Picture left: The Household Cavalry exercising their horses near Holly Lodge in March


Roehampton Restored

© The Royal Parks

The Royal Parks are planning to replace the current cafe at Roehampton Gate and redevelop the adjacent facilities and landscape. The Friends support this much needed upgrade to this part of the Park. The Roehampton café area has long needed improvement and the plans are a good balance between providing an attractive facility for visitors and protecting the landscape.

The Royal Parks have consulted with the Friends at each stage of the development over the last five years.

Public engagement days are being held to show the plans. These will be:

  • Thursday 4 April, 1pm-4pm at Roehampton Café
  • Saturday 6 April, 10am-1pm at Roehampton Café
  • Friday 12 April, 11am-2pm at Pen Ponds

More information: Roehampton Restored | The Royal Parks


Quentin Blake-designed signs in Richmond Park

Amongst the new signs appearing in Richmond Park, visitors may have noticed signs designed by the world famous illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. Quentin Blake who lives in West London, said:

“I am delighted that my drawings will find themselves in the Royal Parks. The inclusion of my illustrations on signs means that visitors can enjoy them, and that the everyday park rules and admonitions are offered in a cheerful and friendly spirit.”

This is part of a wider plan to improve, upgrade and standardise signage. The Friends provided significant input into this wider project.

Heathrow flights update

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which has responsibility for assessing Heathrow’s plans, did not approve their plans through Stage 2 (development and short-listing of options) because it was not satisfied that Heathrow met the process requirements for stakeholder engagement.

In January, the CAA told Heathrow to re-do the stakeholder engagement and Heathrow have now begun that process with dates for engaging with stakeholders including us in mid-April leading to re-submitting its shortlisted flight paths in May, for CAA approval.

We continue to be deeply concerned by Heathrow’s plans for new flight paths over Richmond Park. Thanks to lobbying by the Friends, Heathrow has recognised that Richmond Park is an area which merits special protection. But that has still not led them to remove any of the flight paths of concern. So, our campaigning work will continue unabated.

Avocet seen at Upper Pen Pond

Photograph: John Strachan

Every so often an unexpected bird turns up in Richmond Park for the first time ever, and in March it was an avocet at Upper Pen Pond. Close to the island edge, it could have gone unobserved but for the sharp-eyed observation of our regular bird watchers.

Medium-sized, avocets are elegant and distinctively patterned black and white waders with bluish-grey legs and black upturned bills.  Once driven to extinction in this country, they began to re-colonise from Holland in the 1940s and there is now a resident population of several thousand, mostly close to coastal lagoons and estuaries. The avocet is the emblem of the RSPB and appears in their logo. Whether this individual was a resident or one of a migrant winter influx, it had the distinction of becoming the latest of more than two hundred bird species to be recorded in the park.

The Richmond Park minibus (RP1) returns

The Richmond Park minibus has returned. This free service operates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until 27 November 2024, between the hours of 9:25am and 4:20pm.

The minibus has disabled access, and runs between all the Richmond Park car parks, Ladderstile Gate, Richmond Gate, Pembroke Lodge and Isabella Plantation.

The service starts and finishes at the barrier in Danebury Avenue on the Roehampton Estate and also goes out to Ham, Ashburnham Road (371 bus stop), Ham Gate Avenue (near the 65 bus stop), and to Mortlake Station (969 stop) outside the Community Centre.

The minibus is free and fully accessible with a ramp and steps to aid access. Wheelchair users wishing to use the service should contact:   jmeays@royalparks.org.uk.

Richmond Park bus – information, timetable and route:

Free minibus service in Richmond Park | The Royal Parks