A 3 mile walk through Bushy Park looking at its water features. It begins at Hampton Court Station (National Rail) and finishes at Hampton Hill. There is some overlap with the Hampton & Bushy Park walk. The Water Gardens are closed on Mondays except at Bank Holidays when they are closed on Tuesday instead. Binoculars useful.
Exit the station and cross
Hampton Court Bridge. Enter the palace gates on the right and
walk towards the main frontage. Go left through the walled
gardens then right into The Wilderness.
In the winter months admission to the east gardens is free. From here you can view the pond, canal and Long Water of Hampton Court Park. The Great Fountain Garden with a parterre and 13 fountains was created for William & Mary in the 1690s. However Queen Anne had all but one of the fountains removed and the semicircular canal dug. The Long Water (¾ mile) was constructed along with avenues of trees for Charles II in 1661.
From The Wilderness follow
signs to the Maze, exit at Hampton Court (Lion) Gate and cross
into Bushy Park. Note traffic is permitted to cross the park.
A water course runs through the line of trees to the right. The ponds, fountains and water gardens of Bushy Park are fed by the Longford River. This was planned by Nicholas Lane for Charles I to bring fresh water from the River Colne near Heathrow to Hampton Court Palace. The 13 mile canal was constructed by Edward Manning. It was dug by hand over nine months in 1638-9 and cost £3000. The river is an important feature in the park and benefical to wildlife.
Head towards the 'Diana'
Fountain. Binoculars are useful to view this.
It forms a focal point on the Chestnut Avenue, designed by Christopher Wren for William III in the 1690s. The basin in which it stands is 400' across and 5' deep. The marble fountain, a gift from Charles I to his wife, was moved from the privy garden of Hampton Court in 1713 having originally stood at Somerset House. At this time it was elevated on a Portland Stone base. There are four sirens in bronze, seated astride dolphins, between which are shells, supported on a scroll. Above the sirens, on a second tier, are seated putti, each holding a fish. The figure (actually of the nymph Arethusa) by Francesco Fanelli has been gilded as part of the repair work undertaken.
Walk through the car park to
the right then along the left hand side of the Model Boating
Pond, crossing two bridges.
Beyond this pond are Heron and Leg-of-Mutton Ponds. These were created as fishponds by Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s.
Follow the water course to
The river follows the line of old field boundaries in places. Further along is a pump.
Cross Chestnut Avenue and
enter the Pheasantry Woodland Garden at the Crocodile Gate (this
is to the left of the service entrance).
The gardens were created in the 1950s. There is the option of visiting the Pheasantry centre with cafe, toilets & picnic area.
From the gate follow the
path with the river on your right.
Notice the curious Swamp Cypress trees. Triss's Pond is named after the daughter of Joseph Fisher, the park superintendant responsible for designing the gardens. Woodland Cottage (private property) is shown on plans of 1851.
Beyond the cottage it is
possible to walk alongside the river. Exit onto Ash Walk and
detour left to the Brick Bridge
From here there is a view of another branch of the river.
Return and enter the
Waterhouse Woodland Garden on the left
This was laid out in the 1920s as a job creation project. The water enabled the planting of a variety of non-native plants.
Take the first turning to
the left. Cross two bridges to a Pond.
Fisher's Pond was created after WWII and is named after Joseph Fisher, the superintendent of Bushy Park.
Walk left into a Heather
Garden. Walk through and cross a stream into the Glade. Turn left
over another bridge. Reaching a gate turn right taking the path
alongside the stream to Waterhouse Pond.
The Waterhouse, which gave its name to the plantation, housed a pump to control the water flow. It was rebuilt in the 19th century and provided mess facilities for the Longford Rivermen. The pond acted as a reservoir.
Go up the slope past the
seat overlooking the pond then go left. Take the path off to the
left opposite the bench dedicated to Beverton. Where the path
divides go left. Cross a wooden bridge then continue along the
path which follows the river. On reaching the Iron Bridge go
right with the fence on your left until you reach a gate. Exit
here then go through the adjacent gate and continue northwards
with the fenced river to your left.
This is a conservation area. It is planned to create a reed bed which will benefit water voles. The path crosses another water course futher along.
Bear left to the Water
Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax and Ranger of Bushy Park, created these gardens, together with the Canal Plantation, in association with the rebuilding of Upper Lodge in 1710. The water for the pools was diverted from the Longford River. The feature deteriorated in the 18th century and was used as a swimming pool when Upper Lodge served as a children's home and to test mines by the Admiralty. The Royal Parks took over the lease of the land from the Admiralty in 2001 and Heritage Lottery funding enabled the restoration of the Water Gardens (completed in 2009). Information boards have additional information.
Walk to the left of the
pools. Detour left to view the Brewhouse (1710).
In 1952 the Admiralty diverted the river forming a seven step cascade which can be seen from the bridge.
Exit by the top pool and
follow the water course to your left towards the Pantile Bridge.
This is where the Longford River enters the park.
Take the path to the right
alongside the sports pitch and exit at Hampton Hill Gate.
Buses 267, 285, R68 & R70 serve the High Street.
© london-footprints.co.uk 2014
Walking London by Andrew Duncan
Walking Londons Parks & Gardens by Geoffrey Young
Buildings and Monuments in the Royal Parks
Friends of Bushy and Home Parks [website]
Royal Parks (Bushy Park) [website]
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