Photo: Great White Egret, by Nigel Jackman
17 Nov Fungi talk and walk, Pembroke Lodge
01 Dec Walk from Pen Ponds Car Park
05 Dec Holly Lodge Centre Christmas Concert at Christ Church
Great White Egrets return
Since reporting the rare sighting of a Great White Egret in the Park on 31st August and speculating that we might well wait a long time to see one again, there has been another unexpected visit. On 20th October photographer Paula Redmond saw three of these tall, white, yellow-billed birds on Upper Pen Pond, only for two of them to be scared off by an unauthorised drone. At the time of writing (2nd November) the remaining egret has been ever-present on Upper Pen Pond, harassed occasionally by the resident Grey Herons, but finding enough food to settle in and stay, hopefully for some time to come.
Girl injured by deer
A seven year old girl was taken to hospital after being gored in the thigh by a deer in Bushy Park. The child and her family were too close to the deer. Read the story. Many people contacted The Royal Parks about this incident, and here is TRP’s response.
Fungi Talk & Walk Saturday 17th Nov
A talk by Janet Bostock starts at 10.15am at Pembroke Lodge and will be followed by a walk. Janet will be assisted on the walk by Eleanor Lawrence and Elizabeth Cheesman, fellow members of the West Weald Fungi Recording Group.
AaA launched in Wimbledon & Putney Commons
Taking the initiative from the Friends’ successful AaA litter scheme in Richmond Park, 'Adopt an Area' has just been launched in Wimbledon & Putney Commons. We wish them great success! Read more.
It’s that time of year again when the Park is abundant with mushrooms and the last traces of chestnuts. These are a magnet for foragers who ignore the signs warning them not to pick. Many people ask why. Here’s why.
Adopt an Area and Beverley Brook Teams
The Adopt an Area litter pickers continue to do a great job keeping the Park free of litter, despite visitors’ attempts to pollute the landscape! There is now a new initiative underway to concentrate on the roadsides, collecting litter dropped from vehicles, as well as general areas of the Park. The recently formed Beverley Brook team carried out a further dredge in a new section and collected all manner of waste including: dozens of golf balls, plastic bags, bottle tops, a mobile phone, dog toys, wheel hubs, shoes, chicken wire and lengths of rope – indeed almost anything you can think of. Along the bank at least 10 poo bags were also picked up. We would like to thank all the volunteers for their very considerable efforts.
As of 1st November Simon Richards has returned to his post of Park Manager after eighteen months as acting Director of Parks, overseeing all the Royal Parks (it was meant to be for only four months!). During his time away Deputy Park Manager, Adam Curtis, stood in for Simon as Park Manager. Welcome back Simon and thanks Adam for holding the fort.
Christmas Gifts and stocking fillers
There are so many great gift ideas at the Visitor/Information Centre – why not drop in on your next visit to the Park? The well-stocked shelves offer lots of choice for nature lovers and all those who enjoy the Park – not forgetting Park-themed cards and postcards, a range of souvenirs and gifts, including the amazing Richmond Park Film DVD and the superb Friends' 2019 Calendar featuring beautiful photographs of park scenes and wildlife, taken by local photographers.
All profits go to support the Park. The Centre is open every day 11.00am till 3.00pm.
Holly Lodge Centre Christmas Concert
If you find the hectic commercialisation of the Christmas season rather discordant, the Holly Lodge Centre hopes to restore a note of harmony with its Christmas Concert at Christ Church in Sheen on Wednesday 5th December 2018 at 7.30 pm. For further information and to book tickets – click here
Drones are banned everywhere in the Park except on the Flying Field where they should be kept in sight of the operator. However, we regularly hear of incidents where this rule is flouted. A few months ago a drone crashed into a window at White Lodge when being flown from the Flying Field. In October, a drone scared away two of the three great egrets that were visiting the Park for the first time and a drone operator was caught by the police flying his device over Lawn Field. If you see a drone in the Park please report it immediately to the police or the Park office 0300 061 2200 during working hours. Quick reporting can catch the perpetrators red-handed.
The autumn deer cull begins on Monday 5 November and will last for the usual 4-6 weeks. The Park will close to pedestrians from 8.00pm.
Work on Gorse Enclosures
You may have been in the area between Conduit Wood and Holly Lodge and seen some work underway, which is intended to improve the gorse enclosures there. The enclosures were created ten years ago to create a bird habitat, but they have become overgrown and the original chestnut pale fencing is falling apart. The works comprise some coppicing and gorse management, done by the FRP conservation volunteers, and installing replacement metal fencing similar to that at Ham Pond. The Friends and the Visitor Centre are part-funding the project alongside TRP.
Mansion to be built despite protests
Plans (recently approved by Wandsworth Council) to tear down a handsome 1930s mansion and 21 healthy trees, by Roehampton Gate, to be replaced by a "concrete slab" of a building dubbed "grotesque, unnecessary and un-neighbourly" have caused outrage among neighbours and groups like the Putney Society and The Friends of Richmond Park. Read more.
Next 3 months
All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless stated otherwise.
01 Dec Pen Ponds Car Park
26 Dec Pembroke Lodge Car Park
05 Jan Robin Hood Gate Car Park
Informal bird watching walks – Every Friday – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am.
