‘Richmond Park: National Nature Reserve’.

The Friends’ new film, presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough, was successfully launched at the Royal Geographical Society on 25 April. The event was hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald with special guests Loyd Grossman (TRP Chairman), actor Julian Glover and musician Dougie Poynter.

An audience of 700, including 200 school children, watched the film followed by the interview pictured above and a Q&A with George Chan the film’s director and others. It ended with Julian Glover reading part of David Harsent’s poem ‘A Dream of Richmond Park’, which the Friends commissioned in 2015 to mark the restoration of Poet’s Corner. For those who attended, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

The film had its television premiere the following day on London Live TV. It was repeated on Sunday 30 April. There was extensive media coverage including BBC, ITV and press with a large spread in the Evening Standard.

See the new 21minute film, or 4minute short version HERE

In addition to London Live audiences, the film and its trailer has had over 20,000 viewings online. Please help us reach 50,000 and share it with all your friends and contacts.

Photo: Sir Trevor McDonald interviews Sir David Attenborough at the film launch, by George Chan.

New Tread lightly brochure. 

“Richmond Park is London's own National Nature Reserve, with thousands of wildlife species. I’ve lived here for over 60 years and it’s been an inspiration to me. But with 5.5 million visitors a year, there is increasing pressure on the Park. There are simple things we can all do to help protect the Park so that it will remain a very special place for generations to come. Please love it like I do, and Tread Lightly in Richmond Park.” (Sir David Attenborough).

The new Tread Lightly brochure, advising visitors how they can help to protect and preserve the Park and its wildlife, is now available at the Visitor Centre. You can download it HERE.

What the Friends did in 2016.

We made good progress in 2016 with a record performance from the Visitor Centre, the production of the recently launched Richmond Park film and two successful large public campaigns. A growing part of our activities was devoted to educating the vastly increasing number of visitors about the Park and their impact on its ecology and wildlife; and we still have plenty to do. See the full report here

Easter and May Bank Holiday weekends.

Friends’ volunteers were out in the Park on these busy weekends monitoring what was happening and reporting breaches of park regulations to the park police. The May Bank Holiday was far busier than Easter due to the weather and, whilst there were no reported major incidents, there were many examples of the familiar problems including: dogs out of control, visitors being too close to and feeding deer, cars parked on the grass, cyclists not keeping to the paths and the usual volumes of litter. The Friends will continue the campaign to encourage visitors to Tread Lightly in the Park.

13 May – Introduction to Wildlife Photography Course (led by Russell Ritchin).

A  free to members course. Duration: 2 hours (1 hour talk & 1 hour walk). The course is suited for all levels. Bring along a camera or mobile.

13 May – Richmond May Fair.

The Friends will have a stall at the May Fair next Saturday. Come along and say hello to us, it’s a great event.

21 May – Highs and Lows Trail.

Friends’ families are encouraged to bring their children along to this Discoverers’ event on Sunday morning 21 May. For full details and to apply for free places: See here

St Paul’s view campaign.

Success! We have received a copy of a letter, sent by the Mayor’s office, formally notifying all London borough planning authorities that the Mayor must now be consulted on proposed tall buildings in protected views which have been extended as far as the GLA boundary. It confirms what we were promised and means we can claim victory for that part of our campaign to save the St Paul’s view. This is particularly important given that there are over 400 new skyscrapers in planning and development for London.

10 Year Bird Report.

The 2016 report of birds viewed in Richmond Park has now been added to this 10 year rolling report. The viewings data is collected by the Richmond Park Bird Recording Group and the report is compiled by Jan Wilczur and Nigel Jackman. See the report here

Bird count.

72 species of birds were recorded in the Park on Saturday 29 April by another successful Spring Bird Count organised by the Richmond Park Bird Recording Group. This excellent number included various returning summer visitors to the Park such as warblers, hobby, sand martin, swallow and little tern, and passage migrants such as wheatear, whinchat, redstart and ring ouzel. (Nigel Jackman)


The construction work is nearly complete; it comprises 3 speed tables at Ham Gate, Ham Cross and Sheen Cross and ‘improvements’ to the middle road (new 10 mph signs and lettering on the road, concrete slabs to define the road’s edge and marking where it crosses the horse ride). We will be monitoring what impact the tables have on the speeds of drivers and cyclists.

TRP status.

The Royal Parks became a charitable corporation from 17 March. The existing fund-raising charity The Royal Parks Foundation will be merged into it by 31 May. Andrew Scattergood has been become Chief Executive after a public appointment process.


