• Dogs on leads compulsory
  • AGM Report – new Chairman
  • Visitor Centre specials
  • The Urban Birder & the birds of Richmond Park
  • Guided Walks return
  • Spring Photo Competition closes 31 May 2021
  • Richmond Park Police Panel report
  • Cycling Code of Conduct
  • There’s life in dead wood!
  • Richmond Park Diary
    – Dogs on Leads
    – Deer
    – Lock down easing
    – The Common Whitethroat
  • Isabella Plantation in May


Dogs on leads compulsory for 3 months
From Tues 4 May until Mon 2 August 2021, dogs will be required to be on a lead in all areas of Richmond and Bushy Parks.

Over the next few months, around 300 deer will be born in these parks. The season marks a vulnerable time for female deer, who hide their young in bracken and long grass to conceal them from dogs and other perceived predators.

Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said: “During the deer birthing season, we strongly advise that dogs are not walked in either Richmond or Bushy Parks but, if this is not possible, dogs must be on leads in all areas of the parks.
Full details here 


AGM Report – new Chairman
The Friends’ Annual General Meeting took place, via Zoom, on 24 April with around 100 attendees.
Ron Crompton stood down as Chairman after 14 years in the role. Ron’s report included highlights of the Friends 60 year history, a summary of the events of 2020 and a glimpse into the future. He was thanked for his outstanding 14 years as Chairman and presented with a framed tribute from Sir David Attenborough, one of our patrons, and a wonderful pop up card from the trustees and vice-presidents representing a bowl being made for him from oak from Richmond Park.  He was elected a vice president and will continue his involvement with the Friends, concentrating on specific projects and campaigns.

Roger Hillyer was elected as the new Chairman. He has been our Honorary Secretary and a trustee, has lived in East Sheen for 25 years and is a regular visitor to the Park. Max Lankester was elected Honorary Secretary.

The draft minutes of the meeting are available on our website. You can also see a more detailed record of what the Friends did in 2020, and previous years, here.


Visitor Centre specials
We have just had a new delivery of Richmond Park honey. It’s available in two sizes, 227gram and 454gram, in both clear and set varieties. Also, perfect for this time of year, our Tree Walk booklets in packs of 4 different walks at £5 per pack – available at the Visitor Centre and online here

The Visitor Centre is open Thurs to Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm. Starting in June it will also open on Wednesdays. We are not currently accepting cash, only debit and credit cards.


The Urban Birder & the birds of Richmond Park
Last Saturday we were treated to a fascinating Zoom presentation by David Lindo the celebrated Urban Birder. In the 95 minute webinar, introduced by Friends’ trustee Richard Gray, David shared with us a sample of his vast knowledge of birds seen in London and cities around the world, including some cameos of Richmond Park’s favourite birds. This was followed by a Q&A session and David was joined by Nigel Jackman, chair of The Richmond Park Bird Group, taking questions from some of the 400 registered participants. See the full 95 min webinar here.

The webinar included the premiere of the new 13min film by The Friends of Richmond Park: Richmond Park’s Birds – Marvellous Migrants & Remarkable Residents


Guided Walks return
Our popular free guided walks are returning in June. We meet up at one of the car parks and walks start at 10.00am, and end around 12.00pm.

  • Sat 5 Jun. Pen Ponds Car Park (motor vehicle access only via Roehampton Gate)
  • Sat 3 Jul. Robin Hood Car Park (motor vehicle access only via Roehampton Gate
  • Sat 7 Aug. Kingston Gate Car Park (motor vehicle access only via Richmond, Ham and Kingston Gates)


Spring Photo Competition closes 31 May 2021

Free entry to all, why not have a go?

As part of the Year of the Tree, the Friends of Richmond Park are running a series of seasonal photography competitions. ‘Spring’ is the last one, postponed from last year due to Covid restrictions. The overall theme is images that show the character of the Park’s trees.  Images can be of any part of a tree, whole trees or groups of trees. Entrance is free.

See here for details of how to enter, the prizes and Terms and Conditions.


Richmond Park Police Panel Report
In mid-April the Safer Parks Panel (SPP) had another quarterly meeting with most of the Park stakeholder groups, including the Friends, managing to join via Zoom. This meeting focused on Jan-Mar police activity including crimes and road accidents.
Parks police activity in Jan-Mar. Among about 3,500 breaches of Royal Parks Regulations logged were:

  • 1,662 verbal warnings given to people harassing deer;
  • 111 verbal warnings and 56 Park Regulation Notices* re dogs on lead / failure to control;
  • 14 Park Regulation notices about dogs harassing deer;
  • 188 verbal warnings and 12 Park Regulation Notices to cyclists for speeding;
  • 177 verbal warnings for off-track cycling; and
  • 454 parking tickets (i.e. parking outside a car park)

Road traffic incidents:

Over Jan-Mar the Parks Police recorded 14 road traffic collisions. Note that these are not necessarily a complete reflection of incidents, they are only those that the Parks Police have come across or an ambulance has attended.

  • 9 of these (79%) were single cyclist, or cycle-cycle;
  • 2 involved a cyclist hitting an animal (a dog on Sawyers Hill, and an Egyptian goose on Queens Road – which was killed);
  • 2 were cycle-cars (the incident at Ham Cross, and a cyclist into the rear of a car that had stopped); and
  • 1 involved a vehicle and a pedestrian.

*Parks Regulations Notices: name and address taken, kept on database for 12 months, if caught again prosecuted. 


