Richmond Park National Nature Reserve

Richmond Park – National Nature Reserve is a new film by the Friends of Richmond Park, presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

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The Bushy Park Walkers – Then and Now

In 2009 Maeve, one of the founding members of The Bushy Park Walkers, wrote the following piece for Focus. It was read out, by Judith, to current members of the group this Christmas as part of our annual wassail, which Judith kindly hosts for us. It was interesting to hear how the group was formed but also we all felt that the descriptions of the fellowship within the group and beauty of the park still very much hold true for the group in its present form. Although we haven’t been quite as adventurous, no recent visits to France but we have managed day trips into London and Brighton and walks in Esher and Richmond Park. We also organise social events, meals and theatre outings.
The Bushy Park Walkers still meet every Monday morning at 9.30am at Laurel Gate and welcome new members, regular or occasional walkers, even just bank holiday walkers! All are welcome.

Sarah W.


Bushy Park Walkers
In September 2006, Mary and I decided that we would like to take a regular walk in our beautiful Bushy Park. We would meet at 9.30 a.m. and go wherever our fancy took us – little did we know what we had started. As the weeks passed, friends from church joined us when they were able to and our numbers fluctuated between two and nine. Our walks have taken us to the Woodland Gardens, Hampton Court Palace (great for hot chocolate) the Kingston Gates and way beyond. We have walked the Thames towpath from Teddington Lock to Kingston; Teddington Lock to Richmond; Kew Bridge to Putney; the Isabella Plantation in full spring glory; travelled up to town and returned to Richmond by river boat; visited Chinatown for a dim sum with Margaret; gone to France by Eurostar; enjoyed Kew Gardens; hikes across Hampstead Heath and visited Kenwood House (incredible paintings, miniatures and an excellent café) enjoyed summer picnics, coffee and cakes at each others homes and a scrumptious lunch at Moira’s new home. Few places though, can compare with the natural beauty of our park, a continually changing scene in all seasons. We have watched swans and cygnets, all varieties of ducks and ducklings, tiny baby coots and moorhens. Other birds have included the parakeets, woodpeckers, kestrels, robins, blue tits, tree creepers, crows, jackdaws and a magical sighting of a bejewelled kingfisher in flight. The owls that lived in the great oak tree were ousted this year by the parakeets and sadly, we have not seen them. Mind you, there have been occasional glimpses of a flying Robert or a George on their cycles, off to do the Church banking in Teddington!
We have watched the Woodland Gardens being replanted and enjoyed the subtle change of colour and contours. The mighty carp in the ponds have taken bread thrown in for the ducks, tickling their webbed feet to get to it first. Mary and I have seen the mistletoe being harvested in the winter from the tops of very tall trees (and received a bunch for which we paid in the time honoured fashion – but don’t tell). It has been so funny in the winter to see the ducks skidding on the ice when the ponds freeze over and the swans looking clumsy and ungainly – no Swan Lake there. In the autumn we have heard the stags roar in defence of their harems, seen them chase each other and clash their antlers together in battle, generally behaving like stroppy teenagers. The Pheasantry Café is now open in the Woodland Gardens, the food and facilities are very welcome and in a perfect setting. The chef, a Lancashire lass, works specials from her own recipes, truly scrumptious. (I have taken friends there three times for lunch but the cook is going home for Christmas so don’t miss out) There is always something to see and wonder at in the park; open skies, cloud formation, sunshine and rain, soft breezes and cold winds. Beetles, butterflies, flowers, toadstools, birds, beasts and trees. We often stop and acknowledge how fortunate and blessed we are to share in such bounty. So, if one Monday you are free and the weather is fair, come and join us at the Laurel Road, Hampton Hill gate, around 9.30a.m. We go at a gentle pace (no jogging!) share each other’s company and talk the talk as we walk the walk.

M. E. W.

Here come the Bushy Park Walkers,                                                                                                     Join in, if you fancy a stroll                                                                                                                         To the Tiltyard or Pheasantry Cafe,                                                                                                   Where coffee’s our ultimate goal!

There go the Bushy Park Walkers,                                                                                             Exploring the park in group style,                                                                                                         And when towering bracken impedes them,                                                                                   They happily walk single file.

Here come the Bushy Park Walkers,                                                                                            Walking in sun, shower or hail,                                                                                                      Quietly strolling or chatting,                                                                                                            Raising a smile without fail.

There go the Bushy Park Walkers,                                                                                           Treasuring the sights and the feel.                                                                                             Watching and wondering at nature,                                                                                               Almost too good to be real.

Here come the Bushy Park Walkers,                                                                                            Wearing what suits is the rule,                                                                                                      Brollies and sunshades and beanies,                                                                                                 Cosy but also so ‘cool’!

There go the Bushy Park Walkers,                                                                                                    Intent on a few hours to steal,                                                                                                        Talking and listening and laughing,                                                                                        Everything destined to heal.

