The Friends AGM in April was postponed because of COVID-19. We will now be holding it via a Zoom call on Saturday 22 August at 11.00 am. We are asking members to notify by 16 August if they want to join the call and to send us questions or concerns they would like discussing. You will have received more information, including our Review of 2019, in an insert in the printed Summer Newsletter. While there will be some formal business, the large majority of the ‘meeting’ will be devoted to discussion of what is happening in the Park and it should be interesting! Please note it will be members only. If you have already responded to this appeal when it appeared in the July bulletin, there is no need to do so again.  

Lockdown  litter

In June 2020, litter collected in London’s Royal Parks was one third more than the same month last year – 258 tonnes of litter in a single month!

If that’s not bad enough, in Richmond Park litter was up from 5.6 tonnes to 42 tonnes – a MASSIVE 7 times as much. Read more here

Parties  in  the  Park

On 1st August a member of the public alerted us to a large dump of litter in Jubilee Plantation, off Sawyer’s Hill. The AaA volunteer covering that area was asked to investigate and here’s what he said: “It was, as reported, a MESS. I totally filled 2 large trash bags with what must have been close to a hundred beer bottles and cans, wine bottles, prosecco bottles, etc. etc. — obviously a BIG group determined to make a statement — tired of lock-down, thumbing their noses at those observing responsibility, etc. . The bags were so big and heavy that I took them to Holly Lodge where the on-duty policeman took them and told me they had chased several large groups out of the Park last night.”

Feeding  deer  has  consequences

Visitors feeding deer is a problem in both Richmond and Bushy Parks and it has consequences. The Royal Parks has recently issued a warning about Bushy Park:  “Unfortunately deer in Bushy Park have learned to approach people in search of food especially in popular areas such as around the pond and car park. This has recently led to a number of dangerous incidents in which people have been charged by deer looking for food. Please remember that the deer in Bushy Park are wild animals so for your own safety, please keep a distance of at least 50 metres away and move away if you’re approached”. And in the National Trust’s Knole Park where deer roam freely one was shot when it turned ‘aggressive’ and injured a visitor after it was fed carrots by a family having a picnic in the grounds. See the full story.

August  Tree  of  the  Month – Beech

Written and designed in a family friendly style, this is the 6th in a series of interesting and amusing  information sheets that provide an opportunity for everyone to explore and learn about a different tree each month. They are free to download from our website. Watch out for a different tree every month for the rest of the year.

Summer  Tree  Photography  Competition

This competition is part of the Friends of Richmond Park’s 2020 The Year of the Tree. The overall theme is images that show the character of the Park’s trees.  Images can be of any part of a tree, whole trees or groups of trees. Entrance is free. Details of how to enterincluding the prizes and Terms and Conditions. (The email address for applications, on the website, was inaccessible for a brief time, but has now been fixed). The competition closes 30 September.
Tips for photographing trees by expert tree photographers Len Jenshel and his partner Diane Cook.

What  value  Richmond  Park?

The Times recently had a very interesting article on the value of parks. It reckons London’s parks helps save £370m a year in mental health related costs, in addition to the physical health benefits from providing places for people to exercise, the environmental benefits such as cooling urban heat and storing and filtering rainwater, and their trees absorbing air pollutants and carbon dioxide and the wildlife conservation benefits, especially for endangered species. All in all the article claims that for every £1 spent on parks, £7 is generated in added value for the community. We wonder what value would be put on Richmond Park?

There is further reading in this useful report by The Parks Alliance “Making parks count: The case for parks”

Swan  Sanctuary  fundraiser

Jamie and Alex finished their epic adventure at midnight on Sunday 5 July. They cycled the last day from Bristol to Kingston in a push to complete their 1000 mile ride. They will be doing more epic adventures in the future to come so keep an eye out. They wish to thank everyone for their kind donations, and the page is still open for anyone who has not yet given to this very worthy cause. Click here for details. The Swan Sanctuary rescue and treat many swans and other waterfowl from Richmond Park and other Royal Parks and are very deserving of our support.

Pembroke  Lodge  now  open  7 days  with  50% off  meals

From August, Pembroke Lodge is open seven days a week from 11.00am to 4.00pm. On offer is the “Eat out to help out” scheme, where customers get a 50% discount, up to £10 per person per visit, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3 to 31 August. It has also re-started wedding ceremonies with up to 30 guests

Summary of Park re-opening:

  1. Cycling
    As from 1st August the Park is open to cyclists on week-ends as well as week-days and all the temporary restrictions on cycling have been removed.
  2. Public toilets
    From Tuesday 14th July all toilets are now open all day during park hours, except when cleaning is undertaken (Except at Pembroke Lodge when they are open at the same time as the Tea Rooms).
  3. Cafes, kiosks and playgrounds.

