The Isabella Plantation has now reopened to visitors.
The disabled visitors car park is open all week and also at weekends, and can be accessed from Richmond Gate, Ham Gate or Kingston Gate 7 days a week. Following the introduction of the Movement Strategy trials, this car park cannot be accessed from Roehampton Gate at weekends, or from Sheen Gate at any time.
We have taken the decision to cancel the free minibus service for the remainder of 2020 due to the recent alterations in the road layout at Richmond Park that make it difficult to access the request stops, and concerns over
the safety of passengers and volunteer drivers during the current crisis. We hope to resume the service next year and will update on this when we have news.
The Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830's. First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams and at their peak of flower in late April and early May.
Located in the gardens are the National Collection of Wilson 50 Kurume Azaelas (introduced to the west from Japan in the 1920's by the plant collector Ernest Wilson), large collections of Rhododendrons and Camellias, plus many other rare and unusual trees and shrubs which provide interest all year round.
Part of the parklands conservation designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the site is managed very much with nature in mind and the gardens are run on organic principles. Native plants commonly grow alongside exotics throughout the Plantation. Perimeter and shelterbelt areas are planted with native nectar and berry bearing trees and shrubs to provide food and shelter for birds, bats and insects. The Plantation's ponds and stream provide additional habitat for invertebrates and amphibians.
Over the past few years, Isabella Plantation has received significant investment from the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery funds to improve biodiversity and increase access.