Richmond Park is one of London’s most beautiful green spaces, and the largest and wildest of the city’s eight Royal Parks. A place of mature woodland, rolling meadows and thick shrub and ferns, it is one of my favourite spots away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The park was originally created in 1625 by King Charles I as a place to hunt deer. Today, up to 600 red and fallow deer remain in residence. These noble custodians roam freely within the expansive parkland, providing a unique wildlife experience for visitors to the park.
Living close to Richmond Park, I have spent many a day strolling its woods and meadows, escaping for just a short while from city life and being transported to an altogether more serene place. Indeed, it has become one of my favourite places in the city for quiet contemplation. The park’s deer, always elusively distant – owing to their shy and easily startled nature – but reassuringly present, offer a small glimpse of the wild in a city where wildlife can be hard to come by.
The deer of Richmond Park have become a major attraction for local and visiting photographers, offering the opportunity to capture some of the UK’s most majestic wild animals, right on the doorstep of central London.(Photo by Ree Saunders)
Open from 7.00 in the morning during the summer and 7.30 during the winter, an early-morning visit to the park is a must for wildlife lovers and aspiring photographers. On a clear day, central London rises in the distance beyond the park, providing a stunning backdrop to the natural scenery and roaming wildlife.
If you’re thinking of trying to photograph these magnificent creatures at Richmond Park, be aware of the deer’s shy nature, but also their physical prowess – these beasts are not suitable for capturing up close and personal on your iPhone. The best way to photograph the deer is with a zoom lens, at a distance of at least 50m (click here if you would like further information about safely watching and photographing the deer). Respecting the habitat of the deer by keeping dogs on leads, and taking any litter home with you is also essential to helping maintain this treasured park in its current state.
Richmond Park remains a stunning destination, and really does provide one of the finest places to spot and photograph deer. With the right equipment and a bit of patience you can remain a safe distance away from these magnificent animals, and catch a glimpse of some of the grandest wildlife the UK has to offer, in one of its most impressive parks.