Photo: Beverley Brook by Amanda Boardman

Welcome to our new website

The previous one (and our first website) was over twelve years old. While it still looked good and many people liked it, it was difficult for us to operate and websites have moved on considerably since then both technically and in what people want from them.

The first thing you’ll notice is the much greater use of high-quality photos and (we hope) the ease of finding things on the site. The structure of news items on the home page and permanent information on other pages, accessible from tabs and drop-down menus, is much the same as before, as is most of the content, which is still focused on conservation and ecology. However, we can now change things more frequently and with the photos that will create a more attractive and dynamic site that should encourage more Park visitors to learn about Richmond Park. There’s also a facility for people to apply and pay for Friends’ membership online and to apply to be a volunteer.

While we have used an outside web developer, Blue Flamingo in Twickenham, it has also required a lot of work from a group of Trustees led by Steve Sandham. We’re very grateful to Steve and his team for all their hard work and the wonderful new website they’ve created.

We hope you enjoy it.

Ron Crompton
Chair of the Friends

Deer Cull.
The cull started on 4 Feb and will continue for 6 weeks. Full details below in Park Diary. 

‘The Birds of Richmond Park’
is an impressive record, by The Richmond Park Bird Group, of the different species of birds spotted in Richmond Park over the past 10 years. You can see in the 2009 – 2018 list which birds are resident, regular visitors, or new sightings, as well as which birds are known to breed in the park. There were 128 species of birds seen or heard in Richmond Park in the twelve months to 31st December 2018. Read More.   

Migrating Sand Martin.
News is just in that a Sand Martin, which was ringed as a nestling in the Pen Ponds artificial bank last summer, was caught and released by a French ringer in the Landes (a coastal region of South West France) in September. We regularly get Sand Martins reported from the west of France on autumn passage but it is nice to get confirmation that one of our youngsters from last year was well on its way to its likely wintering area in Senegal. 

Calling for photos for the 2020 Friends’ Calendar.
Submissions of photos for the Friends’ 2020 calendar are invited from 1 March. Please see link for details of how and where to send them. CLOSING DATE 18 April. We look forward to seeing your amazing images – but please a maximum number of 8 photos from each photographer, and 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 donated their photos.

Volunteers for Holly Lodge Centre.
Holly Lodge Centre, the education centre in the Park is looking for two volunteers to join their gardening team, gardening alongside pupils with disabilities on a Friday morning; and for a new member of their education team, assisting with delivering indoor (Victorian) or outdoor learning sessions. All volunteers will get training in the roles. Please contact Anna King at [email protected] or 020 8940 8730

Help reclaim our dark skies by taking part in Star Count 2019!
Light pollution increasingly affects us all, including Richmond Park and its wildlife.
Star Count 2019 is a country-wide survey by CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) with the BAA (British Astronomical Association).
It runs from Saturday 2nd – Saturday 23rd February.  Learn all about STAR COUNT 2019 and how to take part at 

Wanted: Volunteer Minibus Drivers
Minibus drivers are wanted for Richmond Park minibus service. Do you have some free time to volunteer for the Richmond Park Minibus Service? The Royal Parks is looking to recruit 1 or 2 further drivers for 2019/20.  Full training will be provided.
The free seasonal Bus Service starts on Wednesday 17th April 2019 and runs every Wednesday until 30th October 2019, between 9.40am and 4.10pm, doing 5 round trips on the day. The minibus, with disabled access, is free and fully accessible, Funding is in place for the vehicle costs for three years from 2019.
Any interested volunteer drivers who are able to spend a few Wednesdays helping visitors to the Park should contact Malcolm Childs on [email protected] or mobile 07814 988 337.

AGM 13 April. The guest speaker at this year’s AGM will be Tom Jarvis, TRP’s new Director of Parks, who previously ran Windsor Great Park; Simon Richards, the Manager of Richmond Park will also be present. It takes place at King’s House school, 68 Kings Rd, Richmond TW10 6ES.  Doors open at 10.00 (coffee and tea provided) with the AGM starting at 10.30; the AGM will end at around followed by a sandwich lunch.

Events Calendar

Next 3 months

All are welcome to join our walks. Start at 10.00am from the designated car park unless stated otherwise.                          

  • 02 Mar    Kingston Gate Car Park
  • 06 Apr    Sheen Gate Car Park (+ Walk the Wall) 

Informal birdwatching walks – Every Friday – 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.

  • 16 Feb     Swans (Gemma Nelson).
  • 16 Mar     Richmond Park During the Wars (Diana Loch). Talk only.
  • Apr          NO TALK


Richmond Park Diary February 2019

Road closures.
After an autumn and winter of multiple road closures for resurfacing and issues with a badger sett, all the road works are now complete.  We appreciate that the works caused inconvenience and delays for many people, but trust park users understood the essential nature of the works and efforts taken to minimise disruption. There are no more road repairs planned for a while, however park roads will be closed in 2019 for major sport events as usual.  In 2019 the roads will be closed on Sunday 4th August for Ride London and on Sunday 8th September for the London Duathlon.

