Remember, remember, wildlife this November...
The clocks have gone back and we are now waking up to dark, cold mornings but hopefully this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the beauty of Richmond Park, as we welcome in the last month of autumn.
The 5th of November is well known for Guy Fawkes and every year the effigy of Guy Fawkes is still burned on bonfires across England in recognition of his part in the failed 'Gunpowder Plot' of 1605.
Bonfires and fireworks are not permitted in Richmond Park but, if you’re having a bonfire at home, please remember to check underneath any logs or leaves first and before you light it, for animals such as toads, small mammals and hedgehogs that may have hibernated.
Many species are now reducing their activities, fattening up and preparing themselves for the cold, winter months but it’s a great time to visit Pen Ponds, as migratory birds such as Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall come to visit to avoid the harsher winters of Northern and Eastern Europe.
English Oak (Quercus robur)
The oldest, largest and most noticeable inhabitants of Richmond Park are its trees, and the park is a leading UK site for ancient trees, particularly the English oaks, which have great historical and ecological importance.
Whilst November brings with it the wonderful changing colours of autumn and the deciduous trees begin to lose their leaves, the English oaks tend to wait until November to put on their best display of colour. It is also one of the last trees to release their seeds, often relying on Jays and Grey squirrels to disperse the acorns far and wide.
During medieval times, the English regarded acorns as a good luck charm and carried them as symbols of prosperity, youthfulness and power.
Today, the acorns provide a vital food source for the deer, along with the sweet and horse chestnuts, so please do not pick or take them!
New interpretation panels
New interpretation panels have been installed and are located at all the access points and key areas of interest around the park. The panels have been redesigned and provide visitors with some useful background information about Richmond Park, the habitats and many of the species, which thrive here.
The red and fallow deer are now coming to the end of the rut but you may still hear or see the occasional stag roar or buck groan to attract the females.
However please respect the deer and this natural behaviour by keeping at least 50 meters away from them and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range.
A lot of work has been undertaken within Pen Ponds Plantation last month with the help of volunteers and contractors to try and control the Rhododendron ponticum, which is a non-native and extremely invasive plant. This work will be continued in Pen Ponds Plantation and also across Spankers Hill throughout November.
Dates for your diaries
Christmas trees will be on sale again at Roehampton Car Park. They will be available to buy on the last two weekends in November and then every day throughout December.
Horse and carriage rides will be operating in Richmond Park in liaison with Operation Centaur from Saturday 25 November through to Saturday 30 December on various days.
If you’d like to have a unique experience to explore Richmond Park with the majestic Shire horses and see the beauty and wildlife up close, please visit our upcoming events calendar for more information and to make a booking.
Please tread lightly in Richmond Park National Nature Reserve