Isabella Plantation to celebrate 60th birthday with series of free events

Richmond Park is holding a series of events to celebrate 60 years since Isabella Plantation was created.

A family enjoys the Isabella Plantation. Copyright Martin Jones.
A family enjoys the Isabella Plantation. Copyright Martin Jones.

The 16ha ornamental woodland garden has been recently seen a £1.6m investment and is hosting guided walks, an art showcase and a teddy bear’s picnic among other free events between 16 and 30 August. 

Completed improvements include enhancements to ponds and streams, upgrades to the existing path network, resurfacing and redesign of the Plantation’s disabled car park and the addition of a new fully accessible toilet block.

Assistant park manager Jo Scrivener said, "We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to come and visit the Isabella Plantation and see the improvements made to date.

"We were very fortunate to be able to secure £1.5 million from Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund and a further £120,000 from Sita Trust to deliver a range of improvements to the Plantation projects.

 "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."

The Plantation is home to an exotic array of trees and shrubs including the Wilson 50 National Collection of Evergreen Azaleas, in excess of 150 hardy hybrid rhododendrons, 50 other species of rhododendron, a large collection of camellias and magnolia as well as many rare and unusual trees and shrubs.

Mentions of the area date back to 1771, when it is shown on maps as Isabella Slade.  It was used to grow timber from 1831 but it was not until 1953 that the present garden of clearings, ponds and streams was established.

Richmond Park is the largest of the capital’s eight Royal Parks and the biggest enclosed space in London. It is a National Nature Reserve a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.

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