Last weekend Mark and I went exploring and ended up taking a lovely walk around Richmond Park.
This is the largest of London's eight Royal Parks (the others include Hyde Park, Regents Park, Kensington Gardens etc....) and it's royal connections date back to Edward (1272-1307) when the area was known as the Manor of Sheen.
The park covers 2500 acres, and is now a Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a European Special Area of Conservation. It's name was changed to Richmond Park during Henry VII's reign, and in 1625 Charles I brought his court to Richmond Palace to escape the plague in London and introduced the large herds of red and fallow deer!
They didn't seem to mind people at all, and carried on munching away at the grass as we wandered past snapping some photos!
NOTE: These photos are taken on my phone. I actually brought my camera along, but was a real idiot and realised I'd left the memory card at home so I couldn't use it! Doh! Note to self, always remember to check memory card and battery for future excursions...
The park is open from 7:30am in the winter, and there were heaps of runners and cyclists making use of the fantastic routes through the park. It's a great place to run away from the traffic and through a quieter more relaxed part of the city.
Mark and I did a 5.5km loop around the park past Pen Ponds, pictured below.
This lake which is divided by a causeway, was added to the park in 1746 and is now a good place to see water birds.
We had a lovely walk and there was still so much of the park we didn't get around to seeing including Henry's Mound where you supposedly can get a spectacular view all the way to St Pauls cathedral. There are also ornamental woodland gardens (Isabella Plantation) and a licensed restaurant/cafe at Pembroke Lodge with gardens.
Next time I'll bring my running shoes!