Isabella Plantation is a section of the beautiful Richmond Park in South West London that has, over the years, been turned into a spectacular ornamental woodland garden. When I visited on Easter Sunday (which happened to be World Pinhole Photography Day) I was bowled over by the amazing display of flowers and plants. At the right time of year I don’t know a more beautiful spot in London and it’s also the perfect place to take your mother!
Whilst the name Isabella Plantation may sound very pretty and suggest that it was named after a famous Isabella from history, this is probably not the case. It is believed that it is a corruption of the old English word “Isabel” which means dingy or yellowish grey; this is apparently the colour of the soil in this area of the park.
Regardless of its dingy origins, Isabella Plantation is now staggeringly beautiful. Since the 1950s, the plantation has been turned from productive woodland to ornamental garden. It is thick with Rhododendrons, Azaleas, ornamental heathers, and in springtime it is carpeted with bluebells and daffodils. It may be a cliché, but it really was a riot of colour!
Several streams wind through the plantation, converging in ponds before flowing on again. These streams are crisscrossed with paths and small bridges, meaning you can wander around for hours seeing every little corner.
As I said, it was World Pinhole Photography Day when I visited so I decided to take the lens off my Diana F+ and take a few pinhole shots. Pinhole photography has never been my strength; I always seem to wobble the camera, even when it’s on a tripod and so it was this time. Let’s just say the photos have a certain fuzzy charm.
So if you’re looking for a beautiful spot for a trip out, I can think of few nicer places to visit.