Pembroke Lodge and Roehampton cafes are now open, with social distancing and the kiosks are open at Pembroke Lodge and Broomfield Hill and Pen Ponds car parks. The Kingston Gate and Petersham Gate playgrounds have also re-opened.

  1. Isabella Plantation and Pembroke Lodge Gardens are open.   
  2. Vehicle access to car parks – on weekdays only
    A number of car parks in Richmond Park are now open: Pembroke Lodge is open with access from Richmond Gate, Sheen Gate car park can be accessed via Sheen Gate and Roehampton café car park can be accessed via Roehampton Gate café. Sheen Gate car will continue to provide blue badge only parking on the weekend, there is blue badge parking in the above car parks during weekdays. Kingston Car Park is open to the public on weekdays Isabella Plantation car park remains closed. We expect the car parks to re-open at week-ends shortly.
  3. Free minibus cancelled
    The free minibus service is cancelled for the remainder of 2020 due to concerns over the safety of passengers and volunteer drivers during the current crisis. 

Richmond  Park  Diary

©The Royal Parks

OAK PROCESSIONARY MOTH: Work continues to remove nests of toxic caterpillars from oak trees across the park. Please do not be alarmed by the sight of contractors working in protective clothing which is to keep them safe while carrying out essential work that ultimately keeps visitors safe.

LYME DISEASE: As ever there is a risk of members of the public and their pets from being bitten by ticks particularly in areas of long grass and bracken. Please do read the separate notices displayed around the park. Further advice can be found on TRP, NHS and the Friends websites.

SUMMER OF KINDNESS:  Over the past four months the Park has welcomed more visitors, with many people having a new-found appreciation of nature and wildlife.  Sadly, however, the rise in visitor numbers has also corresponded to a rise in anti-social behaviour including litter, takeaway boxes, plastic bags, PPE, glass bottles and picnic scraps.

The Royal Parks have launched a campaign called ‘Summer of Kindness 2020’.  These simple messages of enjoying the parks, being kind to one another and respecting the environment aim to make people stop and think about the impact of their actions on the parks. Please help spread the word by using the hashtag #BeKindtoYourParks, on your own social media channels by sharing our posts. For more information please visit Be Kind To Your Parks. 

August  in  the  Isabella  Plantation

Hydrangea aspera subsp. Sargentiana – Grows in Wilson’s Glade in the north east corner, this upright gaunt shrub bears broad heads of flowers from late summer to mid-autumn, the inner ones are blue or deep purple, the outer ones are large and white.

Sorbaria kirilowii – Also found in Wilson’s Glade produces white flowers in large conical panicles throughout July and August.

Heptacodium miconioides – Is a vigorous shrub that bears lightly scented clusters of white flowers throughout late summer and early autumn. It can be found growing below Thomson’s Pond and also on the Birthday Mound.

Calycanthus occidentalis – Grows at the top end of the Old Nursery. This Californian species bears large red-brown flowers throughout the summer.

Heather Garden

Summer flowering shrubs in the Heather Garden include varieties of Erica vagans, the Cornish Heath, such as ‘Mrs. Maxwell’ – dark pink; ‘Rosea’ – light pink; and ‘Cornish Cream’ – cream. Several varieties of Calluna vulgaris have coloured foliage, such as ‘Gold Haze’ – white flower and gold leaf; and ‘Robert Chapman’ – purple flower with bronze foliage. Daboecia cantabrica has white or purple waxy bells.

The Streams

Along the streams many native marginal plants are in flower, such as Purple and Yellow Loosestrife, Meadowsweet, Greater Willowherb and Hemp Agrimony. These wild flowers, along with the heathers, attract many butterflies. Elsewhere, streamside clumps of Hemerocallis, the Day Lily, produce a succession of tall yellow or orange trumpet-shaped flowers throughout July and August; each flower lasting only a day.

Thomson’s Pond and the Bog Garden

Thomson’s Pond and the Bog Garden, have fine stands of Pontederia cordata, the Pickerel Weed, with spikes of blue flowers amongst erect spear-shaped leaves. In the Bog Garden look out for the creamy–yellow flowers of Kirengeshoma palmate which show until the autumn.