Surprisingly good weather greeted the Richmond Park Open Day held 13th September within and around the Holly Lodge grounds. Nearly 2,400 flocked to the first Open Day since 2010 and Simon Richards, Park Manager, said: “I think we can all be pleased with…the event and look forward to a repeat in a couple of years.”
He continued: “the feedback and experiences really show that we provided all the visitors with a lot of interesting content….our sense is that it was predominantly local families that dominated the visitor numbers”.
Staff on the Friends stalls and other volunteers noted the high number of families and children visiting, their interest in many of the wildlife exhibits and the curiosity and sheer enjoyment displayed in lots of smiles.
Assistant Park Manager Adam Curtis provided a fascinating calculation: “238 people from Durham to South Wales and from 51 different organisations gave up their weekend to deliver 82 different things to see or do”. There were nearly 50 Friends' volunteers helping out with a wide range of tasks from reception/welcoming to guided walks.
As well as the Friends, the Park's different wildlife groups, the Royal Parks Guild and Holly Lodge Centre, groups included the RSPB, London Wildlife Trust, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Kingston Biodiversity Network and Surbiton Wildlife Group.
Other organisations included The Nature Collection, British Deer Society, who were selling antlers, MG Classic Cars and The Hearsum Collection. Park skills and interactive activities included shire horses with farriers, Victorian classroom and laundry, tree surgery, pony rides and horse dressage. The Holly Lodge Centre provided lots of fun activities for children including pond dipping and crafts.
In summary, a wonderful range of activities and plenty of stalls either to browse or selling items from Park antlers to Friends' calendars to keep visitors of all ages entertained; all this and good food, delicious homemade cakes and smiles all around!
Our picture shows Friends volunteers at their briefing