The new lockdown restrictions in England, since Thursday 5th November, have caused many people from all over London to rush to the Richmond Park ,in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, to get some fresh air and exercise as the pandemic continues.

The largest of London's Royal Parks, Richmond Park has always been an inviting outdoor space for residents, Londoners and tourists as it is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. Therefore it is understandable that the park is attracting so many people during this restrictive time.

Whilst it is beneficial for people to venture to the Park to get their daily dose of endorphins, many local residents question whether this sudden mass of visitors is having a negative impact on not only the environment but the nature of the park and covid-19 safety. After seeing a crowd of people surrounding deer last weekend, I noticed that peole should be more aware of interrupting the peace of the park's wildlife. The influx of visitors may be imposing some worries that should be considered.

 "Living ten minutes from the park, I have seen a large increase in the number of people there over the last couple of weeks. In regards to the virus and the preservation of the park's nature and peace, this seems to be more of a negative case than a positive one" -Madeleine Lacy, 19, a local resident who has walked her dog in the park with her family for eight years. 

Since the announcement of the latest lockdown, cars, cyclists and dog walkers in particular have taken over the park, a potential cause for concern as there has been an increase in signs of littering, traffic pollution and some un-safe covid-19 queues by the park gates.

The conjestion of cars and traffic seems to be a particularly raised issue for multiple residents; Kate Groves, doctor and keen cyclist in the park believes that "despite it being difficult for commuters currently, the park should not be open to commuting traffic so that it can be enjoyed by walkers, runners, cyclists, children and dogs. There's no real need to drive through the park at the moment". 

On Saturday 7th November, by 11am, the Pembrooke Lodge car park was full and the park rangers had closed Ham and Richmond gate to new traffic- already, traffic was gridlocked and tempers were flaring between cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. Perhaps the park should be shut for cars, except for disabled blue badge holders? 

This is clearly a contentious issue. I spoke to Oliver Rosenvinge, from Acton, who said "my family and I have never been to Richmond Park before, my children love the deer and I am delighted that we can spend time as a family outside".

The answer to this dilemma could be that, whilst we can all benefit from the nature and fresh air of Richmond Park, we must be considerate of ruining the peace and preservation of it. Should cars be held off from entering the park for the meantime to prevent unfriendly environmental congestion and concerns amongst residents? If we can't visit our local park by foot or public transport, then perhaps we should investigate other green spaces closer to our homes?