Throughout the covid pandemic The Royal Parks charity has been delighted to welcome increased numbers of visitors to the city’s green spaces. Being able to provide a place for millions of Londoners to enjoy walking and relaxing in nature has made our job as custodians of some of London’s largest green spaces all the more worthwhile.
Increased visitor numbers places more pressure on our natural landscapes, so we’ve launched a major project in Richmond and Bushy Parks to start a programme to restore these landscapes and make them more resilient. The work has been made possible through support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We’re restoring paths, protecting highly sensitive areas, restoring grasslands, planting trees and hedges, and enhancing wetland habitats.
While the works are ongoing, you might see temporary footpath diversions when you’re visiting the parks. We’ve created some maps to help keep you updated on the areas that these works are taking place over the next couple of months. Click on the map images on the right to download a copy.
Richmond and Bushy Parks are both Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), for their populations of ancient and veteran trees, extensive sweeps of dry acid grassland, and internationally significant populations of rare and important invertebrates, including stag beetles. Our wetland habitats provide homes for populations of newts, frogs and other amphibians, and breeding grounds for 14 different species of dragonfly and damselfly.
Increased footfall since the start of the covid crisis began has caused soil erosion on and beside paths, in our wetland and acid grassland habitats. It has caused compaction of soil around our ancient and veteran trees. Restoring and protecting the parks’ landscapes not only makes them more beautiful and accessible for visitors’ enjoyment but helps to protect our natural habitats and the wildlife that lives there.
Path and adjacent wetland habitat erosion in summer near lower Pen Ponds
Damage to anthills from path erosion and wrong use of anthills as ‘stepping stones’
To get an idea of the impact these restoration works have on our landscapes, watch this video of a recent project in Bushy Park last winter, de-silting and reshaping the waterways around Fisher’s Pond in the Woodland Gardens.
We’re pleased to confirm that Richmond and Bushy Parks remain open to the public throughout the restoration works but keep an eye out for signage for any areas that might have temporary access restrictions while work teams are on-site .
Richmond Park Office – 0300 061 2200
Bushy Park Office – 0300 061 2252