Photo: January in Richmond Park by Amanda Boardman (From the Friends’ 2020 Calendar)

A  Happy  New  Year…of  the  Tree  2020

We’re delighted that the ‘Year of the Tree’ for Richmond Park has started and already much is under way.  We’ll shortly be announcing a series of talks, walks and other events about the Park’s wonderful trees.

Christopher Hedley (writer and creative force behind our new series of Walks with Remarkable Trees) starts his ‘Year of the Tree’ walks on 28 March and the beautifully designed special Tree Walk packs are proving hugely popular having sold over 200.  Many of those who have bought them say how great they are to use and how they bring to life the Park’s trees with great descriptions and interesting facts and stories.

We’ve now sold (nearly) 90 of the 100 Royal Oak limited edition prints so it’s your last chance to buy one of these wonderful artist-signed giclee prints of Mark Frith’s stunning original of Richmond Park’s most celebrated veteran oaks.

Small versions of Mark Frith’s Royal Oak are also selling well at the Visitor Information Centre.  The 35cm x 28cm fine art gicleé prints on 270 gram radiant white art paper cost £30 each. Unlike the limited edition prints they are not individually signed and numbered.

These initiatives are raising tens of thousands of pounds for the Friends’ Year of the Tree conservation fund, helping to protect the Park’s veteran trees and plant a range of new trees.

We’re also pleased that the first in our programme of talks about trees will be on Saturday 21 March at 10.15 at Pembroke Lodge when Simon Richards and Gillian Jonusas, the Park’s manager and arboriculturalist respectively, will give an overview of the trees in Richmond Park, their history, the biodiversity they support, how they are managed and the threats to them. It should be an excellent start to the Year of the Tree talks, so come along!

Little Owl greets the New Year!
We thought you’d enjoy this photo, by Paula Redmond, of a Little Owl singing on New Year’s Day morning.

Photo Competition
In the last bulletin we announced a series of new photo competitions to celebrate ‘Year of the Tree 2020’, starting with ‘Winter’. This first of 4 seasonal competitions is current until 29 February. We have had little or no frost so far to give you those stunning winter shots but, don’t be deterred, there’s still time to send in your photos, with or without frost! Entrance is free and you can see full details and prizes here 

Richmond Park Calendar – buy yours now before they’re gone!
 50 amazing wildlife photos

 Proceeds help fund projects in the Park

 Only £8 at the Visitor Information Centre or online £9 including p&p.

Sorry I Haven’t a Clue
The 16 December edition of this very entertaining Radio 4 quiz was recorded at the Richmond Theatre. Listen to it here and be sure to listen from the start when they talk about Richmond. (You’ll need to sign-in to BBC iPlayer). Available until 15 January.

Richmond Park Management Plan 2019-2029
This recently published, hearty volume of facts and figures about the Park is a very informative reference to a wealth information, including many little known facts. At the back there is a register of current and future projects for improving and conserving the Park. Definitely worth a look. Go to our web page and scroll down to see the item under the ‘Managing the Park’ section.

Trees of Britain and Europe by David More and John White
This comprehensive book on the trees of Britain and Europe is now in stock at the Visitor Centre, but only a few copies are available. Here’s what the publishers say:
“Trees are of enduring interest to naturalists and gardeners alike, and this extraordinary book is one of the most magnificent volumes ever published on the subject. Every European species is covered within its 800+ pages as well as many introduced species from all over the world. In addition to an authoritative text, every species is illustrated with stunning artwork that depicts leaves, flowers, fruits and bark as well as images of the whole tree, both in leaf and bare in the case of deciduous trees. This fabulous volume … remains the most comprehensive work on European trees.” 

Hearsum Collection – Show and Tell Saturday 18 January
One of the Friends regular monthly talks, this promises to be a fascinating talk on the Hearsum Collection of material about Richmond Park’s rich history collected by Daniel Hearsum since he started running Pembroke Lodge in the late 1990s. Sue Barber who manages the Collection will bring along many of the most interesting items in it. It’s at 10.15 at Pembroke Lodge, coffee and tea provided as usual. 

