Newsletter ‐ Spring 2019



From the Chair

Cycle Superhighway 11

Cycle Superhighway 11
You may have heard by now that recently TfL was refused leave to appeal against Westminster Council’s judicial review which stopped the planned work to pedestrianize the eastern side of the Swiss Cottage roundabout (to make safer cycle and bus lanes). This was broadly on the grounds that TfL had only consulted on a complete CS11 scheme from Swiss Cottage to Portland Place, and they had not consulted on the effect of doing just the Swiss Cottage part. In addition, they had not supplied the traffic modelling exercises that would show the effect of this scheme on surrounding streets.

As I write, it is not clear whether TfL will do more modelling about CS11, re‐consult, or abandon it for the moment. What is clear is that money for the package of safety measures which was designed as part of CS11 may well be in doubt unless TfL is able to reinstate the project. Meanwhile, traffic issues around the park continue to be challenging. Gloucester Gate has major works preparing for HS2.

The zoo car park is also losing two thirds of its space as a result. While this may have diverted some traffic from entering the park, it will also have led to longer journeys around the park for those who wish to access activities inside such as the zoo, the sports fields and the Hub. Baker Street two‐way works have culminated in a switchover which closed Park Road, Baker Street, Gloucester Place for a weekend in February.

The one change which has been agreed and appears to be uncontroversial is the plan to reduce the speed limit in the park to 20 mph. Unfortunately, this requires regulations to be passed through Parliament which is held up until the Brexit work is concluded. Please all drive carefully and with due consideration for all park users.
Ianthe McWilliams, Chair

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AGM logo

Annual General Meeting

Our AGM is on 21 March 2019 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. in St John’s Wood Church Hall, on the Lords roundabout.

Our Guest speaker Andy Locke, will talk about Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre Past, and Present.

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Zoo News ZSL

London Zoo welcomed two hyacinth macaw fledglings named Diego and Luna in October, with mum and dad keeping a protective and watchful eye over them. ZSL is one of a handful of zoos that has successfully bred this beautiful critically endangered bird, native to South America.

Baby Paco

Elsewhere, in Rainforest Life, a second tamandua was born to mum Rhia, meaning a younger sibling for youngster Poco, who was born earlier in 2018. Named Paco, the new arrival seems to equally enjoy hitching a ride on his older brother’s back, just as much as their own mother’s. Paco and Poco share a close bond and have been inseparable since Paco’s birth in October.

Get Closer to The Action
Change is afoot at ZSL this year, with a refurbished Animal Adventure and a new coral exhibit opening set to open in 2019.

As the colobus monkeys are moving into London’s Snowdon Aviary in 2020, now might be the perfect time to become a Patron of ZSL. As a Patron, you will be invited to exclusive openings of new exhibits before the public get to see them.

You will also receive unlimited entry to both Zoos for you and up to six family members, be the first to hear of ZSL news and updates, have the chance to bring additional family members to the Zoo for free ‐ all on top of regular zoo membership benefits. Importantly, you will also be part of a global conservation charity, supporting conservation, education and research projects around the UK and in over 50 countries worldwide.

Your support will go towards the care of our Zoo animals, run our veterinary hospital and establish our overseas programmes, such as anti-poaching units in Kenya or tiger monitoring in Indonesia. Find out more atzsl.org/patrons.

Mother Thames project

Our Mother Thames
ZSL has been monitoring wildlife in the river since 2004 and is now embarking on an ambitious project to conserve the Thames. ZSL’s Mother Thames Project has many activities for our community to get involved in. From becoming a citizen scientist and helping to spot seals on ZSL’s new Instant Wild cameras to coming down to the banks of Putney foreshore helping collect data on the fish populations.

The Thames is home to a total of 121 species and the aim is to reconnect people to the river and inspire wildlife supporters to recruit others to engage with the river and its wild residents. To learn more about this, visit:zsl.org/conservation.

Safari in the City
Every year at least 120 tigers are killed for their body parts. Every day 60 elephants are killed for the ivory trade. Every five minutes at least one pangolin is killed for meat and medicines.

After raising an incredible £350,000 in 2018 to target the ever‐growing threat of illegal wildlife trade ZSL’s annual fundraising gala, Safari in the city, will return to ZSL London Zoo on Wednesday 15 May 2019 to continue to raise vital funds not only to stop, but reverse the impacts of illegal wildlife trade.

Join ZSL this year for an exclusive tour of the Zoo after the sun sets, fine dining and entertainment, and help tackle the illegal wildlife trade and create a world where wildlife thrives. Please email us atIndividualGiving@zsl.org to learn more about how you can get involved.
Stephanie Deas, ZSL Press officer

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In the Gardens

Maria BS photo

Hedgehogs
Our hedgehogs have gone into hibernation for the winter since our last report but our work to manage and understand the population continues.

The Royal Parks are hosting the eighth European Hedgehog Research Group Workshop at The LookOut in Hyde Park at the end of February, bringing together European Hedgehog researchers from around the globe to share the latest findings and advancements in conservation, with a focus on research into disease, treatment, and welfare.

