Bushy Park

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Hampton Court Road

Bushy Park . ‘Bushie Parke’ 1650, ‘Bushey Parke’ 1667, Bushy Park 1816, probably self-explanatory, 'parkland with bushes', from Middle English ‘busshi’.

It is due to William III and his gardeners George London and Henry Wise that the Home Park and Bushy Park are now the best places in England to remember the grandeur of Versailles. The scheme was approved in 1689 and planting began immediately. A mile-long avenue was laid out through Bushy Park, ending in a 'wilderness' geometrically planted about 1714 on the side of the palace (the site where Wren at first hoped to have his cour d'honneur). A true son of the Renaissance, Sir Christopher Wren was a prodigious all-rounder. Although best known as an architect, he was also a mathematician, artist, astronomer and Member of Parliament. As Surveyor-General of the Royal Works, he also turned his hand to landscape gardening, and Bushy Park is a monument to this particular facet of his genius. His landscaping was in the grand manner; it was the overall effect rather than the intimate detail, which was his main concern. Today, Bushy Park is a perfect spot for a short ramble. The avenues of chestnuts and limes give a wooded appearance to the park, the quiet ponds and the plantations add variety to the flat landscape, and a large herd of deer roams at will. Teddington Hockey Club plays in the park since 1871 and is the world’s oldest continuous hockey club.  In the Second World War the park was Camp Griffiths where Eisenhower made his plans for D Day and lived in a cottage on site.

Chestnut Avenue built as a grand approach to William III’s new north wing at Hampton Court, which was never built. Planned by Wren as a majestic new approach to Hampton Court Palace, mile-long avenue, backed by rows of limes, is a glorious sight on Chestnut Sunday in early May. This is the date on which the blossom is 'officially' considered to be at its best. Thousands of Londoners used to make a trip to see the blossom, but since the war, the popularity of Chestnut Sunday has declined? Wren's North Court to the palace and the new approach from Bushy Park were unfortunately abandoned by Queen Anne, leaving the Chestnut Avenue with little meaning or purpose. Opposite the Lion Gate the Grand Avenue by London and Wise begins, leading to the Diana Fountain. The avenue has two central rows of chestnut trees 168 ft from each other, and outside them four rows of lime trees on each side. The chestnut trees are 42 ft apart, another 42 ft separates them from the first line of lime trees, and another 42 ft lies between rows one and two of these. Rows two and three have 66 ft in between, rows three and four again 42 ft.

Avenue of limes from the 'Diana Fountain' towards Hampton - part of Wren's scheme for the park

Cobblers Walk recalls Hampton Wick shoemaker Timothy Bennett’s campaign in the 1750s for public access – he wrote a play about it

Diana Fountain.  The open space and pond here is the central feature of Wren's plan. Arms of limes radiate towards Hampton and Hampton Wick. Fanelli's statue is not part of Wren's scheme and might have offended his sense of proportion. In fact this is more probably Venus, and she formerly stood in the Privy Garden at Hampton Court, where her qualities could be seen and admired. She was moved to the present site in the first years of the 18th century, and her beauty is lost in the great expanse of the 400 foot diameter pond. . The main avenue is interrupted about three- quarters down its length by a large circular pond in which in 1713 the bronze statue was placed on a high (but not high enough) rusticated pedestal. The basin, its pedestal decorated with frostwork, was made c. 1699. A statue by Nost was intended, but after William's death it was decided to re-use the fountain which Charles I had erected in the Privy Garden. This was an elaborate affair with bronze sea monsters and putti, surmounted by a figure of Arethusa, designed, according to Evelyn, by Fanelli. It had been much altered in 1689-94 by Edward Pierce, when some of the figures were recast, and was further rearranged when it was re-erected in Bushy Park by Wren. The figures of the boys were recast at this time. The size of the figures may have been right for their original position; in Bushy Park they are far too small and the elegant, smooth workmanship can only be appreciated by those provided with field-glasses. It is uncertain whether the misnamed figure of Diana reflects Fanelli's original.

Of the Master of the Horse, in charge of the Royal Stud Farm

Waterhouse Plantation, waterfall and fountain, stump.

Woodland Garden with swamp cypress like broken teeth.

Waterhouse Pond, where the course of the Longford River made by Charles I divides.

House on the overflow. A decorative brick stucco house, rebuilt in the c 19.

Bridge -an attractive brick bridge with three arches

Upper Lodge, rebuilt in the early c 18, of which only the stables and brew house survive, a neat utilitarian structure in the late Wren style. Was a home for Canadian convalescents in First World War.  Has become the Bushey Park History Centre.

Leg of Mutton Pond So called from its shape.

Longford River cut in late 1630s to provide fresh water for Hampton Court.


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