Petersham Road closure. Petersham Road will be closed between Star & Garter and Water Lane/Ham Polo Club from Monday 1 August until Sunday 4h September to replace the gas main. Traffic will be diverted through Richmond Park during Park opening times only, entering at Ham Gate and leaving at Richmond Gate. Some of our members will remember a similar situation for 18 months in 1979-81 due to subsidence in Petersham Rd.  As it says, the Park remained open all night at the start and then was closed from only midnight to 6 am. By the end of the eighteen months 84 deer had been killed by the increased traffic. Read more about it in the Friends 50th anniversary history at

Park closure for Ride London. The Park roads will also be closed on Sunday 31 July for the annual Ride London event. See the Park Diary below for more information.

New TRP Chairman. Loyd Grossman has been appointed Chairman of the new Royal Parks, which combines the existing government agency that manages the parks and the fund-raising charity Royal Parks Foundation. Most famous as a celebrity chef, he has a long involvement in the heritage sector, and is on the board of English Heritage and the Museum and Galleries Commission. 

Deer deaths. On 21 June two baby deer were killed in the Park. One, a two-week old red deer calf, was killed by a speeding car near Kingston Gate at 6.30 in the morning; the car didn’t stop. The mother was seen to be frantic at the side of the road, unable to get to her calf because of traffic. The other, a fallow deer fawn, was savaged by a dog near White Lodge in the late morning. Its lung was punctured and it was bleeding profusely and had to be put down. Both of these deaths were avoidable. We appeal to everyone driving or walking a dog in the Park to be vigilant at this time of year. In particular please keep your dog on a lead even if you can’t see deer. Baby deer are often hidden in the undergrowth and are attacked by dogs that come across them unexpectedly; it’s likely that is what happened here.

Holly Lodge Centre ‘Open House’. The Centre has two “Open House’ sessions this summer when people can visit the Centre and tour its facilities. The format is similar to the four Friends group visits last year – tea/coffee, a short talk introducing the Centre and then a tour of its facilities including its superb nature trail. The sessions are on 19 July from 6.30 to 7 pm and 30 September from 11 am to 12.30. Places are limited so please phone to book on 020-8940-8730.

Discoverers Isabella Trail Leaflet. Families visiting the Isabella Plantation this Summer can download the leaflet to print or view on mobile devices.

Holly Lodge cheque. The Holly Lodge Centre in Richmond Park has received a cheque for £30,000 as one of the two beneficiaries of the Richmond May Ball held on 13 May under the giant marquee on the Green in Richmond. “We are extremely grateful to the Richmond May Ball committee for this marvelous contribution to the Centre,” said Mike Smythe, Chairman of the Centre’s trustees “This will allow us to expand our ability to bring groups to this outstanding educational facility in Richmond Park. Last year nearly 6000 young people and adults – many with special educational and physical needs – took advantage of the Centre’s facilities to learn about the nature and history of the Park.

New gnat species. A new gnat species, the Grzegorzekia bushyae or Bushy Gnat, has been discovered – in Bushy Park. It was identified by the shape of its genitals, which are different from all other gnat species. Further searches have found it also in south-east France. Both locations are in woodland and it’s likely that it can only exist in wooded areas, perhaps because it is supported by a particular fungus. It hasn’t yet been found in Richmond Park. 

PURPLE EMPEROR. An occasional Purple Emperor has been reported in Richmond Park in the past, but no one seems sure whether or where they are resident. It is our largest (female wing span is 70-92mm) and most impressive butterfly. Its flight period is from late June until the end of August. See photos and more details on Friends Facebook page.

(Next few months)

6 Aug Kingston Gate car park
3 Sept Robin Hood Gate car park
1 Oct Sheen Gate car park (+ Walk the Wall option)

Walks start at 10am from the designated car park unless detailed otherwise – all welcome!

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


8 Oct DEER (Peter Burrows-Smith)
22 Oct FUNGI (Janet Bostock and Elisabeth Cheesman)

Courses – Pembroke Lodge 10am – Friends members only. No need to book, just turn up.

Richmond Park Diary July

PETERSHAM ROAD. It will be closed from Monday 1st August until Sunday 4th September to allow for the replacement of the gas main. During this time traffic will be diverted through Richmond Park during Park opening times. Overnight vehicles will have to drive around the Park or cross Kingston and Richmond bridges to travel between Ham and Richmond. Pedestrians and cyclists (dismounted) will be able to pass by. National Grid can be contacted on 0800 096 5678.

PARK ROADS WILL BE CLOSED ON SUNDAY 31ST JULY. This is to facilitate the Ride London cycling event. In the morning around 30, 000 cyclists will ride through the park and then professional cyclists will follow the same route in the afternoon. The Park roads will be closed to all traffic including cyclists not participating in the event. Walkers are still welcome but it will be difficult to cross the road between 06.00 and 11.30 am and dogs must be on a lead.

