Today I need to go to Richmond, and I decide to use the opportunity and visit Richmond Park, which I haven’t been to before. All I’ve heard of it is that it has a large variety of wildlife and you could occasionally spot deer, roaming freely around the park territory.
My plan is to enter through the Robin Hood gate on the southern side and walk all the way up north to the Richmond gate. So I take the Wimbledon-bound District Line train to Putney Bridge, where I change to bus no. 85 and get off at the Robin Hood Lane stop.
Then I need to walk back via Kingston Vale road. Here are some houses with gardens along the road.
And here I am finally in the park.
It looks enormous and it is a proper wildlife park, so very different from all the other parks one is used to in London. It looks very empty too – not because there aren’t any visitors, but rather because it’s so big that everyone is scattered all over the place.
By the way, I’m not wandering around purposelessly – I’m actually heading to the Isabella Plantation, which is supposed to be really beautiful.
Unfortunately, there are still no deer in sight, and that’s when I start getting anxious whether I’m going to see them at all.
Finding the Isabella Plantation turns out to be a much more difficult task than I imagined as well. There aren’t any signs around, and my GPS keeps showing that I’m 5 minutes away, but whichever way I go, it’s just not there!
Eventually I do find it, of course. I’ve been literally next to it all the time, but just didn’t recognise it as the Isabella Plantation, until I found the entrance gate.
The place looks stunning indeed, with those arching trees and lovely flowers.
I take this picture, admiring the view of that blossoming bush and the cosy little house in the background, but as I walk further and realise that the cosy house is in fact a public toilet, I definitely feel less excited 😀
A slight disappointment awaits me here: the azalea bushes surrounding the Still Pond have finished blossoming, so I don’t see that magical mix of colours of all tones of red, pink and crimson, which the Isabella Plantation is famous for.
Some of the azalea shrubs around the plantation are still blossoming, however.
And so are some other plants, which I lack the botanical knowledge to identify.
There is yet another pond which I see before leaving the plantation – it is called the Peg’s Pond.
These are the tiniest ducklings I have ever seen!
This is the way out of the Isabella Plantation back into the main park.
Then I notice these guys from afar. At first, I’m not even sure if they are large stones or actual animals. But as I get off the path and walk closer through the high grass, there’s no doubt.
I try not to come too close, though, as the park rules mention a 50-metre distance as a minimum. They don’t seem to be scared at all, except that every time I make another step towards them, they turn and stare at me for a short moment before going back to their lunch.
I wonder why they don’t have antlers, they must be either young or females – not really sure how it works.
My next destination is the Pen Ponds, which are the largest ponds in the park according to the map and are said to host a lot of wildlife.
I hope, these photos properly do the job of reflecting how vast and spacious Richmond park actually is.
I reach the ponds in about 15 minutes.
There are actually two of them, separated by a wide path, and one seems to be located slightly higher than the other.
There’s nothing particularly interesting about the Pen Ponds, to be frank, there isn’t even that much wildlife around, except for these few birds.
It’s a straight walk from the ponds to the Richmond gate, which takes me another 15 to 20 minutes.
And at the very end of the park, just when I thought I wouldn’t spot any more wildlife – surprise-surprise!
This time I’m also trying to follow the rules and keep distance, but it’s now the deer who ignore these rules and keep approaching all of us standing there with our cameras.
Well, I guess, when you are in a herd and you have those terrifying antlers, pathetic little people are nothing to be afraid of.
This picture is my absolute favourite – I just love the expression on the face of that deer in the front!
Done with the park – I am now out in the town!
I need to get to the Richmond station, so I’m walking up Queen’s Road.
The streets of Richmond look relatively empty. I think it’s a normal sight for a Sunday afternoon in a small town.
As in many other places, people take their gardens, whether large or small, quite seriously and plant really nice bushes and flowers.
This is St Matthias’s Church.
And here is where my journey ends, as I’ve reached my destination!