by request of the fabulous Frankie

Richmond Park was formed in 1637 when Charles I built a brick wall round an 8 mile perimeter to enclose 2500 acres as a hunting park. Although he paid for the land, the dissatisfaction that this developed in the people who lived there at the time was a direct factor in his beheading.

The original wall still stands although it has been reinforced and rebuilt in places.

The park was closed to the public in 1751 by Princess Amelia when she succeeded to the Rangership of Richmond Park, but she was taken to public court and a public right-of-way was re-established in 1758.

The most famous building in the park is White Lodge, home of the Junior Royal Ballet School. The lodge was built in 1727 when it was known as Stone Lodge, and was home to various Lords and Ladies of the realm. It was finally vacated in 1954 when it became the ballet school.

On a nature note, there are more ancient Oak within Richmond park than Germany and France combined and the park has been designated an area of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature reserve. What this means is an average amble along the paths and downs of the park can reveal all sorts of bugs and other animals which live only within the boundaries of the park.

A herd of 300 red deer and 300 fallow deer lives within the park and although remarkably tolerant of the people in the park, are still very wild animals which, through the principle of Darwinism manages to catch out some of the more stupid people as they get gored and stamped to death by irritable deer during mating season and spring.

The park is used as a thoroughfare by many people from the surrounding suburbs of Ham, Kingston, Putney and Richmond. Although there was little or no extra congestion in the surrounding roads during the foot and mouth crisis of 2001 when the park was closed to all visitors to protect the deer, recent attempts to close the roads in the park have met with much resistance by the people who live around the park.
Without road traffic the park could be a very special and totally wild place for all of London.
The Park is attempting to diminish the traffic by enforcing low speed limits within the park and removing an internal carpark which gives near access to the ponds in the centre of the park.

If you live nearby or just need to come and spend some quality tree time, there are worse places to go than Richmond park. With a 10 km shared loop trail and miles of little footpaths running across the park, you can forget that you are in London. Go on, The Big Blue Room beckons.

partial info from www.thisislondon.co.uk
www.royalparks.gov.uk



Suggested code of etiquette for cyclist and walkers.

Richmond Park has a shared walking and cycling track which is well used by both parties especially in the busy hours of the weekend and summer evenings. Here's just a few suggestions to help us live together.

Everyone

Pretend the path is a miniature road. Hang about the left hand side of things where convenient.

Walkers

You have Right of Way over anything approaching you from behind but when you straddle the path which is about wide enough for two people and one bicycle, the faster moving bicycles often can't get past and both parties get pissed off by having to change what they are doing.

Don’t worry, bikes are NOT going to hit you from behind. Carry on your stroll but leave some room for a bike or a runner to get past.

There’s no need to stop walking and grab a hold of your rugrat or miniature dog, carry on, just leave a little room for other people to get past.

Splitting down the middle is worse than pulling into single file or squished up slightly to the left. It’s unpredictable and the cyclist will be heading to the right to pass.

Cyclists

You are a lot faster than the walkers. Drop your speed a little when passing so the walkers don't get frightened (poor lambs).

When passing from behind, try and notify your presence with a bell, clicking your brake levers or even (god forbid!) saying 'Hello'.

Keep off the footpaths at all times, you have no legal right to be there.

Keep off horse trails if there is any possibility of there being horses on them at the same time (especially the clockwise downhill to the Kingston Gate). A lot of the horses are young and very scary and don’t like bikes coming near them.

Rugrats can be unpredictable. To avoid an expensive maintenance job, slow down when passing near breeder spawn. Dogs are a bit smarter but let them know you are coming with a whistle.

Don’t commit to a fast corner unless you can see all the way round. There might be a deer, another cyclist or a person coming round.

Don’t be a wanker when it is wet and hoon through puddles. Splashing walkers is bad m'kay.

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