The Royal Parks team in Richmond Park produces a monthly diary (January issue below) which is displayed on the Park's public noticeboards. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Park in January
Horse ride reconstruction In late January, contractors are due to reconstruct the horse ride that runs from Martins Pond to Robin Hood Gate.
The ride is currently badly eroded and lies below the height of the surrounding land. Water flows down the ride whenever it rains and is trampled into the mud by horses making it impassable in the winter. Horse rides need to be constructed with a loose ‘gravel’ type surface for their hooves to grip – so building a ride in a ‘ditch’ only results in it being washed away or churned up with mud. Therefore soil will be used to raise the level of the ride and swales and drains leading to the pond that were built last year will be constructed before the riding surface is installed.
The work is part funded by donations made by a large number of horse riders and stables that use Richmond Park.
Stormy weather December brought some wet and windy weather to the Park, which caused a little disruption. When warnings are issued by the Met Office the Royal Parks follow procedures to ensure public safety whilst minimising disruption. With an estimated 110 -130,000 trees, 4 million visitors and 8 million cars a year high winds have the potential to cause problems.
Not only do trees drop limbs but they also become uprooted, especially when the ground is wet and if they still have their leaves. Heavy snow usually requires the park roads to be closed until conditions are assessed as safe. High winds may also necessitate pedestrian gates to be closed whilst windy and for a short time afterwards whilst the Park’s condition is assessed.
Roehampton cafe has undergone a refurbishment. The wooden chalet building that houses a cafe at Roehampton Car Park has been refitted with new lighting, serving area and kitchen. The front of the cafe has also been fitted with a glass wall / door to make better use of natural light and views of the Park. We hope that our visitors will enjoy the new food offers that will now be possible.
Winter berries and seeds This year there seems to be far more winter berries than usual with hollies and hawthorns still adorned in red fruits and plenty of acorns still on the ground.
Fruiting was late in 2013 due to the late spring, but an equally long and mild autumn has ensured a good yield deep into the winter. By spring we might see berries and seeds disappear as resident birds such as the nuthatch eat the beech mast and acorns.
Northern European birds such as fieldfares and redwings will also migrate south to feed on the berries when the abundance runs out to the north. When natural food is in abundance it can reduce the amount of birds visiting our garden feeders. As the winter draws on and natural food becomes scarcer, they will return to our garden feeders and bird tables.