In the grounds of the Lodge, which command a fine view of the Thames, St George's Hills and Kingston Vale, is a mound, marked as the King's Standinge on the oldest extant map of the Park, dated 1637, the year of its first enclosure. This quaint name, the real meaning of which cannot be determined, is supposed to have reference to the legend that Henry VIII. stood upon the mound to watch for the going up of the rocket which was to announce to him that the head of Anne Boleyn had fallen, and, in deference to this tradition, care was taken when Sidmouth Wood was planted not to intercept the view from the mound, by leaving a clear space, through which the dome of St. Paul's can be seen on exceptionally clear days, between two rows of trees that some years hence will form a fine avenue. Unfortunately, however, there is really no more historic foundation for the romantic story connected with the King's Standinge-- Henry having been far away from Richmond on the day of the unfortunate queen's death -- than for the even more improbable supposition that Oliver's Mount takes its name from Oliver Cromwell having witnessed from it a battle between the Royal and Parliamentary forces, no struggle having taken place that could possibly have been seen from Richmond Park.
From 'The Royal Manor of Richmond, with Petersham, Ham and Kew' by Mrs A G Bell (1907).
Through the carefully trimmed foliage, St Paul's majestic dome appears no larger than a thumbnail.
Seen from 10 miles away, London's iconic cathedral seems to hover in the distance like a mirage, shimmering in the heat.
This unique "viewing corridor" from King Henry VIII's Mound, down a specially maintained tree-lined avenue, has been a feature of Richmond Park in south-west London, since the early 1700s.
With the surrounding modern buildings carefully hidden by the holly hedging, this "key hole" view of the 18th Century landmark from the park is like a window to London's past.
But heritage campaigners fear new planning laws - introduced by Mayor Ken Livingstone and rubber-stamped by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly - mean Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece could end up crowded out by sky-scrapers.
Under the new planning rules, the so-called viewing corridor has been narrowed from a width of 150m to 70m.
Situated on the highest point on Richmond Hill, overlooking Thames valley. Easy to find - from the Pembroke Lodge car park on west of park walk towards the Lodge (building with cafe in it) and bear right, heading about as far as you can go within the fenced off garden. The mound is signposted, with a handy free telescope on top to take advantage of the remarkable view through to St Pauls. The official sign at the bottom is quite informative, it quotes from Edward Jesse (1835): 'it has been opened and a considerable deposit of ashes found in the centre of it'.
Interestingly, the view in the opposite direction from St Paul's to King Henry's Mound aligns with the setting of the full moon closest to the summer solstice (major southern moon set). Another bronze age mound previously existed on the other side of sidmouth wood along this same alignment. This particular alignment is very common in other bronze age structures (e.g. the recumbant stone circles of n-e scotland. Also the alignment of Avebury with Glastonbury Tor, thought by many to be part of an ancient ley line, runs along a very similar angle. It seems improbable that the mound(s) were constructed to make this alignment with the site of St Paul's/ludgate hill (thought to be the site of a pre-roman temple) but the possibility remains intriguing. The line also runs directly through 10 Downing Street...