Monthly Bulletin August 2022

Hot weather and fire risk

The lack of rain and high temperatures have led to an unprecedentedly dry park. Water levels in ponds are lower than anyone can recall, trees are starting to brown and the grass is very dry.

Please do not bring barbecues into the Park and report any signs or incidents of fire to the Royal Parks by calling 0300 061 2200 or the fire brigade on 999.

TRP advises visitors to be cautious when bringing picnics to Richmond or Bushy Parks

Deer swooping on picnics in Bushy Park, devouring the contents that include large amounts of plastic.

“Human interaction with deer is causing all sorts of problems. As a result of persistent feeding by visitors, the deer in Richmond and Bushy Parks are now beginning to associate humans with food, which is not normal behaviour”, explains Bill Swan, Assistant Park Manager of Bushy Park. “Feeding deer is both unnecessary and dangerous.” “Many deer will eat the plastic bags containing food, unaware that they can’t digest it. If it doesn’t suffocate them first, it can get lodged in their stomach and block it, which can cause death from malnutrition.”

The Royal Parks advise visitors wanting to picnic in Richmond Park to remain alert to the presence of deer and avoid eating in the area between Richmond Gate and Hornbeam Avenue and by Pen Ponds. If visitors are approached by deer when picnicking, TRP advise they should:

  • cover their food and close any bags
  • leave the food behind and move back to a safe distance
  • wait for the deer to move on before returning to their picnic spot

Coming soon! Richmond Park Calendar 2023 and Christmas cards

The much-loved Friends of Richmond Park calendar and our high quality Christmas cards will be launched on 1 September, at the Visitor Centre and our online shop.

Enjoy amazing photos of the Park’s wildlife and scenery, taken by talented local photographers, whilst helping to raise funds for projects in the Park.

Birds and Butterflies

Common terns (c) Nigel Jackman

Prior to the redevelopment of the Upper Pen Pond island, the recent success of a growing population of Black-headed Gulls was occurring at the expense of Common Terns that hitherto had been breeding on the tern rafts installed for their benefit. The enlargement and reconfiguration of the island this year has encouraged as many as seven pairs of terns to attempt nesting on the island itself this summer, and several chicks are now present. We hope that this is the beginning of a successful era for both species.

Sixteen Skylark territories were confirmed this year. This is two down from 2021, but the numbers do vary from year to year. The majority were on Crown Field, but it was pleasing to see three territories on The Bog where safeguarding measures and signage had been installed at the start of the season.

White-letter Hairstreaks are relatively uncommon butterflies, entirely dependent on Elm trees for their life cycle. When an avenue of Elm trees resistant to Dutch Elm disease was planted close to Petersham Gate in 2019, it was hoped that White-letter Hairstreaks would migrate to the site as the trees matured.  It is great news, therefore, to report that a single specimen was recorded there in July, which we hope is the first of an increasing number as a breeding colony is established.

Chalkhill Blue Butterfly (c) NIgel Jackman

Unlike White-letter Hairstreaks there is no expectation amongst the Butterfly Recording Group of finding a Chalkhill Blue butterfly in the Park as the species belongs on chalk downs. Unusually, then, two were spotted in 2021, the first record ever, and another was found in July of this year.

Discoverers – looking for butterflies

Learn more about butterflies with Discoverers

For their monthly Sunday walk on 7th August, Discoverers, the Friends activities programme for families with school age children, will go out and look for butterflies in the park.  This will also be the last day of the national Big Butterfly Count and a chance to take part in this most valuable survey. For more information on Discoverers see The Discoverers section of the Friends website.

Litter picking – Gold Award volunteers

We are grateful to our nearly 200 volunteers in the Friends’ Adopt-an-Area litter picking scheme who continue to make the time and effort to keep the Park clean. They include pupils who have volunteered to litter pick in the Park as their volunteering section of the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme. Many of those who joined us around the turn of 2021/22 have now signed off having completed the necessary time needed by the Scheme. Three of them, Bea Bradshaw, Findlay Clay and Aidan Painting, have completed the gold volunteering section with us (meaning they have litter picked for at least a year with us); as far as we know they are the first litter picker volunteers to have done this. Eight other volunteers are currently working towards their own gold awards.

New! Now at the Visitor Centre

Six delightful new fridge magnets – £2.50 each.

Musical Roots

The Holly Lodge Centre is organising another night of blues, jazz, boogie-woogie and ragtime. Tickets for this event are £55, including welcome drinks and a buffet supper.  To book register on Eventbrite.

Ragwort – volunteering opportunity

The Royal Parks is looking for support to help control common ragwort in Richmond Park, removing flowering heads before they set seed. They will work on Friday 5 August to ‘deadhead’ some of the flowering plants using secateurs and removing them from site.

To sign up, register here.

Green Flag Award

Richmond Park, together with all the other Royal Parks, has received the Green Flag award – the international quality mark for parks and green spaces. All the royal parks have also achieved the Green Heritage Site Accreditation, supported by Historic England, for the management of its historic features. The Green Flag assessment process includes a site visit to meet park teams. For Richmond Park this included meeting Friends trustee Monique Sarkany who explained the work of the Friends.

Join The Royal Parks Panel

The Royal Parks Panel is a new platform to hear your views on The Royal Parks and its activities. Participation in the panel will be online with Members receiving invitations to around two, short 10-minute surveys annually. To take part, enter your details here.