Saturday, 24 November 2018

Richmond Park, yes deer.

18th November 2018

On a sunny autumn Sunday afternoon got the train from Camberley to Richmond (just making the connection at Ascot) and a 65 bus to The Dysart, close to the gate into Richmond Park near the playground. Inside the gate turned left and headed uphill to King Henry's Mound a viewpoint with a telescope which has a (protected by planning laws) view of St. Pauls Cathedral, 10 miles distant in the City of London.  At least it does if you can get anywhere near it, which on a busy Sunday afternoon with lots of families queuing up little Tarquin and Amelia for a go I couldn't. Fortunately this highest point in Richmond Park also has panoramic views over the Thames Valley to the west. 

Having taken in the views I headed northwest from the mound, crossing Queen's Road where there are good distant views of London, many walkers, quite a few MAMILs, kite fliers, even a couple of picnickers well wrapped up as despite the sunshine it wasn't particularly warm.

Continuing across the open space towards Sawyer's Hill I also got my first sight of Richmond Park's deer. Fallow Deer in this case. Though wild they are so used to people that unlike most other places in the UK where a deer sighting is usually of its disappearing rump, or of half a ton of potential venison jumping out of a hedge in front of your car at night, these deer almost pose for photographs.

Carrying on northwest across Sawyer's Hill and heading downhill towards Sheen under clear skies and with no clear plan of where to walk to next I almost missed the next herd of deer, blending into their surroundings as well as they do it was the sound of antlers clashing that made me look across to a small stand of trees where a sizeable group of Red Deer were grazing in the late afternoon sun. 

Though the deer were some distance off and the other side of a fence fortunately I'd brought my camera with me rather than just a mobile phone so was able to get some half-decent shots using the long zoom lens and resting my elbow on a fencepost.

I spent a little while here taking photos and watching as the two stags tussled in a fairly leisurely fashion, the hinds grazed around them, and most of the other walkers carried on by without taking much notice. Either locals accustomed to the sight or too engrossed in their conversations to notice I suppose.

Time was pressing on and the light would soon start to fade so I put the camera away and walked on toward Sheen. Downhill and easy going on one of the many paths leading toward Sheen Gate where there is a car park and more importantly a public toilet which I was really hoping would still be open on a Sunday afternoon in November (It was thankfully, well done The Royal Parks)

And then I came across The Poseur. So I had to get the camera out again.

Just sitting in the long grass in the fading light next to a path busy with walkers, cyclists, and dogs a solitary large stag.

He didn't seem at all concerned about the people or the dogs, just lay there head erect watching us watching and photographing him - in some cases from quite close up though I made use of the zoom lens as seemed more prudent with a large wild animal with a big set of pointy antlers attached.

Onward down into Sheen and to Mortlake station to catch a train into town, the light fading now as four o'clock approached and everybody heading home from the park.

Richmond Park is a good place to visit. I'm glad I went by public transport (despite delayed trains) as a previous attempted visit at a weekend by car had failed because all the carparks were full to the point of queuing up outside which is no fun (I went to Ham House instead that time) and if you haven't got to retrace your steps to get back to the car you get to see more park and less car park.

As usual more photos in this Flickr Album.

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