieval period, it was primarily agricultural land until King Henry VIII acquired the land from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1529. Henry VIII established the park as his royal hunting ground for deer. During World War I, the park housed a hospital and between the two world wars, it was a camp for undernourished children. During World War II, General Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings from his headquarters in Bushy Park.
Heron Lake at Bushy Park by Maxwell Hamilton
See & Do
Bushy Park supports various species of grasses, rushes and sedges while wildflowers include sheep's sorrel, heath bedstraw, harebell, tormentil and mudworts. Trees seen here include pine, lime, horse chestnut, maple, hawthorns and cypress trees. Horse chestnut trees line the sides of Chestnut Avenue and in May, there is the Chestnut Sunday festival celebrating the flowering of the trees. There are also lime trees along Chestnut Avenue and Lime Avenue with mistletoes growing especially well on the lime tree.
Jackdaws at Bushy Park by Maxwell Hamilton
The descendants of red and fallow deer introduced by Henry VIII in the 16th century still roam freely in Bushy Park. There are around 300 deer at the park and their grazing maintains the park’s grassland areas. The deer roam freely throughout the park accept the plantation areas to allow the trees and shrubs to thrive. Bushy Park is also home to a diversity of wildlife including rabbits, shrews, voles, hedgehogs, bats, owls, woodpeckers, waterfowls and various species of insects. The ponds and streams are home to various fishes including carp, perch, roach, chub, bream and rudd.
Tennis courts are located at King’s Field and the Hampton Heated Open Air Pool and Fitness Gym is located in the western perimeter of the park. There are also fields for playing cricket, rugby and lawn bowling. During the angling season, ticket holders can fish at the Heron and Leg-of-Mutton Ponds. Children will love the Bushy Park Playground featuring a large sandpit, climbing frame, balance beams, climbing boulders and various swings. For a meal or snack, there is the Pheasantry Cafe located in Waterhouse Woodland Gardens and a refreshment point at the Diana Car Park.
Visiting Bushy Park
Bushy Park opens to the public 24 hours but during the deer-culling season in September and November, the gates open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Monday-Friday. The Woodlands Waterhouse Gardens opens Monday-Sunday and the Upper Lodge Water Gardens Tuesday-Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until dusk. The closest railway stations are Hampton Court (to the south), Hampton Wick (to the east) Teddington (to the north) Stations which are within 10-15 minutes walk from the park.
Bushy Park on the Map
Hampton Court Road, Hampton, Teddington TW12 2EJ, UK
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