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

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Copyright John Inglis
The fire viewed from the river

A fire started with loud explosions in Hurst Park at about 10pm on Easter Sunday (27/3/16), located between the Sadlers Ride Car Park and Garrick's Ait. A strong south-westerly wind from an approaching storm carried smoke and embers from the fire towards the houses onthe island and downstream towards the Slum Boat moored at Sadlers Ride slipway.

The fire brigade arrived about 10 minutes after the first emergency call and had the fire extinguished about 15 minutes later. The vehicle was a Vauxhall Astra which had been driven into the park over the banking and then set alight.

An island resident said: "We were extremely worried about timber houses here and had our emergency fire pumps ready in case. We know the devastation fire can cause from the major incident of Easter Sunday 2003 - exactly 13 years ago - when three houses were lost in the blaze."

Trees have been scorched and damaged. The authorities came the next day - Easter Monday - to remove the burned out wreck.

It seems we will have to rest our case and accept that Hurst Park will not get the strongest protection we hoped for. See more on our Commons page.


12 MAY 2014
Minutes of the meeting of the Friends of Hurst Park held on 28 April 2014
It was agreed to defer the AGM until there is a parks officer with responsibility for Hurst Park.

June 2015
Statement from the Environment Agency relating to works to repair the weir at Molesey Lock:

The works at Hurst Park, to remove the site compound, are ongoing and the hope is all temporary surfacing will shortly be gone. There may then be some additional time required for taking up of the temporary footpath diversion, and making-good the wharf area. The proposal, that has been agreed with Elmbridge Borough Council, is that the required works to reinstate the park to pre-construction condition, including aeration of the soil, which will have become compacted over the last two years, and grass-seeding of the area, will not take place until late summer / early autumn, in line with guidance on planting.

The memorial benches in Hurst Park, removed and stored for the duration of the project, have been reinstated on new footings.

Down at the lock and weir, there are some floating timber debris booms, between the navigation piles upstream of Weir A along the lock-approach, which are now all in place, with one exception – a nesting coot has taken residence on one of the debris booms, which will not be replaced until the coot and offspring have flown the nest.

Works on Ash Island are  complete,with planting of trees to come in late summer / early autumn to replace those that were recently felled, and undertake any grass seeding where required.

The lock-side cabins and materials stored there have gone. A small amount of works remain to do - some patch repairs to the footpath and road surface along Barge Walk, which will be completed in due course; we will be kept advised.

January 2015
We'd welcome new people on the Friends' co-ordinating group - please get in touch if you are interested.

30 November 2014, 10.30am
See the latest, following rejection of our application to have Hurst Park put on the Commons Register by Surrey County Council - on our Commons page.

10 December 2013
We hear from local Elmbridge Councillor Mike Axton, who has chased the issue on our behalf, that the officers are still compiling a draft Management Plan, but it is now likely that the work will take a little longer than originally envisaged because of current workloads within the relevant team.  The officers also need to make sure that the Plan will cover the range of issues relating to Hurst Meadows to ensure that the draft proposals are easily understood, and will form a sound basis for consultation with all stakeholders.

Minutes of the meeting of the committee of Friends of Hurst Park, 27 November 2013.
This document comprehensively covers the issues affecting Hurst Park and Hurst Meadows.

21 November 2013
There was overwhelming consensus from this community that resulted in a change of plan from Elmbridge Council on proposals to remove copses in Hurst Meadows . Instead, the copses will be managed with removal of invasive species and suckers and thinning of low growing tangle. This should open up the copses to more light, encouraging biodiversity.

Full information with community responses here | Map of the copses identified for clearance under the plans for felling


There is an increasing number of boats mooring without authorisation on our riverside, long term and often occupied. The Environment Agency have told us they will move these boats on. However, when this occurs, these boats simply moor up again elsewhere but close by. A major concern relates to disposal of waste and the resulting pollution and blight from litter. The issue has been taken up as a focus by the River Users' Group covering the Elmbridge stretch of the Thames. We have told them about situation along the towpath at Hurst Park and they are raising it with the Environment Agency. The River Users' Groups work closely with the Agency so we are hopeful they will have some influence, as it is the Agency which has the powers to take action here..

