Lichens are organisms formed by an algae living in symbiosis with a fungi and can be readily seen growing on many surfaces in Richmond Park including tree bark, stone structures and wooden posts etc. Where the right light and moisture conditions allow lichens can be quite abundant, but they are also very much affected by air pollution. As such, they are very good indicators of how polluted the air is. Their abundance can be much better in coastal areas of the UK than within towns and cities inland. The Park has recently been surveyed for lichens and over 180 species were found – an increase from the 55 species found in 2001. Interestingly trees and structures that are new to the park since the mid 1980’s are showing greater numbers of lichens than older trees and structures. This is thought to be due to the reduction in acid rain, caused by lower levels of sulphur dioxide released from motor vehicles, power stations and factories. The historic levels of sulphur dioxide still affect the older trees whose bark will only support the more hardy species of lichen but it’s heartening to know that the environmental issues addressed in the 80’s have been successful.
Park Road Closures
In 2017 the park roads and vehicle gates will be closed to all vehicles including cyclists for major sporting events on the dates below. Pedestrian access is available and cycling is possible on the Tamsin Trail. The dates are: -
- Sunday 4th June Richmond Park 10 mile run
- Sunday 30th July Ride London cycle ride
- Sunday 17th September London Duathlon running and cycling event
Vehicle Opening Times
The Parks’ vehicle gates are closed from dusk to dawn, to reduce the number of road traffic accidents involving deer that escalate in darkness. The times change with the daylight hours but also for the 40 minutes it takes for the locking team to close the gates before it is dark. To avoid being locked in or delayed, motorists are advised to observe the closing time displayed at the gates when entering the Park and travel at the speed limit to exit before official closing time. If entering the Park with insufficient time, motorist can find their exit gate closed! Under such circumstances signs direct stranded motorists to the last gate to be locked (usually Richmond Gate) and stay in the Park to assist. If you are too late, you may end up being locked in all night! Opening times for 2017 can now be downloaded from The Royal Parks Website.
Loo of the Year Award
Richmond Park has recently won the highly prestigious ‘Loo of the Year’ award at a ceremony held in early December. The new ‘off-grid’ toilets at the Isabella Plantation won the award for the best eco-friendly toilet. The toilets are water free (with ventilation to extract any odours), heated from logs and the very low electricity requirements are met from a small generator. The building is also wooden with wooden shingles (roof tiles) to blend into the landscape.