Photo: In Isabella Plantation 6/11/19 by Anne Ross
Friends’ launch ‘Year of the Tree’ with iconic Royal Oak artwork
At an event in Pembroke Lodge on 6th November, Friends of Richmond Park Patron, Baroness Susan Kramer, launched Year of the Tree (YOTT), the Friends’ year-long conservation campaign during 2020 to help protect and enhance the Park’s 130,000+ trees, and raise visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the trees and their importance in the Park’s ecology.
Baroness Kramer also unveiled a wonderful picture of the iconic, ancient Royal Oak tree in Richmond Park, a stunning new artwork by acclaimed artist Mark Frith, commissioned by the Friends.
Royal Oak Limited Edition Prints – Available now to order online
The Royal Oak has been adopted as the emblem for the Friends’ Year of the Tree conservation campaign. To celebrate and raise funds for the campaign, 100 limited edition prints of Mark Frith’s Royal Oak original have been produced. Priced at £385 each (inc. delivery), the prints are 90 x 72 cm, individually giclee printed on 310 gm etching paper, signed, titled and numbered by the artist. A print is on display at Pembroke Lodge tea rooms.
Richmond Park Walks with Remarkable Trees
Just arrived! The Friends’ first set of four new self-guided walks: ‘Richmond Park Walks with Remarkable Trees’. Through these, you will be able to 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 high class photos. The set of 4 walks is on sale for just £5 at the Visitor Information Centre by Pembroke Lodge car park. Read more.
Richmond Park 2020 Calendar – Buy online
More than just a calendar! Includes 50 beautiful photos, showing the wonderful diversity of wildlife throughout the year in this National Nature Reserve. Online price £9 (including p&p) or £8 at the Visitor Information Centre by Pembroke Lodge car park. Wonderful Christmas presents! Last year they sold out, so don’t be disappointed – get your copies now.  All sales raise funds for projects in the Park.  Size open 42 x 29.7 cm. Has a hole for easy hanging on a wall.
Adopt an Area Annual Get Together
The Friends’ Adopt an Area volunteer litter pickers had their annual get together on Sunday 27 October at Pembroke Lodge. It’s always a great opportunity to renew acquaintances and share experiences. Guest speakers were Richmond Park Manager, Simon Richards, and Friends’ Chairman, Ron Crompton. Both congratulated the volunteers on their fantastic achievement and ongoing commitment which, along with the full time litter contractors, has seen the Park reach extremely high standards in litter control, re-establishing a pristine environment for all of us to enjoy.
Ron also wanted to thank Steve Sandham, under whose management the team has grown to over 100 volunteers since it was set up in the Summer of 2017. This includes a growing number of young people who are volunteering as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Beverley Brook Autumn Clean up
The Friends’ Beverley Brook Volunteers Group were out again on 3rd November doing a full litter sweep of the entire length of the brook, as it passes through the Park. Conditions were very poor and it was mostly impossible to see the stream bed and have a clear picture of what lay beneath the water. Despite this, the group waded through the dark water and collected a staggering array of litter, including dog poo bags, footballs, bottles, cans and a huge amount of plastic in all forms from polystyrene fragments to plastic bags and the ever present plastic bottles. Many other items of other ‘unnecessary’ litter were also part of the haul. Congratulations to all the team for a job well done, until the next time!
Notice of AGM
The next Annual General Meeting of The Friends of Richmond Park will be held at 10.30 am on Saturday 18 April 2020 at the King’s House School, 68 King’s Road, Richmond, TW10 6ES.
The meeting will:

  • receive the Annual Report and Accounts for the period ending 31 December 2019;
  • elect nominated officers and trustees;
  • appoint the Honorary Independent Examiner; and
  • conclude with questions to the trustees.

In addition, there will be a speaker (to be announced) and the Chairman’s Review of the Year.

The cull started on 4 November and will continue for 4-6 weeks. During this time, the pedestrian gates will be closed every day from 8pm until 7.30am. See below in Richmond Park Diary for more information.

Two Storm Wood (Call to sponsors)
Following the successful completion of the first phase of management works in Two Storm Wood in January 2019, The Royal Parks will be carrying out further work to enhance habitat and improve growing conditions in the wood in 2020.  This will include thinning of the woodland and removal of some existing trees.
If you have a sponsored or commemorative tree in the wood, know where it is planted, and have not already notified The Royal Parks of its location, please email Richmond Park by January 10th 2020 at or call the Park Office on 0300 061 2200. This will complete a two year appeal for donors of existing commemorative trees to come forward and the park management team would like to thank all those who have already done so.

See the Shire Horses at Work
On Sat 22nd and Sun 24th November Tom, head horseman with Centaur, will be working in Pen Ponds plantation with one of the shire horses hauling birch logs. He is teaching clients how to use horses in woodlands as their footfall is light and less damaging than using heavy machinery.
Do come and watch these powerful animals at work albeit from outside the fence. The area is half way between Pen Ponds car park and Ham Cross where a horse ride crosses the cycle/pedestrian road.  They will be at work from approximately 10.00am till early afternoon.