Presentations will include Dr John Gurnell’s study on the Regent’s Park and Chris Carbone on the Regent’s and Richmond Parks camera trapping study as well as contributions from Dr Nigel Reeve, Tess Pettinger and Clare Bowen on our hedgehog population and the huge contribution to vital evidence gathering by the many volunteers who participated in our surveys.

Gloucester Gate Playground
As reported in the last Newsletter, a number of very generous donations, both private and from the London Marathon Charitable Trust, have meant that we are able to move forward with the detailed planning and delivery of the transformation of Gloucester Gate Playground.

Work is expected to start on site in May and we aim to complete the landscaping and installations by the end of summer followed by a substantial planting programme and a period for plant establishment so that we can open the playground for the autumn half‐term. During this period, we will redirect people towards our three other playgrounds within the park. Part of the project will include a programme of activities and outreach during the construction phase.

Primrose Hill Café
Work will start on the construction of the café in March. The design is very much as proposed during the consultation phase with the addition of half-hipped roof profiles to the extended area, a detail suggested by the Local Authority Conservation Officer.

This will help to ensure that the extended elements of the building sit comfortably with the existing building. The playground will remain open throughout the build and temporary toilets will be provided.
Nick Biddle, Park Manager

St Mary’s Rose Garden

Rose replant disease ‐ is this the solution?
Rose replant disease occurs when new roses are planted in the same soil used for the old roses.

The symptoms are a lack of vigour caused possibly by soil pest and pathogens as well as a lack of specific micro nutrients. The general rule is to use fresh soil when replanting a rose bed with new roses.

when we replant roses in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, we have traditionally removed the soil to a depth of 700  mm and replenished with new soil and manure. This operation can take two skilled staff with a 360⁰ digger, tractor and trailer over a week to complete each bed, so is expensive.

Over the last two years we have been experimenting with improving the soil in situ. In late summer we remove the old roses and double dig in manure and activated charcoal at 1kg per square metre. We then over sow with a green manure. Hungarian rye grass works well as it germinates and grows at lower temperature making it ideal for the autumn.

At planting we dip the roots in a mycorrhizal dip which contains beneficial fungi and as soon as the soil temperature gets above 12⁰C we apply a liquid compost tea feed containing seaweed and molasses with beneficial soil bacteria and fungi.

We are now into our third year of the trial and so far, it looks promising with the three rose beds we have treated this way, beds 77, 19 and 18 performing well. The benefits if successful are a reduction in biosecurity risk from not having to import soil, less energy usage transporting soil to the park and getting rid of waste, and less input of resources, in all saving around £4,000 per rose bed.

Bee Bank
We have recently built a bee bank just north of the Broad Walk Café with funding from The Peoples Postcode Lottery through our Mission Invertebrate project.

This mound of earth and sand will be sown with a wild flower seed mix suitable for sandy soils. We all know the importance of bees, particularly for pollination. In London over the last decade there has been a drive to plant more bee friendly, nectar rich flowers with an increase in bee hives and honey production.

However, in the UK over 90% of native species of bees are not these social types but solitary bees like the red mason bee which nests in tunnels. The bee bank will hopefully provide an ideal sunny and sandy soil habitat for these types of bee. A single red mason bee is equivalent to 120 worker honeybees in the pollination it provides.

Competition from non‐native hybridised honey bees for nectar may be detrimental to many of our native wild species of bees. Following guidance from our ecology team we set a limit to the number of beehives we allow in the park.
Mark Rowe, Assistant Park Manager

Spring has sprung?
The mild and warm weather has made the birds start singing and, in the case of the great crested grebes, doing their courtship dance on the lake and nest building.

The herons have already started incubating. The number of ducks that come here for the winter have declined as pochards, tufted ducks and shovelers start to leave for their breeding grounds.

The black‐headed gulls are moulting into their breeding plumage (getting their dark head) and will leave for breeding grounds around the middle of March. The male and female kestrels have been seen around the wetland pen, where the elusive cetti's warbler can be heard singing.

Great spotted woodpeckers can be heard drumming and all the resident birds are singing, trying to establish a territory and a mate. These include song and mistle thrushes, blackbirds, robins, dunnocks, wrens and great and blue tits. A pair of long‐tailed tits are nest building in a large patch of gorse.
Dave Johnson, Wildlife Manager

Ducks and Floats ‐ The Regent’s Park

Spring has sprung?
The mild and warm weather has made the birds start singing and, in the case of the great crested grebes, doing their courtship dance on the lake and nest building.

The herons have already started incubating. The number of ducks that come here for the winter have declined as pochards, tufted ducks and shovelers start to leave for their breeding grounds.

The black-headed gulls are moulting into their breeding plumage (getting their dark head) and will leave for breeding grounds around the middle of March. The male and female kestrels have been seen around the wetland pen, where the elusive cetti's warbler can be heard singing.

Great spotted woodpeckers can be heard drumming and all the resident birds are singing, trying to establish a territory and a mate. These include song and mistle thrushes, blackbirds, robins, dunnocks, wrens and great and blue tits. A pair of long-tailed tits are nest building in a large patch of gorse.
Dave Johnson, Wildlife Manager

Works for Spring
Primrose Hill ‐ renovations to correct the well-trodden desire line or unofficial path on Primrose Hill, as well as reseeding the Austrian gravel at the summit.

