The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (September issue below) which is displayed on the Park's public notice boards. If you are a member of the Friends and would like to receive these monthly diaries by email, please send your name and email address to Chris Mason at [email protected]
Richmond Park in September
Kingston car park closure This car park will be partly or fully closed from around 8 September to 17 September. It’s likely that even on partly-closed days, demand for parking will exceed the number of the spaces available. Alternative parking is available at Broomfield Hill car park which is one mile away.
Sporting events and road closures All Park roads and vehicle gates will be closed to all traffic including cyclists on Sunday September 14 to facilitate the London Duathlon, a running and cycling event. On Saturday October 18 there will also be a partial road closure for part of the day between Roehampton Gate and Kingston Gate, and traffic diversions for a short period between Kingston and Ham Gates, for a women-only running event.
Deer rut – advice for walkers Deer are wild animals and can be unpredictable. Richmond Park is a Nature Reserve with herds of wild deer roaming freely. Deer can feel threatened by people and dogs even over long distances. This is particularly true during the rutting period which starts in September and continues into October. We recommend keeping at least 50m from deer and give them the respect and space they need during the rut.
Rhododendron clearance Now that the bird nesting season is drawing to an end, the winter Rhododendron clearance work will continue in Sidmouth Wood, Pen Ponds Plantation and Isabella Plantation. Contractors and volunteers clear and burn this dense shrub to restore the woodlands to the benefit of native wildlife. Rhododendron is a non-native shrub that supports very little wildlife and dominates the understory of woodlands. It changes the soil and microclimate of woodlands, in a way that can adversely affect other tree species.
Owls Two species of owls are resident all year round in the Park and present in good numbers. The most common species in the Park is the Little Owl, often seen at night sitting on the roadside posts, then flying off when they detect a cyclist or car approaching. They feed in short grass, looking for worms, insects or small mammals and were introduced to the UK in the 19th century. The Tawny Owl is larger bird and frequents woodlands. Although seldom seen, its familiar ‘twit-twoo’ call is often heard at dusk and into the night. It feeds on small mammals and even catches bats.
The Isabella Plantation in September
The heather garden The summer flowering Ericas and Callunas continue to bloom.
Late-flowering trees and shrubs Magnolia grandiflora, situated on the secluded lawn to the south of Thomson's Pond, has a few last buds opening into large, fragrant, cream coloured flowers, while its decorative fruits form. Look out for Heptacodium miconioides growing below Thompson’s Pond and also the Birthday Mound. It is a vigorous shrub which bears lightly scented clusters of white flowers throughout the summer and early autumn. Clerodendron trichotomum has white and maroon fragrant flowers which are followed by bright blue berries; it can be found growing in the glade behind the toilets.
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 nearby 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 acurrent-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, below 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, four-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.
Wheelchair available A motorised wheelchair, which makes the job of pushing considerably easier, may be loaned for use within the Garden on weekdays between 9am and 3pm. Please ring 0300 061 2200 to book the chair by noon on the day before it is required.
Walks in the Isabella Plantation
You are invited to join the gardeners for guided walks throughout the year. The next takes place on Friday September 26. Walks last about one-and-a-half hours and are free of charge. Meet inside the Garden by the gate from Broomfield Hill car park at 11am.