Discoverers families event – ‘Fungi and the Wood Wide Web’
Sunday 17th November 10.30am-12.30pm. A fun and interesting family activity. Book now See here for details.

Holly Lodge Centre Carol Concert
The Centre is holding its annual Carol Concert, an evening of musical sparkle and festive readings, on Wednesday 4th December at Christ Church in East Sheen, starting at 7pm. For more information and to buy tickets click here. The Centre recently won a Gold award from Richmond Borough in Bloom for its kitchen garden and nature trail. The kitchen garden is maintained by sixth-formers from Paddock special needs school who grow vegetables there; the nature trail hosts both mainstream and special needs school visits.

Visitor Centre
Credit card sales are now much speedier with our new internet connection. Customers and volunteers love it!
New lines in time for Christmas:

  • Bespoke ceramic Christmas tree decorations
  • Limited edition, hand made wooden apples and pears.
  • Acorn paperweights
  • Trinket boxes, made from seasoned oak from the Holly Lodge saw mill.
  • Beeswax food wraps made from beeswax from our bees in Richmond Park.
  • We also have some fun stocking fillers for children.

PLUS the ever popular vine woven deer

Pen Ponds Café News
After many years of great service at the Pen Ponds café, including serving up some of the best bacon butties you could find anywhere, we say goodbye to Peter, Lisa, Oscar and family. They’ve been at the heart of the community at this popular meeting place for bird watchers, walkers and nature lovers. It truly is the end of an era and they’ll be sadly missed, but family commitments back home have necessitated the move. We wish them all the best with their future plans. Read more and see photos.

Richmond Park Plan 2019-2029
The Royal Parks have published their 10 year Management Plan for Richmond Park. It has a wealth of useful information about how the park is managed, its resources, ecology, environment and project plans. See it here

Many people are unaware that foraging is not allowed in Richmond Park, because it deprives the wildlife of a vital source of food and destroys the habitat for many invertebrates, including rare and important species. Picking mushrooms, the fruit of underground fungi, can hinder its reproduction, limiting its ability to thrive. Fungi recycle vital nutrients from dead plants and make these available to living plants, a process that is especially important in the park where soil tends to be nutrient-poor.

It’s unfortunate that some regular foragers still continue to pick, despite knowing it is forbidden, some collecting large restaurant quantities. When caught, the matter is treated seriously and they may be prosecuted.

Events Calendar

Next 3 months

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

  • 07 Dec  Pen Ponds Car Park
  • 26 Dec  Pembroke Lodge Car Park
  • 04 Jan  Robin Hood 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.

  • 16 Nov  Fungi by Janet Bostock (talk and walk)
  • Dec       none
  • 18 Jan  The Hearsum Collection – a ‘show and tell’ by Daniel Hearsum (talk)


Richmond Park Diary – November 2019 


Thank you and Good Luck
The Richmond Park diary rarely contain articles about individuals who work in or support the park, but this month we will make an exception for 4 exceptional individuals.  Many park users will know Oscar, Peter, Lisa and Antonella, who have been running the coffee kiosk at Pen Ponds car park for 15 years – who are due to spend more time in Italy with their extended family.  Their friendly and reliable service has been exemplary during their time in the park and they have built up a community of loyal customers, who have developed friendships with each other over the year.

Their commitment to delivering the service has gone way beyond expectations.  The kiosk is in a remote location, with no mains services such as water or electricity – but despite this and no matter how bad the weather, you could absolutely depend on a coffee and smile. The Royal Parks would like to join the hundreds of loyal customers and friends in wishing Oscar, Lisa, Peter and Antonella good luck for the future.

Donation Boxes
These have now been installed in each of the main 7 car parks and we are pleased that the mobile phone reception and sun light levels under the trees is enough for the card payment and solar panels to all work well.  THANK YOU to everyone that has donated so far!  We are now reviewing the donations and will amend the donation amounts and update the information.

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 several 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 taking place in the wood over the next few years to improve the growing conditions and enhance the habitat and this will include thinning of the woodland and removal of some existing trees.

If you have a sponsored or commemorative tree in Two Storm Wood, know where it is located and you haven’t already notified The Royal Parks of its location, please contact the park office by 10th January 2020 by emailing or call 0300 061 2200.

With no predators and 200 births annually, the deer population would increase beyond the Parks carrying capacity without human intervention.  To prevent starvation and malnutrition, the deer are selectively culled during November and February.  This ensures a healthy herd of 650 with the correct balance of ages and sexes. The high point of the rut is now over, and the lean bellies and hindquarters of the exhausted stags bear witness to the recent deprivation of food. They regain condition by feasting on sweet chestnuts, horse chestnuts and beech mast, building up winter fat reserves.  Removing chestnuts deprives the deer of essential food.

Tread Lightly in Richmond Park

November in the 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

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.

Taxodium distichum
Swamp Cypress