Photo: Small Copper butterfly by Nigel Jackman


Diary Dates

  • 13 Oct. Deer talk and walk with Peter Burrows-Smith. 10.15am at Pembroke Lodge

  • 19 Oct. Holly Lodge Centre Quiz Night. Details & Booking.

  • 04 Nov. Discoverers family event at Holly Lodge Centre.

Open Day review.

The Richmond Park Open Day at Holly Lodge, on 23rd Sept, was a great success. The weather started off very poorly with heavy rain and just a trickle of visitors. However, it cheered up in the afternoon and the sun shone, bringing with it floods of visitors. Over 1,100 people came and enjoyed the many stalls and interesting exhibits on view. See the photos.

Startling image shows photographers surrounding Richmond Park Stag.

On 2nd October the Royal Parks issued a press release warning visitors not to get too close to deer, especially during the rutting season. Would-be photographers and selfie-takers are harassing the deer, and putting themselves in danger, by failing to keep to a distance of at least 50 metres, as advised by the Royal Parks. The press release gained wide coverage in all of these publications: Evening Standard, GetWestLondon, Richmond & Twickenham Times, BBC Wildlife and MSN. The issue was also featured on BBC News and ITV News.

Beverley Brook clean up.

The newly formed Friends’ Beverley Brook Volunteer Group (BBVG) had its first outing on 26 Sept. They had a very successful day clearing the unrestored parts of the brook of rubbish. The 6 volunteers, kitted out in chest high waders and gloves, collected some 20 bags of rubbish including all manner of debris – much of it was plastic bottles or derivatives of plastic, and TRP contractors were on hand to take away the filled bags. The BBVG will go out again this month to clear the 2 restored sections of the brook, and then hang up their waders until the spring. A great job well done!

Swan attack.

On 26 September there was another dog attack on a Swan at Pen Ponds. This time it was one of the healthy young cygnets. Royal Parks’ staff arrived swiftly on the scene within 4 minutes of being notified. The Police also attended and have the name of the dog owner who may face prosecution. Sadly the damage had already been done and the severely injured bird had to be taken away to the Swan Sanctuary for attention. The latest update from the Sanctuary is that the cygnet has lost the use of both legs and bowels and can only move around using its wings for support. They will give it a couple of weeks but may have to put the poor creature to sleep as currently its stomach is not processing food, just passing it straight through. Dogs off leads, and owners who fail to control them, continue to be a serious problem endangering park wildlife.

Nocturnal mammal survey.

Over the last few weeks you might have noticed cameras attached to trees in various parts of the Park. They have been recording nocturnal mammals (foxes, badgers, hedgehogs) as part of a survey by the Zoological Society of London, helped by a small band of Friends volunteers who put up the cameras. More information in our forthcoming autumn newsletter, and the results are expected early next year.

Speed Limit.

This 10 second video demonstrates why the speed limit in the Park is 20mph.

Dog poo litter.

Too many dog walkers are failing to deposit their filled dog poo bags in the bins provided, or taking them home. Our Adopt an Area team is constantly finding the bags hanging in trees, on park benches or hidden in undergrowth (especially in areas near to Robin Hood, Sheen and Kingston gates). It is a serious hazard for wildlife and offensive to other visitors. A Friend of Richmond Park sent us a photo of bags hanging on a fence near Beverley Brook which we posted on our Facebook Page. It has been viewed by thousands of people with many comments made, and was picked up by the Richmond & Twickenham Times. The R&TT article included statements from the Friends and the Park Management.

2019 Calendar.

Don’t forget your Friends Calendar, on sale at the Visitor/Information Centre, priced at £8. A great souvenir or memorable gift.

Deer cull starts on 5th November.

As usual, the Park’s pedestrian gates will be closed every day at 8.00pm for approximately 6 weeks.




All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless stated otherwise.

• 06 Oct Sheen Gate Car Park (Deer + Walk the Wall)
• 03 Nov Pembroke Lodge Car Park (Fungi)
• 01 Dec Pen Ponds Car Park
• 26 Dec Pembroke Lodge Car Park
Informal birdwatching walks – Every Friday – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am


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.

– 45-60 minutes and may be followed by an optional 90 minute walk, where indicated.

• 13 Oct Deer (a talk by Peter Burrows Smith) + Walk
• 04 Nov A Life in the Park (with John Bartram, interviewed by Richard Gray). NB. This talk is on a Sunday and will be held in the Belvedere Suite.



This is a very important month, as the deer will be rutting so you will probably hear the stags bellowing across the Park trying to attract as many females as possible. Please respect the deer and this natural behaviour by keeping at least 50 meters away from them and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.

Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus).

The Wood mouse, also known as the Long-tailed field mouse, is a small, wild rodent with a long tail of 7-9.5cm. It has dark brown fur with a pale underside and large eyes and ears. It is the most common and widespread mouse species in the British countryside, so it is not surprising to know that it is also here in Richmond Park. It is mainly found in woodlands, hedgerows, rough grasslands and gardens and lives in underground burrow systems, usually under the roots of trees or shrubs, which contain a series of nest chambers, runs and food stores. Their nests are commonly made of grass, moss and leaves, and they place conspicuous objects such as leaves or twigs at key positions in their territory.

