Shire Horses in Hurst Meadows - photo ©Mick Rock
RARE  Great Burnet Autumn Squill - a rare plant now confirmed growing in Hurst Park and nowhere else in Surrey RARE Bee Orchid in Hurst Meadows The Hurst Marker RARE Hybrid Duck at Hurst Park Lady's Smock (Cuckoo Flower) Hurst Park signpost

Click photos to enlarge


FLASH - Saturday 9 September
The Thames Path Challenge will keep Hurst Park a busy place with a main staging point for thousands of runners coming through.


Slumboat at Hurst Park
Slumboat at Hurst Park until 6 September 2017

Latest - September 2017

It was on 2 August that the Slumboat which took so many years to get moved from Hurst Park was replaced by another much the same, owned by the same person. It was moved by the owner from unauthorized mooring at Thames Water in Hampton to its earlier unauthorized position on Hurst Park on 1st August 2017.

It has now moved again - a short distance downstream towards Molesey Lock. Local residents have objected and reported the vessel to the Environment Agency and council.

Molesey MP Dominic Raab agrees with us that better and stronger enforcement is needed against all this unauthorised mooring of live-aboard and derelict vessels, and he has written to Defra to say so. Mr Raab wants to see a review of the enforcement powers available and has asked for a response from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We will be kept in touch.

The slumboat, also described by some as a "floating dosshouse", is one of a number of similar vessels on the Thames owned by Mr Alastair Trotman. It contains up to 10 compartments rented out at around £30 a night each. The vessels are unpowered and usually moored to trees, almost always exceeding the 24 hours allowed by the Environment Agency for legitimate "mooring in passing" by many weeks or months..

These slumboats moor up on the Thames without paying mooring fees and have featured on BBC London television news where, not surprisingly, they were declared to be a fire hazard by safety experts. There is also the concern that the boats are unsanitary and pollute the river as they have no access to mains sewage or services of any kind. This reach of the Thames is where Thames Water extract much of London's drinking water at Hampton Waterworks.

Previously users of the park complained about finding human excrement and toilet paper amongst the trees near the slumboat.

The following media links provide more information about the slumboats:

Our previous Slumboat Stories

Slumboat in Wikipedia

From the Guardian 23 Feb 2014

Reclaim our Riverbank - 2014

EA Impose fines on Slumboat owners Nov 2015

BBC report Fire Risk - video 23 March 2016

Fines for illegal mooring January 2017

Court confirms no long term mooring 23 November 2016

Slumboats removed by EA - Local Guardian 28 Feb 2017

Wednesday 10 August
A planning application has been submitted to Elmbridge Borough Council by Hurst Park Residents' Association for a board illustrating some of the wildlife species to be found at Hurst Park, with opportunity for public comment. To see proposal please tap here.

The fishing season is underway and anglers come to enjoy this activity at Hurst Park. We ask them please to observe the "No Fishing" zone and to take their litter home. The zone was established by the Environment Agency, Elmbridge Council and local angling clubs to protect wildlife in the riverside nature conservation area. Notices were removed ahead of the fishing season, but the Environment Agency has replaced them to mark the extent of the no fishing zone. For more details about the no-fishing area click here.

Elmbridge Borough Council is drawing up its revised Local Development Plan - the blueprint for planning in the borough into the future - and it includes a recommendation to designate Hurst Park and Meadows as Local Green Space. This is something all Friends can back, and many of us have through the consultation. Our MP, Dominic Raab, has written in support of the designation which now also has the backing of the Molesey Residents' Association and its councillors..

Is the area demonstrably special to the local community? This is the important question for us, and Hurst Park and Meadows meet all the requirements for the designation. LGS will confer further protections on this cherished public open space, natural floodplain and nature conservation area.

Read why it is being proposed for Local Green Space in the supplementary detail.

You can always write direct to the planning department with everything you want to say about what Hurst Park and Meadows mean to you.

Tap here for the Local Development Plan consultation document. (Q22 relates to Local Green Space)

Autumn squill bloomd have reappeared on the park this year in some numbers. This rare little wildflower is found nowhere else in Surrey, but was recorded in the Hurst Park area as long ago as the mid 19th century.

It was great to see working horses on the Hurst back in the spring. The two Shires from Operation Centaur were pulling a light chain harrow across bumblebee banks on Hurst Park and some wildlife areas on Hurst Meadows, organised by the Thames Landscape Strategy. Elmbridge Wildlife Conservation Officers say that this treatment loosens up the thatch on the surface of the soil and stimulates germination of dormant seeds. The hope is that these horses will in future do more of the maintenance in the Meadows.

Lower Mole Volunteers continued seasonal work on thinning and removing side branches in the copses in early spring, as they have done in previous years, to limit the spread of aspen suckers and open up the stands of trees to encourage woodland plants.

Surrey County Council, as Lead Local Flood Authority, has been running a consultation on its new flood risk management strategy. It is important this document includes protections for our natural flood plain of Hurst Park and Meadows, and the Friends has submitted a response.

Tap here for the flood risk management proposals

Elmbridge Borough Council officers will be working closely with Hampton School next year. Repairs had to be carried out to grassland at Hurst Park following extensive damage caused by vehicles during the Hampton Head Junior Rowing Regatta in February 2017, and it's hoped there will be fewer traffic, parking and damage problems in future. One resident who submitted a complaint to the council included images of the Hurst taken on the morning after, Sunday 5 February, which you can see here.

Following objections from the statutory consultees, most notably the Environment Agency, application 2016/2760 for a large boathouse and activities hub by the river in Hurst Meadows, with launch area on the riverbank, has been withdrawn by the 1st Molesey (Jaguar) Sea Scouts. The Friends always stand ready to help with finding an appropriate waterside location for a replacement boatshed for this scout group.

Tap here to see the withdrawal notice.

For the full history of this proposal, see our archive pages here.