Adopt an Area
We’ve got it covered (almost). We are delighted that the Adopt an Area scheme, up and running since the beginning of August, now has almost all areas of the Park covered. At time of writing, only 3 areas – 15, 28 & 29, around the Robin Hood Gate side, are still vacant and available for adoption. The adopters are doing a great job, working individually and in pairs; and several people have remarked how tidy the Park is looking, especially after the huge numbers of visitors recently. A massive thanks to all our litter picker volunteers and not forgetting the full time contractors who collect the litter 7 days a week. Anyone who is interested in joining Adopt an Area should contact: [email protected]
A further reminder of the danger of being bitten by ticks when walking in the Park. Ticks are small, spider-like insects that attach themselves to humans, dogs and other animals to feed on blood. If bitten by an infected tick, it can, if not treated early, lead to Lyme disease with very unpleasant repercussions. Ticks are usually found where there are deer, in long grass and bracken. Read more here
The Guardian article – How afraid should we be of ticks and Lyme disease?
Daily Telegraph article – What happened to former rugby international Matt Dawson.
Friends’ 2018 Calendar now available.
The new Friends’ Calendar is on sale at the Visitor/Information Centre, priced at £7.50. This year the photos reflect the amazing diversity of nature in this National Nature Reserve. There are 52 beautiful images by 30 local photographers, and all the photographs, design and sales work for the calendar are contributed free by volunteers, allowing all profits from the sale to go to fund conservation projects in the Park.
Join the Autumn Bird Count 23 Sept.
The Park’s Bird Recording Group has its third annual “Autumn Bird Count” on Saturday 23 September. There are four groups, starting from the following car parks/locations at 9.00 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)
They will walk pre-set routes to cover the whole park and, then meet up at the Pen Ponds coffee kiosk mid to late morning to compare notes and make the final count (potentially about 70 species). You are most welcome to take part. Just turn up at one of the locations for 9.00am.
Visitor/Information Centre to celebrate 10 years 2007- 2017.
Calling all VC Volunteers past and present. Have you volunteered at the Visitor Centre at any time over the last 10 years? We are marking this milestone on Monday 2nd October at Pembroke Lodge, to which you are all cordially invited. Details yet to be finalised but it will probably run from about 10am – 1pm finishing with a buffet lunch. Lots of memories to be shared and enjoyed together, do come along if you can. RSVP to Mary Davies at [email protected].
Each year we remind you of the rutting season which takes place between September and November. This is a time when deer can be aggressive and dangerous. So be sure to keep dogs on leads and under control, and remember to keep your distance. We recommend at least 50 metres (equivalent to 5 double-decker buses end to end). The lady in this newspaper report had a terrifying moment but luckily had a narrow escape. The incident took place in Bushy Park, but equally applies to Richmond Park.
The former Richmond Park Gamekeeper, who lived in the park for 30 years, says: “Living in the park was like living in a surreal institution because it was very rare I would go outside the walls of the park.” See this recent Richmond & Twickenham Times article promoting his book “Park Life – The Memoirs of a Royal Parks Gamekeeper”. It’s on sale at the Visitor/Information Centre.
London Duathlon 17 September.
The park will be closed to traffic on this day. Following meetings with the Friends, the organisers have included cautionary information on their race website, about how to tread lightly and take care when in the Park.
In the August Bulletin, the article about the WWI commemorative project is described as a Royal Parks initiative. It is in fact a joint project between the Royal Parks charity and the Royal Parks Guild. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with volunteer support and matched funding from others, including the Guild and Royal Parks. We are grateful to Michael Fitt OBE, Chairman of The Royal Parks Guild, for pointing this out.
07 Oct Sheen Gate Car Park (Deer + Walk the Wall)
04 Nov Pembroke Lodge Car Park (Fungi)
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
23 Sep Mission Invertebrate (Tim King)
• Dr Tim King will discuss the history and biology of Richmond Park's
acidic grasslands, using data from this years' Mission Invertebrate Citizen Science surveys, and his background research. He will emphasise the biology and importance of the yellow meadow ant. Then we shall tour some of the more revealing antscapes.
14 Oct Deer (Peter Burrows Smith)
11 Nov Fungi (Janet Bostock)
Friends’ members only – no need to book – just turn up. Courses start 10.15am at Pembroke Lodge.
Richmond Park Diary September
WILLOW EMERALD DAMSELFLY
(Chalcolestes viridis): This damselfly has been seen along the Beverley Brook and around Pen Ponds but it is one of Britain’s new colonist species and also fairly recent to south-east England. Willow Emerald Damselflies fly quite late in the season, with a peak in records from August to October, though occasional individuals may be seen in November in favourable years. It is quite similar to other Emerald damselflies and has a metallic green body but it can be distinguished by the pale wing-spots and characteristic patterning on the sides of the thorax.
