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Autumn in the Royal Parks

Richmond Park, south west London

Red deer stag

Red deer stag

My original plans for a walk in Kent on this day were abandoned due to massive disruption to train services after a fatality at Swanley, but rather than head home and waste a day of glorious autumnal sunshine, I decided to head back into London and then south west to Richmond Park. At this time of year, the Park has two very unique spectacles on offer: the vivid autumn colour of the Isabella Plantation, and the astonishing display of deer in rut when the stags and bucks vie for status and mates in an often violent fashion. I last visited Richmond Park back in May, but the Park changes with each season and, as I mentioned before, it is somewhere for which I have great affection, so a return visit could never come too soon.

Start: Petersham Gate TQ182732

Finish: Richmond Gate TQ184737

Length: 4¾ miles – allow plenty of time for deer-watching!

How to get there: I took the train to Richmond (from London Waterloo or Clapham Junction, with South West Trains), but could also have caught the District Line or Overground. Then, from the bus stop just outside the station entrance, I jumped on a 65 bus towards Kingston, alighting at The Dysart Arms; the 371 runs along the same route. The bus stop is adjacent to Petersham Gate, a pedestrian-only entrance into the Park. At the end of the walk, as it was a pleasant evening, I strolled from Richmond Gate down Richmond Hill back into the town centre, but if you’ve walked far enough the 371 stops just outside Richmond Gate. Alternatively, turning left and walking down Star and Garter Hill takes you to the Dysart Arms bus stop to pick up the 65.

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