Here come the Bushy Park Walkers,                                                                                                      Do come, if you fancy a stroll.                                                                                                                 See the woodlands, the waters, the wildlife,                                                                                    Guaranteed good for the soul.

Judith Blakemore Lawton


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Bushy Park

In anticipation of the cold weather returning soon here is Judith’s poem “Bushy Park” written in 2009 after a walk through a cold and frosty Bushy Park.


Bushy Park is white once more,bpwhite

as we walk one winter morning.

Every pond from shore to shore,

stiffly still, all motion scorning.


Silent swans and ducks and geese,

statuesque on frosted pools,

patiently await release,

knowing well that Winter rules.


Glinting sun from stark blue sky

battles with the biting breeze.

Glaze of gold on branches high

beautifies bare Winter’s trees.


Diana glows in pride of place,

– wintry water starts its thaw –

gilded limbs and gleaming face,

Bushy Park is right once more.


Judith Blakemore Lawton 2009

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Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who bought one of our Bushy Park Walkers Calendars. All the calendars have now been sold and I’m delighted to let you know that we have raised £199.80 for Teddington Methodist Church’s Hall For Us All appeal.

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Bushy Park Walkers

Come and join we BP Walkers,2014-03-24 10.13.40

Friendly ramblers, listeners, talkers;

Monday morning, wet or fine,

Laurel Gate at half past nine.


Tony, Linda, Sue and Sarah,

Monika mit Caroline,

Ralph, Gill, John – when able to –

Peggy, Judith, Tony’s Sue.


Come and join we BP Walkers,

Friendly ramblers, listeners, talkers;

Monday morning, wet or fine,

Laurel Gate at half past nine.


2014-03-24 10.13.59Happy memories surround us;

Of Maeve ‘nd Mary, our co-founders.

And of past walkers, without fail,

Maggie, Moira, Brenda, Gail.


Come and join we BP Walkers,

Friendly ramblers, listeners, talkers;

Monday morning, wet or fine,

Laurel Gate at half past nine.


                     Judith Blakemore Lawton

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Maids of Honour

For a while now The Tiltyard Cafe at Hampton Court have been selling Maids of Honour. They are advertised as a traditional 16th century tart and as being named after Anne Boleyn and eaten by her husband Henry VIII. The individual tarts cost £3.75 each and when members of the BPWalkers group are lining up to buy our tea or coffee, mutterings can be heard, admittedly mainly from yours truly, that you could buy a whole large cake for that price at the excellent weekly Saturday Morning Coffee Mornings at Teddington Methodist Church!

This week a new sign appeared next to the tarts claiming that, amongst other more likely ingredients, they contain mash potato (sic).


Now this immediately set alarm bells ringing as a quick google search revealed that the potato was only brought to the UK from its native South America in 1589. Legend has it that Sir Walter Raleigh made a gift of the potato plant to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). It took quite a while after that before it fully caught on as, without social media, there was no chance of the modest tuber going viral overnight.

So Henry VIII, being Elizabeth’s dad, couldn’t really have eaten a traditional Maid of Honour containing mashed potato, as it says on the Hampton Court advertising boards, could he? And it seems like a long time after the death of Anne, who lost her head in 1536, for the spud filled tart to be given her name!

I’m sure all of this has nothing to do with Hampton Court earning a tart crust by providing traditional fare at well baked prices for the tourists who visit!

After further googling, following tip offs from the knowledgeable members of BPWalkers,  I have discovered that there is a pastry shop/cafe in Kew called The Original Maid of Honour. ( I really feel that in the interests of  research a BPWalkers visit to Kew is in order!) They also state that the tarts are named after Anne and even go as far as to claim that the recipe  was discovered by good old Henry himself. Sadly they remain tight lipped on matters of mash as their recipe is top secret. Rather pleasingly they are bang up to date when it comes to modern technology and online shopping and you can order the tarts here.

A while back I decided  to try making the tarts myself using a non traditional method containing no mashed potato! Here is the recipe I used.

Recipe for Maids of Honour

Serves: 12 

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 23cm pie
  • 4 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60g (2 1/2 oz) plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar for dusting

Prep:20min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:40min 

  1. Move oven rack to bottom position and preheat oven to 190 C (gas 5). Lightly grease 12 (5cm) tart tins.
  2. Roll out pastry and cut 12 (8cm) circles. Fit one pastry circle into each tart tin. Spread one teaspoon of raspberry jam into the bottom of each pastry case.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg. Add flour, baking powder and almond extract and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour 1 tablespoon of batter into each pastry case.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until risen and firm. Dust tarts with icing sugar.

Recipe from allrecipes where they use potato appropriately.

Post Script I have just come across an interesting article which might explain the mystery! Could it have been sweet potato that was used in the recipe?


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500 Years of Hampton Court

Watch how thousands of drawings and 500 years of history were squeezed into five fantastic minutes of film.

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