Grass snakes are present in the park and, although a population estimate has not been conducted, juveniles are seen regularly and they therefore breed well.
Like all reptiles they are 'cold blooded' which means they cannot regulate their own body temperature. They rely on high daytime temperatures and radiated warmth to be active and can be found basking in the sun on dark surfaces.
Grass snakes are incredibly shy and sense vibrations from anyone approaching, quickly disappearing into nearby cover before being sighted. They are associated with water and can occasionally be seen swimming or lurking in ponds. The grass snake feeds predominantly on live amphibians such as frogs but may occasionally eat worms, fish and small mammals.
New and improved bridge on the Tamsin Trail
The pedestrian and cycling bridge that crosses the Beverley Brook near Roehampton Gate has been replaced.
The old bridge had started to become tired and it was frustratingly too narrow to allow users to pass freely at peak times. The wider replacement bridge is also just a little higher to allow water at the very highest peak to pass underneath. Rails at either side of the bridge require cyclists to slow and therefore ensure they pass pedestrians safely.
It has been constructed out of green oak to ensure it is in keeping with the natural setting of the park.
Park Road Closure - 10 August 2014
The Ride London cycling event will again pass through Richmond Park this year, necessitating road closures for a full day.
In the morning several thousand amateur cyclists will pass through Richmond Park from Sheen Gate, via Richmond Gate and exiting at Kingston Gate. In the afternoon the professional cyclists will follow the same route.
The former World Champion and 25 times Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish is due to participate in this event.
Richmond Park is a great place to spectate but it is not possible to park cars or cycle on the route if not taking part. Dogs must be kept on a lead. Richmond Park is also much quieter than most summer weekends so relaxing walks can be enjoyed away from the road side.
Lost, stray and abandoned dogs
The Royal Parks recommend that all dogs in the park have a tag as well as a microchip and 3rd party insurance.
Lost dogs are usually found by their owners fairly quickly. Often they are found by other members of the public who are able to call the number on the tag and return the dog. However when there is no tag the Royal Parks are usually contacted.
Around 50 such cases get reported to the Park office and almost always because the dog does not have a tag displaying the owner's telephone number. Sometimes they are picked up from the park roads where they are a hazard to vehicles and themselves, only rarely are they genuinely abandoned.
A microchip proves ownership of a dog but does not help to return a dog quickly. The chip needs to be read with a scanner and only dog wardens can match the code with the owner database. Without a tag the reuniting process usually takes several hours or even days and can result in the dog being kennelled outside normal working hours, which is charged to the owner.
It's far cheaper and simpler to always ensure your dog has a tag and worth keeping spares for when it needs replacing.