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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 14th January 2006
Richmond park

We took the 10am train from Crawley to Richmond Park in London to explore it and see if we could spot any Red Deer. The park is huge and is full of very old oak trees and the policy is to leave the trees to rot when they die. As a consequence there are many gnarled and hollow ones. This gives the place a real character that you should try to check out for yourself.
As well as the Red and Fallow deer, we saw a Bullfinch, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Green Woodpeckers, Goldfinches, Jays, a Song Thrush as well as many Ring-necked Parakeets. The latter are birds that are descended from escaped pets and they seem to have made the park their own. Although they are undoubtedly very pretty, they make a hell of a noise. 
On the lakes (Pen Ponds) we saw Cormorants, Herons, Tufted Ducks, Great-crested Grebes, Red crested Pochard, Gadwalls and some Egyptian Geese.
The red deer were great, there must have been about 100 in all and they allowed us to get really close. There was an even larger number of fallow deer.
If you want to get to Richmond from Crawley by train, then take the London train as far as Clapham Common and then change to the train heading for Reading. This will take you through Barnes (where there is a wildfowl place that is well worth visiting also) and onto Richmond. It will take about an hour for the whole trip.

Here's a map of the park. Not too easy to make out I'm afraid. From top to bottom it is about  3 miles, so a walk round the whole park is a full blown hike.

Parts of the park are covered in rhododendrons and are fenced off to keep the deer out.

Most of it is open heathland with ponds and grasses that provide cover for nesting birds.
From march to June all dogs must be on leads to stop them from disturbing the birds.

There are also many woody areas inhabited by parakeets and woodpeckers.

There are fantastic old trees all over the park and they're homes for all kinds of birds, bats and many species of insects.
There have been over 1000 species of beetle found in the park. 

Plenty of places to stay in the park. 

The best place in the country for getting close to Red Deer. This would not be possible in Scotland.

There are also many fallow deer in the park, and because of my use of the flash, they all came out looking like aliens!