Photo by Anne Ross


Diary Dates

  • 7 – 8 Oct – road closed Sheen Cross to Holly Lodge
  • 9 -11 Oct – road closed Roehampton Car Park to Robin Hood Car Park
  • 12 Oct Deer Talk & Walk
  • 18 Oct Quiz Night 

Swan attack
A swan was a attacked by a dog on Sunday 8 September, close to midday. The five-year old swan is currently on antibiotics and recovering at the Swan Sanctuary, but will not be strong enough to be released for some weeks yet. PC Barber, the Richmond Park Dedicated Police Officer says “We are appealing for anyone who might have seen anything to come forward. If you have any information, please call or text 07920 586 546.” Read more about the attack 

Deer talk and walk
On Saturday 12 October Peter Burrows-Smith will give a talk on deer, followed by a walk. For those of you who have seen Peter speak before this is an “all-new” talk with new slides, so it’s well worth coming to hear him. The rut is normally at its peak in the first half of October so it’s a good time to see it. The talk is at 10.15 at Pembroke Lodge and the following walk could well see some live action!

Friends’ 2020 Calendar – now online!
For the first time ever, the Friends calendar is now on sale online on our website. The calendar is also available, as usual, at the Visitor Centre. More than just a calendar! A treasure from Richmond Park with 50 beautiful photos showing the wonderful diversity of wildlife throughout the year in this National Nature Reserve. A great gift to send to friends and family not lucky enough to be able to visit the Park!

Quiz Night
The Holly Lodge Centre will be holding its ever-popular Annual Quiz Night on Friday 18 October from 7:00 to 10:30pm at Kings House School Richmond. The Quiz Master is Adrian Mills, the well-known radio & television presenter and patron of The Holly Lodge Centre. Bring a team or join a table on the night! Tickets are £18. For more information and tickets see here.

Richmond Park’s Fallen Oak shortlisted for Tree of the Year.
The Woodland Trust has selected our very own Fallen Oak (near Bog Gate) as a finalist in the 2019 Tree of the Year in England competition. This annual competition highlights and celebrates the best trees in the country. A panel of expert judges selected the 10 very best England has to offer from hundreds of trees. Then the public were invited to vote for their favourite of the 10 finalists. Voting closed on 27 September. An announcement will be made soon.

The four winners from the public vote for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be evaluated by the judging panel to select which one will go forward to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year competition. You can see all 10 England finalists here.

Note! Watch out for our special announcement about trees in the November Bulletin.


The Rut
The rut is now in full swing. As always, take care at this time of year. What you need to know see our web page. Also, we think you will enjoy this interesting and informative short film by Robbie Harman of WildlifeStyleFilms “The Rut – a Richmond Park Story”

Roads closed
The road between Sheen Cross and the Holly Lodge turn off will be closed on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 October for the reinstatement of part of the roadway edge which has begun to fall into the grass verge. Then the road between Robin Hood car park and Roehampton car park will be closed for repairs on Wednesday 9 to Friday 11 October. 

Welcome visitors
The first two days of October saw four Little Egrets on Lower Pen Pond, and by the 3rd the number had swollen to six. This unusually large number was easily a record for the Park. These small and elegant white herons with their black bills and black legs, much smaller than the Grey Heron, were not seen in the Park until 2001, since when they have become more regular visitors, mainly at the Pen Ponds and Beverley Brook. Increasing in numbers nationally and breeding in the London area, we hope that they will visit us with increasing regularity, and maybe even breed here in future. (Report by Nigel Jackman)

Visitor Centre News
The Visitor Centre was closed on 16 Sept for a long overdue freshen up. And what a difference a day makes! VC volunteers worked hard to make the transformation. They painted the back wall and the slatted panels. Cabinets were relocated, as were the framed maps, giving the Centre a more streamlined and spacious feel. Why not pop in to see the new look, and whilst there see our new Christmas Cards, 2020 Calendar, new design tea towel and the  limited edition Christmas bauble with 22 carat gold top!

Richmond Park Flora Group
The Flora Group is a sub-group of the Richmond Park Wildlife Group. They meet regularly to survey and record, check on notable species and make management recommendations.
At this late season you may still see Harebells in various places; the dandelion-like Autumn Hawkbit is almost everywhere. Four-petalled yellow Tormentil is frequent – an important indicator of acid soil. There are many types of fern besides Bracken, and they can be very attractive.  Look particularly along ditch and stream sides, and on the Park’s boundary wall

For something different, the plant life of the ponds is nearly always interesting; the Flora Group is helping the Ecology Department with their current survey of some of these. Incidentally, for identification purposes the FSC fold-out cards from the Visitor Centre at Pembroke Lodge are useful, and lighter to carry than books!

