Sir David Attenborough launches Richmond Park Ponds & Streams conservation appeal.
The Queen’s visit to Richmond Park on May 15 will see a new Jubilee Pond being created in her honour and to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee.
Sir David Attenborough, Patron of the local charity the Friends of Richmond Park, will dig the first spade of earth and hand over the pond to The Royal Parks (which manages Richmond Park) for completion.
Located on the road from Sheen Cross to the Royal Ballet School, the pond is next to the area of the community celebrations which The Queen will visit during the Wild London Jubilee event, which will be held on Richmond Park’s sports fields on May 15.
The aim of the new pond is to create a freshwater habitat for a range of species including invertebrates, amphibians, birds and bats. It also aims to retain water in the Park, to help to counteract the effects of climate change.
Jubilee Pond joins other commemorative royal features in the Park: two Coronation Plantations (for Edward VII in1902 and the present Queen in 1953); King George V’s Jubilee Plantation; Queen Mother’s Copse and Prince Charles’ Spinney.
The Jubilee Pond will cost £10 to 15,000 to construct. Core funding for the pond is being provided by Healthy Planet, the conservation charity, who will match pound for pound all donations made through the public appeal.
The Friends of Richmond Park has also launched a public appeal for the entire Ponds and Streams Conservation Programme and they have initially contributed £40-50,000 of funding towards the target of £200-300,000 for the whole programme.
Jubilee Pond is the first project in the Ponds and Streams Conservation Programme, in which the Friends will be working with staff from The Royal Parks to restore many of the ponds and streams over the next 2-3 years. There are more than 30 ponds in Richmond Park and miles of streams running through the Park.
Richmond Park Ponds and Streams Programme
The Friends of Richmond Park, The Royal Parks and the Richmond Park Wildlife Group have launched a Ponds and Streams Conservation Programme with Sir David Attenborough as the programme’s patron.
Why is it Needed?
Richmond Park’s ponds and streams are its lifeblood, helping to sustain a vast array of wildlife. However, they are under threat from disturbance, gradual silting and erosion, nutrient inputs, aquatic weeds that are detrimental to a healthy ecological balance within the waters and from the drier weather caused by climate change.
The Royal Parks has been working over recent years to reverse this situation, including the creation of new small ponds and scrapes and the restoration of Adam’s Pond. Now, the Ponds and Streams Conservation Programme aims to accelerate this effort and restore many of the existing ponds and streams over the next 2-3 years. Its patron is Sir David Attenborough, a Richmond resident and long-standing lover of the Park.
What will the programme do?
The programme has nine separate projects to either create new freshwater habitat or improve the quality of existing ponds and streams. They include creation of a new Jubilee Pond, improvements to the water and habitat quality of Ham Gate Pond and enhancement of Beverley Brook so that it better supports wildlife. Other projects may be added, for example the creation of new mires.
The first projects will be Jubilee Pond, Martin’s Pond (near Robin Hood Gate) and Gallows Pond (near Kingston Gate).
The Royal Parks’ Ecology Team and the Richmond Park Wildlife Group will lead on ecological and wildlife issues, the Friends of Richmond Park will lead on fundraising and public information, and The Royal Parks will manage the design and construction work.
How will it be funded?
The total cost of all nine projects is £200-300,000. The Friends and the Park Visitor Centre, which is run by the Friends, will contribute £40-50,000 core funding. Other funds will be raised from companies and private individuals, trusts and public agencies, and the general public. Projects will go ahead when money is available.
Jubilee Pond commemorates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and is part of the Park’s contribution to the celebrations. It is also the first project in the Ponds and Streams Conservation Programme and Appeal.
Sir David Attenborough will inaugurate the construction of the pond at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Richmond Park on May 15.
Jubilee Pond takes the outfall from Pen Ponds, which flows along an existing small stream between open areas of grassland, and from Barn Wood Pond (near the road to Richmond Gate) which is brought by an existing ditch and piped connection. The outfall from the new pond will flow along the back of the rugby pitches into Beverley Brook and from there into the Thames, at Barnes Wetlands.
The pond’s sinuous design creates an interesting feature which avoids a protected oak on its north side and a mound on its south side, which runs up the hill toward White Lodge. The history of the mound is unknown but is potentially an important part of the underlying archaeological heritage of the Park.
The ponds will be shallow (maximum 1.5m deep) and alder trees will be planted alongside the north bank. Plants will naturally colonise the pond and its margins, but other native species, characteristic of the area, will be planted to increase diversity. The pond will be fenced for the first few years to prevent damage to the new planting by deer and dogs.
The conservation charity, Healthy Planet, is providing the core funding for the Jubilee Pond and will match pound for pound everything raised through the public appeal.