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Every Wednesday, starting April 23, visitors to Richmond Park can catch a free return minibus service to see the newly enhanced Isabella Plantation.

Stopping at all gates in Richmond Park the service, will run until the end of August and will operate at forty minute intervals from 10.30am-3.30pm.

The minibus service is part of an access project to the Plantation and will give the public, especially those without cars, a greater opportunity to visit Richmond Park's 40 acre ornamental woodland garden.

The service is being run by The Royal Parks in partnership with Richmond and Kingston Accessible Transport (RAKAT) and the Holly Lodge Centre. It will take visitors to the gates of the Plantation where spring is in bloom with azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias, daffodils and bluebells all in flower.

On Wednesday 23 April at noon, visitors can enjoy a free guided walk through the Plantation with Assistant Park Manager Jo Scrivener as he points out the project's developments over the past few months.

Jo Scrivener, Richmond Park's Assistant Park Manager said,

"Isabella Plantation is the jewel in Richmond Parks' crown and spring is the perfect time to visit with our azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom. We sincerely hope this minibus service will enable even more people to experience this enchanting woodland garden. After all, it would be a real shame for anyone to miss out just because they didn't have a car."

The access project is run by The Royal Parks, who have secured £1.5m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery Fund and £120,000 from SITA Trust. The project has seen extensive work carried out throughout the Plantation which includes: enhancements to ponds and streams, clearance of overgrown rhododendron and extensive re-planting, upgrades to the existing path network, resurfacing and redesign of the Plantation's disabled car park as well as the addition of a new, fully accessible toilet block.

In addition to physical improvements to the site, the project's Partnership and Community Engagement Officer, Christopher Lilly, has been working with community groups, schools and charities to develop a range of activities and resources associated with the Plantation.

In the coming months, The Royal Parks will monitor take up of the free minibus service to inform recommendations on future accessible transport services to the Plantation. On the last Saturday of every month (starting 26 April) The Royal Parks will also be running an electric buggy service between Broomfield Hill Car Park and Broomfield Hill Gate.

For more information or to find out about volunteering opportunities for the project contact Christopher Lilly from The Royal Parks on clilly@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk or 07969 068 446

Find out more about free guided walks of the Plantation and more Royal Parks events.

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