April Park News

Friends’ film: Please share the links below to the film ‘teaser’ and the specially created website with all your friends and relations. They are well worth seeing. Already they have been shared with over 25,000 people.

AGM SATURDAY 8 APRIL A reminder that the Friends’ Annual General Meeting will be held at King’s House School, 68 King’s Road Richmond TW10 6ES. Doors open at 10.00am for 10.30am start. There will be an opportunity to see a sneak preview of the Friends’ new film ‘Richmond Park – National Nature Reserve’ which is to be launched on 25 April. See the trailer ‘teaser’ here

FRIENDS' FILM "RICHMOND PARK – NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE" The launch of the Friend’s film is on 25 April at the Royal Geographical Society. We have sent the first 50 invitations drawn in the members’ ballot; further places will depend on space available once we have all the other RSVPs. The first TV showing will be on the London Live channel at 7pm on 26 April, with a re-run the following Sunday. You can also see some brief excerpts here. The full film will be available free on this specially created website and directly on YouTube from 25 April p.m.)

QUIETWAY The Royal Parks are continuing this month with roadworks on the middle road (between Ham cross and Pen Ponds car park) and the pedestrian crossings at Ham Cross and Sheen Cross. This is in preparation for its designation as a cycling Quietway.

PHOTOS FOR 2018 CALENDAR A reminder, if you would like the chance to have your photos included in the next Friends Calendar, the closing date is 13 April. Full details here.

SPRING LUNCH 25 APRIL Hosted by The Holly Lodge Centre at Richmond Park Golf Club. Special guests Jan Harvey and Adrian Mills. For details and booking click here

DAWN CHORUS WALK Our bird Dawn Chorus Walk this year is on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, 17 April – meet at Sheen Gate at 5am.

SPRING BIRD COUNT The Park’s Bird Recording Group is organising a “Spring Bird Count” on Saturday 29th April. All are welcome. There will be four formal groups, starting from the following car parks/locations at 8.00 am:

• Kingston Gate car park (led by John Corkindale)
• Roehampton Gate car park (led by Sue Leigh)
• Sheen Gate car park (led by Peter Burrows Smith)
• Ladderstyle Gate (led by Phil Davies)

Groups will be walking pre-set routes to cover the whole park and hopefully all the potential bird species; then meeting up at the Pen Ponds coffee kiosk mid to late morning to compare notes and make the final count (69 for 2016 and 72 for 2015). If you would like to join them, just turn up at one of the locations.

CENTENARY WALK IN RICHMOND PARK 20 MAY Led by members of the London Geodiversity Partnership in collaboration with the Friends of Richmond Park and the London Natural History Society. Full details here.


                                            Events Calendar

17 Apr      Dawn Chorus Walk (Sheen Gate 5am)
29 Apr     Spring Bird Count (8am start, details to follow)
6 May      Broomfield Hill car park
20 May    Centenary walk with London Geodiversity Partnership in collaboration with Friends of Richmond                           Park and the London Natural History Society
03 Jun     Pen Ponds Car Park
01 Jul       Robin Hood Gate Car Park

All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless detailed otherwise.

Informal birdwatching walks – Fridays – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am

13 May Wildlife Photography (Russell Ritchin)
15 Jul Butterflies (Nigel Jackman)

Friends’ members only – no need to book – just turn up. Courses start 10.00am at Pembroke Lodge.


                                Richmond Park Diary – April

ROAD WORKSThank you for bearing with us whilst the improvements to the Park roads are made. The final period of disruption will be when traffic lights are installed from 10th – 22nd April at Sheen Cross whilst the 3rd raised crossing point is installed.

THE ROYAL PARKS CHARITY On 16th March the organisation that manages the 8 Royal Parks ceased to be a government agency and became a charity. It has taken on the role of generating the £36m that it currently costs to manage the parks. Of this 65% is currently generated by income and 35% from government, which continues to be reduced each year. A Chairman and Trustees were appointed prior to the new organisation being formed and they are due to appoint a new Chief Executive in April with other staff arrangements following on. Later this spring The Royal Parks Foundation is due to transfer into the new charity.

WARBLERS They are, generally speaking summer migratory birds that fly to the UK and breed here. Many of them are small and brown and similar looking and not easy to tell apart unless you are an experienced birdwatcher. However they do have differing calls and some can be quite distinctive. Chiff-Chaffs, White-Throats, and Black-Caps are reasonably easy to hear in Richmond in the summer and with very little time listening to recordings on-line visitors can quickly get to know the birds that punctuate their routine walks.

