A Walk in the (Royal)Park

map-bushy-walk-route2map with thanks to OpenStreetMap and contributors

I’ve been lazy over the Christmas holidays and not ventured out much. I was lying in bed this morning at 1030 reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson when My Little Darling threw herself on top of me, hugged me and said, “are you coming for a walk?”

I’m always complaining that I need exercise and deriding the family for not dragging me out so, of course, the book had to be set aside, clothes thrown on, hat, gloves and coat donned and best foot put forward. Unlike some bloggers I don’t live in the wilds of Scotland, near the sea in Cornwall, the edge of a moor in Devon or a prairie in wherever you get prairies, but within a stone’s throw of my house I do have Bushy Park, the second largest of the Royal Parks with an area of 445 hectares (1,099 acres) and a deer population of 300+.

If you look at the purple dots on the map above(courtesy of OpenStreetMap.org),  you will be able to see the route that we took. We took something over two hours on our circuit so any cobwebs were well and truly blown away. Poor MLD who is about half my mass was feeling cold by the end of the walk but of course I have plenty of insulation to keep me well-protected from the elements.  I have been toying with the idea of walking to work at least one day a week in 2009 and the route would be exactly that which we took until we turned northwards to begin our walk home. I would only have to continue eastwards, towards the River Thames and Kingston, for another 10-15 minuutes and I would be at work. Altogether the walk would take me about one hour and ten minutes. At this time of year I would not be able to walk home through the park as the gates are locked at dusk so I would use my Oyster Card to hop on a red double-decker bus and be dropped off a few strides from my home.

I thought I’d share a few images from our walk. pond-trees-sun13

Just after we turned eastwards, to begin our return home, we walked past “Leg of Mutton Pond”. A watery sun shone overhead causing most of the trees to be silhouetted into what I like to refer to as “Winter Lace”.  This is the season that makes me most aware of trees, even more so than spring or autumn. Everything is laid bare and you can really appreciate the negative space between the branches and twigs.

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The noisiest inhabitants of the trees in Bushy Park, and indeed all around this area, are bright green parrot-like birds which according to the RSPB are ring-necked parakeets, the UK’s only naturalised parrot.  green-parakeet-silhouette-treedsc071792

We walked under one tree where a few of them were congregating. One of them had ensconced himself in a hole in a tree and was fluffing up his chest feathers in an attempt to keep himself warm. His compatriots flew around the tree in circles, shrieking loudly with sounds more appropriate to an amazonian jungle than a royal park.

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deer-walking2It’s difficult to believe that there is all this wildlife to observe when we are within the M25, London’s orbital motorway, a bus-ride from Heathrow Airport and not from the city of London itself. On our walk today we soon came to realise that we were being observed as much as we were doing the observing. What do the 300+ deer in this royal park think of the large, often noisy, two-legged creatures who invade their privacy during daylight hours?

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ice-under-dukes-passage-bridge2It was past 1300 by the time we crossed the iron bridge that leads to Duke’s Head passage, passing  Hampton’s open air swimming pool before finally leaving the park. Leaning over the bridge where the children often played poohsticks at the end of a walk, the ice was still thick and it seemed likely that a freezing night would swallow up the park before the existing ice had a chance to melt. All the more surprising to see swimmers in the open pool proving the claim that the pool is open 365 days of the year for those brave enough to remove their warm garments.

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So it’s back to work in the morning and any walking will be done to get me from A to B, rather than for the sheer pleasure of being outside. Will I pop down to the station and buy a ticket to ride or will I tramp through the park? Place your bets ladies and gentlemen.

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Posted in walk. Tags: . 1 Comment »

One Response to “A Walk in the (Royal)Park”

  1. Gregory Marler Says:

    During the winter months the park doesn’t close at dusk. I think some gates have a 7:30pm closing, it’s not clearly displayed.


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