At rest it holds its wings away from its body, unlike other damselflies, and the Willow Emerald has a characteristic habit of spending much time up in the trees. The female lays eggs into the branches of soft-barked trees and shrubs overhanging water such as alders so not just willows, despite their name! Look carefully at the bark of trees and at the end of branches where the males and females will typically perch, hanging off at an angle of 45o with their wings half open.
A new 3 metre Plastic Downstream Defender III System and access chamber has now been installed onto an existing surface water drain next to Roehampton Cafe Car Park. All the works will be completed at the beginning of September, which will then prevent contaminated road derived sediment from reaching the Beverley Brook.
Early autumn brings lower temperatures and an increase in the dampness, which allows the fruiting bodies of Fungi to emerge without drying out. Over 400 different types of fungi have been identified in Richmond Park, including Parasol mushrooms that can grow to the size of a saucer and the nationally rare Oak Polypore. Some species can be seen all year round but the abundance and variety that are displaying now last only until the first hard frost.
Fungi are decomposers of organic matter, surviving underground or within decaying wood and plants all year but emerging as mushrooms or toadstools in order to reproduce. Fungi are ecologically important, as they provide food and habitat to numerous insects and other animals and have a complex relationship with plants by supplying nutrients to their roots. Whilst some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, many are not, but it is strictly forbidden to collect and pick fungi in the Park. It is also a criminal offence so please respect the signs and do not pick the mushrooms.
Most of the stags are now well into the process of what we call clean antler and fallow bucks come in to clean antler in the first week of September. This means that all of the velvet covering their newly grown antlers has now been rubbed off to reveal the hard antler underneath, which is bone. Most of the hinds (female Red deer) will now to start split up around the Park with their young calves to build up their fat reserves before the winter months. They will feed on the grass and leaves off trees as well as horse chestnuts, acorns and sweet chestnuts, which form an important part of their diet.
Therefore visitors are reminded to not pick or remove any fallen chestnuts from the Park. The hinds also start to come into season towards the middle of September, which is then followed by the rut; this is when the stags bellow across the Park trying to attract as many females as possible. September and October are therefore very important months so please respect the deer and these natural behaviours by keeping at least 50 meters away and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.
PARK ROAD CLOSURES:
The Park will be closed to traffic on 17th September 2017 for the Descente London Duathlon / RUN10 event.
“Please tread lightly in Richmond Park National Nature Reserve”
Isabella Plantation in September
THE HEATHER GARDEN: The summer flowering Ericas and Callunas continue to bloom.
LATE FLOWERING TREES AND SHRUBS. Magnolia grandiflora, situated on the secluded lawn to the south of Thomson's Pond, has a few last buds opening into large, fragrant, cream coloured flowers, while its decorative fruits form. Look out for Heptacodium miconioides growing below Thompson’s Pond and also the Birthday Mound it is a vigorous shrub which bears lightly scented clusters of white flowers throughout the summer and early autumn. Clerodendron trichotomum has white and maroon fragrant flowers which are followed by bright blue berries, it can be found growing in the glade behind the toilets.
AUTUMN FRUITS. Set back from Thomson's Pond, are two stands of Viburnum. Viburnum opulus, the Guelder Rose, bears clusters of glossy red berries at this time of year and differs slightly from the nearby Vibunum sargentii, which has bright red translucent berries. Viburnum betulifolium near the northern entrance to Wilson’s Glade, has pendant bunches of bright red-current-like fruit. In the wild fringes of the Garden, fruits of native trees and shrubs, such as the Rowan and Spindle; Blackthorn and Hawthorn; Wild Rose, Dogwood and Blackberry, all provide food for wildlife at this time of the year.
Euonymus planipes, below Peg’s Pond, displays its red seed capsules, while the purple cones of Abies koreana, nearby in the heather garden, are encrusted with white resin. Look out for the Euonymus latifolius set back in the lawn to the left of the path leading from the Top Gate towards Acer Glade. This shrub has long slender leaves that turn red or purple in autumn. At the same time abundant pink clusters of ripe reddish pink, 4 lobed fruits appear which open to reveal white and orange seeds.
THE BOG GARDEN. Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’grows in the Island bed in the lawn area looks particularly stunning, with its broad leaves that colour scarlet at this time of year. Ornamental grasses look very attractive at this time of year; look out for Stipa gigantea in the large bed on the lawn side of the middle pond, with its tall golden panicles that last into winter. The feathery flower panicles of Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldshlier’ catch the wind in the streamside bed above the top pond. The tall purple-brown feathery panicles of the grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’ show in the Garden’s central and island beds.
PONDS AND STREAMSIDES. The last flowering spikes of Purple Loosestrife, Joe Pye Weed and Pickerel Weed provide a late source of nectar for insects.
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 in the Isabella Plantation throughout the year.
Walks will take place on:
Sunday 17th and Friday 29th September:
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.