Bushy Park Water Gardens restored to former glory

by Drucilla James

credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

A major restoration project in London’s Bushy Park is nearing completion.

The renovation of the Baroque-style Water Gardens, which started in 2008 following a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, is to reach a conclusion this year with the addition of trompe l’oeil detail on the walls of the cascade.

Other finishing touches, which are being funded by donations from The Friends of Bushy and Home Parks, in collaboration with The Royal Parks, include metal reeds created by award-winning sculptor Ian Gill, which were installed in March.

Built by the 1st Earl of Halifax in 1710, the Water Gardens fell into disrepair during the latter half of the twentieth century and were closed.


credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

Restoration plans got underway in the 1990s and a painting from The Royal Collection at Hampton Court Palace, The Cascade at Bushy Park, was chosen as the inspiration for the renovation of the site with its pools, cascade, basins and canal.

“The new metal reeds look fantastic and with the final touches falling into place the Gardens make a wonderful addition to Bushy Park. I hope all that visit enjoy the new improvements,” commented Simon Richards, Bushy Park Manager.

Now is also an ideal time to visit the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park, a 40-acre ornamental woodland garden, which is benefitting from a £1.5 million improvement programme thanks to grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund. The first major stage of work, which includes enhancements to ponds and streams and upgrades to the existing path network, has just been completed.

“The  Isabella Plantation is one of the most visited attractions in Richmond Park and it is hoped these improvements will encourage education and community activities and be enjoyed by park users for years to come,” said Jo Scrivener, Assistant Park Manager.

Bushy Park’s Water Gardens are open to the public every day except Monday and the Isabella Plantation is open year round, www.royalparks.org.uk

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