Park through-traffic Consultation
Rangers update & recruitment
The Volunteer Ranger scheme is now starting its third year. The scheme is managed by TRP, with the Friends of Richmond Park on its Advisory Group, and we are pleased with its progress. Despite the disruptions of COVID restrictions, the Rangers interacted with over 6,000 people last year in Richmond Park, with deer and dogs being the biggest topics. There are currently 45 Rangers in the Park and TRP plan to increase this to 100 during 2021, through a mix of continuous recruitment (i.e. people who apply spontaneously), and two large-scale advertising rounds – set for February and March. Are you interested in becoming a Ranger? Then apply here.
Register now for the free Remarkable Trees Zoom talk (Friends members only)
Nearly 200 people have already registered for our 2nd Zoom presentation:
“The Remarkable Trees of Richmond Park: their history, care and management” at 10:30 on 23rd January.
We have a finite number of spaces so be sure to register now. Even if you’re unable to join us on the day, you’ll be able to view a video of the event soon after if you’re registered.
The session will include an interview of the Park’s Manager, Simon Richards, and Royal Parks Arboriculturist, Gillian Jonusas, by the Friends new Patron Clare Balding. There will be a full Q&A session and the whole presentation is hosted by Friends’ trustee Richard Gray.
Man fined for dog killing deer
The man whose dog killed a deer in Richmond Park on 12 Sept was fined £135, and ordered to pay £350 compensation, at Wimbledon Magistrates Court. Read more.
On 1 October there was another incident when a deer was attacked and killed by an Irish Setter. The dog walker, a 44-year-old from Kingston, will appear in front of Wimbledon Magistrates Court on January 15 2021.
Autumn Tree Photography competition results!
We are pleased to report the results of the Friends’ Autumn Tree Photography competition. You can see the winning photos as well as the short and long listed photos here on our webpage. All photos are the copyright of the photographer.
The WINNER is Cath Gothard, cathgothard.com/ & @cathgothardphotography, with her image of a dramatic veteran oak surrounded by the mist and mellow tones of the autumnal wood.
The runner-up is a blaze of colour around upper Pen Pond entitled ‘The Beech and the Birch’ by Tammy Marlar, tammymarlar.com & @tammymarlar.
The 3rd placed photo is a veteran hornbeam with its bright autumn leaves by Nigel Attenborough nigelattenborough
Congratulations to all three as well as to the short and longlisted photographers.
We will be running the Spring Tree Photo Competition, postponed from last year because of Covid. Information on how to enter will be on our website, social media and email bulletins.
Online Shop and Click & Collect
The Friends’ online shop, which included click & collect, was a sell-out success and continued until the Visitor Centre (VC) was forced to close completely on 19 December. The pre- Christmas period is the busiest time for the VC, with sales of our unique Calendar, Christmas cards and gifts, and it’s an important fundraiser for conservation projects in the Park. This year, thanks to the online shop and click & collect, we completely sold out of calendars, nearly all Christmas cards and many other gift items that we might otherwise not have sold. A small team of volunteers managed the whole process from website to order fulfilment, stock control, and customer collection. It was a first for the Friends, which we plan to repeat.
Environmental cost of increased park usage over Lockdown
Richmond Park is has become even more popular with visitors during Lockdown, but there are drawbacks. See this informative article about the impact of increased visitor numbers on Richmond Park, published by the SWLondoner 6 Dec 2020. There is also an interview with Simon Richards about the increased Park usage and its impact on the deer. View the video here.
Holly Lodge features in The Royal Parks podcast series
The latest edition of The Royal Parks podcast series “Hidden Stories of The Royal Parks” features The Holly Lodge Centre in Richmond Park. Anna King, the Centre Manager, describes the inspiring stories behind the Centre and the education it provides children and adults with special needs, including its Victorian Christmas sessions, the Victorian pharmacy, its kitchen garden and nature trail. It’s lovely and heart-warming to listen to at this cold time of year. Her top tip of what to do in Richmond Park? Just find a quiet place you like and sit and listen to the nature around you. The Royal Parks Podcast – Holly Lodge
First sighting of Russian Goose
There was a first ever sighting of a Russian (Eurasian) White-fronted Goose for the Park on 4th December when an adult and a juvenile were spotted on the golf course, grazing contentedly in the company of the resident Canada Geese and seemingly unperturbed by the constant procession of close-up golfers. Every year about two thousand of these birds fly from northern Russia to overwinter at a small number of sites mainly in south-east England, but our two geese were amongst others reported locally after seemingly becoming lost when encountering fog. They remained on the golf course for several days, always tantalising at a distance from the bird watchers who could only view them from the ‘wrong’ side of Beverley Brook.
