Isabella Plantation, Kingston upon Thames

#1 of 21 in Wildlife in Greater London
Garden · Hidden Gem · Park
Isabella Plantation is a woodland garden in Richmond Park in south west London. It is managed by The Royal Parks.

Originally located in a boggy part of Richmond Park, it was labelled on a 1771 map as Isabell Slade. Slade, or sleyt, meant a bog or open space between woods and or banks, and isabel meant dirty or greyish brown, referring to the colour of the soil there.
The Isabella Plantation was established in the early 19th century when Lord Sidmouth, who was Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park and a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, fenced it as an area of woodland to keep the park's deer out. After World War II it was transformed into a woodland garden. It is now organically run, resulting in a rich flora and fauna. Opened to the public in 1953, it is now a major visitor attraction in its own right.

In October 2012 it was reported that about 40 per cent of the Isabella Plantation is covered with Rhododendron ponticum, a non-native and invasive variety of rhododendron introduced by the Victorians, and that this would be removed over the next five years.
In 2014, improvements were made to the Plantation to incorporate new direction signs, wheelchair-accessible pathways and toilets and a new shelter and gazebo through a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The works also incorporated de-silting of all three ponds in the Plantation and establishing new waterfalls in the streams, funded by The Royal Parks with contributions from the Friends of Richmond Park.
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314 reviews
  • The Plantation is a complete contrast to the rest of Richmond Park where the deer roam freely, having been established as a woodland area, fenced off to keep the deer out, in the early 19th century...  more »
  • azaleas are stunning in late spring but beautiful at any time of the year. Highly recommended along with the rest of Richmond Park.  more »
  • One of the most beautiful spots in the whole London. Period. Richmond park is already beautiful, but this little gem is so well preserved and looked after that everyone should visit at least once. Recommend going during late spring where everything is blossoming.
  • Isabella Plantation is a extraordinary reserve of fauna and flora, taking advantage of the natural bogey conditions near the top of Richmond Park. It is well designed and well maintained. Beautiful flowers and trees surround small ponds. The many different birds are not shy and will come close to the visitors. I visited during the summer but I imagine it is just as beautiful any season. Do not miss it!

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