Path closures

Next week we have a number of path closures while resurfacing work takes place. We apologise for any disruption but these works will have a positive impact on the Heath by improving path surfaces throughout.

The schedule of work is as follows:

Monday 3 October

  • Stock Pond will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Vale of Heath will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Junction of the path by Parliament Hill playground will be closed while old path is dug out.

Tuesday 4 October

  • Junction of the path by Parliament Hill playground will be closed while new tarmac is laid.
  • Causeway between Hampstead 1 and 2 will have a short closure while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Half of Mixed Pond causeway will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path. The other half will remain open for pedestrian access.

Wednesday 5 October

  • Stock Pond so tarmac wagon for ladies can work from it.
  • Mixed Pond will have path repairs, but there will be pedestrian access.

Thursday 6 October

  • Other half of Mixed Pond causeway will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Path by Sports Pitch will be closed while old path is removed.

Friday 7 October

  • Path by Sports Field closed for tarmac works.


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Ponds Project Progress

With less than six weeks left until the end of construction there is pleantly of activity happening across all of the sites.

Path resurfacing works are going well with around 200m (next to Men’s Pond) still to be laid. This will take place next week. At some points the edges of the path have been filled in with top soil which will be seeded.


New path surface at Parliament Hill

The spillway is under construction at Highgate No. 1. The new path has now been laid and is open. These pictures from earlier this week show the path surfacing in progress.


Highgate No. 1 – path surfacing


Highgate No. 1 – path surfacing

The spillway will be turfed now that the path has been completed.

The spillway at Men’s Pond has now been turfed and the works at this pond are now finished. The spillway will remain fenced off from the public to allow the turf to become established.


Men’s Pond spillway

Works continue on aquatic planting at Model Boating Pond, and the final earthworks are taking place in the compound to the west of the pond.


Island taken from the dam


New dam with aquatic planting in front, looking east


Eygyptian goose admiring the new island


Island looking north-east


Model Boat sailing on pond


Island and pond – looking east

One section of the new path around the pond may look slightly different and this is due to the fact a special pourous surface is being used to protect the tree roots underneath. The path goes between a willow and an oak which we were keen to protect.

MBP 21 Sep 2016 (27).JPG

Section of path which will have pourous surface

The area which was borrow pit has now been finished and the ground has been carefully  prepared for hydroseeding. Hydroseeding is a planting process which uses a mulch of seed and water. This is spryaed from a hose. It enables large areas to be seeded in a relatively short space of time.


Model Boating Pond compound

Over on the Hampstead Chain, the Sports Pitch is now waiting for the ground to be prepared for hydroseeding. The mounds you can see in the background of the below picture, is the topsoil which will be spread out first.


Sports Pitch

The top of the Catchpit is now being shaped into its final profile.



Aquatic works are currenly taking place at Mixed Pond. Planting is taking place at both northern and southern ends of the pond. The planting at the northern end of the pond is a mixture of common clubrush, lesser pond sedge and yellow iris. These plants will help to filtrate the water as it arrives in to Mixed Pond from further up the chain. At the southern end, the plants are a mixture of soft rush, water mint, gypsywort, purple loosestrife, lesser pond sedge and yellow iris. These plants will look good, and also help oxygen levels in the ponds and provide good habitat for wildlife.

There are also more aquatic works due to take place at Hampstead No. 1 and No. 2.

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Progress Update

The past weeks of hot and dry weather have been good for progress on the ground, but the rainfall today is also welcome to help the water levels in the ponds recover .

On Monday, path re-surfacing works commenced on a 100m length on the main path from the playground at Parliament Hill. The whole path up to Model Boating Pond is to be replaced, in 100m sections, as part of the project.


Path resurfacing works on Wednesday 16 Sep


Path resurfacing on Thursday 17 Sep

Work contouring the spillway at Highgate No. 1 is now underway.


Highgate no. 1

The dam crest has also now been raised.


Dam crest at Highgate No. 1

The island at Model Boating Pond is now almost fully excavated, and the earthworks on the hillside to the west are also nearing completion.



The downstream side of the Catchpit is now almost fully turfed.



Some finishing works have taken place around the wooden decking over the inlet at Hampstead No. 2

Hampstead no. 2 14 Sep 2016.JPG

Hampstead No. 2

Aquatic planting will be taking place on Mixed Pond and Hampstead No. 1 next week.

