Photo by Cycling Info
Two new tree videos feature Clare Balding and Frederic Chopin!
We have two new videos about Richmond Park’s trees for you to enjoy! We featured both in our recent Zoom webinar.
In the first video, we’re delighted that our new Patron, Clare Balding, has been using her interviewing skills to get the inside story on how the 130,000 Remarkable Trees of Richmond Park are managed and cared for. Clare interviews Simon Richards and Gillian Jonusas in this 15min. film which also includes short wildlife and Park videos as well as lots of pictures and fascinating information.
Secondly, as part of the Friends’ Year of the Tree campaign, we’ve paid for protective fencing around dozens of the Park’s wonderful veteran trees. In this fun short video, you can find out why the fences are necessary and see how these lovely chestnut fences are erected….in less than 2 minutes and set to Frederic Chopin’s music.
Richmond Park Walks with Remarkable Trees
You can now buy the first and second sets of our very popular self-guided tree walks, for delivery by post, for £5 each set + p&p. ORDER HERE.
Discover the diversity and majestic beauty of some of the Park’s most interesting trees and also have a good walk in areas you may not otherwise get to see. All the walks are circular routes starting from a car park and between 2 and 5km long. Each walk is in its own easy-to-use 12-page booklet with many helpful photos. We have received lots of excellent feedback: ‘Brilliant, well written, superbly laid out, good levels of information’.
Coming soon – Bag it, Bin it, Take it Home! – a poster competition for young artists to highlight the mounting problem of litter left behind by some visitors to our beautiful park. Details will be posted soon on our web pages.
Light pollution is bad for our wellbeing, and significantly affects the behaviour of wild life. It also hides our view of the stars. If we get any clear skies between 6-13 February you can take part, from home, in Star Count 2021, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) annual survey mapping the nation’s view of the night sky. Details here
Deer cull and closing times
The pedestrian gates are now closed for approximately 6 weeks starting 1 February, from 8pm to 7.30am daily, for the deer cull.
Cycling Code of Conduct
Richmond Park Cyclists, the umbrella body that represents road cyclists in the Park, have published their latest ‘Cycling Code of Conduct’ and they urge all cyclists using the roads within the Park to comply with it. While it is clearly a document produced by cyclists for cyclists, the Friends, The Royal Parks and the Parks Police have all helped with it and we welcome it. Please note that it does not cover cycling on the Tamsin Trail or off-track cycling.
Richmond Park Police Panel: Oct-Dec 2020
In mid-January the Safer Parks Panel (SPP), comprising Park stakeholder groups, held its quarterly meeting on Zoom to discuss Oct-Dec police activity, including crimes and road accidents.
Among over 2,500 breaches of Royal Parks Regulations logged were:
- 1,158 verbal warnings to people harassing deer (including 867 during the rut in November alone);
- 35 Park Regulation Notices (i.e. recording name & address) re dogs on lead / failure to control e.g. waterfowl at Pen Ponds;
- 9 Park Regulation notices specifically about dogs chasing / harassing deer;
- 113 verbal warningsto cyclists for speeding; and
- 461 parking tickets (e.g. parking on Dark Hill outside Kingston gate car park)
Crimes: The most important crime was the dangerous dog incident on 1st October that resulted in a red deer having to be put down. The dog owner was fined £602.
We understand that it is the clear policy of the Parks Police to take to Court any person ‘… causing/permitting an animal they were in charge of …’ to cause significant harm to wildlife or a person in Richmond or Bushy Parks. This will include, for example, any harm to people should they be struck by deer spooked by a dog.
Road traffic incidents: During Oct-Dec the Parks Police recorded 19 road traffic collisions.
- 10 of these were single cyclist, or cycle-cycle;
- 6 more were cycle-cars, mostly with the cars stationary or manoeuvring (incl. a stationary police car with lights flashing).
The Royal Parks is currently recruiting for two new Trustees (closing 8th Feb), as well as roles in the Mission: Invertebrate team and the Greenwich Park Revealed project team.
The new Wellbeing in Nature episode produced by TRP is now live. In this episode, interpretation manager Lucy Kellett looks at the importance of nature for our wellbeing, a fitting episode for the current times. Listen to the podcast here
Tree Photo Competition – Spring
Get ready for our final Year of the Tree Photo Competition, which starts on 1 March. Send us your 2 best photos of Richmond Park trees taken in the Spring.
Half term activities
Following a successful virtual Halloween, the Royal Parks Learning team are running a number of great activities across half term week. These are all free and there’s a lot to choose from, it promises to be a hectic but very engaging week.
Our 2021 AGM for Friends members will be 11am Saturday 24 April 2021 by Zoom. Further details will be provided to members nearer the time.
Quarterly Newsletter – online option
Members currently receive the Spring, Summer and Autumn Newsletters as a printed booklet. Members who would like instead to receive them as a pdf document that can be downloaded, please email Chris Mason at [email protected] with the Subject heading “Newsletter as pdf”.
See past issues of newsletters as pdfs here on our website
Most of our guided walks in 2020 had to be cancelled due to Covid. It’s looking the same for 2021. The January and February walks were cancelled, and we now have to cancel the March walk. Since government restrictions are under constant review and subject to change, we will update the guided walks webpage ahead of each walk. Please check in advance before attending.
Richmond Park Diary ©TRP
The term “powered transporters” covers a variety of novel personal transport devices which are propelled by a motor as well as, or instead of, being manually propelled. It includes e-scooters, Segway’s, hoverboards, go-peds, powered unicycles, and u-wheels. The use of powered transporters on public roads and pavements is illegal in the UK. The Parks and other open spaces managed by The Royal Parks are principally places for quiet recreation and where pedestrians have priority. For that reason, we have concerns about any proposals to legalise the use of powered transporters. We believe that their speed and stealth present an unacceptable risk to pedestrians, particularly those with mobility challenges, or with a visual or hearing impairment. Allowing them to operate in the parks could therefore discourage those who wish to walk to and through the parks and undermine the peace and ambience of the green spaces.
The Royal Parks does not, and has no plans to, permit the use of powered transporters on the land it manages.
Wet ground conditions
The park received very heavy footfall in 2020 due to coronavirus lock-downs and many places became bare ground with worn out grass. This winter we are struggling with frosts, snow and heavy rain causing wet ground conditions on the worn-out grass. Visitor numbers remain extremely high in the current third lock down and instead of recovering, the ground is becoming far muddier than ever seen before! It can be difficult to walk on unsurfaced paths and very slippery underfoot.
Please take care and consider your safety. Surface routes are very busy at present so please where appropriate footwear such as wellies or boots! Please also consider other park users during these anxious times – giving way to others when manoeuvring puddles will help to ensure social distancing.
Works are currently underway to refurbish Petersham toilets. Once complete the contractors will also refurbish Richmond, Kingston and Robin Hood toilets in order. Each location will need to be closed in turn for the duration of works and signs with the ‘planned’ dates are displayed on site, but subject to change. The 20p charge will still apply to the toilets that are NOT next to cafes or playgrounds, these being Richmond, Sheen, Kingston and Robin Hood gates. The pay to use equipment has also been changed to work by debit card and not coins. All disabled loos are free to use and are accessible with a RADAR key.
Mixed flocks of Tits
There are four species of Tit commonly seen in the Park. Those being Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit and the Long-Tailed Tit. At this time of year, they can often be seen in mixed flocks moving from tree to tree to feed and working together to look out for predators. If you feed birds in your garden, you may find that your feeders are either inundated with the whole flock – or strangely quiet!
February in the Isabella Plantation
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.
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.