Sand Martins.
They are a migratory bird that nest in colonies in sandy ‘walls’ such as gravel pits, quarries, hills and railway or river banks. They feed over water so nesting opportunities adjacent to water are favoured.  Increasingly they colonise artificial nest sites built specifically for them. One such artificial sand bank has been constructed in Richmond Park with the hope that a new colony would form here from similar colonies at the Wetlands Centre and Eel Pie Island. Last year several birds successfully raised chicks and a licensed bird ringer fitted identification rings on the chick’s legs. One of Richmond Parks’ fledglings was later identified in south west France in September on its migration to sub-Saharan Africa and we look forward to their return this summer.   

Snow and ice.
February is generally the coldest month of the year and with the centre of Richmond Park often 1 or 2 degrees cooler than the forecast, there is a high chance of frost and potentially ice on roads. Park staff monitor the weather and apply salt to the park roads daily if required but inevitably conditions make it impossible to remove all risk of ice. Park users should always listen to weather forecasts and observe weather warnings sensible precautions need to be taken by park users when there is a risk of ice.

The deer cull.
Commences again on Monday 4th February and lasts 6 weeks when the parks pedestrian gates will be locked from 20.00hrs. The last night will be Thursday 14th March with the gates being unlocked by 07.30hrs. If entering the park in the evening, it is worth remembering that the time advertised on the gates is the time that one must exit the park by, in order to avoid being locked in, so plan your visit or journey with this mind.  Inevitably a little time is required to lock all 12 sets of pedestrian gates and there is a risk of finding your exit gate locked. If this occurs and you have to travel to another gate to exit, not only will your journey be delayed but you may find the alternative gate locked behind you causing even more delays whilst patrol staff search the park for lock-ins!

Snow drops.
These small white flower emerge from bulbs in January or February. There is some disagreement as to whether they are native or a very early introduction, but they are naturalised or native in UK woodlands where they grow well. In Richmond Park there are few snowdrops in the Park, but Pembroke Lodge gardens hosts a fair number on the banks south of the Lodge. Being the very earliest of flowers to emerge they are a welcome sign that spring is just around the corner and popular with gardeners. Snowdrops are also a symbol for hope, purity and a herald for spring. Snowdrops contain a substance galantamine which can be used as an antidote to a poison and may well be the magical herb ‘Moly’ in Homers Odyssey.


February in Isabella Plantation 

Trees and shrubs with coloured and textured bark

The pollarded willows on the banks of Peg’s Pond are forms of Salix alba, with amber and red stems.

Yellow-stemmed dogwood, Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’, grows nearby under the weeping willow, and in the Bog Garden.

Red-stemmed dogwood, Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’, is set back behind the heathers, and throughout the Bog Garden. Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ has orange and red stems which show throughout the winter months and can also be found in the Bog Garden.

The “River Birch”, Betula nigra, has papery shredding buff coloured bark. Two of these trees grow on the north side of the Main Stream; one above the Heather Garden and the other towards the top.

Three “Himalayan Birches”, B. jacquemontii, with striking white stems, stand on the lawn above Thomson’s Pond.

The “Tibetan Cherry”, Prunus serrula, has gleaming mahogany-red bark beginning to peel into curly shreds. One is set back on the lawn to the north east of Thomson’s Pond. Three other good specimens may also be found in Wilson’s Glade.

Acer hersii, at the north end of the Acer Glade path, is one of several ‘snake bark’ Acers in the garden.

Heather Garden

Erica x darleyensis comes into flower in its pink and white forms. Tawny seed heads of Erica vagans remain decorative all winter.
The tall “Portugal Heath”, Erica lusitanica, bears slightly fragrant tubular white flowers opening from pink buds throughout winter.
Clumps may be found towards the top of the Heather Garden, near the junction of Thomson’s Stream and the Main Stream.

Nandina domestica “Sacred Bamboo”, is planted behind the heather in several places, is truly a plant for all seasons. Decorative evergreen leaves are tinged purple in spring and autumn, panicles of white flowers open in the summer to provide orange red berries throughout winter. 

Flowering shrubs

Hamamelis mollis, the “Witch Hazel”, has fragrant yellow tassel flowers. Two large shrubs stand by the gate to Broomfield Hill.

Lonicera X purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ is a shrubby honeysuckle which bears tiny white fragrant flowers throughout winter. A group of these shrubs grows by the Acer Glade path.

Rhododendron dauricum ‘Midwinter’ is a semi–evergreen or deciduous Rhododendron which grows on Bluebell Walk and looks stunning this month with its phlox purple flowers.

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ flowers pink in bud and fades to white grows alongside the main stream path above the Bog Garden. The name refers to the one time practice of forcing this plant for decoration.

Camellia japonica ‘Nobilissima’, with white peony form flowers grows in the woodland ride to the north of Thomson’s Stream.

The williamsii hybrid Camellia ‘Parkside’ bears an abundance of semi-double flowers in a clear pink and can be found growing in the glade next to Thomson’s Lawn.  Many other Camellias are beginning to flower around the gardens.

Cornus mas the “Cornelian Cherry” grows in the shelterbelt near the gate to disabled car park. It produces lots of small yellow flowers on the naked stems throughout February.

Look out for the daffodil Narcissus cyclamineus growing naturalised in the lawns to the left of the Top Gate which bare delicate rich golden pendulous flowers.


Isabella Garden Walks 2019

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

Walks will take place on:


Sunday 10th & Friday 22nd


Friday 1st & 29th and Sunday 24th

Walks last about one and a half hours and are free of charge. Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11.00a.m.