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Famous view

Not Ponds Project related, but a new plaque is to be unveiled very soon on Parliament Hill to replace the old sign which was over 30 years old.


Soon to be unveiled!

The plaque has been donated by the Heath & Hampstead Society, members of which have worked closely with the Heath staff throughout the design and manufacture of this unique plaque.

This plaque replaces a similar one which showed points of interest in the London skyline of over 30 years ago. The previous plaque predates the City of London becoming custodian of Hampstead Heath and was installed by the Greater London Council in 1984. The London sky line has altered significantly in this time.

The location of the plaque is identified as a Protected Vista in the London View Management Framework in recognition of the significant views towards St Paul’s Cathedral and the Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster. It is one of three protected vistas on the Heath (one is part way down the path towards the café, the other is at Kenwood House).

As custodian of the Heath, the City of London manages the view point to ensure the protected vistas between these strategically important landmarks are maintained.

The replacement of the plaque is part of wider landscape improvements to Parliament Hill to ensure this popular viewing point looks its best for the millions of visitors that visit each year. The past 12 months have seen renewal of timber benches, repairs to the steps and path approaching from the fields below, laying of turf to regenerate compacted areas and careful management of the tree canopy to ensure the historic vistas are maintained. Some of these works have been undertaken with assistance by Heath Hands volunteers.

Enjoy the view!


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Progress update

More warm and dry weather have created good conditions for the last weeks of the Ponds Project.

The spillway at Highgate no. 1 will soon be excavated. When finished it will be covered in turf.


Spillway area at Highgate No. 1

The works are progressing well at Model Boating Pond with one half of the island now complete. You can see photos of the excavator breaking though the clay here.


Aquatic planting preparation at Model Boating Pond


The new paths around Model Boating Pond


The island from the eastern bank


The extended compound area

The turf has now been laid and is establishing well at Ladies Pond, and at Stock Pond. Fencing is temporarily put around the turf to allow it to establish.


Stock Pond

The Cathcpit has also be partially turfed.


The Catchpit

The wild-flower turf at Mixed Pond is also establishing well. This type of turf, which is being used in many different locations, was specifically grown and contains a mix of native grasses and wilflowers which grow naturally on the Heath.


Mixed Pond

Mixed pond causeway 7th Sept 2016 (2).JPG

Mixed Pond

Aquatic planting has been taking place at Hampstead No. 2, with the creation of some new reed beds on the western bank.


Planting revetment in Hampstead No. 2


Planting revetments in Hampstead No. 2

There are further aquatic works to take place in Hampstead No. 1, Mixed Pond, Model Boating Pond and Highgate No. 1 pond.



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Break through at the island

Yesterday one of the causeways of clay was broken through to move towards completion of the island. The pictures below show the progress of this exciting piece of landscape work.




Water levels in the pond will drop temporarily as water floods the channel around the island, but these will soon return to normal with some rainfall.

The reed plants will now be planted around the island, with gaps left to allow for fishing and Model Boating.

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Progress on the Ponds Project

As the dry weather continues to hold, conditions are good for the final weeks of construction.

At Men’s Pond, the final section of aquatic planting is being installed.


Men’s Pond

The channel around the island has now been partially filled, with water from the main body of Model Boating Pond.


Model Boating Pond island


Panoramic view from the dam


Northern end of island


View of island and pond looking south-east

The new path is being laid on the western edge of the pond to replac the old path. This will eventually have a black-top tar finish.


Path under construction


West-side of island (looking north)

The high fencing around the extended compound is now down, and has been relaced by less imposing net fencing, which will remain in place until the grass and wildflowers have become established.


Panoramic view of extended compound

At the Catchpit, turf is being laid on the downstream face.





Downstream of Catchpit, aquatic planting is now due to take place on Mixed Pond, Hamstead No. 1 and 2. This includes the creation of reed beds. This will be done by the installation of coir rolls, which help vegetation to establish quickly, and rock rolls, which create edges around the new aquatic plants.


Coir rolls


Rock rolls

In total 25,000 new aquatic plants of 15 different species will be planted as part of the Ponds Project, across all of the ponds. This will result in an additional 1700 cubic metres of aquatic planting which is an important habitat the Heath does not currently have in abundance. Not only do these plants help improve water quality by oxygenating it, they also provide good habitat and feeding for fish, birds and amphibians. They also have the added benefit of looking attractive around the pond edges.

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