The borough of Richmond Upon Thames is celebrated for its green spaces. Within the borough, there are more than 500 hectares of parks, playgrounds, sports grounds and conservation sites.
The parks and open spaces in Richmond Upon Thames are home to a variety of flora and fauna and provide natural habitats for many animals. They are also widely enjoyed by residents of the borough for recreation.
A selection of activities that Richmond’s parks have to offer
For runners, there is a free, weekly Parkrun in four parks in the borough. These are Bushy Park, Crane Park, Old Deer Park and Richmond Park. They take place each Saturday at 9 am. More information can be found on the Parkrun website.
There are also regular health walks that are free too. For these, you don’t even need to pre-register and don’t need any special equipment other than sturdy shoes. The Richmond website has a list of all of the health walks in the borough. Some of the walks are London Look, Capital Ring, Thames Path National Trail, Barnes Trail, River Crane Walk, Beverley Brook Walk, Urban-Rural & Riverside and Dukes River Walk.
The following parks in the borough also have free fitness equipment available to use (no booking is required): Castlenau Recreation Ground, Ham Village Green, Hampton Common, Haterop Park, Kneller Gardens, Heathfield Recreation Ground, Murray Park, Old Deer Park, North Sheen Recreation Grounds and Palewell Common & Fields.
Finally, a great Sensory Trail Experience is available at Heathfield Recreation Ground. This is a trail that you can explore with your senses and you are encouraged to interact with the objects, smell and touch objects on the trail. It is a short and accessible trail and so is a great experience for young children, children and adults with additional needs and the elderly.
Trees in the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames
This borough is well known for its greenery and foliage. There are thousands of trees in the borough’s parks, woodlands, open spaces and streets. Unlike some boroughs in London, Richmond Upon Thames has a strong tree policy and it recognises the value of trees in terms of a number of benefits they provide including social benefits, economic benefits and environmental benefits.
Trees are classed as social trees when they provide an educational resource, have interest that changes through the seasons like flowers, fruit, colour or dormancy, have historic or cultural links to areas in the Borough and prove a sense of community and place. Richmond’s social trees help to put the Borough on the map.
Having a green environment helps to encourage people to visit the Borough or even live here. Trees are even used as a tool to reduce levels of crime!
Trees for the Environment and Health
Trees absorb harmful radiation and so are great at reducing the ‘Urban Heat Island Effect’. Without these trees, radiation would be stored and emitted by urban infrastructure and would then cause temperatures in the local area to increase. Trees also intercept rainwater and so can help prevent flooding.
Since trees absorb and store radiation and greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, they are a tool in helping to reduce the impact of climate change. They also improve the air quality by removing pollutants from the air, which means they help to reduce health risks associated with living in an urban environment. In terms of other health risks that trees alleviate, they have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing and their shade helps reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Tree Management in Richmond Upon Thames
The council have an annual tree-planting programme which is sustained or increased each year. There is always the aim to replace removed trees in the same place too, or very close by if this is not possible. The Borough also try to plant diversely in order to avoid widespread diseases amongst the tree population.
Tree pruning is carried out on a cyclical basis. Tree pruning takes place when there is a need to eliminate public highway obstructions. Tree management and tree pruning will always take into account historic vistas too.
When tree pruning isn’t enough, the council will consider tree removal. This will only occur if there is a significant risk of damage or injury. The council consult with their own arboriculturalists to decide the best possible solution to any issues. If a tree is likely to cause structural damage that is significant, it will be removed.
Tree inspections are carried out at appropriate intervals and always by experienced, qualified arboriculturalists. Tree surveys are used to plan safety work and maintenance work.
General Tree Pruning in Richmond Upon Thames
The council have a regular pruning cycle. When they prune trees, they cut them back to where they were last pruned and remove higher branches that might cause an obstruction or contact with the property. The cycle is only altered when there are situations such as poor weather conditions. In these cases, tree safety is the biggest priority for tree surgeons.
Not all trees will be pruned, however. Trees are not pruned if this would cause the trees to be damaged or injured. The council cannot prune or remove trees for the following reasons:
- Shade prevention
- TV/satellite/CCTV interference
- Overhead telephone line contact
- Overhanging branches to neighbours
- Animal/insect dropping prevention or squirrel access prevention
- If trees are deemed too big
- Occurrences during different seasons e.g. flower, leaf, fruit fall and seed
Current and Planned Tree and Maintenance Work in Richmond Upon Thames
Barnes Towpath East
Beginning in November 2019, Barnes Towpath East is undergoing tree felling, tree coppicing and other major tree works. Works are taking place due to disease, decay and storm damage. A full description can be found here.
Grass Cutting and Hedge Maintenance
The council cut the grass every two to three weeks during the growing season. Shrub beds are maintained monthly and hedges are cut every six months.
Paddling Pool Maintenance
There are paddling pools at 4 open spaces in the Borough. These are Vine Road Recreation Ground, North Sheen Recreation Ground, Castelnau Recreation Ground and Palewell Common.
The council aim to open the pools at the end of May and keep them open until September.
Article was written by Louise W.