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. Therefore 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 was 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.
December brought some wet and windy weather to Richmond 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 per 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 parks' 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 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.