Richmond Park National Nature Reserve
Presented by Sir David Attenborough
Richmond Park is the largest of London’s royal parks. But it’s more than that; it's a National Nature Reserve.
It's a place to walk, contemplate and enjoy the natural world away from the bustle and bright lights.
This magical space provides peace and tranquility for millions of Londoners to escape the daily grind, but is also a home to thousands of wildlife species.
Richmond Park’s proximity to London has become its greatest challenge.
With over 5 and half million people visiting the Park annually there is more and more pressure on the Park's fabric and wildlife.
Read on to meet some of the film's stars; deer, oak trees and stag beetles.
To keep his deer from straying, King Charles enclosed his new hunting ground with an 8mile long, 9ft high wall. Centuries later, it is still here and today 600 red and fallow deer roam free in the park. They have a profound impact on the whole of the park’s ecology.
The deer reach up to eat the leaves on low hanging branches of the oaks, giving them the characteristic browse line about 6 feet above ground.
In early summer a new generation of young deer arrives; they take their first steps within 20 minutes of being born and will stay in hiding for the first weeks of life.
The Park has over 1,400 ancient or 'veteran' trees, mostly oaks, up to 800 years old.
An oak tree, like the park itself, is a thriving ecosystem with hundreds of different species of plants and animals living amongst it.
Oak and other trees give food to the foraging deer and are also vital to hundreds of other species that depend on them, and live amongst them.
Decaying wood is a fundamental habitat and source of food for many small animals, especially beetles.
The biggest beetle in the park is the stag beetle. In fact the Park is one of the most important breeding sites for these magnificent creatures. And the reason for that, at least in part, is the amount of dead wood that’s allowed to accumulate on the ground.
The beetle larvae live in the rotting wood, spending up to six years eating it and growing as large as possible. When the stag-beetles emerge from the dead wood in late spring, they will only live for a few weeks, but their short lives will, none-the-less, be dramatic.
Take nothing from the Park
· Wildflowers, trees, nuts, acorns and fungi are all essential food sources for birds, bees and deer.
· Fallen wood is home to many insects, so leave it where it is.
Leave nothing behind
· Take home or clear anything not naturally found in the park.
· Clear up after your dog.
· Take home litter or put in bins provided so deer don't eat it!
Respect the wildlife
· Give the park deer plenty of room (50 metre distance), especially during birthing and the rut.
· Keep your dog on a lead in sensitive areas and near deer.
· If you’re on foot, stay on established paths and keep away from the ant hills.
· If you’re on a bike stick to the roads and bike trail.
And please don’t light a fire or barbecue.