Bushy Park

Bushy Park, Richmond upon Thames

The second largest but least known of the eight royal parks of London, situated between Teddington and the Thames at Hampton Court

Derek Winterburn - Bushy Park

A Bronze Age bar­row and bur­ial mound has been exca­vat­ed near Sandy Lane and its con­tents are in the British Muse­um. There is evi­dence of medieval set­tle­ment and traces of the largest and most com­plex field sys­tem in Mid­dle­sex.

The park was cre­at­ed in the ear­ly 16th cen­tu­ry to pro­vide a hunt­ing ground for Hamp­ton Court and the Long­ford riv­er was cut across the park in the late 1630s to pro­vide the palace with fresh water. Sir Christo­pher Wren cre­at­ed Chest­nut Avenue as a for­mal approach to Hamp­ton Court Palace, with the Arethusa, or Diana, foun­tain as its cen­tre­piece.

The earls of Hal­i­fax beau­ti­fied the park in the ear­ly 18th cen­tu­ry but also enclosed it with a wall. A foot­path named Cobbler’s Way recalls Tim­o­thy Bennet’s suc­cess­ful cam­paign in the ear­ly 1750s to regain free access for the pub­lic. The Hamp­ton Wick shoe­mak­er was so pleased with his achieve­ment that he wrote a play on the sub­ject.

Deer at dawn in Bushy Park
Deer at dawn in Bushy Park

Ted­ding­ton hock­ey club began play­ing in Bushy Park in 1871 and is the world’s old­est hock­ey club with a con­tin­u­ous his­to­ry.

In 1900 Queen Vic­to­ria gave Bushy House to the Com­mis­sion of Works for the estab­lish­ment of the Nation­al Phys­i­cal Lab­o­ra­to­ry. The lab­o­ra­to­ry remains on the same site, where it has vast­ly expand­ed the scale of its oper­a­tions. Among its many roles, the NPL is respon­si­ble for reg­u­lat­ing Green­wich Mean Time.

George V gave per­mis­sion for Upper Lodge to become a home for Cana­di­an con­va­les­cents dur­ing the First World War and in the next war the park became the site of Camp Griff­iss, which Gen­er­al Dwight Eisen­how­er made the cen­tre for plan­ning the 1944 D‑Day inva­sion. Eisen­how­er moved out to a qui­et cot­tage here to escape the dis­trac­tions of cen­tral Lon­don, bring­ing only a naval aide, an order­ly and ‘two negro sol­diers’, who all stayed with him until the end of the war.

The park has few facil­i­ties but an abun­dance of pas­toral scenery, includ­ing wood­land gar­dens.

Postcode areas: Teddington, TW11, East Molesey, KT8, Hampton, TW12 and Kingston upon Thames, KT2
Further reading: Kathy White and Peter Foster, Bushy Park: Royals, Rangers and Rogues, Foundry Press, 1997
Website: Friends of Bushy and Home Parks
* The picture of Bushy Park before dawn with ice at the top of this page is resized from an original photograph, copyright Derek Winterburn, at Flickr, made available under the Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.