Thursday - Bushy Park

October 16, 2014

{oops this post got published earlier in the week by mistake sorry if you've already read it!} 
Sunny autumnal days can be so beautiful. Last Sunday, after a few days of rain and feeling under the weather I needed a morning out. I love where we live but after doing the same walks with the dog most days in the week I crave a change by the weekend. Ben and I love going to Richmond Park as the leaves start to turn for a walk and to see the deer but decided to discover somewhere new and now Bushy Park is a firm favourite.

During the Autumn, stags will fight with their antlers in a head to head battle to mate with a female doe. It happens around the end of September, early October each year and stags will try and mate as much as they can in this time, it just happens once a year so they get incredibly frisky and as a result active in parks. 

Bushy and Richmond Park both have deer, introduced by Henry VIII to hunt when he lived in Hampton Court just across the road. You can park for free in both of the royal parks for a long walk or bike ride. I think I prefer Bushy Park for a nicer walk, Richmond is good for a walk to the town by the river or Petersham Nurseries {post on that to follow soon} but I loved how Bushy Park had miles more space to walk without seeing cars. 

I hoped that we would see deer but wasn't sure where they'd be. However literally seconds after driving in from the Hampton Court entrance we had seen two stags out the window and rushed to get parked so we could get closer. Although not too close! Stags have been known to attack people at this time of year if you get too near or in between them and a deer. So we kept our distance whilst trying to get as close as we felt safe to get photos. 

It was such a gorgeous sunny day and for the first time this year we needed jumpers! Such a novelty putting on a jumper and wearing a scarf and walking through the crunchy leaves. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year? The light was gorgeous too with a tiny bit of frost still visible under the trees.

The leaves still need a few weeks until they all turn but it's still a beautiful time of year. 

We looked at a map of the park and planned a rough four mile circular walk starting and finishing at the car park walking through the woodland gardens, out in the open and around ponds. It was beautiful. You can see a similar route here.

In total we saw twelve stags, Ben said I was more excited than our safari in Tanzania a couple of years ago. {not true but it was quite spectacular especially the fact that you're standing just a few miles from London} 

You can hear a stag before you see one at this time of year, they bellow as if in pain calling for a mate and to stake their 'girls'.

We walked around a corner and saw two stags near each other which could only mean one thing.. FIGHT! They walked side by side to start with, their calling getting louder and a group of does stood nearby. 

Then it was showdown time and the stags circled before rutting, locking their antlers together in a head lock shoving each other backwards and forwards before the larger stag walked over and had won his females. It was fascinating to watch, something you don't see everyday. 

Another stag was nearby and we didn't want to get caught in the middle of another fight so carried on with our walk.

Such a gorgeous park made even better with deer for entertainment on the way round and a bright blue sky. Sunday dates are my favourite. We drove over the bridge into Kingston upon Thames after for lunch and a browse around the shops. Who knew that Kingston was so good for shopping? Literally everything you could wish for there.

I would definitely recommend a trip if you're in the area. Next time we'll take the pup although I'd have to keep him away from the deer to avoid a Fenton style chase..

R <3 xx 

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