A royal deer park with C15 origins enlarged by subsequent monarchs and improved by, among others, George London and Henry Wise.
The history of the site as a deer park began in 1491 when Giles d'Aubrey enclosed 162ha of arable farmland in the area of Middle Park. By 1504 Cardinal Wolsey, while involved at Hampton Court, enclosed as one three separate areas of ploughed farmland: Bushy Park, Middle Park, and Hare Warren. He also enclosed the Home Park of Hampton Court Palace. When Hampton Court became the property of Henry VIII in 1529 the enclosed parkland formed his deer park there. In 1629 James I added a further 68ha (Court Field) into Bushy Park on the Hampton side and enclosed it with a wall. In the mid C17 a tributary of the River Colne was diverted through Bushy Park and new ponds were made.
In 1709 the first Lord Halifax, one of William III's most eminent financiers, became Keeper of Bushy Park and moved into Lower Lodge and in 1713 he added the keepership of Middle Park and Hare Warren. It was at this time that the distinction between the three parks broke down and the whole area north of Hampton Court Road became known as Bushy Park.
In 1771 Prince William, Duke of Clarence lived as the Ranger in Bushy House and in order to supplement his small income he worked on a programme of woodland clearance, the cleared land being let to tenant farmers. During the reign of Queen Victoria Chestnut Sunday celebrations were held every spring; the tradition ceased during the Second World War but was resumed in 1976. In 1900 the National Physical Laboratory was established in the grounds of Bushy House where it has remained.
Bushy Park was used in both world wars: the Canadians used Upper Lodge as the King's Canadian Hospital in the First World War; and troops from the USA used an area mainly to the east of the Chestnut Avenue as a base camp, Camp Griffith. In 1944 General Eisenhower moved the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces to Bushy Park.
Bushy Park continues (1997) to be a royal park, managed by the Royal Parks Agency as a public open space with c 4000 free-standing trees, c 40ha of open and enclosed woodland, and a current deer population of c 325.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Bushy Park is located in outer south-west London c 200m north of Hampton Court Palace. It is bounded to the north-east by Sandy Lane (B358), to the south and south-west by Hampton Court Road, and to the west by High Street, Hampton Wick (A311) and residential developments in the vicinity of Garrick's Villa (qv). The northern boundary is provided by numerous residential developments to the south and south-west of Hampton Road.
The 450ha of parkland is situated on flat, low-lying ground forming part of the Thames flood plain. There are eleven royal lodges in the park, including those associated with Upper Lodge (listed grade II) and Bushy House (listed grade II). The boundary walls (parts listed grade II) are dated variously to the C16, C17, and C19. Ancient oaks from the C16 survive along the perimeter at Hampton Hill to the north-west.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance is from Hampton Court Road to the south, through Hampton Court Gate and past Hampton Court Gate Lodge (listed grade II). The public road leads around a circular basin, in the middle of which stands the Diana Fountain (listed grade II), and continues in a straight line for 1km along the Chestnut Avenue to Teddington Gate (Teddington Lodge designed by Decimus Burton 1827), and Park Road to the north. Made as part of Sir Christopher Wren's uncompleted scheme for a new entrance to Hampton Court, the road runs down the centre of an avenue developed from a lime avenue planted c 1622 by James I. The Chestnut Avenue, now (1997) made up from four outer rows of limes and two inner rows of chestnuts, was replanted under the direction of George London (c 1640-1714) and Henry Wise (1653-1738) between 1689 and 1699. Having been gradually renewed since that time, extensive repairs were necessary after the storms of 1987 and 1990. The Diana Fountain (which represents Arethusa and not Diana) was moved from the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace to the C17 circular basin in 1713. Additional gates provide mainly pedestrian access to the park: Hampton Wick Gate, Sandy Lane Gate, and Church Grove Gate from the east, Duke's Head Passage Gate from the west, Coleshill Road Gate to the north, and Hampton Hill New Gate, Gravel Pit Gate, and Blandford Road Gate from the north-west.
The brick-built Lower Lodge, now called Bushy House (listed grade II*), is situated to the north of the site, to the west of the Chestnut Avenue. The mansion, built in the late C17 for Charles II, was extended for the occupation of William IV before and after his accession. The original house consists of a square centre block with a low square pavilion at each corner linked to the main front by a curved screen wall and passage.
Bushy House stands in its own grounds with a garden building, the early C19 Doric rotunda, to the south-west (listed grade II) and an early C19 Orangery (listed grade II) to the west. Guns Lodge (listed grade II), designed by Decimus Burton in 1827, stands in the entrance.
