Photo left: Richmond Park, near Roehampton Gate 23 January 2023   (c) Nigel Jackman

A hoar frost

On Monday 23rd January there was the most wondrous sight of a landscape turned white as if by the touch of a magic wand. Overnight a hoar frost of an intensity not seen in the Park for many years had coated every tree, branch and twig. Hoar frost forms when water vapour in the air comes into contact with an object that is below freezing. Rather than the water vapour first condensing onto the object and then freezing, the water vapour immediately freezes to form ice crystals, and these could be seen falling like sleet as the strong sunshine caused them to drop and melt as the morning wore on.

(c) Nigel Jackman

The ring-necked parakeet, pictured above, demonstrates just how resilient our wildlife can be to almost whatever weather is thrown at them!

The Queen’s Green Canopy

Within the last few weeks, planting has commenced in the new Queen’s Green Canopy by Ham Cross.  The woodland, part of a nationwide initiative created to mark the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, is part funded by The Friends and we’re delighted to announce an opportunity to visit and perhaps help with some planting.

On Monday 13th February, 11.00 to 14.00, The Royal Parks has organised a special day for adults and families to visit the plantation, and experts will be conducting free guided walks lasting about 45 minutes, every 30 minutes or so, describing both the new woodland and many wildlife features of the Park.

There should be the opportunity to plant a sapling, subject to availability.

The Friends Discoverers, who organise events for families in the park all year round, will be there to welcome families and offer children of all ages the opportunity to make a little tree out of clay which they will be able to take home. This is a free event open to all.

More information, including the exact location of the woodland, is here: The Queen’s Green Canopy Planting Day – Richmond Park – The Royal Parks

More details about the Queen’s Green Canopy and how it is creating a legacy of planting over one million trees across the country is here: The Queen’s Green Canopy (

Richmond Park 50 + years ago

Have you ever thought what might have changed in Richmond Park over the last 50 or so years – or what has stayed the same?  The Royal Parks has found this film. It’s 17 minutes long (no audio) and provides a fascinating insight.

Richmond Park in the 1960s – YouTube

Antics in Richmond Park

Volunteers assisted Dr Tim King conduct a survey of the ant hills in Richmond Park. In undisturbed areas some were large enough to be over 100 years old.  Photograph Janet Bostock

While Richmond Park is probably best known for its deer herds there is another smaller and more secretive animal that shapes the grasslands, the yellow meadow ant (Lasius flavus). The acid grasslands in Richmond Park are a nationally important habitat. They are scattered with thousands of mounds that may be mistaken for tussocky grass clumps. However, these are in fact ant-hills that have been carefully crafted by yellow meadow ants with some mounds being 100 or more years old! Just imagine the incredibly intricate and fascinating world that is unseen but working both within and between the mounds.

The ant hills increase the richness and diversity of plant and fungi species in the grassland as shallow rooted plants take hold on the tops of the mounds. You may see the green woodpecker searching the mounds for a nourishing dinner of ants!

Please avoid stepping on the ant hills by keeping to paths.

More information here: Antics in Richmond Park – The Royal Parks

Deer Cull