Biking and protective fencing
In recent years the Common has suffered significant damage from bikers who have used the steepness of the terrain for speed and stunts. This not only damages the Common, especilally where they have ploughed new routes through the woodland destroying the understorey, but is also a danger to pedestrians.
Fencing has been erected to prevent furher damage from bikers. This is not intended to be permanent, and will be removed once the Conservators are satisfied that the woodland has sufficiently recovered with its own natural protection from bikers.
We have placed “No Cycling” signs at Petersham Common entrances reminding cyclists of the by – law prohibiting cycling though bikes can be walked through the Common.
By exception, cycling is allowed on the shared used Petersham Path that runs parallel and below Petersham Road.
We wish to remind the public that the steepness and narrowness of the woodland paths are inappropriate for cycling - one of the reasons why cycling is strictly prohibited on any part of the woodland.
Wick House (designed by Sir William Chambers for the artist Sir Joshua Reynolds and built in 1772) is the large dilapidated building at the northernmost point of the Common by the entrance on Richmond Hill (near Nightingale Lane).
Subject to various planning conditions, the building is scheduled to be partially demolished and redeveloped in the near future. This will cause restricted access to the Common from that entrance for a period of time. The Conservators are working with the architect/developer to ensure any disruption is mimised.
We continue to struggle with mindless grafitti damaging our Information and Notice Boards.
We have placed a floodwater drainage system to intercept water runoff from Richmond Park and adjacent roads. Not only does good water drainage help to water trees, but it helps to create a varied and sustainable environment. New drains are placed under Dysart Rise Path with old and clogged drains regularly cleared.
We safeguard this predominantly native broadleaf woodland and monitor and manage invasive species such as cherry laurel, Rhododendron ponticum and winter heliotrope. Japanese knotweed is removed whenever it is spotted. There is regular action taken to manage against oak processionary moth.
Adverse Climate Conditions
The hot dry summer of 2022 followed by late summer rain made it difficult for young understory trees to establish and mature trees to cope. Tree safety works were undertaken. Issues addressed included branch failure where mature trees have transpired (pulled water to the leaf), adding weight to weakened limbs. Also, several elms died due to a combination of disease and drought.