Beverley Brook ‘open day’ on 21 Sept
Toby Hull, of South East Rivers Trust, took a large group of around 35 FRP members into the fenced off, restored or re-wilded area at Beverly Brook. Thanks to this conservation work, the area has now become much more biodiverse with large increases in invertebrates, fish fry and flora.


Events Calendar

Next 3 months


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

  • 02 Nov Pembroke Lodge Car Park (Fungi)
  • 07 Dec Pen Ponds Car Park
  • 26 Dec Pembroke Lodge 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.

  • 12 Oct    Deer – an “all new” talk (Peter Burrows Smith)
  • 16 Nov   Fungi (Janet Bostock)


Richmond Park Diary – October 2019

Road closures for repairs
Contractors working for the Royal Parks are due to continue repairs to the park roads which will require certain roads to be closed. At the following locations: –

  • 7th – 8th October – between Sheen Cross and Holly Lodge
  • 9th -11th October – between Roehampton Car Park and Robin Hood Car Park

All park gates will remain open as usual.  Motorists will need to divert and seek alternative routes, driving around the park if necessary.  Cyclists can switch onto the parallel path or Tamsin Trail, if they are considerate to pedestrians who have priority.

Palace to Palace Cycle Ride
It will take place on Sunday 6th October and pass through the park between 06.30 and 11.00.  The route from Sheen Gate to Ham Gate via Pen Ponds car park will be busier than usual, and we advise motorists to avoid Pen Ponds car park until 11.00.

Donation Boxes
During October you will see a ‘voluntary’ pay and display donation machine installed in each of the 7 main car parks.  There will then be a short delay whilst a technician activates the machines, but all are due to be operational by the end of October.  We are using pay and display machines, but the signage makes it very clear that payments are voluntary and not compulsory.  The P&D machines can take cash or card donations.  They use solar power and mobile phone technology, so rely on sunlight and signal or power even in the more remote and tree covered locations

Once the summer weather breaks the soil and air becomes damp with autumn rain allowing Fungi to emerge without drying out.  Some species can be seen all year round, but the abundance and variety are displaying now and last only until the first hard frost.  Fungi are neither plants nor animals – they are decomposers of organic matter, surviving underground or within plants all year but emerging as mushrooms or toadstools in order to reproduce. Some of these fruiting bodies are palatable to humans, whilst most are not, and a few are poisonous.  Collecting mushrooms is forbidden in the Park as doing so will diminish the population within the ecosystem.  Despite what celebrity chefs say, if you do want to forage mushrooms elsewhere, you will need the landowner’s permission and avoid protected areas.

Two species of owls are resident all year round in the Park and present in sustainable numbers.  The most common species in the park is the Little Owl, often seen at night sitting on the road posts, then flying off when they detect a cyclist or car approaching. They feed on short grass, looking for worms, insects or small mammals and were introduced to the UK in the 19th century.  The Tawny Owl is a larger bird and frequents woodlands. Although seldom seen, it’s familiar ‘twit-twoo’ call is often heard at dusk and into the night. It feeds on small mammals and will even occasionally catch bats.

©TRP / PAC. 03.10.19

October in the Isabella Plantation

Autumn Fruits
Set back from Thomson’s Pond, are two stands of Viburnum. Viburnum opulus,
the Guelder Rose, bears clusters of glossy red berries at this time of year and differs
slightly from the near Vibunum sargentii, which has bright red translucent berries.
Viburnum betulifolium near the northern entrance to Wilson’s Glade, has pendant
bunches of bright red-current-like fruit. In the wild fringes of the Garden, fruits of native
trees and shrubs, such as the Rowan and Spindle; Blackthorn and Hawthorn; Wild
Rose, Dogwood and Blackberry, all provide food for wildlife at this time of the year.

Euonymus planipes Peg’s Pond, displays its red seed capsules, while the purple cones
of Abies koreana, nearby in the heather garden, are encrusted with white resin.
Look out for the Euonymus latifolius set back in the lawn to the left of the path leading
from the Top Gate towards Acer Glade. This shrub has long slender leaves that turn red
or purple in autumn. At the same time abundant pink clusters of ripe reddish pink,
4 lobed fruits appear which open to reveal white and orange seeds.


The Bog Garden
Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’ grows in the Island bed in the lawn area looks
particularly stunning, with its broad leaves that colour scarlet at this time of year.
Ornamental grasses look very attractive at this time of year; look out for Stipa gigantea
in the large bed on the lawn side of the middle pond, with its tall golden panicles that
last into winter.

Growing nearby is Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ which has narrow
erect leaves which are red tipped and become blood red at this time of year. The
feathery flower panicles of Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldshlier’ catch the wind in the
streamside bed above the top pond. The tall purple-brown feathery panicles of the
grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’ show in the Garden’s central and island beds.


Ponds and Streamsides
The last flowering spikes of Purple Loosestrife, Joe Pye Weed and Pickerel Weed
provide a late source of nectar for insects.