Interestingly, no other animal, apart from humans, is known to perform such way-marking behaviour. They do not hibernate, but simply use additional nesting material in the colder months. They eat berries, fruits, seeds, nuts, fungi and invertebrates, much of which is collected and stored underground so the autumn months are key to their food reserves and survival. Wood mice breed frequently from March to October and produce 4-7 litters.

Wood mice have a short life span, partly because they have many predators, and are a vital source of food for other larger nocturnal hunters, particularly owls. However, wood mice are agile climbers so can leap high in the air when disturbed, and if it is caught by its tail, it has a useful escape strategy of being able to shed the skin of its tail very quickly!

Ham Gate Pond.

The chestnut pale fencing, which previously surrounded Ham Gate Pond, has now been removed and replaced with new flat-bar fencing and gates, thanks to the kind contributions from the Friends of Richmond Park and the Visitor Centre. The pedestrian gate is now open for everyone to enjoy the pond and the wildlife it supports, but dogs are not permitted. It is an important refuge for many species of plants, birds, dragonflies and damselflies so please respect the sign. The pond also hosts a non-native invasive plant called Crassula helmsii so the pond may be closed to visitors on certain days to carry out essential work to control and prevent the spread of this plant and to undertake other tasks so it remains an important wildlife sanctuary.


Early autumn brings lower temperatures and an increase in the dampness, which allows the fruiting bodies of Fungi to emerge without drying out. Over 400 different types of fungi have been identified in Richmond Park, including Parasol mushrooms that can grow to the size of a saucer and the nationally rare Oak Polypore. Some species can be seen all year round but the abundance and variety displayed this month usually only last until the first hard frost.

Fungi are decomposers of organic matter, surviving underground or within decaying wood and plants all year but emerging as mushrooms or toadstools in order to reproduce. Fungi are ecologically important, as they provide food and habitat to numerous insects and other animals and have a complex relationship with plants by supplying nutrients to their roots. Whilst some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, many are not, but it is strictly forbidden to collect and pick fungi in the Park. It is also a criminal offence so please respect the signs and do not pick the mushrooms.

“Please tread lightly in Richmond Park National Nature Reserve”



Early Autumn Colour, Flowers and Fruit:

Near Thomson’s Pond:

Nyssa sylvatica, the "Tupelo Tree" growing on the bank of the Pond assumes brilliant colours from gold to flame this month.

Parrotia persica, the "Persian Ironwood", grows on Thompson’s Lawn; this tree has a wide spreading habit and colours richly in autumn.

Liquidambar styraciflua, the "Sweet Gum" grows on a boundary lawn set back from the path; it has lobed leaves similar to those of an Acer but can be distinguished by the alternate rather than opposite arrangement on the shoot.

Another “Sweet Gum”, Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’grows on Thompson’s Lawn, it is pyramidal in shape; unlike most this cultivar often bears fruit in Britain. Both these trees are transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour with leaves ranging from pale yellow to dark crimson hues.

The native “Spindle Bush”, Euonymus europaeus can be seen growing at the top of Thompson’s Lawn in the shelter belt area, its mid green leaves redden in the Autumn as it red fruits open to reveal orange seed. Euonymus alatus also grows on the southern boundary of the Thompson’s Pond area and is one of the finest deciduous shrubs for autumn colour, with leaves turning a rich rosy scarlet before falling.

Last but not least seek out Stewartia monodelpha standing below Thompson’s Pond its leaves bear rich autumn tints.


A common streamside plant within the garden is Osmunda regalis, the “Royal Fern.” At this time of year the fronds turn an attractive golden yellow colour before dying back in the winter months.
Acers throughout the garden show autumn tints and bear ‘propeller driven’ seeds. The red foliage of the large Acer palmatum above the Still Pond reflects in its dark waters. Hamamelis mollis, the”Chinese Witch Hazel”, near the gate from Broomfield Hill, turns a rich butter yellow.
Look out for Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’ which has spectacular foliage in autumn with long lasting colours of rich metallic-red and orange.

It can be found growing in a number of places within the garden, including the glade behind the toilet block just off Camellia Walk. The large rounded leaves of Vitus cognetiae, the climbing vine shows stunning crimson and scarlet autumn tints, it can be found scrambling up an oak tree near a bench on the Main Stream. In Wilson’s Glade Viburnum betulifolium grows alongside the main path at this time of year its long swaying branches are laden with red-currant like fruits.

Bog Garden:

The three clumps of tall grass bearing elegant silky flower plumes and showing reddish brown are those of Miscanthus sinensis Malepartus. A form of “Sacred Bamboo” Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’ grows within the Island bed and the marginal bed adjacent to the pontoon decking. This compact shrub has yellow-green foliage in summer which turns orange-red in the autumn and winter months.

Nyssa sinensis is planted in the main Bog Garden bed and also by the stream, look out for its narrow pointed leaves that are purplish when young and then mature to a brilliant scarlet in the autumn months. The gardeners protect Gunnera manicata from hard winter frosts by cutting and laying the giant rhubarb like leaves over the crown of plants. As autumn moves into winter and the leaves rot a layer of bracken fronds harvested from the Park will be added to the leaves to further protect these plants.


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

Walks will take place on:

October: Friday 5th and 26th
Sunday 28th

November: Friday 2nd and 30th
Sunday 11th

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.