BUSHY PARK, lying between Teddington and Hampton Court Palace, is the second largest of London's Royal Parks, with a total area of 445 hectares (1,100 acres). Its habitat includes grassland, woodland, ponds and streams. Address (office): The Stockyard, Hampton Court Road, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 2EJ (Map:; OS grid reference TQ157696)
History[edit | edit source]
Bushy Park’s distinctive landscape has been shaped in part by its history as a royal hunting ground. Its many ponds and streams are fed by the Longford River, which was created in 1637 by Charles I to take water to Hampton Court Palace, and runs for 12 miles from north of Heathrow airport through the park to Hampton Court. During the 1987 “great storm”, many trees were lost and the treescape was changed dramatically.
Habitat[edit | edit source]
The park contains a regionally important area (about 130 hectares) of acid grassland, which is a priority habitat for conservation under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and has been maintained by deer grazing for centuries. The dry, acidic, nutrient-poor soils support fine grasses and characteristic wild flowers, including sheep's sorrel, harebell, tormentil and heath bedstraw. Wetter areas support a variety of rushes and other species, and Bushy is the only site in London in which mudwort can be found.
A feature of Bushy Park is its avenues of mature trees, including the horse chestnuts lining Chestnut Avenue (which runs from Hampton Court Gate to Teddington Gate) and lime trees along Lime Avenue (which runs from White Lodge to the Arethusa Fountain). Bushy Park is one of the best sites in London for mistletoe, which grows well on the limes and hawthorns and is home to unusual creatures such as the mistletoe bug.
Species[edit | edit source]
BIRDS The long list of birds to be found in the park includes all three native woodpeckers, Kestrel, Tawny Owl and a range of waterfowl. Kingfisher can often be seen or heard along the banks of the Longford River and the park’s various ponds and lakes. Of particular importance are ground-nesting birds such as Skylark, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit and Stonechat. Other regular breeders include Ring Necked Parakeet, Reed Bunting and Little Owl. Green Woodpeckers are regularly seen throughout the park, as well as large numbers of roosting Jackdaws. Very large numbers of Ring Necked Parakeets fly over before dusk to roosting areas to the South. They can often be seen ground feeding around the Diana Fountain.
OTHER VERTEBRATES Red and Fallow Deer have roamed the park since Henry VIII hunted here. There are currently about 320 deer and their grazing is essential to maintain the high wildlife value of the park's grasslands. The park has a small — and declining — population of Water Vole around the Longford River. The mix of woodland and grassland areas attracts other small mammals, including rabbits, voles, mice, shrews and hedgehogs. The varied habitat, good insect populations and the availability of tree roost sites also makes the Park ideal for bats, with seven species recorded in 2004.
The park’s ponds and streams are home to a range of fish including perch, roach, chub, bream and rudd. The park also attracts carp anglers.
INVERTEBRATES The park is of national importance for its invertebrates, with 123 nationally scarce or threatened species recorded so far. Grassland butterflies include the skippers, the small heath and the small copper. In 2005, Bushy Park was found to have the nationally important double line moth (which in southern and eastern England is also found only in Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common). The park is also important for solitary bees and wasps, with over 150 species found so far. The ancient trees and decaying wood habitats are nationally important for a number of internationally endangered invertebrates, including the rusty click beetle, the cardinal click beetle and the stag beetle.
Practicalities[edit | edit source]
DIRECTIONS A map showing railway stations, bus stops and car parks around the park is available on the Royal Parks website ()
The nearest railway station are Hampton Court, Hampton Wick and Teddington, all close to the edge of the park and all reached via Waterloo. Hampton and Fulwell stations are also within 20 minutes walk of the park. Bus routes 111, 216, 265 and 411 pass the Hampton Court Gate on Hampton Court Road (the main southern entrance to the Park); routes R70, R68 and 285 stop near the two Hampton Hill Gates off the High Street, while the R68 also serves the Blandford Road Gate (next to the National Physical Laboratory on Hampton Road, Teddington) before continuing to Hampton Court Green via Hampton Hill. To the north the main Teddington gate on Park Road and a second on Sandy Lane are only served by an hourly 481 bus service.
The park has several free car parks (which can be busy at weekends).
ACCESS The park is open 24 hours for pedestrians, except in September and November when opening time is 8am and closing time is 10.30pm. Vehicle access is from 6.30am (8a, in September and November) to dusk or 7pm (whichever is the later).
FACILITIES Toilet facilities are available at the Diana Fountain car park and the Pheasantry Welcome Centre. A refreshment point in the Diana Fountain car park offers hot and cold snacks and beverages. It is open daily from 9am to 8pm in summer and 10am to 4pm in winter.
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