Hurst Meadows (map ref TQ144690) is an enchanting area of meadowland, created over the past 20 years by Elmbridge Council. Tree planting and seeding with wild grasses and flowers has made a magical place within a mile of Hampton Court Palace. It occupies the eastern end of Molesey Hurst, a broad low-lying area of riverside public open space upstream of Hampton Court Bridge in Elmbridge, Surrey, which was formerly part of Hurst Park Racecourse..
Now there are pathways and a fitness trail through what has become a lovely Thames-side landscape of open field and copse. It is treasured and enjoyed by people from near and far who walk, picnic and generally take pleasure in a rare meadowland habitat.
This has brought an increasing diversity of wildlife. In summer the wildflower meadows are alive with grasshoppers and flying insects - bees, butterflies, and moths. Bird populations have thrived with many more species, and in greater number; after sunset, bats fly over what has become an ideal foraging area. All the photographs on this website were taken during July, in the meadows, and they will give you some idea of its beauty and intrinsic value for nature conservation.
In 2011 the best of Hurst Meadows was under threat from a proposal by East Molesey Cricket Club for a new sports area, which would have meant loss of habitat with the ground raised and levelled for a mown grass pitch. Many local people took part in a consultation exercise conducted by Elmbridge Council. Results showed overwhelming support for protecting the Meadows, with almost 100% of respondents without any association with the cricket club objecting to the second pitch and outfield proposal.