FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

The Natural History of Bushy Park

  • Location: London
  • Tutor: Sharon Brown
  • Date: Saturday 06 July 2019
  • Level: Walking Level 1

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here

Course Details

An ecological introduction to the grasslands, open water and some of the trees of Bushy Park. The acid grasslands forming the public part of Bushy are vast for their urban setting. Different, neutral grassland lies immediately behind the Stockyard at Bushy Park. (Take the opportunity to see part of the Stockyard conservation area, which can only be visited during courses). Bushy also boasts an assemblage of trees with many important veterans and open water areas of ponds, streams and channels. We will explore both types of grassland during the day, getting to know a range of the plants, including grasses, and butterfly species from both the acid and neutral areas. During our walks various tree species will be identified and we will also take a brief look at a few of the amazing veterans. The other focus of the day will be on the open water, doing some dipping for pondlife, together with identification of wetland plants. The contrasting flora and management history will be discussed and we will consider the ecological value and what this tells us about the past and present. Back in the classroom we can use the microscope and trinocular to put on screen items that we find.

Fee includes a copy of the FSC fold out chart: Freshwater Name Trail. 

Our Natural History and Exploring Nature and the Arts courses are aimed at those aged 18 and above. If you are interested in one of our courses but are under 18 at the time of the course beginning please contact the Centre hosting the course prior to booking to discuss the content and its suitability.

About the tutor:

Sharon Brown is a botanist – geographer currently working as an independent ecologist with habitat assessment and management as a main area of expertise. Over time she has also worked for the Nature Conservancy Council, Scottish Rangering, Wildlife Trusts and latterly as an associate tutor for the FSC. As a naturalist she has a fascination for wild places, as well as the wild in more urban settings and an enthusiasm for passing this to others through practical application.


  • 0930 Registration
  • 1000 Welcome, Health and Safety & Introduction
  • 1015 Introduction to the Day
  • 1030 Walk out to field site (pond and meadow grassland)
  • 1045 Pond dipping and identifying finds together with the wetland plants.
  • 1145 Neutral grassland walk - identifying plants and butterflies
  • 1300 Lunch
  • 1330 Walk out to field site (acid grassland and trees of the public Park)
  • 1515 Classroom time viewing find, with microscope and trinocular, on screen
  • 1550 Taking your interest further and Course Reviews
  • 1600 Course finishes

All timings are approximate. This is an outline programme and may be subject to change according to the weather, requirements of the group or access restrictions to field sites on the day of the course.

What to bring

  • Lunch and plenty to drink
  • Suitable clothing & footwear, waterproofs or sun cream as appropriate!
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Small bag to carry personal items
  • Binoculars

Health and Safety and Accessibility

  • There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site.
  • If you have special medical requirements please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.
  • Please be aware that this is a Deer Park, and there can be ticks. Please consider wearing long sleeved tops and trousers, even if the weather is nice, and bring insect repellent.
  • Our courses include some classroom sessions but field visits may be a few hours long and involve walking over uneven ground.

Meeting point / Location

The Stockyard, Bushy Park.

FSC in Bushy Park

FSC have been working in partnership with The Royal Parks to deliver courses since 2011. In Bushy Park, our education Centre has two classrooms, toilet facilities, a small kitchen and office space. Alongside this is an area of the Park for education use, not open to members of the public. With two large meadows and grassland areas, woodland areas and three ponds, this is an exciting and inspiring space to discover more about the Park. Located near Hampton Court Palace, Bushy Park's mixture of woods, gardens, ponds and grassland makes it a fantastic place to enjoy wildlife with roaming herds of Red and Fallow Deer. The park is also home to the famous Chestnut Avenue, a formal Baroque water garden and the beautiful Diana Fountain.

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken.

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