April 2013
We have been out with bright red temporary line-marking paint to highlight the anti-social issue of dog poo. You may have seen where we've marked the spot, and it is dishearteneing to find so much dog mess far and wide on Hurst Park. It took two hours with three teams of Friends to spray the offending mess. The idea is not only to highlight the faeces to help people avoid them, but also to remind those dog-walkers who may forget that it is essential to bring a bag and clear up behind your pet. If you see a dog walker who doesn't pick up, do let them know that this is just not acceptable; we want our park to be clean and safe for everyone, and in this objective we can all be involved.

The consequences of leaving dog faeces in the environment for people to enounter can be serious and far-reaching - especially where children become infected by a damaging parasite: see information here on NHS Choices

You can find out more about the local bylaws relating to dogs here on Elmbridge Borough Council's website.

March 2013
The meadows, including the little Hurst Meadow, have been selected as an SNCI. It's hoped that in time the river banks can also be included as important to the wider environment as a wildlife flyway and highway..
A map of the areas currently covered by the designation is available here.

October 2013

The Environment Agency is using a fenced area at the Sadler's Ride car park as a construction compound for access to the River Thames during these improvement works, which are likely to finish February 2015..

Further information

January 2013
Thank you to all those who attended a very successful first public meeting of the Friends of Hurst Park, at St Paul's Church Parish Hall, East Molesey, on Thursday 24 January 2013. This was a chance to hear from Ian Gayton, Parks and Recreation Manager, Elmbridge Borough Council, talking about the Park and Meadows. He stayed on to answer lots of questions from a lively and friendly floor, and there was useful general discussion. We will have a fuller write up here soon so if you couldn't get along, there will be information for you.

The meeting also accepted the constitution, confirmed the members of the working group and agreed to the appointment of officers: Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Many then stayed on for coffee and refreshments, and a good chat. More to follow!
See a record of the meeting

This was a very successful first public meeting of the Friends of Hurst Park, held on Thursday 24 January 2013

Constitution for the Friends

As the Friends we will be working for the park with Elmbridge Borough Council, Surrey Wildlife Trust and other partners.


Following a meeting with officers from Elmbridge Borough Council's Parks Department, the formation of a formally recognised Friends group is to go ahead, with a constitution and an organisation. The officers explained that as the area is now registered as Hurst Park with the Land Registry, all the bye-laws and regulations relate to this title. So it is with some regret that we find we cannot restore the traditional name of Molesey Hurst to the area, which pre-dates the name first bestowed in 1890 with the enclosure of the Hurst Park Racecourse. We are therefore, from now on, the Friends of Hurst Park, in order to ensure that praclticalities do not become problematic.

A Friends group for Hurst Park has been welcomed by officers and by the cabinet member for Recreation and Culture, Cllr Jan Fuller. There will be many opportunities for closer working with the Parks Department, improved communication and community involvement for local people.

The time-table now is to draft a constitution and agree it with Elmbridge; the Friends group is likely to come into being from April, in the new financial year. We will keep you informed here.

The status of Local Nature Reserve for Hurst Meadows is also going ahead. The designation of the Meadows as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance takes longer as it requires supporting research data, but this process too is underway.


Submitting Commons Applications

Friends submit application to put Hurst Park on the Commons Register
The application for commons registration of Hurst Park was submitted at Surrey County Hall in Kingston on Friday 7 October at 3pm.

With a total of 133 evidence statements from local users of the park, the application was quite a bundle. You can read the covering document that accompanied the application to strengthen our case for commons registration - please click here on the Commons page.

A new date in the history of Hurst Park

David Walliams Swinning past Molesey Hurst

David Walliams, popular comedy actor, swam through on September 12, passing cheering crowds on Hurst Park, who followed him along the Thames Path.

David WalliamsHe completed his charity swim of the Thames from Lechlade - 140 miles - the following day when he emerged from the river's waters at Westminster.

He completed the final leg, Teddington to Westminster, having raised over £1m for the Sports relief charity.