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Winterise your bicycle!

Temperatures are now starting to fall and as we go into December, January and February there is an increasing risk of ice, especially early in the morning.  Park staff monitor the weather and the roads and de-icing salt is spread to reduce the risk. However, cyclists (and motorists) should be aware of weather conditions and be cautious - forecasts are occasionally inaccurate and it would be foolish to assume that every square inch of ice is always defrosted.  Rain, leaves, washed out soil and debris are also more likely in winter and the dark evenings and rain doesn’t help.  There are plenty of cycling websites that advise on winterising a bicycle or even having a second bike for winter riding.  Winter tyres and good quality lights are essential for cyclists using the park for the next few months.

Christmas tree sales

Christmas trees have returned to Roehampton Car Park and have been trading since the end of November with the concession ‘On Cloud Pine’ also offering a delivery service.  If you are at all concerned about Coronavirus, vulnerable or shielding someone who is, then delivery may be a great option for you.  The trees range in height, species and pot-grown or cut-trees.

Ham Gate toilet closure

Regrettably, the Royal Parks have made the difficult decision to close Ham Gate toilet. This will allow us to invest around  £100k in the refurbishment of 4 other toilet blocks in the New Year. The Royal Parks funding is now largely generated from commercial income streams which have been impacted this year.  It is increasingly difficult to offer the same services to the same standards that many visitors will have experienced in the past. The next nearest are at Pegs Pond in Isabella Plantation which is 0.5 miles / 10mins walk away.  There are also toilets at Kingston Gate, Petersham Gate and Pembroke Lodge which are all within a mile.

The Robin

A small, brown resident bird with a striking red breast – known and loved by just about everyone because of its abundance and tendency to visit gardens, often following gardeners looking for worms in dug soil.  Robins are often depicted on Christmas cards for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, its bright red breast and tendency to be seen a lot in winter makes it familiar to us.  Victorian postmen wore bright red tunics and gained the nicknames of Robin redbreast.  Being busy around Christmas bringing cards and presents by post, the robins started to be portrayed as delivering cards to us.

Secondly, there is also folklore that the robins got their red breast from blood stains when they tried to assist Christ by removing the thorns the crown of thorns during the crucifixion.  This further adds to their charm and popularity as a caring bird but because Christ died, it also adds to the superstition that a visit by a robin (such as one entering the home) foretells the passing of a loved one.

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