GRASS SNAKES. These are present in the Park and, although a population estimate has not been conducted, juveniles are seen regularly and they therefore breed well. Like all reptiles they are ‘cold blooded’ which means they cannot regulate their own body temperature. They rely on high daytime temperatures and radiated warmth to be active and can be found basking in the sun on dark surfaces in the summer. They are incredibly shy and sense vibrations from anyone approaching, quickly disappearing into nearby cover and are therefore difficult to see. They are associated with water and can occasionally be seen swimming or lurking in ponds, where they will feed on live amphibians such as frogs but may occasionally eat worms, fish and small mammals. They lay a clutch of up to 40 ‘leathery’ shelled eggs, each about 2-3 cm long. They often do this in compost or manure heaps that provide protection and incubation until they hatch in early autumn.

PARK RUBBISH. The Royal Parks provide 129 litter bins and dog waste bins across Richmond Park in locations that can be serviced by vehicle, whilst minimising the amount of off-road driving. They are emptied by a team of 8 people that work 7 days a week on shifts starting before the Park opens until closing time or later. They collect over 100 tonnes of litter a year, 48% is dog waste, 19% non-recyclables and 33% recyclable (glass, plastic and cardboard). Last year the Royal Park ran a trial to see if recycling rates could be improved. Unfortunately it would seem it is not possible for everyone to separate their picnic waste properly. Often people carry all their mixed waste back from a picnic, tied in a carrier bag and then place the bag in its entirety in the bin. Often 50% of the waste placed in the recycling bin was non-recyclable which would not be able to be processed by the waste management company. Therefore the practicable solution will be for the Royal Parks to ask people to take recycling home whilst the contents of the Park bins will go to ‘energy from waste’ facilities.

Isabella Plantation in July

FLOWERING TREES AND SHRUBS. Large, late flowering rhododendrons can be found in the south section of the garden, between the stream from the Still Pond and the main central stream. They have pink and white fragrant flowers and include many hybrids of Rhododendron auriculatum. Many rhododendrons are now producing handsome new leaves. These are often covered with a soft felt layer, which is white or ginger, and known as ‘indumentum’.

In the secluded lawn to the south of Thomson’s Pond the first giant flowers of the Magnolia grandiflora are set amongst glossy evergreen leaves. They have thick fleshy cream petals and a delicious citrus scent.

Clethra barbinervis with its long racemes of white fragrant flowers can be found on the path leading from the Top Gate leading down towards Bluebell Walk, near the entrance to Wilson’s Glade.

HEATHER GARDEN. Look out for the “Button Bush”, Cephalanthus occidentalis, set back from the path leading to the Bog Garden. This shrub bears creamy-white flowers in small globular heads, which are very attractive to butterflies.

BOG GARDEN. In the Bog Garden the tall yellow spires of Ligularia przewalskii are set against a backdrop of bamboo, and the Gunnera manicata spreads its giant prickly leaves. Here, and by the streams, many varieties of Hemerocallis, the ‘Day Lily,’ flower amongst iris. Bell-shaped, fragrant yellow of the “Giant Cowslip”, Primula florindae show in the marginal bed alongside the decked walkway. The wild flowers of ‘Purple Loosestrife’ and the frothy white blossoms of ‘Meadowsweet’ grow alongside more exotic plantings. Look out for butterflies visiting the Joe Pye weeds (Eupatorium purpureum) with its stately pinkish purple flowers. Water lilies open on Thomson’s Pond, where dragonflies and damselflies hover and dart over the water on warm still days. Just off the central path look out for the soft pink flowers of the ground cover plant Persicaria affinis ‘Superba’.

THE BIRTHDAY MOUND. Hydrangea quercifolia with its large oak shaped leaves and abundance of frothy white flowers heads can be found putting on an impressive show on the banking surrounding the Red Oak stump.

FOXGLOVE TREE GLADE. Hydrangea aspera, flowers in the glade set back from the Still Pond, this magnificent large leafed shrub produces large heads of porcelain blue flowers, with a ring of lilac-pink or white ray florets.

AZALEA FEEDING. Streamside Azaleas are fed with an organically approved seaweed based feed after flowering to encourage vigour, disease resistance and flower production the following spring.

LAWN CREATION. The gardeners and volunteers have been busy clearing debris in areas where Rhododendron ponticum has been removed. The ground has now been rotavated and sown with grass seed. The team will then begin to replant these areas with new plantings throughout the autumn and winter months.

WHEELCHAIR AVAILABLE. A motorised wheelchair, which makes the job of pushing considerably easier, may be loaned for use within the Garden on weekdays between 9.00 and 15.00. Please ring 0300 061 2200 to book the chair by noon on the day before it is required.

NEW ISABELLA PLANTATION GUIDE. A new colour guide is now available to purchase for £1.00. You can pick up a copy from: the Pembroke Lodge Information Centre, on an Isabella walk or from one of the garden team. 

Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2016

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

Walks will take place on:

July – Sunday 24th and Friday 29th

August- Friday 5th & 26th and Sunday 14th

Walks last about 1.5 hours and are free of charge.

Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car
park at 11.00a.m.