Richmond Park is a place of extraordinary wonder, full of thousands of species of flora and fauna. Just a handful of miles away from the chaotic centre of the bustling London metropolis, it acts as a haven of the natural world and gives people the chance to escape to a countryside-esc location, without leaving the capital.

At the time of its formation, Charles I intended for it to be a hunting area within a close proximity of the city of London, that could be used to escape an outbreak of the plague that had been spreading. Today, the park is a centre for national and international wildlife conservation. This is due to the mixture of forestland and acid grassland that encourage species, such as the skylark, who have long since abandoned most of London, to reside within its eight-mile-long brick walls.

Should you visit the park, it is not difficult to see the many different species of fauna that call the park home. Perhaps the most notable are the various species of birds that can be found seen. With 169 different species being spotted between 2006-2015, and 64 species thought to have bred within the park, the public can see a range of birds ranging from the green woodpecker and the colourful jay, to the exotic-looking mandarin duck and the elegant swan.

And of course, the park contains its most famous residents – the deer. 300 red and 350 fallow deer still call Richmond Park home, and can be seen roaming through the park by visitors.

However, it is not just wildlife that flourishes inside the Park, the flora too is abundant, with over 250 types of fungi being identified. Richmond Park is also known for its abundance of ancient english oaks, which includes the Royal Oak, an english oak that is estimated to be up to 800 years old.

I went up to the Park, and spent the afternoon photographing the diversity of life within it. In just a few short hours, I managed to photograph a variety of birdlife, including a parakeet, a heron and a jay on the wing, amongst others. You can see some of the pictures within the gallery at the top of the page.

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the park socially, is that it has always been open to the public. Charles I left pedestrian right of way in the Park when he enclosed it in 1637, and John Lewis, a local brewer successfully challenged Princess Amelia (daughter of George II) in court after she prevented the public from entering the park.

Nowadays, the park is visited by 5.5 million people per year. Consequently, it has become a lot harder for wildlife to flourish, as their space has been encroached upon by humans.

Tread Lightly is a scheme created by Friends of Richmond Park, in association with Sir David Attenborough that aims to help wildlife flourish alongside the many humans that visit the Park daily. It aims to make people more aware about the fauna, and asks them to show greater respect to the creatures.

On Tuesday 25th April, they released a film highlighting this campaign at the Royal Geographical Society, in an audience that included 200 school students from the local area. The film showed the wonder of Richmond Park and how we can look to protect it for future generations.

In conclusion, Richmond Park is a wonderfully diverse area of life, that we are very fortunate to have. It acts as a forerunner in conservation and as a park that can be enjoyed simultaneously. However, if we do not take greater care of our actions, this may soon not be the case.

By Matthew Lambert from Orleans Park School