Hurst Meadows ©John Inglis
Nature Designations at Hurst Park Nearby Waterbodies

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Hurst Park Nature Designations

The River Thames is designated as a wildlife corridor throughout Elmbridge. It has the classifiation of a Site of Nature Conservation Importance, including the islands and the semi-natural habitat associated with the towpaths at the top of the river banks. There is a similar classification of Metropolitan Open Land of nature conservation importance on the Richmond side of the river.

Hurst Meadows was designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance in September 2014 because of its biodiversity and its scarcity as a Thames flood meadow, reverting very much to its traditional status as floodplain meadows.

There have been surveys carried out over recent years which can be seen here.

Nearby Waterbodies
There are wider considerations too with sites that have national and global importance for nature conservation.

These sites include nearby reservoirs which form part of the South West London Waterbodies Special Protection Area, a European designation.

Knight and Bessborough Reservoirs are a Ramsar Site, of global significance for migratory birds. Ramsar sites come with buffer zones and SSSIs have impact zones in order to protect their value for nature.

Molesey Reservoirs are a newly created Site of Nature Conservation Importance.

On the Richmond side of the river and close by is Bushy Park Site of Special Scientific Interest and Hurst Park is within its impact zone. Stain Hill and Sunnyside Reservoirs are also Sites of Nature Conservation Importance and form part of the South West London Water Bodies Special Protection Area.

The Thames has a critical role in connecting these many and varied nature conservation areas, upstream and down, both sides of the river. It is recognised as an important link in a green network that brings landscape scale to ecology and biodiversity.

The wooded riverside of Hurst Meadows lies at the start of the Arcadian Landscape which originally inspired the Thames Landscape Strategy, with a view downstream from Garrick's Lawn that has changed little since C18th.

We have a longer document detailing designations and policies here.