The area now known as Bushy Park has been settled for at least the past 4,000 years: the earliest archaeological records that have been found on the site date back to the Bronze Age. There is also evidence that the area was used in the medieval period for agricultural purposes.
When Henry VIII took over Hampton Court Palace from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1529, the King named three parks that make up modern-day Bushy Park and a small area beside: Hare Warren, Middle Park and Bushy Park. A keen hunter, he established them as deer-hunting grounds.
His successors, perhaps less involved in traditional sporting activities, added a number of picturesque features, including the Longford River, a 19-km canal built on the orders of Charles I of England to provide water to Hampton Court, and the park’s various ponds. This period also saw the construction of the main thoroughfare, Chestnut Avenue, which runs from Park Road in Teddington to the Lion Gate entrance to Hampton Court Palace. This avenue and the Arethusa ‘Diana’ Fountain were designed by Sir Christopher Wren as a grand approach to Hampton Court Palace.
Among those who served as ranger (an honorary position, long including residence at Bushy House) was King William IV, while Duke of Clarence. To ensure his consort Queen Adelaide, could remain at their long-time home after his death, he immediately appointed her as his successor as ranger, after whose death the position was left vacant and fell into disuse.
During World War I, Bushy Park housed the King’s Canadian Hospital, and between the wars it hosted a camp for undernourished children.
As part of an upgrade of the park facilities, the new Pheasantry Café was added, and the restored and largely reconstructed Upper Lodge Water Gardens were opened in October 2009.
Bushy Park is a deer park. Red and Fallow Deer still roam freely throughout the park, just as they did when Henry VIII used to hunt here.
There are currently about 320 deer and their grazing is essential to maintain the high wildlife value of the park’s grasslands. Unlike cutting, grazing creates more variation in structure and plant diversity and does not damage the anthills, which add further diversity and character to the grassland.
The herds are kept out of the Woodland Gardens and other protected plantations in order to protect the trees and shrubs there. The Red Deer are the largest mammal native to the British Isles and in the summer their coats are glossy red. Fallow deer, introduced by the Romans, are smaller and their summer coats, usually spotted, vary from a cream to darkish brown colour.
The deer are wild animals – keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and be aware of your surroundings so that you do not come between two rutting stags or a mother and her calf.
The Waterhouse Woodland Garden, originally a woodland walk created in 1925, consisted of two early nineteenth-century plantations.
In 1948-9, improvements were carried out by the then Park Superintendent Joseph Fisher, whose creative eye was responsible for the new paths and gardens that remain the backbone of the Garden today. Within the garden, you will come across Fisher’s Pond, King’s River Garden, Willow Plantation and Silver Birch Glade.
The closest railway stations are Hampton Court in East Molesey to the south, Hampton Wick to the east, Teddington and Fulwell to the north, and Hampton to the west. All are within a 10- to 20-minute walk.
Transport for London bus routes 111, 216 and 411 pass the Hampton Court Gate on Hampton Court Road (the main southern entrance to the Park).
Here’s the exact location :