Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
This well-known, distinctive and easily recognisable wildflower is found across the UK as well as Richmond Park. It thrives best in dappled shade and can grow up to 2m tall. It has tall spikes, which bear bell-shaped flowers, which are typically pink-purple with darker coloured spots on the lower lip of the flower. A single foxglove can produce over a million seeds but the seeds can often lie dormant for many years if the conditions are not favourable. Foxgloves are adapted to be pollinated by bees, especially long-tongued bees such as the common carder bee. They are attracted to the brightly coloured flowers and the lower lip means that they are able to land before climbing up the tube. It is during this process that the bee will dislodge pollen and transfer it to another plant. The mottled markings on the flowers were also once thought to be the handprints of fairies. In fact, in Gaelic, it was called lus nam ban-sith meaning 'the fairy woman's plant' because the plants grow in woodland. Foxgloves also grow alongside roadside verges, hedgerows, heaths, banks and in gardens so it can be easily spotted across the Park now until September.
Oak Processionary Moth:
Careful surveying of the park will be continued in July to locate nests which are then removed by specialist operatives using protective clothing and equipment. If you come across the caterpillars or their webbed nests, please do not touch them and keep children and pets away. Please call the Park Office on 0300 061 2250 to report any sightings.
The Holly Lodge Centre will once again be linking with the Mission Invertebrate team to bring the learning to you so you can get close to nature and learn more about the wonderful world of invertebrates that thrive in Richmond Park. There will be bug trails, interactive story-telling, creative craft activities and invertebrate missions galore. No booking is required and all the activities are free so come along on the following days:
- Tuesday 24th July - Isabella Plantation from 11:00am to 2:00pm
- Wednesday 25th July - Isabella Plantation from 11:00am to 2:00pm
- Thursday 26th July - Roehampton Gate Garden from 11:00am to 2:00pm
Safer Parks Police Panel:
The Park has its own police liaison group, the “Safer Parks Police Panel”, which is similar to Police Liaison Groups in your neighbourhood. It operates on the same basis and its core function is to monitor the police by setting priorities and measuring subsequent performance. The Panel meets quarterly and comprises of 15 people representing the many park visitors, including cyclists, dog walkers, residents, the Friends and local councillors. The Royal Parks Regulations have to be enforced and visitor safety is of primary concern but we are of course fortunate that the Park is safe and conventional crime is very low.
Bracken dominates large areas of the Park so we will be cutting, spraying and rolling using horse-drawn bracken rollers throughout July and into August. Bracken has the ability to smother more sensitive habitats such as the acid grassland areas so this work helps to control its spread, ensures other species are able to establish and prevents a dominant monoculture of bracken from establishing across the Park.
The deer are still giving birth to their young in July so please keep out of the nursery areas, which all have signs up. Keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and please do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range. Deer can feel threatened by dogs, so please keep your dog on a lead or under close control and avoid the remote quiet places where the deer are more likely to have their young.
Park Road Closures:
The Park will be closed to traffic all day on Sunday 29th July for the Ride London event. It will also be closed on Sunday 16th September for the Duathlon event.