Photo: Peacock butterfly on Blackthorn, close to Holly Lodge by Nigel Jackman

Diary Dates

  • 14 & 26       April walks in Isabella Plantation
  • 06 Apr         Walk – meet at Sheen Gate Car Park.
  • 13 Apr         FRP AGM (at King’s School, TW10 6ES).
  • 18 Apr         2020 Calendar photos – closing date for entries.
  • 17-28 Apr  Pottery Exhibition
  • 11 May        Richmond May Fair – Volunteers needed
  • 11 May        Talk & walk – Richmond Park Flora
Kingston Gate closure 
Please note the item in the Park Diary below of a provisional date of 29 April for the planned 2 week closure of Kingston Gate while contractors for Kingston Council work on the roads outside it. The pedestrian gate is unaffected, and the date is subject to change.
The March bulletin contained an update of our campaign against new flight paths over the Park. Since then we have had coverage on ITV London news, including an interview with our Chairman Ron Crompton (the piece also covered the start of the court case against the 3rdrunway by five local councils and the Mayor, which gave us higher prominence but shorter air time!) and a front page in the Richmond and Twickenham Times on 8 March, which you can see here. Our thanks to all those (360 in total) who copied us on their emails to Heathrow. We continue to research the impact of the new flight paths on the park and will be meeting Heathrow in May.
Your 2020 Calendar photos – closing date 18 April.
18 April is the last date to send in your photos for the Friends 2020 Richmond Park Calendar.  Please see  or the news section of the friends website, for details of how and where to send them.
We look forward to seeing your amazing images – a maximum number of 8 photos from each photographer, but not more than 4 from any one season: winter, spring, summer, autumn. The 2019 calendar was a sell-out and raised a record amount for projects in the Park. We are very grateful to all who donate their photos.
A group of the Volunteer Community Rangers made their first appearance in Richmond and Bushy Parks last week-end on familiarisation training. They will appear again for the start of the trial proper over the Easter bank holiday week-end. They are readily identifiable in their orange shirts, fleeces and jackets. Please give them a wave or wish them good luck. We are very grateful to them for giving up their time to help the two Parks.
Peregrine Falcons.
London is seeing a growing population of peregrine falcons as they nest on a variety of tall buildings. The roof of Kingston College is one such place. The college has installed three cameras to monitor them and gives regular updates on their progress (the pair laid their first egg of the year last Wednesday). See the live camera links here.Not to be outdone Richmond now has a pair nesting on the roof of St Matthias Church on Richmond Hill close to the Park. Alerted by members of the Park’s Bird Group, a Royal Parks staff member who is part of the London Peregrine Partnership has installed a nesting tray to help their safe breeding. Peregrines are seen occasionally in the Park and are known to predate parakeets so we have great expectations of the Richmond pair!
Riverfly monitoring.
As part of the Beverley Brook project, a group of FRP volunteers recently attended a course on riverfly run by the Zoological Society of London,. The group, led by Stephen Russell, will start monthly monitoring at a sample site in the Brook from this April, using a standardised methodology to collect, identify and record eight invertebrate target groups which are pollution sensitive. The data will be entered into a national riverfly database, which is available to the public.

Other stretches of the Brook in Barnes and Wimbledon are being monitored by similar groups. Further details at And if you don’t know the difference between a Mayfly and a Blue-Winged Olive or between a Freshwater Shrimp and a Caseless Caddis, you can see them all on this short but beautiful Riverfly ID video 

Fallen trees.
The recent high winds of Storm Gareth brought down fifteen or so trees in the Park, including an old oak near White Lodge and a willow on Beverley Brook near Roehampton Gate, which overhung the brook and clearly had weak roots. Our Facebook page has before and after photos, taken by Amanda Boardman, of the willow and a sad sight they make. See here .

Park pottery. 
From 17-28 April, the gallery One Paved Court, off Richmond Green, are hosting a three person ceramics exhibition which includes work by Bridget Macklin who has incorporated clay from Beverley Brook and images from Richmond Park into her pieces. She has generously contributed some of the proceeds of her work to the Friends in the past and was also involved in funding the wonderful bench at Poet’s Corner. See more about her and the exhibition.


Events Calendar

Next 3 months

All are welcome to join our walks. Start at 10.00am from the designated car park unless stated otherwise.                    
  • 06 Apr    Sheen Gate Car Park (+ Walk the Wall)
  • 04 May   Broomfield Hill Car Park
  • 01 Jun    Pen Ponds Car Park
Meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am.
TALKS & WALKS – Friends’ members only. (New members – join here)
Start at Pembroke Lodge at 10.15am, unless otherwise stated. No need to book – just turn up. Coffee/tea provided.
Usually 45-60 minutes, followed by an optional 90 minute walk, unless otherwise indicated.
  • Apr          NO TALK
  • 11 May    Richmond Park Flora (Mary Clare Sheanan). Talk & Walk.
  • 15 Jun    Pembroke Gardens (Jo Scrivener). Talk & Walk.