Since 1900 the National Physical Laboratory has been housed in the grounds; its Director is currently (1997) accommodated in the mansion, with the basement and ground floor used as a laboratory.
The park is divided by the north/south route of the Chestnut Avenue. The land to the east is divided from north-east to south-west by a branch of the Longford River. In 1638-9 Charles I had a tributary of the River Colne diverted through Bushy Park to make the Longford River and during the Commonwealth period water from the southern part of the river was redirected to feed the new Heron and Leg of Mutton Ponds. There are scattered clumps of trees, small plantations, and areas of grassland. Much of the bracken in the park is concentrated in this area and provides cover for the deer. Three main paths cut across the area. A path from south of the Diana Fountain runs east along the north boundary of a children's playground, the C18 Royal Paddocks, and the south boundary of the Cricket Ground before terminating in front of Church Grove Gate. A second path leads north-east, with the Oval Plantation to the east, passing between the Heron and Leg-of-Mutton Ponds before linking up with the third path, Cobbler's Walk, which runs 2.8km west from Hampton Wick Gate, across the Chestnut Avenue, to Duke's Head Passage. Cobbler's Walk got its name after an incident in c 1752 when the second Earl of Halifax closed a public right of way which ran through the park from Hampton Wick to Kingston. When threatened with court action by a local cobbler the Earl reopened the path which has since been known as Cobbler's Walk. The C19 Half Moon Plantation and Hawthorn Cottage (listed grade II) lie to the south of Cobbler's Walk, and the C19 Warren Plantation with the C20 USAAF memorial, to the north.
The larger part of the park which lies to the west of the Chestnut Avenue is divided by a number of features. These include the C17 east/west Lime Avenue which extends west from the Diana Fountain for 1km, terminating at the White Lodge (listed grade II) and, to the north of the Lime Avenue, the 24ha Waterhouse Woodland Garden, created 1948-9 from a c 1925 wooded walk which consisted of two early C19 plantations, the Queens River, and a branch of the Longford River which runs to the north.
In the northern part of the area Cobbler's Walk divides, the southern path leading across open parkland to link with the Duke's Head Passage path across the Longford River via the Iron Bridge, through Brewhouse Fields, before terminating at Duke's Head Passage Gate. The northern spur, Upper Lodge Road, leads past the grounds of Bushy House and continues north-west, with the Round Plantation to the south and Barton's Cottage to the north, before terminating at the C18 Upper Lodge (listed grade II). The second Earl Halifax created elaborate water gardens in the grounds of Upper Lodge. Water was taken from the Longford River through a series of pools and canals to the east, west, and south of the house (Rocque 1746). Only part of this feature survives today ( two pools in the grounds of Upper Lodge and the water in Canal Plantation. The water gardens and Upper Lodge were vacated by the Ministry of Defence in the late C20 and are now (1997) managed by a Trust who have plans to restore the water features. Paths from the four gates to the north-west of the site converge, across parkland, on the north-east corner of Upper Lodge
The 100 acre (c 41ha) farm at the Stockyard to the south-west of Bushy Park was in recent times used as the maintenance depot for the park and is now (1997) the Bushy Park Environment Centre. The Centre, in conjunction with the Holly Lodge Centre at Richmond Park (qv), aims to provide a facility from which open-air activities of all kinds can be enjoyed. The area contains a number of mostly Victorian farm buildings, paddocks, and White Lodge (listed grade II). The Stockyard, part of which was taken into Bushy Park by James I, is bordered to the west by a brick wall and to the east by the Longford River. The remains of Garrick's Mound (qv Garrick's Villa), which were incorporated into Bushy Park in the early C20, survive in a paddock to the north-west of the area. The west end of Duke's Head Passage crosses the northern part of the farm and provides public access to the main part of Bushy Park to the east.
To the north of the Stockyard are the Brewhouse Fields, managed (1997) as a wildlife conservation area; and the Brewhouse (listed grade II), once part of Lord Halifax's estate at Upper Lodge and now used as a store for the holders of the adjacent allotments.
The privately maintained Hampton Swimming Pool is situated on the western boundary, north of Duke's Head Passage.
B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2 South (1983), pp 500, 536
Bushy Park, A Guide, (The Royal Parks 1983)
Royal Parks Historical Survey: Hampton Court and Bushy Park, (Travers Morgan Planning 1982)
Draft Management Plan, (Land Use Consultants 1995)
[Note: the last two items contain extensive bibliographies and copies of historical maps.]
J Rocque, Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster and Borough of Southwark and the country near ten miles around, surveyed 1741-5, published 1746
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1864
2nd edition published 1896
Description written: June 1997
Register Inspector: LCH
Edited: November 2001