OAK PROCESSIONARY MOTH – PESTICIDE SPRAYING In early April the eggs of the invasive insect pest, Oak Processionary Moth, start hatching. The eggs over winter on the twigs of oak trees and the young caterpillars emerge as the weather gets warmer and the leaves on which they feed unfurl. The caterpillars may cause extensive defoliation of the host tree and also carry toxic hairs which can pose a serious threat to human and animal health. Early season management of this challenging pest includes targeted pesticide spraying in some areas of the park. Much of this takes place at night to minimise inconvenience to park users. However, day-time spraying is sometimes necessary, particularly where ground conditions are unsuitable for night-time working. Please avoid the proximity of the spraying operation and follow any instructions given by the ground crew accompanying the spraying rigs.

TICKS AND LYME DISEASE Ticks are small, spider like insects that attach themselves to humans, dogs and other animals to feed on blood. Whilst the risk is very low, they can transmit diseases including Lyme disease. Ticks cannot fly or jump but instead they cling onto tall vegetation and wait for their host to brush past. During spring, summer and autumn ticks are more numerous, more active and the park vegetation such as bracken is in ‘full frond’. Park visitors are advised to guard against tick bites by avoiding tall vegetation (especially if wearing shorts) and stay on well worn paths. Insect repellent can also be used. Check yourself after walking in the parks and remove ticks immediately. If concerned, you feel unwell or a rash appears – consult your GP immediately. Please see the Royal Parks website or visit the Information Centre for an information leaflet


                                 April in the Isabella Plantation

THE STREAMS The Streams are bright with Marsh Marigolds, (Caltha palustris). The yellow hooded spathes of the American Skunk Cabbage, (Lysichiton americanus), which precede large rank leathery leaves, are conspicuous along the stream from the Still Pond.

CAMELIAS Camellias are still flowering throughout the Garden. They are mainly older Camellia japonica cultivars and a number of Williamsii hybrids.

RHODODENDRONS Along the Bluebell Walk, opposite the Acer Glade, look out for the bright purple flowers of the deciduous R. reticulatum. This month the Japanese azaleas start into flower. They are usually at their best during the last week of April and the first week of May.

R.racemosum grows down the path from the Still Pond, it is a medium sized shrub that bears pale to bright pink flowers.

Rhododendron 'Quaker Girl' grows in the glade set back from the path at the top of Thomson's Stream and bears trusses of stunning white flowers with a deep crimson throat.

Look out for Rhododendron 'Bibiani' growing in a number of areas in the garden, this shrub produces compact trusses of rich crimson funnel shaped flowers with maroon spots.

Early evergreen azaleas are beginning to flower throughout the garden look out for 'Kirin' a pale pink "hose in hose" (flower within an flower) and 'Sylvester' which has small deep pink flowers.

In a glade set back from the Main Stream and other locations around the Garden are the blue flowering Rhododendrons from the Triflorum series these are Rhododendron augustinii and the R,chasmanthum hybrid Rhododendron 'Electra'.

MAGNOLIAS Throughout the gardens pink and white forms of Magnolia soulangiana come into flower.

Along the Bluebell Walk are two small pink hybrids of M. stellata, called M. X loebneri 'Leonard Messel'. A larger one is set back by the Scots Pine to the far side of the Acer Glade.

Magnolia 'Heaven Scent' one of the Gresham Hybrids grows in a ride off the Main Stream and has goblet shaped flowers, pink on the outside and white inside. Its flowers have a strong lavender scent.

DAFFODILS In the Wet Lawn area near the top gate, the golden yellow flowers of Narcissus bulbocodium subsp. bulbocodium with conical cups and pointed petals have now appeared and succeed the delicate flowers of Narcissus cyclamineus, which are also naturalised in this area.

THE BOG GARDEN Look out for the clusters of white or pale pink flowers borne on white-haired stems which are those of the "Umbrella Plant", Darmera peltata which flowers before it produces foliage.

                                    Isabella Plantation Walks

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year.

The next walks – dates available soon at: www.frp.org.uk "April Park News"

Guided walks last for about 1.5hours and are free of charge. Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Car Park at 11.00am.