Book Cover - Family Trails in Richmond Park

Friends of Richmond Park have just published a new book specially designed for families to get the most out of the Park. It’s called Family Trails and it is now on sale in bookshops and on the Friends website, www.frp.org.uk.. All profits from sales of the book go back to the charity and conservation projects in the Park and as the Government has slashed park funding by over 25%, buying this book could really help preserve and improve the Park. The book also includes a forward by one of the UK’s leading children’s authors, Jacqueline Wilson, a Patron of the Friends.

The following is from a press release…

Author, naturalist and Richmond Park explorer, Susanna Ramsey, takes the reader on six discovery trails in this new book published by The Friends of Richmond Park. Each of the walks in Family Trails in Richmond Park has over 20 things to see and explore, from deer watering holes to strange trees and even a Victorian police box. The book is beautifully illustrated with 180 colour photographs and detailed maps as Susanna takes the reader/walker into the heart of the Park to discover its wildlife, history and many fascinating and unusual features.

Susanna was inspired to write the booklet after many outings in Richmond Park with her young daughter. She says in the introduction:

“Walking and particularly walking slowly is the way to discover the Park and its wildlife. You see, hear and smell nature in a way that you would never experience running, cycling or even striding out. These trails take you to places in the Park where you can fully use your senses to experience its nature.”

Friends’ patron and renowned children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson, whose latest book Lily Alone is set in Richmond Park, says in her foreword to Family Trails:

“I really love Richmond Park. I’ve been going for wonderful walks there ever since I was six years old.

“This book will help you explore every corner of Richmond Park. Six very different trails lead you deep into the Park, uncovering all kinds of secrets on the way.”

Family Trails in Richmond Park is produced and designed by the same people who worked on the best-selling Guide to Richmond Park published earlier this year by the Friends.

Richmond 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 – double that number visit the Park

The Park was enclosed by Charles 1 in 1637 as a deer park for hunting, but its history and Royal connections go back another 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 London Olympics of 1948 and for organising the first London Marathon.

Family Trails captures much of the history and wildlife of the Park. Each walk has 20-25 things to see and explore, including wildlife, ancient trees, fungi, ponds and streams and historic buildings; each is illustrated by a photograph so that the walker will recognise it when they get there. The names of the walks – Three Gates and a Dark Hill Walk, Distant Views Walk, The Ponds Walk – give the reader a hint of what they will see. There are individual maps for each walk, and a handy fold-out card map that enables visitors to explore the Park, appreciate its features and hidden treasures and also find the loos and caf├Ěs! The suggested retail price is £6.99, and, as well as being sold in the Park and through local bookshops and other outlets, it may be purchased online via the FRP website, www.frp.org.uk.

The Friends of Richmond Park, which has over 1,800 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. It was founded in 1961 after a conversation between two local women in a greengrocer’s shop in Richmond about the need to combat the steady urbanisation of the Park, particularly the encroachment of through traffic. Sir John Betjeman and Sir Julian Huxley were early supporters. The Friends of Richmond Park has a wide range of activities, including :

  1. Funding conservation projects and working with Park management on conservation initiatives
  2. Providing volunteers to staff the Visitor Centre, for conservation work, and for work documenting the history of the Park
  3. Organising educational activities for schools and young people
  4. Organising guided walks, courses and talks to local societies
  5. Publishing a regular newsletter, a monthly email, a Park guidebook and self-guided family walks
  6. Lobbying park management and central and local government on conservation issues
  7. Resisting planning developments that threaten the Park and its wildlife
  8. Working with Park management and the police to improve observance of Park regulations concerning wildlife