Progress on Pond project

Tree planting at Jubilee Pond 

The Friends’ conservation volunteers recently planted two black poplars at Jubilee Pond. They are both male native Black Poplars, propagated from cuttings from other trees in the Park. In due course we want to add a female tree in the hope that in time they might set seed which is very rare in this country, but the conditions by our pond might just allow this to happen.

The vast majority of Black Poplars that still exist have been grown from cuttings, which root very easily. However, there is little economic use for Black Poplar and very few had been planted in recent decades. The result is that it is now one or our rarest native trees with little genetic diversity between the various clones, and the Black Poplar is now a UK priority species for conservation.

There are several mature trees on the towpath between Hammersmith Bridge and Barn Elms. Recent investigative work has shown that these are seed raised. In addition several trees were propagated from seed in Kew Gardens in the early 90’s and several of these were planted in Richmond Park.

This means that, as far as we know, Richmond borough probably has the widest genetic diversity of Black Poplars in the UK.

Martin’s Pond

One of the Ponds and Streams projects is to open the ditch from Martin’s Pond to Robin Hood Gate and build a new pond near the roundabout there, both of which will create new wildlife habitats. The work was quickly completed in two weeks in April after the rain stopped.

Opening the ditch revealed a long stretch of Victorian clay pipes and an area where water was bubbling up from a pipe coming under the road from the hill opposite. The pond’s design winds around a black poplar that grows next to the old ditch.

The pond is being funded by The Royal Parks, the Friends, the Visitor Centre, Healthy Planet, the conservation charity, and the private Richmond Park Charitable Trust.