Broadcasting legend and renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough’s new film about Richmond Park will serve a warning to anyone who goes there. Working with the Friends of Richmond Park, he has presented and narrated a film aimed at teaching viewers the price the park pays for receiving over 5.5 million visitors a year, and at raising awareness of how to minimise their impact.

Sir David, who has lived within a quarter of a mile of the park since 1952, said: “Richmond Park means open space, birds, beauty, nature, tranquillity and delight. I want the message of the film to be exactly what it says at the end: take nothing away and leave nothing behind.”

Directed by George Chan, the project cost over £40,000 and producers hope it will kick-start a wider campaign to raise the profile of conservation issues in the area. Executive producer and co-scriptwriter Richard Gray said: “We wanted people to realise that Richmond Park isn’t just an ordinary local park. It’s a National Nature Reserve. That means it’s an incredibly special place.

“Second, we know that the park is getting an increasing number of visitors, and it’s essential that people learn to love and respect the park for future generations. We made the film to convey that message and announce our campaign ‘Tread Lightly in the Park’. “We are extremely happy that Sir David made the film with us and is supporting the message.”

Among the audience were 200 pupils from eight schools in Richmond, Wandsworth and Kingston, the boroughs surrounding the park. Richmond Park Academy student Solly Pinner, year 8, said: “It was amazing to speak to David Attenborough – a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the film was very interesting.

McFly star and model Dougie Poynter also attended the premiere, and spoke alongside Sir David, Mr Gray, director George Chan and film wildlife consultant Julia Balfour in a question and answer session with Sir Trevor. Mr Poynter said: “I live right next to the park. It’s nearly my back garden, and I witness first hand when there are huge numbers of people, and the effects they have. A few weekends ago, when the sun was out, it was like Glastonbury.”

He has been campaigning against the use of microbeads, and for greater awareness of the problems caused to the environment by plastics.

He may also appear in further promotions of the Friends of Richmond Park’s campaign ‘Tread Lightly’, which is hoped to encourage responsible use of the park to preserve and strengthen its ecosystem containing over 1,000 species of plants, animals and fungi.

You can also watch it on YouTube here, and there is a 5-minute version designed for mobile users here.

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