After missing most of the deer rut in Richmond Park last year, I decided to start early in 2020. Some of the through roads of the park are now closed for an experimental time. This meant that driving to the Pen Ponds car park from the Richmond Gate was now almost a full circumference of the park’s roads. Either because of the warm weather, lack of COVID-19 restrictions or the closed roads, the number of cyclists around the park was simply amazing.
At the Pen Ponds car park we were one of only three cars parked. Again, a big change from my first visit to Richmond Park in 2019. Leaving the car park we walked parallel to the road and could see a group of three young stags in the open spaces. Two of them deciding to measure up to one another.
Once across the open spaces we turned towards the ponds and entered the woodland on our right.
Safe behind a tree I watched a young stag also deep in the bracken.
At this point I was joined by another photographer who clearly didn’t understand social distancing. I moved away further down the wood to where a full size stag was bellowing and pacing up and down.
I moved back towards the ponds where a young stag was crossing between groups of photographers.
Slightly above on the banks of the pond stood these three deer watching below carefully.
Behind me a young stag was approaching. I took ‘shelter’ behind a fallen tree.
My colleague was out in the open and after a few (long) minutes the stag passed within 3 or 4 metres of him.
We had to wait for a large group of twitchers to pass . They then stopped to look at all the parakeets in the trees.
This was our sign to walk back to the car park as more and more people were arriving near the ponds. Even more important, none of the old stags were bellowing – time for breakfast.
Pen Ponds Cafe in Richmond Park
The cafe is now under new management but we can report that the bacon rolls are just as good!