A Stroll in Richmond Park

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I spent a couple of days visiting my daughter in Surrey. After a morning of gardening we decided to skip a visit to Wisley and instead head off to Richmond Park, one of the Royal Parks in London. It’s a place we’ve been to before when the grandchildren were small, but not for many years for me.

Isabella’s Plantation was a favourite spot with a pretty stream leading to a pond and stepping stones and tiny bridges for youngsters to enjoy, but it was rather disappointing to find it very overgrown with reeds, Greater Willow herb and Joe Pye Weed in particular. So much so that we couldn’t even see the stream and most of the ponds were hidden from view. I’m all for rewilding places, but they still require management and maintenance. However, it is still a popular place for families to find some peace and enjoy a picnic (relatively speaking as huge planes pass overhead constantly and the non-native ring-necked green parakeets screech above your head).

Isabella Plantation

The Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830’s. First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams and at their peak of flower in late April and early May. The site is managed very much with nature in mind and the gardens are run on organic principles. Native plants commonly grow alongside exotics throughout the Plantation. [source: Isabella Plantation]

I think spring time is probably the best season to visit this garden as there are many camellias and rhododendrons and azaleas planted and the native stuff would have died down over the winter.

Peg’s Pond Gate

We exited through Peg’s Pond Gate and walked around the perimeter of the garden under the large trees – oaks, beech, horse chestnuts – enjoying the filtered light and listening to the parakeets. It must have been a welcome shady place to be during the heatwave.

Dappled shade

On arriving back at the car park we decided to walk up to Pen Ponds in the centre of the park so the dog could have a run off the lead. You still need to be careful with your dog as there are deer roaming freely in the park and during May – August dogs must be kept on leads throughout the park.

Pen Pond Reflections

By the time we reached the ponds the sky had turned very black to the south, though still blue towards London. Despite the look of those clouds it didn’t rain a single drop.

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And we were lucky enough to see a few of the deer.

Jo’s Monday Walks

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Heyjude

I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

25 thoughts on “A Stroll in Richmond Park”

  1. Very enticing photos, Jude! Those first very delicate ones are delightful, and the woodland glade. Love the black and white bikes too. Life in the country has not fitted you for London parks, has it, but you’re right- this one would be wonderful in April or May. Many thanks, hon!

  2. As I told you, this visit of yours was a real piece of nostalgia for me. Back in my day it was more assertively ‘managed’ I guess, but it still seemed a fairly wild and lovely place to a townie like me.

    1. The whole park is rather lovely and wild with all the trees and the open spaces, but this little garden has been left a bit too native. The reeds and Joe Pye Weed far too overgrown.

        1. I didn’t photograph it as I have some at home although I have pulled a lot out. Mine is the common one but looks exactly the same. Butterflies like it.

    1. Must be about 11 years since my last visit which would have been in spring time. Nice to have all this open space on your doorstep if you live in and around the capital.

    1. Indeed. We’re thinking of having a week in London and spending time visiting the museums and parks. Maybe next spring if we can find a reasonably cheap hotel.

  3. Still a lovely visit although it’s a shame about the steam. I’m with you on that. I really enjoyed the photo of the dapples shade with the great trees and the B&W of the bikes. Nice to see the deer, too.

  4. What beautiful photographs, Jude. The way your photos represented the garden, it looks like someplace I would like to visit. (Getting there would be a bit of a hassle for me, however.)

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