Fire in the Park, photo by Miriam Sandham






Wendy Macaulay and Douglas Reynolds.

We are very sad to report the deaths in the last ten days of two people who made the Friends what it is. Wendy Macaulay was one of the two founders of the Friends in 1961. Doug Reynolds was Chairman of the Friends for over 6 years from 1993 to 2000 and led over 250 walks and gave 500 talks for the Friends; he was still a Friends’ Vice-President when he died.
Read more about them here Wendy Macaulay and Doug Reynolds

Met Police recruiting Special Constables for Richmond Park.

After a successful recruitment day in the park and ongoing support from the Friends, a number of people have applied to become Specials in the Park. If you are interested and could offer 16 hours a month to protect your park, please contact Alexander Davies, Special Inspector for Royal Parks, for a friendly chat. Say you heard about it from The Friends. Read more

DVDs of film.

We expect to have the DVD of the Friends’ film with Sir David Attenborough available to purchase for £4.99 in the Visitor Centre by the end of July. It will also contain the highlights of the films’ launch at the Royal Geographic Society, including the whole of Sir Trevor McDonald’s marvellous interview with Sir David. Look out for it!

Butterflies Course.

Nigel Jackman leads this course for Friends members at Pembroke Lodge on 15 July. Come along, it will be fascinating. Read More

Exhibition on Royal Parks’ history.

The Royal Parks is hosting a new exhibition on the history of the Royal Parks in London and Phoenix Park in Dublin, which was also a Royal Park until Irish independence. Curated by the Hearsum Collection and the Office of Public Works Ireland, it is full of artefacts that show how they have evolved over the past 500 years. "Parks: Our Shared Heritage" is free and on from 27 July – 11 August at Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1. More details

Friends gets £25,000 in donations.

Thames Water, who sponsored the launch of the Friends film at the Royal Geographic Society, has made a donation of £20,000 to the Friends, and an equal amount to the Friends of Crane Park, for conservation projects. The money will go to the Friends Ponds & Streams Programme and earmarked for further restoration work at Beverley Brook and work to protect wildlife at Pen Ponds. Earlier this year, we also received a £5,000 donation from the local Kaye Pemberton Trust for conservation projects; last year it was an important sponsor of the Friends’ film with David Attenborough. We are very grateful to both of them. Read more

Giant Snail Caravan 25/26 July.

The Royal Parks 'Mission Invertebrates' project will be coming to Richmond Park with their Giant Snail Caravan on 25/26 July (Isabella Plantation) and 1/2 August (Roehampton Gate). There will be interactive story-telling and other creative activities focusing on some of the fascinating creatures found in the parks, from spiders, dragonflies and grasshoppers to worms, butterflies and moths. All activities are free and will be happening between 11am – 3pm. No booking required. Read more

Police activity.

Over the last three months (April to June) the Parks police have been focussing on three priorities, set by the Parks' Police Panel (on which the Friends is represented) – off track cycling, deer protection (especially birthing and general harassment of them) and skylark protection. They gave 128 verbal warnings for off-track cycling, 430 for deer harassment and 213 for breaching skylark protection orders. They also issued 21 formal warnings (a written letter) for skylark breaches and 1 for deer harassment – and 124 formal warnings or fines for parking or driving in authorised places, 182 for trade vehicles and 48 for speeding, giving a total of 1100 for verbal or formal warnings and fines for these offences.

Fire in Richmond Park on 20 June.

Firefighters were called out to a fire in Richmond Park on the slopes below Pembroke Lodge, towards Petersham Gate. A group of schoolboys had lit a fire which rapidly got out of control. When they realised what they had done, they phoned the fire brigade and waited until they arrived. Read more

Dog owner receives court sentence

…and is banned from walking his dog in Richmond Park following attack on deer. The dog bolted towards a herd of 200 red and fallow deer and as the deer fled in fear, stampeding through the parkland, the dog jumped up and bit two of them on the backs before dashing back to his owner, Wimbledon Magistrates’ court heard. See Evening Standard report.

Park Life, a new book by John Bartram.

Recently retired park gamekeeper John Bartram releases this treasure-trove of stories and memories on 13 July. Co-written with John Karter, who was editor of the Friends Guide to Richmond Park, it will be available from the Visitor Centre from mid-July. Read more

Sand Martins nesting.

In 2011, the Friends donated to an artificial Sand Martin nest bank on the edge of Pen Ponds, designed to attract the birds. Six years later, a pair has nested there this summer. They have occasionally visited the Pen Ponds over the last few summers but this is the first ever record of them nesting in the Park. We hope they are the first of many.

Love Parks Week 14-23 July.

Keep Britain Tidy is sponsoring a national love your park week. See more.

Goose and swan ringing.

Once again it's that time of year to catch up with cygnets and geese etc for ringing on behalf of the British Trust for Ornithology. Phil Belman will liaise with Tony Hatton for the catching in Richmond Park. If you want to come along or are interested in helping out with the catches do please e-mail Phil. This is the 30th year of his goose study, one of the longest running in the UK. He will be catching between 30th June and 11th July this year, with any late cygnets a fortnight or so after that.

If you enjoy these monthly bulletins?  

Please feel free to forward it to your friends and contacts. If they want to receive it on a regular basis they may wish to join the Friends too. We welcome new members, so please spread the word. For easy reference, here’s a link to the benefits of becoming a Friend of Richmond Park, and here’s a membership form to print off.

Events Calendar

05 Aug Kingston Gate Car Park
02 Sep Roehampton Gate Car Park
07 Oct Sheen Gate Car Park (Deer + Walk the Wall)
All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless detailed otherwise.

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

15 Jul Butterflies (Nigel Jackman)
23 Sep Mission Invertebrate (Tim King)
14 Oct Deer (Peter Burrows Smith)
Friends’ members only – no need to book – just turn up. Courses start 10.00am at Pembroke Lodge.

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. 

Isabella Plantation Walks

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks
throughout the year. Walks will take place on:

July: Fri 7 and 28

August: Fri 4 and 25; Sun 20

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.