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Safety in Bushy Park


The two herds of deer in Bushy Park are wild animals. They can be unpredictable. The safe distance to observe deer in the park is 50 metres. That is the length of three London buses.

If you are photographing them, stay distant from them. If you approach them closely, the deer may become disturbed and aggressive. If a deer approaches you, move away calmly. If you are walking a dog which is not on a lead, do not to allow the dog to get close or harass the deer. Do not try to feed or stroke the deer. Human food is unsuitable and harms the health of the deer.

During the birthing season (early summer months) deer mothers hide their new born calves in bracken, long grasses, and bushes. If you inadvertently approach a hidden deer the mother is likely to charge aggressively at you or your dog.

During the rutting season (in the Autumn) the male Bucks and Harts (or Stags) fight each other for the right to breed with the females. The stags are full of testosterone and will bellow across the park to announce their presence and invitations to fight. Do not get close to the deer at this time of year. They are dangerous. If you get between two opposing stags, or between a stag and his harem of females, you may be attacked. Deer have been injured by dogs or cars. Occasionally deer have injured dogs or humans or attacked passing cars, during the birthing season or during the rut.

The deer have been the residents of the park for centuries. Visitors to the park must respect they are in a space where the deer roam and the deer are wild animals.

Oak Processionary Moth

Oak Processionary Moth is present in Bushy Park, Home Park and South West London generally. So please be careful when you visit the parks.

May is the time of year when the caterpillars of this invasive Moth are on the move. If you come across the caterpillars or their webbed nests, please do not touch them and keep children and pets away.

The hairs of the caterpillars carry a toxin which can be a threat to human health, causing skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory problems. In high numbers the caterpillars can also cause defoliation of oak trees.

In late April / early May pesticide spraying takes place on oaks in busy areas and those where they have been previously heavily infested. Careful surveying of the parks is undertaken by volunteer spotters to locate nests which are then tagged for later removal by specialist operatives using spacesuit-like protective clothing and equipment.

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Ticks are small creatures that feed on the blood of animals and sometimes humans. They can’t jump or fly so cling onto vegetation waiting until a host brushes past to attach to their skin. The population is at its peak from April to October.

While the risk is very low, ticks may transmit Lyme disease and visitors should avoid tall vegetation and keep legs and arms covered. Very few ticks carry the disease, which is a bacterial infection but it is recommended that you check for ticks after walking in the Park. You should immediately remove any that you find on yourself, accompanying children or dogs.

If concerned, you feel unwell or a rash appears; consult your GP immediately. For more information, please see The Royal Parks website, notice boards within the park, or visit the Bushy Park Office for a leaflet.

Park Regulations

Under Royal Parks Regulations it is an OFFENCE to:

  • Interfere with a plant or fungus
  • Climb or interfere with a tree
  • Take fish
  • Take birds’ eggs
  • Worry or injure an animal or bird
  • Feed or touch a deer
  • Drop or leave litter
  • Permit a dog to foul
  • Fail to keep a dog under control or (where required) on a lead
  • Permit a dog to chase, worry or injure a deer or other animal
  • Cycle or roller skate except on designated paths
  • Ride, drive or cycle dangerously
  • Ride, drive or cycle at night without lights
  • Drive above the 20 mph speed limit
  • Park anywhere other than in the car parks
  • Play games or sport, fly a kite, drone, or model aircraft except in designated areas
  • Carry on a trade
  • Bathe in a pond

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