Talks & Walks – Friends’ members only. (New members – join here)
Talks start at Pembroke Lodge at 10.15am, unless otherwise stated. No need to book – just turn up. Coffee/tea provided.
Talks last approx. 45-60 minutes and may be followed by an optional walk of around 90 mins, where indicated.
17 Nov Fungi (talk & walk Janet Bostock)
12 Jan Stories of Richmond Park (talk by Ron Crompton).
Richmond Park Diary November 2018
Badger sett and road closure
The Royal Parks are working with consultant ecologists to monitor the use of a badger sett that has created cavities under the park road near Robin Hood Gate. If the sett is confirmed as being inactive, we intend to repair the road and take measures to prevent future damage. This work will need to be undertaken at the end of November / beginning of December under license from Natural England. However, the sett activity could be such that the work is delayed until next summer. The works will require the route through the park between Kingston Gate and Roehampton Gate to be temporarily diverted around the Park, but all gates and car parks will remain open.
Gorse is an evergreen shrub that can be found in the north west of the park. It likes dry sandy soils and is dense and prickly. It burns easily and hot, flaring up quickly but dying down equally as fast – a characteristic that has led it to be used in literature to describe people, and entire nations with a similar personality and cultures! Its alternative names are ‘furze’ and ‘whin’ often used in place names. It has yellow flowers that blossom to greater or lesser extent all year-round lead to an old country saying kissing's out of fashion when the gorse is out of blossom. At its peak in May the blossoms are heavy and fill the air with a coconut like fragrance.
Gorse provides a welcome retreat for nesting birds, using the dense cover to protect their nests whilst feeding in the surrounding grassland. The Whinchat is one such bird, and the close association has led to its name! It is also the food source for the caterpillars of the beautiful Green Hairstreak butterfly which is rarely seen in Richmond Park. The deer will browse and fray the gorse and if not killed by the deer, the gorse stems become exposed and over-stood. Several years ago, the Gorse clumps were protected from the deer and they are now very dense and tall. The fences are now being replaced with permanent metal ‘flat bar fencing’ so that a management programme of cutting back to create a better structure and variation of age can be undertaken.
The Royal Parks are grateful to all park users for being patient and considerate whilst the road repairs were undertaken over the last 5 weeks. We do understand that they caused almost daily diversions and delays which were frustrating. The highest priority work has now been completed, assessed on condition and volumes of use. We will consider doing additional works at Richmond Gate and between Robin Hood Gate and Pen Ponds car park next year.
Please don’t stop on the park roads!
The ‘no waiting’ highways sign (blue circle with a red line) at the park gates inform motorists that the park roads are classified as a ‘clearway’ and it is an offence to stop or park at the side of the road. In addition, the park has around 10,000 road posts to discourage motorists from pulling off the road to wait or park. In recent years the park has become considerately more popular and at peak times the car parks are over capacity. The parks 1500 free parking spaces can’t accommodate these peak demands and frustrated motorists become inclined to abuse the roadside and off-road parking. This winter the royal parks are increasing the repairs and replacements of roadside posts and signage to better manage peak time issues next summer.
Tread Lightly in Richmond Park – Take nothing and leave nothing behind.
November in Isabella Plantation
Autumn colour and fruits
Acers throughout the gardens assume a variety of autumn tints.
Nyssa sylvatica, the "Tupelo tree", growing on the bank of Thomson's Pond turns to shades of rich scarlet, orange and red in the autumn.
Liquidamber styraciflua stands set back from Thomson's Lawn; this tree was selected for its reliable autumn colour. At this time of year leaves take on shades of rich black, crimson and red.
Taxodium distichum, the "Swamp Cypress" grows by the side of Peg's Pond and also on the bank of Thomson's Pond. This deciduous conifer colours bronze in the autumn. When grown by water, larger specimens produce 'knee-like' growths called pneumatophores. These growths come from the roots and project above ground to enable the uptake of vital gasses in waterlogged, anaerobic soils.
Metasequoia glyptostroboides, the "Dawn Redwood" is another deciduous conifer and can be seen growing on Thomson's Lawn. Its leaves colour russet before dropping.
Callicarpa bodinieri 'Profusion' grows along the Small Stream from the Still Pond. This shrub bears striking purple berries on bare stems.
Euonymus myrianthus can be found growing in Wilson's Glade, this evergreen shrub bears stunning orange-yellow fruits that split to reveal orange-scarlet seeds.
Arbutus unedo, the "Strawberry Tree" can be found growing above Thomson's Pond as well as other locations around the gardens. Red strawberry-like fruits are produced at the same time as white small bell-shaped flowers.
The Heather Garden
Forms of Erica x darleyensis and Erica carnea flower throughout the winter. Also look out for Ericalusitanica, the "Portugese Heath" a type of tree heath whose stems are crowded with white tubular fragrant flowers that are pink in bud.
Nandina domestica, the "Sacred Bamboo" is planted at the top end of this garden. This evergreen shrub has purplish-red tint to the young leaves and a bears a profusion of red spherical berries at this time of year.
The Bog Garden
The leaves on two stands of Gunnera manicata, the "Giant Rhubarb", have been cut down and placed over a layer of cut bracken covering the plants crown to protect the plant from the elements during the cold winter months.
Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2018
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year.
Walks will take place on:
November: Sunday 11th and Friday 30th
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.