In the recent ‘Special Bulletin’ on the Richmond Park film launch, Julia Balfour, TRP’s Head of Ecology, was credited as belonging to FRP. It should of course have said TRP (The Royal Parks) – Sorry Julia.



20 May     Centenary walk with London Geodiversity Partnership in collaboration with Friends                  of Richmond Park and the London Natural History Society

03 Jun      Pen Ponds Car Park

01 Jul       Robin Hood Gate Car Park

05 Aug     Kingston Gate Car Park

All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless detailed otherwise.

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


13 May     Introduction to Wildlife Photography (Russell Ritchin). Duration: 2 hours (1 hr talk & 1 hour walk). The course is suited for all levels. Bring along a camera or mobile.

15 Jul       Butterflies (Nigel Jackman)

Friends’ members only – no need to book – just turn up. Courses start 10.00am at Pembroke Lodge.

Richmond Park Diary – May

St, Mark’s Fly (Bibio Marci)

The St Mark’s Fly is a species of true fly, known as Hawthorn flies and are so called because they emerge around St Mark’s Day on 25th April every year and can be seen in flight in May. They are found around woodland edges, hedges, rough grassland and wetlands so can often be seen flying around Richmond Park. The St. Mark’s flies are around 12-14mm in length with clear wings, large eyes and long dangly legs but are easily recognised, as they fly slowly up and down, at around head height.

The flies have a very short adult life cycle, being in flight for only about a week, as the majority of their time is spent as larva in the soil feeding on rotting vegetation. In springtime the males emerge first followed a few days later by the females. After mating, females lay their eggs in the soil and die soon afterwards. The St. Mark’s flies are very useful, as they feed on nectar, making them important pollinators of both fruit trees and crops.


There are 600 Red and Fallow deer roaming freely in Richmond Park, which play a vital role in the park's history and also in shaping today’s landscape. The deer give birth to their young from late May to July and can often be hidden by their mothers amongst the bracken and long grass. The young are vulnerable to disturbance from humans and dogs at this time so their mothers will therefore be defensive. The deer are wild animals so please respect the following:

  • Keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and be aware of your surroundings so that you do not come between a mother and her calf.

  • Do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.

  • Deer can feel threatened by dogs, even over long distances, so please use alternative places, if possible. However if you choose to walk in the Park please keep your dog on a lead and consider an alternative route, such as following the wall line of the park where you are close to exit gates, and stay clear of the remote quiet places where the deer are more likely to have young.

Gas line repairs.

The gas line leading from Ladderstile Gate towards the main park road is being replaced so there is a temporary compound and works taking place in this area for the next 4-6 weeks. The contractors, working on behalf of EDF Energy, have been briefed about the Park, the access routes and the bus stop near to Ladderstile Gate, which will still remain in operation. Please respect this area and do not interfere with the work or any of the barriers.

Transport for London’s ‘Quietways’ Programme.

TFL has funded traffic calming measures including three raised crossing points, surface improvements, ancillary works and signage. Work is currently underway on Middle Road so access may be temporarily restricted at times.

Park road closures.

The Park will be closed on Sunday 4th June for the London 10 mile Run, which is a new event being held in Richmond Park for the first time. For more information please visit:

Please note the Park will also be closed on 30th July for Ride London event and on 17th September for the Duathlon event.

“Please take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time”


Isabella Plantation in May



On the lawn above Thomson’s Pond are two beds planted with the Japanese species, Rhododendron yakushimanum, amongst a group of its hybrids named after the Seven Dwarfs: Sneezy, Grumpy etc. These plants are compact and very floriferous. Also, seek out the tall ‘Loderi’ hybrid ‘King George’, with its large soft pink flowers which are sweetly fragrant. It grows in a number places in the Garden but most notably set back above the Still Pond. Follow the Small Stream down from the Still Pond to discover Rhododendron williamsiananum, a compact species with attractive bronze young shoots, distinctive heart shaped leaves and bell-shaped, shell-pink flowers. Look out for Rhododendron ‘Bibiani’ growing in a number of areas in the garden, this shrub produces compact trusses of rich crimson funnel shaped flowers with maroon spots.

Evergreen Azeleas

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.

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 Garden Walks 

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

Walks will take place on:

May:   Sunday 21st, Friday 26th

June: Friday 2nd and 30th, Sunday 11th

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.