A network of underground badger tunnels are planned for major restoration in Richmond Park, to protect the badgers and future-proof the roads, says The Royal Parks.
A badger sett inhabiting the ground under the road running from the East of the park, by Robin Hood Gate, has created a vast ‘underground mansion’ connected by many corridors - and with around 30-40 entrances.
If the underground engineering by the nocturnal animals continues it could cause damage to the road, so intervention is needed now to strengthen the route for years to come.
Luckily the underground tunnels being strengthened are close to an alternative underground ‘annex’, and the badgers have been carefully, temporarily re-directed to this ‘safe area’ of their vast underground network.
The road by Robin Hood Gate will be closed to motor traffic for several weeks after the second week of November, when work to repair the ground is expected to begin.
Once the road works have been completed the badgers will once again be able to move around their entire underground zone without disruption.
Adam Curtis, Richmond Park’s manager, said: “Think of it as asking the badger to stay at home with their relatives, whilst we fix the roof of their holiday cottage.
“Richmond Park is a great escape from the city for many visitors who come to enjoy the incredible wildlife in this historic park.
“While we aim to cause minimal disruption to commuters, this is a private road in a nature reserve, rather than a public highway, and we have to make sure the animals are protected with as little disturbance as possible during the essential works.”
The work is being carried out under license by Natural England in consultation with ecologists and arboriculturists.