Inventory Site Record

Richmond Park *

Richmond Park * (Richmond)

Brief Description

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Richmond Park has a long history and may have first been used for hunting in the C14th when it was in the Manor of Sheen. It became a royal deer park after Henry VII built his palace at Sheen, naming it Richmond after his lands in Yorkshire. Initially called New Park, it was enclosed by Charles I who first permitted pedestrian access via ladder stiles in compensation for loss of use of the land by local people. Apart from a period after the Civil War it remained in royal ownership until 1910. When Lord Orford became Ranger in the reign of George II, he and his father Sir Robert Walpole began to improve it, building the lodges to control access. The next Ranger Princess Amelia also attempted to disbar the public, but the rights of public access were upheld in law although it was not until 1850 that carriages were allowed access. During the C20th various recreational facilities have been created including 2 golf courses, sports pitches and a polo field.

Practical Information
Site location:
Richmond Park, Surrey
TW10 5HS
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
7am (Mar-Sept); 7.30am (Oct-Feb) - 30mins before dusk daily
Special conditions:
Pembroke Lodge (café); 2 public golf courses, fishing, model boating pond, playground
Public transport:
Rail/London Overground/Tube (District): Richmond. Bus: 65, 265, 371, 485.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens, for Register Entry see

The area became known as Richmond after Henry VII renamed the royal palace at Shene 'Richmond Palace' after his lands in Yorkshire of that name. Richmond Park was initially called the New Park, so-called to distinguish it from the Old Deer Park (q.v.), and it was enclosed for a royal hunting park by Charles I in 1632-37, although earlier monarchs had hunted here. Prior to enclosure, the land had been in a mix of ownership and it was probably used as pasture and coppiced woodland. Some land was privately held, some was common land, some was manorial land leased to tenants or was manorial open fields; a large part had been within the Manor of Mortlake, held by the Archbishops of Canterbury. There were settlements at Ham, Petersham and Kingston from at least the C7th and vestiges of field boundaries, old routes and evidence of ploughing still exist in the park, which still has hundreds of ancient English oaks pre-dating enclosure, once part of old hedgerows.

Before Charles I had actually secured the land for his new park he had a 9-foot wall erected around the c.13 km area of land he desired and the enforced enclosure was unpopular in some quarters, although he paid fair compensation. However, he allowed public access on foot through the park providing gates in the wall where it crossed existing thoroughfares as well as ladders to give access to footpaths; he also continued to grant the poor the right to collect fallen wood from the park. When later Rangers (notably, Lord Robert Walpole 's son Lord Orford, followed by Princess Amelia the daughter of George II) attempted to disbar the public, these rights granted by Charles I were invoked and led to rights of public access being upheld in law. However it was not until 1850 that carriages were allowed access and only then with a permit, and in 1886 'cabs and brakes conveying pleasure parties' were permitted.

The landscape is undulating with open grassland, woodland and gardens, with a number of high areas including Henry VIII's Mound, one of a number of prehistoric barrows that have been identified in the park, and Broomfield Hill to the south-east; its water features include Pen Ponds in the centre and Beverley Brook, which crosses the eastern corner. Many of the present ponds were created as a result of gravel digging permitted in the late C17th. In addition to the various entrances around its perimeter with lodges and gates, there are other lodges and buildings in the park itself, including White Lodge in the east and Pembroke Lodge in the west.

Pembroke Lodge was built as a mole-catcher's cottage and later altered in 1788 for George III by Sir John Soane for the Countess of Pembroke. In 1847 the Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, lived in Pembroke Lodge, where he held cabinet meetings and was visited by dignitaries such as Giuseppe Garibaldi and Queen Victoria.

White Lodge was built in 1727-29 by Roger Morris for George II, later enlarged in the 1750s and in the early C19th. Viscount Sidmouth lived in the White Lodge between 1801-1844, becoming Deputy Ranger in 1831 and was instrumental in numerous improvements in the park, the planting and enclosing of woods and plantations, including Isabella Plantation, and erecting fencing for the protection of the game and against damage to trees by the deer. He was granted 2 hectares of land for gardens around the Lodge and called on Humphry Repton to advise on the layout. Since 1955, the White Lodge has been the home of the Royal Ballet School.

Other developments to the park landscape over the years include the Queen's Ride created in mid C18th providing an avenue of oak and sweet chestnut from White Lodge to Sawyers Hill. A 17-hectare Woodland Garden was created within the Isabella Plantation from 1950 onwards, first by J M Fisher, who was responsible for the Waterhouse Plantation in Bushy Park (q.v.), and from 1951 by George Thomson.

Until 1910 the park remained in royal ownership, apart from a spell during the Commonwealth between 1649 - 1660 when Oliver Cromwell granted it to the City of London. Richmond Park has been open to the public since the early C20th and after the death of Edward VII in 1910 maintenance of the park passed to the Commissioner of Works, later the Department of the Environment, and it is now the responsibility of the Royal Parks Agency. During both world wars the park was used for military purposes such as growing of food; the South Africa Military Hospital was built in WWI and not demolished until 1925.

Sources consulted:

EH Register. John Archer, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Richmond upon Thames, Ecology Handbook 21', (London Ecology Unit) 1993 p38; London's Royal Parks Souvenir Guide, The Royal Parks, 1993; David McDowall 'Richmond Park: The Walker's Historical Guide', 1996

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ185736 (Richmond Gate)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Site management:
DoE Royal Parks Agency; Friends of Richmond Park
C17th onwards
Listed structures:
LBI: White Lodge. LBII: 8 miles of brick walls to park, Richmond Gate, Richmond Gate lodges, Ham Gate, Ham Gate Lodge, White Ash Lodge
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

NHLE grade:
Grade I
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Richmond Park
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Metropolitan Importance
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
SSSI; National Nature Reserve

Richmond Park *

Richmond Park - Lower Pen Pond - Photo: Colin Wing
Date taken: 03/09/19 11:00
Click photo to enlarge.


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