The park has, since its enclosure, contained herds of deer that browse all woody vegetation. This means that if trees are planted they need to be protected. Individual trees are protected with 3 or 4 sided wooden guards, whilst small group plantings and woodlands are protected with a fence. Our trees are routinely assessed for safety and if required we conduct work to reduce the likelihood of them failing. Occasionally we are limited in the amount of work we can do, and the most practicable solution is to fence a tree off to exclude people from the tree. We may also fence to protect tree roots from soil compaction in heavily walked locations. Fences are also installed if we need to establish new vegetation following ground works. A few of the parks ponds have been fenced following de-silting works and are kept in place to allow invertebrates a chance to re-colonise the clear, un-disturbed waters that can only occur if dogs are excluded.
Toad in the Road!
March is the time of year that the Royal Parks like to remind road users of the toads, frogs and newts presence. As the weather becomes milder and wetter these amphibians come of hibernation and migrate to their traditional spawning grounds in the parks ponds, ditches and lakes. If it so happens that the park suddenly turns wet and mild after a long dry cold spell then we can experience one or two nights of exceptional activity on the park roads with many amphibians all over the tarmac. They often look like leaves or a stick and are of course vulnerable to being squashed. The vehicle gates are closed to motor traffic at night but cyclists are asked to keep an eye out.
Pen Ponds Car Park Works
During March, contractors working on behalf of the Royal Parks are due to undertake works at Pen Ponds Car Park. They are primarily improving the areas surrounding the car park to improve access and the general landscape. At present the car park is appreciated by wheel chair users, because its location gives good access onto the roads that are closed to motor vehicles. Unfortunately the paths that link the car park to the roads are uneven, have steps curbs, tree roots and suffer from seasonal flooding. These issues are due to be addressed and we will install better benches and a car free accessible area for visitors to gather before venturing out into the park.
Pen Ponds Plantation
Pen Ponds Plantation has for a number of years been cleared of Rhododendron ponticum by the Friends of Richmond Park volunteers. The clearance has revealed just how dilapidated the perimeter fence is and this March the exposed stretch of fence is due to be replaced by contractors. Inside the fence the volunteers will continue to plant Blackthorn and Hawthorn as a boundary screen that will provides blossom and berries for the benefit of our many insects and birds.