Cycling Code of Conduct
The recently published Cycling Code of Conduct is now displayed on a new noticeboard near the Roehampton Gate car park (you’ll find it on the pathway opposite the ramp up to Colicci), while the Cycle Exchange, Ciclista and Pearsons all have the credit-card-sized version on their countertops for customers to take. The Park’s police unit also has a batch of cards to hand out.

The Code of Conduct was prepared by Richmond Park Cyclists with the help of the Royal Parks Police, The Royal Parks and The Friends of Richmond Park. It aims to create a safe and welcoming environment for every type of cyclist and other park visitors.


There’s life in dead wood!
There was a very interesting article in today’s Guardian about Richmond Park’s trees and how their dead wood is a great habitat for living creatures. The article includes interviews with Simon Richards, Richmond Park’s manager and Peter Lawrence The Royal Park’s manager of Mission Invertebrate
Read the article here.


Richmond  Park  Diary

©The Royal Parks

Dogs on leads
Dogs are required to be on leads Tuesday 4th May until Monday 2nd August during the deer birthing season.  For several years, The Royal Parks (TRP) has been advising dog owners of the issues involving deer and dogs but last year the number of incidents reached 90 and a dog on leads requirement was introduced during lock down.  This year TRP will continue with the requirement to keep dogs on leads during this vulnerable time.  The advice to avoid walking in the park if you can and to stay clear of the more remote areas if you must walk here with a dog should still be observed.  Signs have been erected at car parks and entrances.


There are 600 Red and Fallow deer in the Park. From mid-May to July, the deer give birth to their young which are often hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass, which this year is very late emerging. The young are vulnerable to disturbance from humans and dogs so please respect the deer and always keep at least 50 metres away from them and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range. Deer can feel threatened by dogs so please respect the signs and keep your dog on a lead and stay clear of the remote, quiet places where the deer are more likely to have young.


Lock down easing
With the lock down restrictions now easing the Royal Parks will allow small events to take place.  Initially a limited number will be allowed as a trial to monitor how social distancing measures are accounted for whilst still in effect (until 21st June).  Social distancing measures are still in place and park visitors are reminded to observe these.  Wearing face masks in busy areas such as when queuing for a coffee should still be observed and regular hand cleaning – it all helps and the person next in the queue might be vulnerable or still shielding.


The Common Whitethroat
It is a small bird that migrates to the UK for the summer to breed.  They are a grey–brown colour and obviously get their name from their white throats.  Males have a dark grey head whilst the females do not and the throat of the female is duller.  In the late 1960s the numbers crashed by 70% due to a drought in their over wintering grounds but the population has grown steadily since.  Numbers have risen in Richmond Park and for the past few years has supported around 35 pairs.   They will skulk in small scrubby areas such as a hawthorn or a mature patch of bramble that provides cover for their nest.  They are best spotted by listening for the males as they perch high up and sing a pleasant song that is best described as ‘jolting and scratchy’ – heralding the start of summer!


Isabella  Plantation  in  May

©The Royal Parks

Evergreen Azaleas
Easy to identify are:

  • ‘Orange Beauty’, the most orange of all
  • ‘Rosebud’, opening buds resemble tiny roses
  • ‘Palestrina’, white with a faint ray of green
  • ‘Vuyk’s Scarlet’, large flowers of a deep silky red
  • ‘Hinode Giri’, bright crimson, around the Still Pond

Deciduous Azaleas
These flower slightly later and often have a rich spicy smell, particularly Azalea pontica, (Rhododendron luteum), which is yellow and to be found by the gate to Broomfield Hill.

The Bog Garden
Look out for Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’, growing in the bed by the middle pond it bares orange-red flowers and has a reddish tinge to the emerging young shoots. Alongside the margins of pools and streams grows the “Japanese Primrose”, Primula japonica ‘Millers Crimson’ with its whorls of crimson flowers which are borne in profusion on tall stems, from May to July. Also present are the young fronds of the “Shuttlecock Fern”, Matteuccia struthiopteris which show an attractive fresh green. Growing either side of the main pool is the “Ornamental Rhubarb”, Rheum Palmatum a robust herbaceous perennial with broad, architectural foliage and pink flowers on large erect panicles.

The native tree the “Whitebeam”, Sorbus aria grows near the Broomfield Hill gate and looks particularly attractive at this time of the year with its silvery-white young leaves. Skimmia japonica can also be found growing near this gate along the path that leads onto Camellia Walk and the Still Pond

The “Foxglove Tree”, Paulownia tomentosa stands in the glade between the Still Pond and Old Nursery Glade. This large leaved tree bares sprays of fragrant foxglove-like pinkish-lilac flowers in Spring.

The “Pocket Handkerchief Tree”, Davidia involucrata, set back from the Camellia Walk, has intriguing white hanging bracts. Another specimen may be found in a secluded lawn to the southeast of Thomson’s Pond.

The “Snowdrop Tree”, Halesia carolina, with dangling white bell flowers, stands by the path above Thomson’s Pond.

Cornus nuttallii, whose white bracts appear like flowers, can be found set back in the newly planted Magnolia Glade near the Ham Gate entrance. Also look out for the pale lemon yellow fragrant flowers of Magnolia wilsonii ‘Yellow Fever’ and the wonderful deep purple flowers of Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’.

Bluebells carpet the wilder fringes of the Garden. Please keep to the paths to avoid trampling them.

Still Pond Azaleas in the Isabella Plantation, by Paula Redmond