Jamie is top apprentice
Jamie Gould has won best overall apprentice at The Royal Parks Guild Apprenticeship awards. He has always displayed a keen interest in the environment, and has given biodiversity a helping hand in Richmond Park by removing invasive plants, maintaining reed beds, planting native mixed hedgerows and creating a wildlife pond in Isabella Plantation. His four year apprenticeship has now come to an end, but the Royal Parks couldn’t bear to let him go, so he is now a permanent member of the Richmond Park landscape team. Congratulations Jamie!

Events  Calendar

Next 3 months


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

  • 01 Feb  Roehampton Gate Car Park
  • 07 Mar  Kingston Gate Car Park

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. The talks are usually 45-60 minutes, followed by an optional 90 minute walk, unless otherwise indicated.

  • 18 Jan  The Hearsum Collection – ‘show and tell’ by Sue Barber (talk only)
  • 15 Feb  Birds of Richmond Park by Peter Burrows-Smith (talk and walk)
  • 21 Mar  Trees of Richmond Park by Simon Richards and Gillian Jonusas
  • 28 Mar  YOTT tree walk, led by Christopher Hedley (from Pembroke Lodge)

Richmond Park Diary – December 2019


Visitor numbers doubled in 20 years!
On mid-week days when the weather is poor, it feels as though the park remains quiet and undiscovered, whilst at weekends in fine weather it feels as though the visitor numbers have grown by an alarming number.  Most people that have been visiting the park regularly for many years have observed that the park has become increasingly popular, and we speculate on just how much the parks visitor numbers have risen.

Three surveys and reports between 1994 and 1999 report visitor numbers to be 2.6 million, at least 2.5million and between 3 and 4 million.  The 2014 survey calculates visitor numbers to be 5,462,321.  Therefore, it would be reasonable to conclude that the park visitor numbers have doubled over 20 years. (These surveys excluded vehicular traffic passing through). So it has never been more important to ‘Tread Lightly’ in Richmond Park.  

The Vehicle Gates
The gates close from dusk until dawn to prevent deer being involved in traffic accidents or escaping overnight.  The times change with daylight hours and allow time to complete locking before it is dark – which takes 40 minutes. Motorists can avoid being locked in by observing the closing time displayed at the gates when entering the Park and travel (at the speed limit) to exit before official closing time.  If entering the Park with insufficient time, motorist can find their exit gate closed!  Under such circumstances the locking team direct stranded motorists to Richmond Gate and stay in the Park to assist.  Gate opening times for 2020 can be downloaded here.

Park Road Closures
In 2020 the park roads will be closed all day to cycles and cars for 3 major events.  Cyclist can still ride on the Tamsin Trail and paths adjacent to roads (at 10mph giving way to pedestrians). Dates are as follows

  • Sunday 31st May – Running event
  • Sunday 16th August – Ride London
  • Sunday 6th September – London Duathlon

Two Storm Wood
The wood will be temporarily closed on weekdays from January 6th for approximately 4 weeks, but still be open at weekends. Work to enhance habitat and improve growing conditions in the wood is taking place over several years and this second phase will include thinning of the woodland and removal of some existing trees. Donors of commemorative trees in the wood who know where their tree is planted should contact the park office as soon as possible (if they have not already done so) by emailing or calling 0300 061 2200.  Anyone wishing to visit a commemorative tree on a weekday during this period, please contact the park office. 

Fog, Mist and Fogbows
The winter can create stunning scenes in the Park, with frosts, the chance of snow and low horizontal lighting from the sun on clear days.  Fog and mist are both weather conditions where droplets of water are suspended in the air.  Fog is caused by clouds being at ground level and tend to be dense, cover larger areas and last longer.  Mist is caused by temperature inversions – when night time air temperatures drop below the temperature of water bodies.  This make the Beverley Brook and Pen Ponds good places for dawn mists that can be stunning but are likely to disappear as the daytime temperatures rise.  A phenomenon, like a rainbow but rarely captured by photographers is the ‘fogbow’.  This is when light reflects off mist or fog and creates an arc, circles or concentric arcs and circles of white light.

January  in  the  Isabella  Plantation

See fully illustrated version

Heather Garden

Erica x darleyensiscomes 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  Garden  Walks  2020

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. Walks will take place on:


                  Sunday 19

                  Friday 31


                   Friday 7 & 28

                   Sunday 16

 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.