European Eels (Anguilla anguilla)
European eels are long, thin fish that are around 60-100cm in length. They live on a diet of fish and invertebrates and can rotate their bodies at 14 rotations per second. The world record by a human figure skater is just over 5 rotations per second! They once thrived in London’s rivers but since the 1980’s; the numbers have dramatically declined by over 65% in the UK and 95% worldwide. The eels have a fascinating life cycle that involves one of the natural world’s most amazing migrations. They start life as eggs, almost 4,000 miles from the UK in the Sargasso Sea, and then hatch into larvae which drift along on ocean currents for about 300 days towards our shores. The larvae then transform into glass eels and head to estuaries and rivers, in search of fresh water. When they find fresh water, the glass eels change yet again into miniature adult eels called elvers. Elvers can take up to 20 years to become mature adults but then return to the ocean and make the epic journey back to the Sargasso Sea to breed. European eels are a critically endangered species and face a number of major threats such as overfishing, barriers to migration, changes in climate and ocean currents as well as disease. Whilst you can’t see them below the surface of the water, we are delighted that the recent fish survey carried out on Pen Ponds highlighted a range of year classes appeared to be present, which means both the Ponds and the Beverley Brook provide an important home for eels.
Oak Processionary Moth
June is the time of year when the caterpillars of this non-native invasive Moth are on the move and may be seen “processing” around the trunk or branches of oak trees. They can sometimes appear very close to the ground. The hairs of the caterpillars carry a toxin, which can be harmful to human and animal health, causing skin rashes, eye irritation and respiratory problems. In April and May, targeted pesticide spraying took place on oaks in busy areas of the park and areas that have previously been heavily infested. This is followed by careful surveying of the park in June and 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 deer are now giving birth to their young until July. The young are often hidden by their mothers amongst the tall bracken and longer grass and are vulnerable to disturbance from humans and dogs so please respect the deer and the signs that have been put up and keep out of the nursery areas. Always keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and be aware of your surroundings so that you do not come between a mother and her calf, and do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range. Deer can feel threatened by dogs, even over long distances, so please use alternative places if possible. If you choose to walk in the Park, please keep your dog on a lead or under close control and stay clear of the remote quiet places where the deer are more likely to have their young.
Horse & Carriage Rides
Mid-summer in Richmond Park is a glorious time of year and what better way to experience it than on a traditional carriage drawn by majestic Shire horses. In liaison with Operation Centaur, horse and carriage rides will be operating from Friday 1st June to Sunday 1st July on various evenings and weekends. Proceeds from the horse drawn rides will help fund important conservation work and sustainable initiatives using the working Shire horses across The Royal Parks. To make a booking, please visit: https://www.royalparks.org.uk/whats-on/upcoming-events
Park Road Closures
We will be re-surfacing Robin Hood roundabout under a complete Road closure from Tuesday 12th to Thursday 14th June 2018. The road will be closed between Roehampton Gate and Broomfield Hill to allow the road resurfacing and tree safety works to be undertaken. This section of the road will also be closed to cyclists so please use alternative routes, divert to the Tamsin Trail or dismount and walk around. Broomfield Hill Car Park will remain open.
“Please take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time”