Originally located in a boggy part of Richmond Park, it was labelled on a 1771 map as Isabell Slade. Slade, or sleyt, meant a bog or open space between woods and or banks, and isabel meant dirty or greyish brown, referring to the colour of the soil there.
The Isabella Plantation was established in the early 19th century when Lord Sidmouth, who was Deputy Ranger of Richmond Park and a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, fenced it as an area of woodland to keep the park's deer out. After World War II it was transformed into a woodland garden. It is now organically run, resulting in a rich flora and fauna. Opened to the public in 1953, it is now a major visitor attraction in its own right.
In October 2012 it was reported that about 40 per cent of the Isabella Plantation is covered with Rhododendron ponticum, a non-native and invasive variety of rhododendron introduced by the Victorians, and that this would be removed over the next five years.
In 2014, improvements were made to the Plantation to incorporate new direction signs, wheelchair-accessible pathways and toilets and a new shelter and gazebo through a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The works also incorporated de-silting of all three ponds in the Plantation and establishing new waterfalls in the streams, funded by The Royal Parks with contributions from the Friends of Richmond Park.
- "History of the Isabella Plantation". The Royal Parks. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
- "Richmond Park: Landscape History". The Royal Parks. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- John Cloake (1996). Palaces and Parks of Richmond and Kew. Phillimore & Co Ltd. p. 196. ISBN 9781860770234. OCLC 36045530. OL 8627654M.
- The First 50 Years (PDF). Friends of Richmond Park. 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2012. p.32
- Patrick Grafton-Green (18 October 2012). "Richmond Park's Isabella Plantation facing the chop". Richmond and Twickenham Times. London. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- Ron Crompton and Michael Davison (Autumn 2014). "Isabella Plantation". Friends of Richmond Park Newsletter: 12.
- The Royal Parks: Isabella Plantation
- VisitRichmond: Isabella Plantation
- Panoramic Earth: Isabella Plantation