Each month, we are emailing a bulletin to everyone who has signed up on this site. Below is the mailout from November 2018. If you like it, please sign up on our Get Involved section - you will be showing your support for our work and you will receive our free monthly bulletins a month before they appear here. Have a look at our first bulletin to find out more about how RPC was formed and why we are progressing the idea of reducing traffic in the park by charging for shortcut journeys.
A BIG UP-SETT
Another round of road closures is looming - and although it may sound like we’re making this up, the blame can be firmly placed on the park’s pesky badgers. You may recall from a previous bulletin that the black-and-white blighters have made tunnels and a sett near Robin Hood roundabout. Now a survey has revealed that their underground burrowing has caused such extensive damage that the road, believe it or not, could collapse at any time.
That means the road from Robin Hood Roundabout to the bridge over Beverley Brook is due to close for approximately five weeks while works take place. Keep an eye on Facebook for the announcement of the start date. Depending on progress, the road may reopen over Christmas. In the meantime, you are advised to ride the Tamsin Trail instead while the works are ongoing, although some may prefer the tarmac route past Pen Ponds car park to Sheen Cross.
So why, you may be wondering, will the process take so long? Because Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which means the welfare of the badgers has to pass a higher test than elsewhere. Permits for this kind of work can take several months to be granted, so if The Royal Parks had waited for signs of structural failure before acting, then the outcome would probably be more chaotic and take even longer to resolve.
The badgers are thought to have left the sett, but to avoid the risk of harm if they return, the contractors will install 106 metres of fence going two metres into the ground, hand-digging and weaving around the protected tree roots. They can only do this work from the road, so it will be closed in advance of the excavation and reconstruction. The Royal Parks is asking all cyclists not to ride up to the barriers and walk around them as the verge will be a working site. Keep a lookout for signs and respect their instructions. Courtesy to the contractors and other park users is much appreciated by The Royal Parks and genuinely helps.
Let’s hope the badgers are equally courteous to the contractors and don’t decide to break back in to their abandoned home - or the work may take much longer than anticipated!
MEETING THE NEW GUY
The Royal Parks has recently appointed a new head of transport, and we had a very encouraging meeting with him this week. Matthew Bonomi, who is a cyclist himself, previously lived in Melbourne where he was responsible for implementing transport programmes for nine years. We presented our proposal for Intelligent Road Charging to reduce the number of shortcut journeys made by motor vehicles through the park, and Matthew’s response was very reassuring. After many months of meetings and consultations with interested parties regarding IRC, we think it may be time to hand over the idea to The Royal Parks. Richmond Park Cyclists will be keeping a watch on its progress and checking if it has traction at board level. Onwards and upwards!
It’s that time of year when you can sometimes hear the faint echo of gunshot if you are riding on a quiet road near the park at night. That sound should be enough to warn you off from entering, but for the avoidance of doubt you should avoid the park after dark until the deer cull ends, which is pencilled in for the morning of Friday 14 December. The cull may take longer or be over sooner than anticipated, so keep an eye out for signs by the gates.
SEE YOU NEXT MONTH
That’s all for this bulletin. Thank you to all those who have picked up one of our postcards in the past few weeks and become new subscribers as a result. As ever, please share this newsletter with your cycling friends - and if they like what they read, encourage them to sign up to our mailing list too.
All the best,
Richmond Park Cyclists