Photo by Paula Redmond

John Bartram at Pembroke Lodge on the 13th.

A reminder that John Bartram, recently retired head gamekeeper of Richmond Park and author of “Park Life” – a treasure trove of stories and memories, some poignant and moving, others offbeat and hilarious, – will be interviewed by Richard Gray on Saturday 13th Jan at 1pm in the Belvedere Suite at Pembroke Lodge. If anyone has bought John's book and would like him to sign it, please bring it along. There will be copies there for purchase.

History and Stories of Richmond Park.

On Saturday 27 January at 10.15 am at Pembroke Lodge, the Chair of the Friends Ron Crompton will give an illustrated talk on the stories behind the Park's history, from the oldest structure in the Park to the rivalry that created White Lodge and on to the 1948 Olympics. Put the date in your diary!

Two Storm Wood thinning – sponsored or commemorative trees.

Park management plan to thin Two Storm Wood (near Sheen Gate) to improve the growing conditions and enhance the habitat. If you have a sponsored or commemorative tree in the wood, which would have been planted in the early 1990s, please contact the Park office – details are in the Park Diary below.

Presentation to Ron.

To commemorate Ron Crompton’s 10 year tenure as Friends’ Chairman, a surprise celebration was organised where he was presented with a beautiful framed print of deer in Beverly Brook (by photographer Anne Ross). An inscription was inserted on the photo-mount, along with signatures of our patrons Sir David Attenborough and Baroness Susan Kramer, who also presented it to Ron. See photos.

New receptionists at Holly Lodge.

Linda Pigeon retired as administrator and receptionist, at Holly Lodge, at the end of October; we will all miss her. There are two new administrator/receptionists, Allan Wallace and Charlotte Brooks. Please say hello and welcome them to Richmond Park!

Oak Processionary Moth.

Last year 9,600 OPM nests were removed from over 1,000 oak trees in the Park, with four teams of specialists working flat out for 6 weeks and another team for two weeks at the peak time in July. One veteran oak had 220 nests. It’s possible that some nests remain and others may have fallen on the ground, so please read the item in the Park Diary below and be careful.

Russell Ritchin archive. Can you help?

Russell Ritchin, who died suddenly in November, was one of the great local photographers of Richmond Park; his photos have appeared in many Friends calendars, newsletters and heading these bulletins. We are looking for volunteers to help collate and organise his large collection of photos into a picture gallery that will be a resource for all; the effort will be directed by a Friends member who was a picture editor for Time Life magazine. If you are interested in helping, please email

Bumper Christmas at Visitor Centre.

The Visitor Centre had an incredibly busy Christmas period, with card payment facilities making a huge difference to the volume of sales. Thank you to all Friends of the park who have supported us so well with their custom, during this time and over the rest of 2017. We have now displayed information on how the recent profits taken at the Visitor Centre have been spent in the park. Thank you as always to all our volunteers who man the centre every day of the year (well except for Christmas Day!) and we would like to wish everyone a very happy 2018. (Mary, Liz & Diane)

Charity Film Awards update.

We hope as many of you as possible managed to vote for the Richmond Park Film, which was entered for the Charity Film Awards. The first phase of judging is now complete with the public vote selecting their short list of entries. The short list will be announced in due course. Here’s the timetable:

• Public voting open from 27 October 2017 to 15 December 2017
• Short lists announced in January 2018
• Final judging by panel in January 2018
• Finalists announced in February 2018
• Winners announced in March at the awards ceremony

Walks & Courses in 2018.

See the full year’s programme of walks and courses (up to June) on the Friends’ website

Share this Bulletin.

Please feel free to forward it to your friends and contacts. If they want to receive it on a regular basis they may wish to join the Friends too. We welcome new members, so please spread the word. For easy reference, here’s a link to the benefits of becoming a Friend of Richmond Park, and here’s a membership form to print off.



• 06 Jan Robin Hood Gate Car Park

• 03 Feb Roehampton Gate Car Park

• 03 Mar Kingston Gate Car Park

All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless detailed otherwise.
Informal birdwatching walks – Every Friday – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am


• 13 Jan A Life in the Park (John Bartrum) at 1.00pm

• 27 Jan History & Stories of Richmond Park (Ron Crompton)

• 17 Feb Bird Song 1: Medium/large birds in park (Peter Burrows-Smith)

• 17 Mar Bird Song 2: Small birds & Spring migrants (Peter Burrows-Smith)

Friends’ members only – no need to book – just turn up. Courses start 10.15am at Pembroke Lodge, unless otherwise stated. (New members welcome – your friends can join here)

Richmond Park Diary January 2018

Dartford Warbler.

