" ..a very special place ..." says Sir David Attenborough
Visitors to Richmond Park can get a wealth of information about its illustrious history and breathtaking wildlife with the publication this week of a new guide book (£9.99 rrp).
The park was established by King Charles I in 1637 and opened its gates to the public in 1872 – but despite its popularity - this jewel in the crown of London’s Royal Parks has not previously had its own guide book.
With nearly three million visitors a year, the Friends of Richmond Park (FRP) decided that this gap in the market should be filled and the result is The Guide to Richmond Park, a compact yet informative and broad-based 140-page handbook published on March 28th.
As Sir David Attenborough says in his foreword to the guide:
“Richmond Park is a very special place…(its) wildlife is exceptional particularly for somewhere so close to a major urban centre.”
The guide features chapters not only on the park's famous wildlife but also its history, ecology, trees, gardens, buildings, how it is managed, and even how visitors can help preserve and conserve its fragile environment.
The park is London's largest Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve and a European Special Area of Conservation.
Its exceptional wildlife and biodiversity includes:
About 300 red and 330 fallow deer
130,000 trees, of which 1,400 are veterans, including some oaks over 750 years old
The largest area of protected acid grassland in London
11 species of bat (there are 16 in the whole of the UK)
1,350 species of beetle and 730 species of butterfly and moth
Nearly 60 species of nesting birds – while double that number visit the park
The park's Royal connections pre-date Charles I by 400 years. It has strong associations with Henry VIII, six other kings and three prime ministers. In more recent times it was used as an Olympic village for the 1948 London Olympics and for organising the first London Marathon.
The guide captures much of its history and wildlife with nearly 300 colour photographs - while a handy, fold-out card map enables visitors to explore the park, appreciate its features and hidden treasures and also find the loos and cafes!
The suggested retail price is £9.99, and is available from outlets in the park as well as local bookshops and other retailers. It can also be purchased online via the FRP website, www.frp.org.uk.
The Friends of Richmond Park, which has over 1,700 members, is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is a charity whose objective is to conserve the park, its natural beauty and wildlife, and to advance public education about the park.
The organisation offers a wide range of activities, including:
Funding conservation projects and working with park management on conservation initiatives.
Providing volunteers to staff the Visitor Centre, for conservation work, and for work documenting the history of the park.
Organising educational activities for schools and young people.
Organising guided walks, courses and talks to local societies.
Publishing a regular newsletter, a monthly email and self-guided family walks.
Lobbying park management and central and local government on conservation issues.
Resisting planning developments that threaten the park and its wildlife.
Working with park management and the police to improve observance of park regulations concerning wildlife
March 29, 2011