English Gardens ‐ a light structural prune and mulching of the beds.

Avenue Gardens ‐ replanting of conifers as well mulching of the herbaceous boarder.

Community Wildlife Gardens ‐ installation of a beech hedge to complete the line on the southern boundary of the tennis courts.

Waterside Shrub Bed ‐ a light structural prune.

Boathouse Lawn ‐ scarify and sow Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle).

Introducing Phil
I started on the 4 December 2018, taking over the responsibilities held by Mark Bridger. I came from Windsor Great Park, as operations manager, responsible for the five hundred acres of private grounds around Windsor Castle, and 6000 acres of parkland in the Great Park.

Having worked as member of the contract management in Hyde Park, I am immensely proud to be returning to the Royal Parks and to be playing an active role in the management of such amazing parks as Regent's Park and Primrose Hill. Phil Edwards, Assistant Park Manager

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In the Allotment Garden

The allotment garden will celebrate the start of the growing season by taking part in the Big Dig, a day where everyone is able to get gardening in their local community garden. Keep an eye on the Capital Growth website for more details.

We will also be hosting some of Capital Growth training sessions including Food Growing for Beginners, Understanding Soil, Composting and Wormeries and Design and Plan Your Food Garden.

All Friends receive a 50% discount by entering Regent’s Park Allotment Garden when booking on Eventbrite. Check theCapital Growth website for more details, or pop‐in to the Allotment Garden to pick up a training calendar.

We will start welcoming schools for curriculum‐linked sessions from March onwards, and in June will take part in the Open Garden Squares weekend.

We have a great year of growing ahead and we hope to see you soon in the garden.
Julie Smith, Allotment Garden Volunteer Coordinator

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Safer Parks Panel

With doubt over the future of CS11, there is still concern over the wider issue of vehicles using the Regent’s Park Outer Circle as a shortcut to other locations. The CS11 plan would have restricted the ability for vehicles to drive into and out of town, through the park, during rush hour.

These limited gate closures would have had little impact on those wanting to access the park itself, or the properties and businesses within. The Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill Safer Parks Panel focuses its limited resources on dealing with these traffic issues.

Last quarter alone the Police issued 122 speeding tickets, fined 144 illegal trade vehicles, booked 273 cars for being parked illegally and issued tickets to 46 vehicles for failing to adhere to directional signs (i.e. going the wrong way at junctions or bollards). Ten cyclists were booked for jumping the red lights, zero cyclists for speeding.

The purpose of the Safer Parks Panel is to preserve and protect the safety and tranquillity of the park and its users. The current level of traffic using the Outer Circle to get into and out of town suggests we are failing. The nose‐to‐tail traffic coming in and out of Regent’s Park during rush hour is a blight.

It is pleasing to report that last quarter we had the lowest recorded collision data in recent memory. That is encouraging. But with a cloud of killer pollution over London, it is time that the Safer Parks Panel pushed for restricting through‐traffic during rush hour and reducing the burden on the police, who are trying to manage everything from traffic and road safety to compliance with park regulations such as no bird feeding and keeping dogs on leads where required.
Justin McKie, Chair of the Safer Parks Panel

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A Fun Activity in Regent’s Park

Detective

I recently spent a full and enjoyable day with three of my grandchildren, aged 8 to 12, in Regent’s Park.

We were cooperating to find and solve a series of clues that would enable us to discover the identity of the killer in a murder mystery and what weapon was used. We were following one of the many murder mysteries produced by theTreasure Trails Company, and this one, starting and finishing at Baker Street station, covers a large area of the Park.

Directions are given from one clue to the next where something specific must be found which will enable the clue to be solved, and a suspect or weapon eliminated.

I had thought I knew the park quite well and was surprised how much I had previously overlooked. We timed our investigation in order to be near one of the cafés for lunch, and by another for tea to avoid the children, who were anxious to continue the trail, not getting too cold or tired.

All three children were fully engaged and pronounced the day a great success. If you are looking for something to do in Regent’s Park with children who have outgrown the playgrounds, or in inclement weather, I can thoroughly recommend this activity.
Margaret Elliott

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Romance of the Bandstand School

Bandstand Children School

Did you know that there was another bandstand in the park until the second world war? The following is a taster for an article in the next newsletter.

‘What is the lure of London? I left the sanatorium worth seven hundred pounds a year. It was a gambler’s move. In London every man or woman must rise or sink to the level of his or her character and ability.

Is it better to be the first man in a village than the millionth man in the capital of an empire? London is a kind and generous city. Paris is the city of light, but it is the hard light of the carbon arc. London welcomes all and gives to each a fair deal.

The greatest romance which London ever gave me was the Romance of the Bandstand School in Regent’s Park. From 1910 to 1929, in all weathers, a teacher led groups of children to Regent’s Park to give them lessons in the bandstand near the Zoo.
Dr Halliday Sutherland 1933
(Born in 1882, Dr Sutherland was a physician to the Marylebone Hospital and author and opponent of eugenics. He died in 1960.)

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