Our December temperatures fast heading for the month’s low point did not put off the14 Moleside Walkers who met on the edge of the Woodland Gardens in Bushy Park for our monthly meet up. Led by walks coordinator Steve Mustoe the group was missing several regulars including your usual walk reporter – severe colds rather than low temperatures were the most popular explanations.
Happily both Paul Walker and Derick Fulcher willingly got to work with their cameras to help with this record of a pleasant, but easy going stroll under clear blue skies through part of the magnificent deer park.
Following the perimeter path westwards Steve guided the group passed the site of the Admiralty Research Laboratory, a key war time establishment located in the park along with other facilities that played strategic roles leading to victory in 1945.
These days this area is less accessible to Surrey dwellers like us now that Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificant Chestnut Avenue in the park has been closed to through road traffic.
Our December route then took the walkers past the Water Gardens of Upper Lodge established by the 1st Earl of Halifax in 1710 and only recently restored to former glories.
Benefitting from the water supply of the Longford River, the canal commissioned by Charles 1 in the 1630s to supply water to Hampton Court, the frozen surfaces on the day of our visit provided clear evidence of the low temperatures the Moleside walkers were taking in their stride.
Very cold watercourses remained part of the story throughout the remainder of the walk past Fishers Pond named after Joseph Fisher, the Park Superintendent who in 1948 launched the project to create the Woodland Gardens that we enjoy today.
Close by the car park where the walkers had initially met is the Pheasantry Cafe where several in the group took a snack lunch. Those unable to be part of this adventure will surely feel that we missed a chilly but inspiring opportunity to revisit a historic local asset that is still able to come as a surprise.
Thanks Steve for making it possible and thanks as well to Paul and Derick for their help with the photography.
For much more on Bushy Park visit https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/bushy-park
The next Moleside Walk is on Thursday 19 January and for more reports on our recent walks click the tags below.