Since March 1, new information and warning signs have been placed around Lawn Field (between Pen Ponds and White Lodge) and Crown Field (between the rugby pitches and the Beverley Brook), two important skylark breeding areas, to alert people to the damage dogs can do to breeding skylarks and to warn them to keep their dogs on the lead and under control.
The new signs are supported by the Friends and the Park's management team and will be enforced by the Park's police. Ignoring the signs is a breach of Park regulations.
Why are signs necessary?
Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve, and the Park's management takes its wildlife conservation responsibilities very seriously.
The Park's skylark population is in steep decline. Richmond Park has had its own breeding population of this well-loved bird for many years; it is one of the closest to central London.
But the number of skylarks breeding in the Park has continued to decline. The bird is a ground-nesting species and is therefore vulnerable to predation. In the Park, its favoured breeding sites are particularly vulnerable to damage by uncontrolled dogs.
Since 2002, dog-owners have been asked to keep their dogs on leads in these areas. These warnings are now being reinforced in the hope of preventing further declines and, possibly, the complete loss of the skylark as a breeding species in the Park. New measures include more visible signs, stronger enforcement and, at a later date, fencing in critical areas.
Members of the Friends and the Park's Bird Group will be monitoring the skylark protection programme to assess its impact. Please help by respecting the signs and providing an example to others.