This small warbler has a long thin tail and is resident of lowland heaths in the UK. The adult male has grey-brown upperparts with reddish-brown underparts whilst the female and immature are duller. They do not breed in the Park but it is the most important site for wintering birds in the Greater London area, as at least 7 birds were seen in one day this winter. They can be spotted perching on or amongst the thick bracken, or heard singing their distinctive, scratchy warble.

These skulking and elusive birds only eat insects and other invertebrates, and nest close to the ground in dense heather or gorse, which makes them vulnerable to harsh, cold winters. The population crashed to a few pairs in the 1960s but is gradually recovering, despite the past few winters, and increasing both in numbers and range again. It is still an Amber List species, which means it is of high conservation priority needing action so always remember to ‘tread lightly’.

Rhododendron Control.

Approximately 2 hectares of Rhododendron ponticum was cleared and burnt across Spankers Hill Wood last month, and further work was also carried out in Sidmouth Wood to control this non-native invasive plant. With on-going maintenance and as part of the 5-year English Woodland Grant Scheme funded by the Forestry Commission, it is hoped that native plants and trees will now be able to establish and thrive in these areas.

Two Storm Wood.

In 1987 and 1990 two great storms resulted in the loss of over 1000 trees in Richmond Park. In the early 1990’s it was decided to plant a new wood, called Two Storm Wood, to counter this devastation. A site was chosen that already included a number of ancient oaks and features of archaeological interest. It was enclosed and hundreds of new trees of mixed species were planted amongst the existing landscape. Works are now planned in the wood over the next few years to improve the growing conditions and enhance the habitat, which will include removal or thinning of some existing trees.

If you have a sponsored or commemorative tree in Two Storm Wood, and know where it is located, please contact the park office as soon as possible via e-mail or call 0300 061 2200.

Oak Processionary moths and old nests.

All year round it’s possible that old nests of the insect pest Oak Processionary Moth may be found on the trunks and branches of oak trees or fall out of the trees and be found on the ground. These nests contain hairs that may pose a health threat to people and animals so do not touch the nests. Keep children and pets away and if you or your animal has a reaction, seek medical/veterinary attention. Photographs of old OPM nests can be found on the “Be Aware” sign on the notice boards located around the Park.

Blue moon.

The next Blue Moon in London is on 31st January so hopefully Richmond Park will be a great place to see it. A Blue Moon is an additional full moon that appears in a subdivision of a year and can be defined as either the third full moon in an astronomical season with four full moons or it’s the second full moon in the same calendar month.

Blue Moon’s happen every two or three years which is why the term ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ is often referred to as something of rarity or not often. However, it has nothing to do with the actual colour. In some areas, this particular Blue Moon is likely to look red because it will cause a total lunar eclipse, also known as a Blood Moon.

Horse and carriage rides.

In liaison with Operation Centaur, horse and carriage rides will continue to operate in Richmond Park from Tuesday 2nd January to Sunday 7th January 2018 at 12 noon and at 1.00pm. This is the last opportunity to have a unique experience to explore the Park with the majestic Shire horses and see the beauty and wildlife up close. For more information and to make a booking, click here.

Isabella Plantation in January

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 Var. 'Flaviramea', grows nearby under the weeping willow, and in the Bog Garden.

Red-stemmed dogwood, Cornus alba ‘Siberica’, is set back behind the heathers, 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.

The “Sacred Bamboo’, Nandina domestica, 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. Another hybrid variety, called ‘Jelena’, has ginger coloured flowers and grows in the woodland ride to the west of the garden.

Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ grows close to the Top gate and also set back in the glade behind Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’. It produces semi-double, white flowers intermittently throughout the winter months.

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', also beside the Acer Glade path, has small rose-purple flowers.

Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 

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

Walks will take place on Sundays and Fridays

January 5, 14 & 26

Walks last about 1.5 hours and are free of charge.
Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11.00a.m.