Park News September 2018

Talk on Ant Hills – Saturday 15 September.

Starting at 10.15 in Pembroke Lodge, Dr Tim King of Oxford University will talk on the ant hills of Richmond Park. It will be followed by a walk to examine them and the yellow meadow ants at close quarters. Come along and learn about this fascinating area of Park life. Coffee & tea are available before the talk. Read more

Park Open Day is on Sunday 23 September.

11am to 4 pm at Holly Lodge (off the road between Richmond Gate and Roehampton Gate). Entrance is free, but parking is £5. There'll be a host of things to do and see, with activities for children provided by the Holly Lodge Centre (which many children will have visited with their schools). Come and talk to us at the Friends stalls, showcasing the Visitor Centre, Discoverers, our conservation volunteers and the Friends itself. And a big thank you to the 50 or so Friends volunteers who will be stewarding the event and staffing our stalls. More information.

London Duathlon and Run10 events 16 Sept.

The park will be closed to traffic on this day. Since the inception of this event, the Friends have developed a good relationship with the race organisers in order to impress upon them the importance of minimising the event’s effect on the Park environment. This year their race website gives comprehensive coverage of our cautionary messages, including a link to our RP film.

Road closures.

From 3rd September there will be road surfacing works taking place in various parts of the Park.
• 3 – 7 Sept. Kingston vehicle gates closed.
• 10 -14 Sept. Sheen gate car park closed and works on surrounding roads.
• 16 Sept. Park roads closed for London Duathlon.
• 17 – 28 Sept. Roehampton Gate closed.
• 24 Sept – 13 Oct. Works to Richmond gate, Richmond roundabout and the road between Richmond Gate and Ham cross.

Beverley Brook mystery solved.

On 29 July a major fish kill occurred in Beverley Brook. Between 400 and 500 dead fish were recorded in the stretch through Richmond Park and Barnes. Find out what caused it here.

2019 Calendar now on sale.

The fabulous new Friends’ calendar is on sale at the Visitor/Information Centre, priced at £8 while stocks last. It features dozens of beautiful photos of the Park and its wildlife, taken by the very best of our local photographers. It's a brilliant Richmond Park souvenir and makes a great Christmas or New Year's gift. All profits go to conservation projects in the Park.

Discoverers Autumn Bat Watch.

On Saturday evening, September 29 (alternative ‘bad weather date October 6). This very popular event is for FRP members only. Booking details will be posted soon at
NB. Discoverers activities are families-only events.

Rutting Season.

Each year we remind you of the rutting season which takes place between September and November. This is a time when deer can be aggressive and dangerous. So be sure to keep dogs on leads and under control, and remember to keep your distance. We recommend at least 50 metres (equivalent to 5 double-decker buses end to end).

Holly Lodge Centre events 19 Oct & 5 Dec.

If you’re planning your autumn, here are two events from the Holly Lodge Centre to book now. On Friday 19 October from 7 to 10.30pm at Kings House School in Richmond is the Centre’s Quiz Night, hosted by Adrian Mills. The price of £18 includes light supper and a free drink. Then on Wednesday 5 December at 7pm is the Centre’s Christmas Concert, held at Christ Church in Sheen, an evening of song and festive readings, featuring local school choirs and celebrity readers. More information and booking.

A rare visitor to the Park.

A very distinctive Great White Egret was in the Pen Ponds area for around 30 minutes on the last day of August. The only previous Park record is of one seen flying over in 2012. Read more and see photos.

Share this Bulletin.

Please feel free to forward it to your friends and contacts. If they want to receive it on a regular basis they may wish to join the Friends too. We welcome new members, so please spread the word. For easy reference, here’s a link to the benefits of becoming a Friend of Richmond Park, and here’s a membership form to print off.

Events Calendar

Next 3 months

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)

Informal birdwatching walks – Every Friday – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am

TALKS & COURSES – 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.

• 15 Sep Ant hills (course by Dr Tim King)
• 13 Oct Deer (Peter Burrows Smith)
• 04 Nov A Life in the Park (a talk by John Bartram, interviewed by Richard Gray). NB. This talk is on a Sunday and will be held in the Belvedere Suite.

Courses consist of a 45 minute talk indoors followed by a 90 minute walk.
Talks are usually 45-60 minutes and are not followed by a walk

Richmond Park Diary September 2018

The autumn equinox is on 23rd September, which is when day and night are of equal length, but autumn is also a time of plenty with berries, fruits, nuts and seeds in abundance. The colours start to change, mist hangs over the Park in the mornings, there are often spectacular sunsets, some birds arrive and other birds leave. However many species, including the deer, take advantage of the wild harvest to build up fat reserves for the colder months ahead, for migration or hibernation.

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara).

The Common (or viviparous) lizard is the most common and widespread reptile in the UK. It is found across many habitats including the grasslands of Richmond Park, as it likes open, sunny places and is usually found in dry, exposed locations where dense cover exists nearby and where it can feed predominantly on spiders and insects. The adults are approximately 15cm in length and are, most commonly, a shade of brown with patterns of spots or stripes. Mating takes place in spring and instead of laying eggs, the females give birth to live inch-long young in August. They hibernate in September or October and go underground or in log piles, but with the warmer weather, you may still be lucky to see one basking this month!


There are over 400 different types of fungi in the Park, including Parasol mushrooms and the nationally rare Oak Polypore, which can be seen until the first hard frost. Fungi are ecologically important, as they have a complex relationship with plants by supplying nutrients to their roots, and they also provide food and habitat to many insects and other animals. 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 any mushrooms.


This month is when the stags and fallow bucks come in to ‘clean antler’, which is when all of the velvet covering their newly grown antlers has been rubbed off to reveal the bone, which is the hard antler underneath. The hinds with their young calves will start to split up around the Park to build up their fat reserves, and will feed on the grass, leaves off trees and horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts and acorns, which form an important part of their diet. Therefore please to not pick or remove any fallen chestnuts from the Park. The hinds also start to come into season towards the middle of September, which is then followed by the rut, so respect the deer and these behaviours by keeping at least 50 meters away and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.

Richmond Park Open Day.

This year Richmond Park will be holding an Open Day on Sunday 23rd September from 11am to 4pm. It will be opportunity for members of the public to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes to manage the Park as well as an insight into the huge array of wildlife that lives within this important National Nature Reserve. The day will be packed full of fun things to see and do such as rural crafts including wood turning, information on the history and wildlife of the park, shire horses, WW1 displays and activities, vintage cars and a chance to meet the fire brigade. There will also be guided walks, charcoal burning demonstrations, metal work displays and much more! Whether you want to learn more about wildlife or the many different ways you can experience true wilderness on the edge of a major city, this day is for you!

Road repairs.

From Monday 3rd September 2018, there will be road resurfacing and repairs taking place around Richmond Park for approximately 6 weeks. This means that some gates will be closed for a period of time. For up to date and further information, please visit the Royal Parks’ Facebook Page or contact the Park Office on: 0300 061 2200.

Park road closures.

The Park will be closed to traffic on Sunday 16th September 2018 for the Descente London Duathlon / RUN10 event.

“Please take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time”

September 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 Viburnum 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 Stream-sides

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

Isabella Plantation Garden Walks 2018

You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year.
Walks will take place on:

September: Friday 7th and 28th; Sunday 16th

October: Friday 5th and 26th; Sunday 28rd

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.


Friends 2019 Calendar cover by Paula Redmond.