Molesey Hurst ©John Inglis
Queen Anne's Lace ©John Inglis Tufted Vetch ©John Inglis Knapweed ©John Inglis Hedge Brown on Hurst Meadows ©Mick Rock

Click photos to enlarge


"On the 8 August the Planning Compliance Team issued 9 Enforcement Notices for a number of moorings located north west of Cherry Orchard Gardens and adjacent to the tow path. The notices come into effect on the 9th September and require the cessation of the use of the land for the permanent mooring of boat/s and the removal of any structures, fencing or enclosures, which have been erected in association with the use of the land for the permanent mooring of boat/s, within one month from the date of which the notice takes effect. The recipients do have a right to submit an appeal, prior to the date the notice takes effect, which would place on hold any of the requirements of the notice until the appeal/s are decided.

"The Council has now served persons in the vicinity of Cherry Orchard Gardens with a Community Protection Notice (Warning Letter) to cease any further removal of vegetation and trees and also not to add any further fences or buildings to the riverbank. If persons fail to comply with the above requirements within the timescales given, then Elmbridge Borough Council will consider serving a Community Protection Notice (CPN) which could lead to a fixed penalty notice or risk prosecution.
See more on the Elmbridge Council website here.

"The Environment Agency has also served relevant byelaw warning notices regarding the removal of vegetation, shrubs and trees and potential offences under the Thames Navigation Licensing & General Byelaws 1993.

"Surrey County Council are aware of the fences across the public highway and will investigate. However, they prioritise all reports carefully and deal with immediate and significant safety issues first. At the present time, due to high numbers of reports, they are only able to deal with priority 1 and 2 issues. Priority 3, 4 and 5 issues will still be recorded and if resources allow, staff or volunteers will investigate. Please see their Maintenance and Enforcement Priority Statement which sets out their priorities 1-5."

We find that the proliferation of illegal encampments relates to safety issues, especially for lone women walkers, and the damage to the Thames Path Public Right of Way and National Trail has been on a scale that could be considered to be criminal in a site of nature conservation importance and in the nesting season.

The Environment Agency states that the River Thames at Hurst Park is not bathing water quality, and that swimming in it comes with health and safety risks. The EA does not test the water for infectious organisams. The only testing we know is for levels of nitrates and phosphates, undertaken by Fresh Water Watch. Human waste matter gets into the river from combined sewage overflows and very locally from unauthorised live-aboard vessels in the Molesey Reach. There are reports of gastro-enteritis suffered by dogs which have gone into the river. Read more about swimming in the Thames

Elmbridge Council has bye-laws which prohibit barbeques, fireworks, fires and tents in all its parks. The Friends ssked the council to install clear notices about this at all main entrances to the park, so anyone who sees it going on can refer culprits to those notices. Portable barbecues leave long-lasting damage on the grass, are a fire risk in dry weather, and food waste attracts vermin. Smoke from barbeques is very offensive to many park users and spoils their enjoyment of the open riverside environmment.

The Thames at Hurst Park is a popular area for course fishing. Many years ago, following frequent injuries to river birds, the Environment Agency, working with the local authorities, established a no-fishing zone along the stretch of riverbank commonly used for feeding the birds. Since then there has been a huge - and very welcome - reduction in injuries to waterfowl. The no-fishing zone stretches from upstream of Hampton ferry landing stage for 400m downstream towards Taggs Island and is indicated by EA no-fishing signs.
See more on the no fishing area

Now in place at Sadlers Ride carpark, fully accessible for disabled people, and a purpose-built small building in keeping with the park.

The court is now in use with a notice about rules and scoring and two benches for spectators. The terrain - as it is called - is next to the Saddlers Ride car park and open for anyone with their own boules to have a game, as well as more formal competitions during the coming spring and summer.

Events in the park

See our earlier news