Park News June 2018

Dogs attack Springwatch swans.

On Bank Holiday Monday, two dogs attacked the family of swans that live on Pen Ponds. The cob (the male) had deep bites to its body; the pen (the female) was less badly bitten. Both of them plus their cygnets were taken to the Swan Sanctuary in Shepperton, where they were given antibiotics (dog bites are very toxic and take a long time to heal). The swans are a fixture of the Ponds. They are at least 15 years old and have successfully bred for many years. There were witnesses to the attack and photographs and a video and it appears that the dogs' owners did nothing to call them out of the water or put them on a lead when they did come out. The swans were featured in the latest edition of Springwatch, screened on 4 June (which was filmed before the attack).

The swans' treatment could eventually cost in excess of £1000. The Swan Sanctuary is a charity and if you would like to contribute to their work please go to The Royal Parks and the Friends will also be making a contribution.
See our Facebook post

Richmond Park Film wins National Charity Award.

Our wildlife conservation and protection film, Richmond Park – National Nature Reserve, presented by Sir David Attenborough, has won the best 'Longform' film in the 2018 national Charity Film Awards. The film was up against 85 other entries within the most competitive category at the Awards and managed to win despite entries from many large, national charities. Last year, the film won the top Gold award in its category at the prestigious EVCom Clarion Awards (film communication awards for corporate social responsibility and sustainability, including the environment). A big THANK YOU to everyone who voted.

The film has now been presented and shown to 20 schools in boroughs around the Park as well as to several societies reaching over 4,000 people. Through YouTube and Facebook, the film (in both 21 and 4 minute versions) has been viewed over 140,000 times and another 300,000 (approximately) through London Live TV.
Read more

Dog walker knocked down by deer.

A woman walking her dog has been charged and knocked over by a female deer in Richmond Park. It's currently birthing season and it's believed the wild doe had a new-born fawn. Adam Curtis, Park Manger for Richmond Park, said: “Unfortunately, a woman walking her dog at the weekend was knocked over by a female deer defending her new born baby. Importantly, she wasn’t injured, but it’s a frightening incident and a warning that dog walkers should steer clear of deer.” To report an injury to a human, dog or a deer, please contact
Holly Lodge: 0300 061 2200 or email
Read more

Elm Walk.

The 47 elm trees in the new Elm Walk are looking much more substantial now in full leaf. If you haven’t seen them yet, do go along and enjoy this new feature of the Park. During both April and May, the Friends, along with Richmond Park Management, held many individual planting ceremonies for the elm sponsors and their families. 

Butterflies course.

Discoverers’ families interested in learning about the Park’s butterflies please note the Friends’ course led by Nigel Jackman who will give a talk followed by a guided walk. Meet at Pembroke Lodge at 10.15am, 30 June. See for information about Discoverers activities.

Isabella proposal.

A couple from Australia got engaged in Isabella Plantation on ‘Royal Wedding Day’. Among the first to hear the news were Carole Turtle and Michael Davison, in the Visitor Centre at Pembroke Lodge. The happy couple, Sam and Emily, called in to buy the largest available picture of Isabella, with the azaleas in bloom, as a memento of the occasion, and to sign our Visitors’ Book. We wish them all the very best!

Events Calendar

Next 3 months

All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless stated otherwise.
• 07 Jul Robin Hood Gate Car Park
• 04 Aug Kingston Gate Car Park
• 01 Sep Roehampton Gate car Park

Informal birdwatching walks – Every Friday – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am

TALKS & COURSES – 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.
Courses consist of a 30 minutes talk indoors followed by a 2 hour walk. Talks are usually longer than 30 minutes and are not followed by a walk
• 30 Jun Butterflies (Course by Nigel Jackman)

Talks & Courses resume in the Autumn.

Richmond Park Diary June 2018

European eels.

(Anguilla anguilla): European eels are long, thin fish that are around 60-100cm in length. They live on a diet of fish and invertebrates and can rotate their bodies at 14 rotations per second (the world record by a human figure skater is just over 5 rotations per second!). They once thrived in London’s rivers but since the 1980’s; the numbers have dramatically declined by over 65% in the UK and 95% worldwide. The eels have a fascinating life cycle that involves one of the natural world’s most amazing migrations. They start life as eggs, almost 4,000 miles from the UK in the Sargasso Sea, and then hatch into larvae which drift along on ocean currents for about 300 days towards our shores. The larvae then transform into glass eels and head to estuaries and rivers, in search of fresh water. When they find fresh water, the glass eels change yet again into miniature adult eels called elvers. Elvers can take up to 20 years to become mature adults but then return to the ocean and make the epic journey back to the Sargasso Sea to breed.

European eels are a critically endangered species and face a number of major threats such as overfishing, barriers to migration, changes in climate and ocean currents as well as disease. Whilst you can’t see them below the surface of the water, we are delighted that the recent fish survey carried out on Pen Ponds highlighted a range of year classes appeared to be present, which means both the Ponds and the Beverley Brook provide an important home for eels.

Oak Processionary Moth.

June is the time of year when the caterpillars of this non-native invasive Moth are on the move and may be seen “processing” around the trunk or branches of oak trees. They can sometimes appear very close to the ground. The hairs of the caterpillars carry a toxin, which can be harmful to human and animal health, causing skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory problems. In April and May, targeted pesticide spraying took place on oaks in busy areas of the Park and areas that have previously been heavily infested. This is followed by careful surveying of the Park in June and July to locate nests, which are then removed by specialist operatives using protective clothing and equipment. If you come across the caterpillars or their webbed nests, please do not touch them and keep children and pets away. Please call the Park office on: 0300 061 2250 to report any sightings.


The deer are now giving birth to their young until July. The young are often hidden by their mothers amongst the tall bracken and longer grass and are vulnerable to disturbance from humans and dogs so please respect the deer and the signs that have been put up and keep out of the nursery areas. Always keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and be aware of your surroundings so that you do not come between a mother and her calf, and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range. Deer can feel threatened by dogs, even over long distances, so please use alternative places if possible. If you choose to walk in the Park, please keep your dog on a lead or under close control and stay clear of the remote quiet places where the deer are more likely to have their young.

Horse & carriage rides.

Mid-summer in Richmond Park is a glorious time of year and what better way to experience it than on a traditional carriage drawn by majestic Shire horses. In liaison with Operation Centaur, horse and carriage rides will be operating from Friday 1st June to Sunday 1st July on various evenings and weekends. Proceeds from the horse drawn rides will help fund important conservation work and sustainable initiatives using the working Shire horses across The Royal Parks. Make a booking

Park road closures.

There will be re-surfacing of Robin Hood roundabout under a complete Road closure from Tuesday 12th to Thursday 14th June 2018. The road will be closed between Roehampton Gate and Broomfield Hill to allow the road resurfacing and tree safety works to be undertaken. This section of the road will also be closed to cyclists so please use alternative routes, divert to the Tamsin Trail or dismount and walk around. Broomfield Hill Car Park will remain open.

“Please take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time”

Isabella Plantation in June

Click here to see what to look out for in the Isabella Plantation in June.

Isabella Plantation Garden Walks

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

Walks will take place on:

Sunday 10th
Friday 29th

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.