Richmond Park Diary April 2019 (from The Royal Parks)

Kingston Gate Closure
The vehicle gate will close provisionally from 29th April for 2 weeks, Royal Borough of Kingston contractors will be working just outside Kingston Gate. This will entail closing the gate, road and diverting traffic. Motorists travelling from the south will be diverted in advance of reaching the park but motorists traveling from the north may want to seek alternative routes to avoid driving all the way through the park before driving all the way back again. Please note the date is subject to change.
All other park gate gates and car parks will remain open as usual but do expect increased congestion in places.
Bee flies 
These ‘intriguing’ little insects are found in the park in early spring. They can be seen as adults on warm sunny days, looking superficially look a large bees / mosquito cross flying close to the ground.  Unlike bees (that have 2 pairs of wings) they have a single pair of wings that are held outstretched when at rest. They have a long proboscis, used for feeding on nectar and they are often noticed first by sound as they make a high-pitched hum – flying from flower to flower.Superficially they look as though they could inflict a serious bite or sting but are in fact harmless to humans.  They are parasitic, laying eggs in the soil by solitary bee nests so their larvae can feed on the larvae of their hosts when they emerge. They are spotted regularly by people and are one of the most common species the Natural History Museum receive calls about more than almost any other animal. – Such is their intrigue!
Ticks and Lyme Disease
Ticks are small, spider like insects that attach themselves to humans, dogs and other animals to feed on blood.  Whilst the risk is very low, they can transmit diseases including Lyme disease. Ticks cannot fly or jump but instead they cling onto tall vegetation and wait for their host to brush past. During spring, summer and autumn ticks are more numerous, more active and the park vegetation such as bracken is in ‘full frond’.Park visitors are advised to guard against tick bites by avoiding tall vegetation (especially if wearing shorts) and stay on well-worn paths. Insect repellent can also be used.  Check yourself after walking in the parks and remove ticks immediately.  If concerned, you feel unwell, or a rash appears – consult your GP immediately. Please visit the Information Centre for an information leaflet or via the Royal Parks website  


Isabella Plantation in April

The Streams 
The streams are bright with Marsh Marigolds, (Caltha palustris). The yellow hooded spathes of the American Skunk Cabbage, (Lysichiton americanus), which precede large rank leathery leaves, are conspicuous along the stream from the Still Pond.

Camelias are still flowering throughout the Garden. They are mainly older Camellia japonica cultivars and a number of Williamsii hybrids.

Along the Bluebell Walk, opposite the Acer Glade, look out for the bright purple flowers of the deciduous R. reticulatum. This month the Japanese azaleas start into flower. They are usually at their best during the last week of April and the first week of May. R.racemosum grows down the path from the Still Pond, it is a medium sized shrub that bears pale to bright pink flowers. Rhododendron ‘Quaker Girl’ grows in the glade set back from the path at the top of Thomson’s Stream and bears trusses of stunning white flowers with a deep crimson throat. 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.

Early evergreen azaleas are beginning to flower throughout the garden look out for ‘Kirin’ a pale pink “hose in hose” (flower within an flower) and ‘Sylvester’ which has small deep pink flowers. In a glade set back from the Main Stream and other locations around the Garden are the blue flowering Rhododendrons from the Triflorum series these are Rhododendron augustinii and the R,chasmanthum hybrid Rhododendron ‘Electra’.

Throughout the gardens pink and white forms of Magnolia soulangiana come into flower. Along the Bluebell Walk are two small pink hybrids of M. stellata, called M. X loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’. A larger one is set back by the Scots Pine to the far side of the Acer Glade. Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’ one of the Gresham Hybrids grows in a ride off the Main Stream and has goblet shaped flowers, pink on the outside and white inside. Its flowers have a strong lavender scent.

In the Wet Lawn area near the top gate, the golden yellow flowers of Narcissus bulbocodium subsp. bulbocodium with conical cups and pointed petals have now appeared and succeed the delicate flowers of Narcissus cyclamineus, which are also naturalised in this area.

The Bog Garden
Look out for the clusters of white or pale pink flowers borne on white–haired stems which are those of the “Umbrella Plant”, Darmera peltata which flowers before it produces foliage.

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:

Friday   26th
Sunday 14th

Friday   31st
Sunday 12th

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.