Photo: Rebecca Dunne
The Discoverers Team wish you all a very Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that we will be able to resume activities in 2021. In the meantime, keep an eye on our web pages for updates.
Our 2021 AGM will be 11am Saturday 24 April 2021 by Zoom. Further details will be provided to members nearer the time.
Most of our guided walks in 2020 had to be cancelled due to Covid. It’s looking the same for 2021, with the January walk cancelled and the February walk very unlikely to take place. Since government restrictions are under constant review and subject to change, we will update the guided walks webpage ahead of each walk. Please check in advance before attending.
Park Diary – January
The Richmond Park Diary is produced each month by The Royal Parks and posted on the Park’s noticeboards ©TRP / PAC
Be considerate during the higher covid restrictions!
The tier 4 restrictions brought in during December are impacting on the park and all our visitors. We are experiencing unprecedented visitor numbers and at times it can be difficult. Car parks fill up quickly and become grid-locked, the roads then develop traffic jams and pedestrians and cyclists become as frustrated as the motorists. Queues for toilets and catering are at times excessive and it is difficult for staff to meet the standards we expect at peak times.
Various contractors and concessions staff have developed symptoms and tested positive for the coronavirus and the situation can change without any notice. Even when enjoying the park, the visitor numbers are much higher and it can be difficult to social distance on busy paths and gardens.
PLEASE be mindful of how difficult the situation is and be mindful of others and the pressure on park staff. Some people are at greater risk if they catch coronavirus and may feel more anxious. We really do appreciate how vital the parks services and infrastructure are to your visit and are doing our best to deliver a good service – but we are struggling to balance services with extreme visitor pressure and there will be times when toilets or catering may be temporality impacted at short notice during the current period of restrictions.
Risk of Ice
January and February are always the coldest months of the year and temperatures will often drop below freezing at night. Park staff monitor the predicted forecast and apply salt to the park roads when necessary. This reduces the likelihood of ice but cannot eliminate it in all areas. Do take extra care especially this year whilst hospitals are so busy.
The Wild Service Tree
This winter the tree team have continued to do some woodland thinning and maintenance in 2 Storm Wood which is one of the few places that Wild Service Trees can be found in the park. This is a lesser known and scarce tree that is more commonly known for its edible red berry that only become sweet when bletted (over ripe). Historically children would eat the berries as sweets in winter. Historically the fruit was used to flavour beer but this declined once the use of hops was introduced. The drink was known as ‘chequers’ and this is thought to have derived from the pattern on the tree’s bark being a little like the board game. Pubs and Inns called The Chequers have taken their name from the drink (as does the Prime Minister’s country residence!) and quite often have signs painted as the black and white chequer board. The Latin name torminalis means ‘good for colic’ denoting a medicinal use for the fruit on horses.
Movement Strategy Consultation – Last chance!
A final reminder that the consultation period closes on 10th January so please submit your comments soon if you have not done so already. Details are on the Royal Parks web site or via this link : – Richmond Park – The Royal Parks
Isabella Plantation in January
Erica x darleyensiscomes into flower in its pink and white forms. Tawny seed heads of Erica vagans remain decorative all winter.
The tall “Portugal Heath”, Erica lusitanica, bears slightly fragrant tubular white flowers opening from pink buds throughout winter.
Clumps may be found towards the top of the Heather Garden, near the junction of Thomson’s Stream and the Main Stream.
The “Sacred Bamboo’, Nandina domestica, planted behind the heather in several places, is truly a plant for all seasons. Decorative evergreen leaves are tinged purple in spring and autumn, panicles of white flowers open in the summer to provide orange red berries throughout winter.
Hamamelis mollis, the “Witch Hazel”, has fragrant yellow tassel flowers. Two large shrubs stand by the gate to Broomfield Hill. Another hybrid variety, called ‘Jelena’, has ginger coloured flowers and grows in the woodland ride to the west of the garden.
Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ grows close to the Top gate and also set back in the glade behind Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’. It produces semi-double, white flowers intermittently throughout the winter months.
Lonicera X purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’, is a shrubby honeysuckle which bears tiny white fragrant flowers throughout winter. A group of these shrubs grows by the Acer Glade path.
Rhododendron dauricum‘Midwinter’, also beside the Acer Glade path, has small rose-purple flowers.
Rhododendron dauricum ‘Midwinter’ ©The Royal Parks